Ashley Wagner

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

Leave a comment

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

World record smashed at Paris Diamond League

img_0500
AP
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) — Olympic champion Ruth Jebet broke the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase world record by six seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday

Meanwhile, Kendra Harrison won the 100 hurdles without beating her own record.

The 19-year-old Jebet, born in Kenya and running for Bahrain, clocked 8 minutes, 52.78 seconds at Stade de France.

The previous record was 8:58.81 by Gulnara Samitova-Galkina of Russia at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“I tried many times to beat the world record,” Jebet said. “I was not expecting such a big difference with the record.”

Jebet’s performance was so dominant that she beat Diamond League rival Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya by nearly 10 seconds, and Emma Coburn of the U.S. by almost 20.

Harrison won the 100 hurdles in 12.44 seconds, followed by American countrywoman Dawn Harper-Nelson (12.65).

“I felt all right even though I kicked a few hurdles, which made me a bit upset,” Harrison said. “The start wasn’t that great. Now I have a few days off, so I’m really looking forward to Zurich [on Thursday].”

Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers won the 200 in 22.13, and American Natasha Hastings won the 400 in 50.06.

Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast won the 100 in 9.96 seconds, followed by South African Akani Simbine and Dutchman Churandy Martina.

Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 meters, pulled out after feeling a twinge when warming up.

“I didn’t feel well,” Lemaitre said. “There’s no point tempting the devil and getting injured.”

Kenyan Nicholas Bett won the men’s 400 hurdles, beating American Kerron Clement, while Kenyan Alfred Kipketer won the 800 meters.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kenyan Yomif Kejelcha won the men’s 3,000 in 7:28.19, the fastest time this year.

Olympic silver medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France won the pole vault with an effort of 5.93 meters, Czech Jakub Vadlejch won the javelin, and American Chris Carter won the triple jump in 16.92 meters, with Cuban Alexis Copello second in 16.90.

Tom Walsh of New Zealand just beat Ryan Crouser of the U.S., the Olympic champion, by one centimeter in the shot put.

Britain’s Laura Muir set the leading time this year to win the 1,500 in 3:55.22.

“I couldn’t believe the time, especially since I didn’t do one track session since Rio,” Muir said. “I knew I had to dig in and hold on during the third lap.”

Serbian Ivana Spanovic won the long jump, Spaniard Ruth Beitia won the high jump, and Croatian Sandra Perkovic clinched the discus.

David Ortiz weighed down by Aly Raisman’s medals (video)

David Ortiz, Aly Raisman
Getty Images
Leave a comment

David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.

“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”

Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.

It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.

Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.

She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.

“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”

Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.

MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics