Ashley Wagner

Ashley Wagner, Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir dazzle in Paris (video)

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Favorites Ashley Wagner and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir held on to win the Trophee Bompard in Paris on Saturday, but both are looking up at Olympic silver medalists.

Wagner, the two-time reigning U.S. champion, totaled 194.37 points after a slightly flawed free skate, topping Russian teens Adelina Sotnikova (189.81) and Anna Pogorilaya (184.69).

Virtue and Moir, the Olympic ice dance champions, tallied 180.96 to win by a more comfortable nine points over a field lacking rivals and training partners Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

NBC and NBC Live Extra will air Trophee Bompard on Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Wagner, who led by six points after the short program Friday, took second to Mao Asada at Skate America in her other Grand Prix appearance.

They’ll be medal favorites at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, from Dec. 5-8, but Asada will be the clear favorite.

On Saturday, Wagner, 22, two-footed a landing on her opening triple-triple jump combination and stepped out of a later jump skating to “Romeo and Juliet.”

Still, she solidified her status as the unquestioned top American woman. Three will make the Olympic Team, named after the U.S. Championships in Boston in January.

Gracie Gold, the silver medalist to Wagner at the U.S. Championships last January, has also been better than the rest of the U.S. women during the Grand Prix season.

Harvard’s Christina Gao fell twice and popped another jump during her free skate in Paris on Saturday and finished eighth of nine skaters.

Samantha Cesario bettered Gao by 20 points and took fourth Saturday. The door is also open for Agnes Zawadzki and Mirai Nagasu, who were unimpressive in their Grand Prix season debuts. They skate next week at the Rostelecom Cup.

Here are the top Grand Prix season women’s scores so far:

1. Mao Asada (NHK Trophy) — 207.59
2. Mao Asada (Skate America) — 204.55
3. Yulia Lipnitskaya (Skate Canada) — 198.23
4. Ashley Wagner (Trophee Bompard) — 194.37
5. Ashley Wagner (Skate America) — 193.81
6. Akiko Suzuki (Skate Canada) — 193.75
7. Yelena Radyonova (NHK Trophy) — 191.81 (too young for Olympics)
8. Adelina Sotnikova (Trophee Bompard) 189.81
9. Gracie Gold (Skate Canada) — 186.75
10. Anna Pogorilaya (Trophee Bompard) 184.69

The reigning Olympic champion, Yuna Kim, has yet to compete this season due to a foot injury. She’s scheduled to compete in a lower-level competition in Zagreb, Croatia, in early December.

In ice dance, Virtue and Moir went two for two in Grand Prix events this season, following their Skate Canada win by beating Russians Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov by nine points.

Virtue and Moir scored lower than they did at Skate Canada, barely, and haven’t been within five points of rivals and training partners Davis and White this Grand Prix season.

Virtue and Moir are the reigning Olympic champions, but Davis and White haven’t lost in nearly two years. They should go head to head for the first time since the World Championships in March at the Grand Prix Final.

Here are the top Grand Prix season ice dance scores so far:

1. Davis/White (Skate America) — 188.23
2. Davis/White (NHK Trophy) — 186.65
3. Virtue/Moir (Skate Canada) — 181.03
4. Virtue/Moir (Trophee Bompard) — 180.96
5. Weaver/Poje (Skate Canada) — 175.23
6. Ilinykh/Katsalapov (Trophee Bompard) — 171.89
7. Pechalat/Bourzat (Trophee Bompard) 171.08

8. Cappellini/Lanotte (Skate America) — 168.49
9. Pechalat/Bourzat (Cup of China) — 165.68
10. Bobrova/Soloviev (Cup of China) — 163.42

Trophee Eric Bompard

Women’s
1. Ashley Wagner (USA) 194.37
2. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) 189.81
3. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) 184.69
4. Samantha Cesario (USA) 172.70
5. Mae Berenice Meite (FRA) 166.11
6. Amelie Lacoste (CAN) 158.11
7. Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) 153.27
8. Christina Gao (USA) 152.85
9. Natalia Popova (UKR) 136.43

Ice Dance
1. Virtue/Moir (CAN) 180.96
2. Ilinykh/Katsalapov (RUS) 171.89
3. Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA) 171.08
4. Zhiganshina/Gazsi (GER) 147.27
5. Papadakis/Cizeron (FRA) 143.26
6. Monko/Khaliavin (RUS) 139.96
7. Coomes/Buckland (GBR) 128.59
8. Orford/Williams (CAN) 119.60

Chan reaches new heights in Paris

Simone Biles becomes honorary Houston Texans cheerleader

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The NFL’s Houston Texans may not be having the greatest season on the football field, but that hasn’t stopped one famous diehard fan from cheering them on.

