Patrick Chan

Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir will miss World Championships

Leave a comment

The World Figure Skating Championships will be without Canada’s biggest stars.

Three-time world champion Patrick Chan and two-time world ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were not on the Canadian roster for the Saitama, Japan, event announced Monday.

The World Championships begin March 24.

Chan, the Olympic silver medalist, won silver at the 2009 and 2010 World Championships and gold at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Championships. By skipping Saitama, he forgoes the chance to become the first man since Alexei Yagudin to win medals at six straight worlds (1997-2002) and the first since Scott Hamilton to win four straight golds (1981-84).

Chan’s absence makes Japanese Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu the overwhelming favorite to win the world title in Saitama. Hanyu said a few hours after returning to Japan from Sochi that he was anticipating practicing for the World Championships.

Like Chan, Virtue and Moir won Olympic silver in Sochi. They had also won medals at the last six World Championships, splitting the last four golds with American Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

The last ice dance couple to win medals at seven straight worlds was the Soviet duo of Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko (eight from 1985-1992).

Virtue and Moir are reportedly expected to retire. Davis and White have yet to commit to the World Championships.

Weir, Lipinski analyze Oscar fashion

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin
Leave a comment

With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
Leave a comment

TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

MORE: Hanyu, Miyahara win NHK; Wagner into Grand Prix Final