Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn will race in Lake Louise downhill Friday

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Lindsey Vonn will ski competitively for the first time in 10 months on Friday, less than three weeks after partially tearing her ACL in a training crash.

The Olympic downhill champion said Thursday she’s “confident and excited” about racing in a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, according to The Associated Press.

Vonn took her first official downhill training run Wednesday, said her surgically repaired right knee felt “stable” and that she would decide Thursday if she was going to race. She blew out her right knee at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.

“It usually swells pretty soon after if there’s trauma,” Vonn said, according to the AP. “It definitely doesn’t take very long to tell, to see if it’s going to get swollen or not, but I just gave it the whole day and nothing happened, thankfully.

“So all positive signs.”

Vonn said she’s skipping training Thursday but will race in all three events in Lake Louise, including a downhill Saturday and a super-G Sunday, according to USA Today.

She also said she will race with a knee brace and might not enter any giant slalom races this season.

She will ski at a course dubbed “Lake Lindsey” for her overwhelming success there. She’s won the last seven World Cup races at Lake Louise. She hasn’t finished lower than second at a Lake Louise race since 2008.

“You kinda know if your body is ready or not, and I feel ready,” Vonn said, according to USA Today. “It’s been a long time coming, but when I come here it doesn’t feel as if I’ve been gone that long. It feels like the start of a new season.”

The downhill is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday. Universal Sports will have coverage.

“It’s funny in some ways since I’ve been skiing it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but when I was stuck in the gym doing rehab than it felt like it was taking an eternity,” she said of her return after 10 months. “I felt the time couldn’t go any faster. I just wanted to get back on the slopes. Since skiing in Chile [in August and September] and in Vail, [Colo.] I got back in the rhythm of things. I feel that everything is normal now.”

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Yevgenia Medvedeva wins season opener in rout

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Olympic figure skating favorite Yevgenia Medvedeva, imperfect by her standards, still won her first international competition of the season by a whopping 36.74 points on Saturday.

The Russian tallied 146.72 points in her free skate at Nepela Trophy in Slovakia — lower than her median score over her two-year winning streak — and 226.72 points overall. 

Video is here. Full scores are here.

Medvedeva had a wrong edge call on her triple Lutz, stepping out of the landing. 

Judges gave her a negative grade of execution for it, snapping a streak of more than 60 straight jumps with positive grades dating to December.

No matter, the 17-year-old still had the highest free skate by 23.23 points.

It was 13.72 points shy of her world record set at the last competition of the 2016-17 season.

She distanced Japanese Rika Hongo and countrywoman Yelena Radionova, the only woman to beat Medvedeva in senior international competition in November 2015.

Medvedeva entered the free skate with a 13.51-point lead in the low-level event. That was via recording the second-highest short program tally under a 13-year-old judging system on Thursday.

Her flawed free skate still earned more points than any of her rivals racked up last season. 

All of her jumps except a double Axel were in the second half of her program to earn bonus points.

However, another Russian posted a higher free skate score last week.

That’s 15-year-old training partner Alina Zagitova, who was .45 better at a low-level event in Italy. 

It’s not entirely fair to compare scores from different judging panels at these early season competitions, though.

The first of six Grand Prix series events is Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in four weeks, featuring Medvedeva and Radionova.

Medvedeva and Zagitova could go head-to-head at the Grand Prix Final in December and should definitely both be at the Russian Championships later that month.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. 

North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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