On Sunday, Simone Biles took her fandom to the next level by debuting as an honorary Texans cheerleader before the team’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

game day feels ❤️ so excited to dance at the Houston Texans Game!

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officially ready for game day now that I got my legendary red boots 🏈

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As an added bonus, she also found time to take a few photos with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, a 7-foot center who once starred for the Houston Rockets.

This isn’t the first time that the Olympic gold medalist has teamed up with her hometown Texans. In 2016, Biles had the honor of announcing one of the team’s draft picks, and in 2015, she made this memorable entrance onto the field after a pre-game introduction.

Julia Marino, Jamie Anderson close in on Olympic snowboard team spots after second U.S. qualifier

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Julia Marino is within striking distance of qualifying for her first Olympic team. Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson is even closer.

Marino, who won four X Games medals in slopestyle and big air competitions last season, unleashed a frontside 720 and her signature cab double underflip to take second place in big air at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, the second of five qualifying events for the U.S. snowboard slopestyle and big air team.

Anderson, who received high marks for her cab 900 but lower scores for her frontside 720, finished off the podium in fourth. Because she and Marino were the only Americans to reach the final at Copper though, Anderson still received a valuable haul of Olympic selection points and maintains the lead in the overall rankings.

Although Marino’s cab double underflip received the highest score of the competition, riders in big air are scored on their two best tricks. That enabled Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi to take the win with a pair of solid jumps that included a backside 1080. Silje Norendal of Norway finished on the podium in third behind Iwabuchi and Marino.

In order to be named to the U.S. Olympic slopestyle and big air snowboarding team, riders must have a minimum of one podium finish at the selection events. If more than three riders attain podium finishes, then the tiebreaker will come down each rider’s two best results.

Marino and Anderson have both fulfilled the minimum criteria for automatic selection. Either of them could clinch spots on the Olympic team for both slopestyle and big air by finishing as the top U.S. rider at any of the remaining selection events. The next event will be a slopestyle contest next week in Breckenridge, Colo.

Meanwhile, the men’s big air competition had the potential to shake up the U.S. Olympic rankings, as none of the podium finishers from the first selection event reached the final at Copper.

After a disappointing result in that first qualifier, which was held at Mammoth Mountain last winter, Chris Corning bounced back to finish as the top American in this contest and second place overall. He landed a frontside 1440 and a massive backside triple cork 1440 on his two jumps, putting his own stylish twist on both tricks with melon grabs.

Corning, the 2015/16 World Cup champion in slopestyle, has emerged as perhaps the U.S. team’s top hope for an Olympic medal this year in both men’s slopestyle and big air, events typically dominated by riders from Canada and Norway. Now that he has his first selection event podium under his belt, he can clinch a spot on the Olympic team by finishing as the top American at any of the remaining contests.

Also earning a podium result with a third-place finish was 19-year-old Chandler Hunt, who has suddenly added his name to the U.S. Olympic discussion.

The victory in men’s big air went to Norway’s Mons Roisland, who stomped a switch backside 1620 and a frontside 1440 tail grab on his jumps.

Three more selection events for the slopestyle and big air team still remain, and all three will be slopestyle events. Dew Tour will host a selection event next week in Breckenridge, then there will be a break until Olympic qualifying resumes in January with competitions at Aspen and Mammoth.

U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Results

Men’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Mons Roisland (NOR), 182.75
2. Chris Corning (USA), 177.25
3. Chandler Hunt (USA), 159.00
4. Ryan Stassel (USA), 154.50
5. Max Parrot (CAN), 121.50

Women’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 169.25
2. Julia Marino (USA), 160.25
3. Silje Norendal (NOR), 156.75
4. Jamie Anderson (USA), 151.50
5. Sina Candrian (SUI), 135.50

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Red Gerard, 1400*
2. Chris Corning, 1200*
3. Chandler Hunt, 1160*
4. Kyle Mack, 1000*
5. Judd Henkes, 1000

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Jamie Anderson, 1800*
2. Julia Marino, 1600*
3. Hailey Langland, 1300*
4. Jessika Jenson, 1050
5. Nora Healey, 950

*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.