Nick Goepper

Nick Goepper set for Sochi Olympics in ski slopestyle

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Nick Goepper locked up a spot on the first U.S. Olympic Team in slopestyle skiing at the second Olympic selection event in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Saturday.

“It’s a dream come true,” Goepper said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “It’s super fun. The Olympics add a bit more pressure, but we’re just out here trying to get creative and have fun.”

Goepper, the rare freeskier out of Indiana, took second with 89.20 points in the first of his two runs. It held up until Norway’s Andreas Haartveit posted 92.80 late in the second run. Australian Russ Henshaw took third.

Goepper, the reigning Winter X Games champion, won in Breckenridge last week without ski poles due to a broken hand. He met U.S. Olympic Team selection criteria being the top American finisher in the first two Olympic selection events.

No American man other than Goepper has finished on the podium in either of the first two selection events. Ski slopestyle is making its Olympic debut.

Earlier, Canadian Dara Howell won the women’s ski slopestyle. No U.S. women have reached Olympic selection criteria yet, but four women are halfway there through two of five events.

Darian Stevens and Grete Eliassen were second and third behind Howell. Howell won with an 87.60 second run, bettering Stevens’ 85.40 and Eliassen’s 83.40.

Maggie Voisin, who was third last week on her 15th birthday, was fourth Saturday with 80.00 points. Devin Logan, who won last week, did not reach the finals in Copper Mountain.

Up to three slopestyle skiers per gender who have had two top-three results over five Olympic selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had two top-three results, tiebreaker rankings come into play.

A skier’s best two results will be combined to create tiebreaker rankings. The next Olympic selection event for slopestyle skiing is in Breckenridge in January.

Here are the Olympic selection tiebreaker ranking standings in ski slopestyle after two of five selection events, only counting those with top-three results:

Men’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper — 200 (two top-three results)

Women’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Maggie Voisin — 140
2. Devin Logan — 136
2. Darian Stevens — 136
4. Grete Eliassen — 102

Sigourney, Blunck win ski halfpipe at Copper

Gymnastics doctor’s lawyers want trial moved, cite media coverage

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Attorneys for a former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting dozens of athletes are pushing to have his trial moved out of the Lansing area.

The Lansing State Journal reports that attorneys representing Larry Nassar filed a change-of-venue request because of what they called “inflammatory and sustained media coverage” that they say has made it difficult for Nassar to get a fair trial in the area.

The media attention grew more intense this week when 21-year-old 2012 Olympic gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney wrote on Twitter that Nassar started assaulting her when she was 13.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to nearly two dozen charges in Michigan. He has pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in an unrelated case but has not been sentenced.

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Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva easily won the women’s title despite a rare fall in her free skate. Medvedeva is undefeated since 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

“I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake,” Chen said, according to the International Skating Union .”I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win, and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February. Hanyu got the better of Chen at the most important event — winning the world championships, where the American was sixth.

Also Saturday, two-time world medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance with 189.24 points, sweeping both the short and free programs.

The siblings and U.S. champions have now won four straight Grand Prix titles (not counting the Grand Prix Final).

They won by 4.5 points over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev.

The world’s top two couples were not in the field — Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Russia swept the pairs podium, led by world bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The top pairs teams from the rest of the world — including world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — were not in the field.

The Rostelecom Cup women’s free skate is later Saturday.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 293.79
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 290.77
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 271.06
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 206.09

Women
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 231.21
2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 215.98
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) — 207.17
6. Mariah Bell (USA) — 188.56
9. Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 178.25

Ice Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 189.24
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 184.74
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 179.35
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 148.75

Pairs
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 224.25
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 204.43
3. Kristina Astakhova/Aleksey Rogonov (RUS) — 199.11
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 170.53