Sochi Olympics Figure Skating

U.S. in medal position after Day 2 of team figure skating

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Team USA started Day 2 of the inaugural Olympic team figure skating competition facing elimination. But by the end of the day, the Americans had clawed their way back into the medal picture.

Going into tomorrow’s final day (men’s/women’s free skate and free dance), they sit third in the overall standings with 34 points, looking up at leaders Russia (47 points) and Canada (41 points).

Meryl Davis and Charlie White kick-started the American comeback by topping the short program in ice dancing with a score of 75.98, beating out defending Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada to earn a full 10 points.

That pushed the U.S. to third in the standings, and that’s where they’d stay for the rest of the afternoon. Ashley Wagner finished fourth in the ladies’ short program with a score of 63.10, while the Russian crowd was brought to their feet by Julia Lipnitskaia, who finished first with a score of 72.90 ahead of Italy’s Carolina Kostner and Japan’s Mao Asada.

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With all the short programs completed, Russia, Canada, the U.S., Japan, and Italy all moved on into the free program portion of the competition, which began with the pairs.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who did the pairs’ short program on Thursday, got the call again for the U.S. in free skate and wound up finishing fourth with a score of 117.94 (7 points).

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Russia once again showed its strength as Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, the final pair to skate this afternoon, took home 10 points for the host nation after posting a score of 135.09. Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch were second (129.74, 9 points) and Italy’s Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek were third (120.82, 8 points).

TEAM FIGURE SKATING – STANDINGS
(After five events)
1. Russia – 47
2. Canada – 41
3. United States – 34
4. Italy – 31
5. Japan – 30
Eliminated after short programs
6. France – 22
7. China – 20
8. Germany – 17
9. Ukraine – 10
10. Great Britain – 8

Katie Ledecky helps Bryce Harper celebrate NL East title (video)

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, and Mark Melancon, left, celebrate after clinching the National League East following a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The Washington Nationals won the National League East title last night for the third time in five years.

Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper donned a Katie Ledecky swim cap during the beer-soaked celebration to protect his hair, which he reportedly spends 30 minutes grooming before games.

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime fan of the Nationals. Earlier this year, she had Harper hold her five Olympic medals from Rio while she threw the first pitch at a Nationals game.

Ledecky, who is currently taking classes at Stanford, Tweeted her approval of Harper’s headgear:

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Kenenisa Bekele misses marathon world record by six seconds (video)

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish to win the 43th Berlin Marathon in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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BERLIN (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win the Berlin Marathon just outside the world record time on Sunday.

Bekele’s winning time of two hours, 3 minutes and 3 seconds was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto‘s world record, also set in Berlin in 2014 and is the second best time.

“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.

Bekele and Kipsang opened a considerable lead over the rest of the field and ran shoulder-to-shoulder until Bekele pulled away with about two kilometers to go.

Kipsang finished 10 seconds behind Bekele in 2:03:13, faster than the 2:03:23 he clocked in winning the race in 2013, in what was then a world record.

Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.

Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds and is the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

But he had been slow getting into the marathon, with his previous best of 2:05.04 set in his debut in winning the Paris race in 2014. He was third in London in April, after battling an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Bekele broke the Ethiopian record for the marathon, previously held by the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won the Berlin Marathon and set a world record of 2:03.59 in 2008.

Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.

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