ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2012 - Day One

Kovtun beats Plushenko at Russian Nationals

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As whispers circled around the figure skating world that Yevgeny Plushenko might not make the trip to Sochi for the Olympic Games, the Russian veteran did not help his case with a second-place finish to teenager Maksim Kovtun at the Russian National Championships.

Plushenko had a five-point lead after the short program, but was tight in his free skate, losing it to the 18-year-old Kovtun who outscored the three-time Olympic medalist by 17 points in the technical marks.

Plushenko had told members of the media earlier that he planned to skate only the new team event at the Sochi Games in February and not the men’s singles event, in which Russia has just one spot. But officials said Plushenko may have been incorrect in thinking that two different Russian men can skate those events because of the single allotment at the Games.

PHOTOS: Russia’s top skaters

Kovtun won with a 267.13 overall to Plushenko’s 261.37. The members of the team are not formally announced until after the European Championships, Jan. 14-19.

Adelina Sotnikova won her fourth national title at the age of 17, edging out 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Like in the men’s competition, it was Lipnitskaya who led after the short program, but Sotnikova was more solid in the free skate. Both ladies will compete at the European Championships and look to be the skaters who will represent the host nation come Sochi in the two spots its earned in the ladies singles.

Anna Leonova (fifth), Anna Pogorilaya (eighth) and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (10th) were seen as Olympic hopefuls, but their Nationals performances by and large knock them out of the Olympic conversation.

Reigning world champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov sat out the pairs competition, in which Trankov served as a commentator for.

Ksenia Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov won by less than a half point over Vera Bazarova and Yuri Lariyonov. All three teams should make the trip to Euros and the Olympics.

In ice dancing, Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev won by a 10-point margin over Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov.

World record smashed at Paris Diamond League

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AP
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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
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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