Polina Edmunds

Polina Edmunds, boosted by recent win, hopes reputation doesn’t impact Worlds

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At 16, Polina Edmunds already knows that reputation matters in the judged sport of figure skating.

Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports at the Sochi Olympics, endured growing pains and nerves in the fall to claim the biggest victory of her career last month.

She expects to win a medal at the World Championships next week. She believes that those outside her camp are giving her a better chance now, too, after she won the Four Continents Championship over 2014 U.S. champion Gracie Gold and top Japanese skaters in February.

“Having the Four Continents title, I think, will help me a little bit as [far as] reputation,” Edmunds said Monday. “But really, it comes down to how I do. I think that skating two clean programs at Worlds is going to be in my best interests to really make a good impression on the judges. Having this [Four Continents] title could help me, I guess, in terms of they will already know what I’m capable of as I step onto the ice.”

In January, Edmunds said judges were being “a little more strict” with her given she was a newcomer to the senior stage in 2014. She made those comments in an opening statement on a media call, before any questions were asked.

She is part of a three-woman U.S. team heading to Worlds in Shanghai hoping to deny Russia the first women’s podium sweep since the U.S. in 1991 (Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan).

Edmunds beat zero Russians at her two Grand Prix Series events this season. When she won Four Continents in Seoul, no Russians were in the field. Five U.S. women won Four Continents before her, and none won medals at that season’s World Championships.

“Mostly, I just don’t want to be on the podium if I don’t skate well [at Worlds],” she said. “I hope that people who don’t skate well, I’m hoping they’re not going to be on the podium, either. It should be who skates the best. And it shouldn’t be so political with who has what titles going into this.”

Edmunds said she’s dealt with skating’s off-ice politics “for years,” since she was a junior. She said somebody once tried to tell her to change her costume and her music she had been using that season just before the U.S. Championships.

“They want a little piece of me, and see if I can change anything, and then they can take the credit for it,” she said. “Not in a bad way, all people try to give their input in. Maybe they don’t like this about my music, my costume.

“I know that if I skate well, all those little things don’t matter.”

Edmunds did just that in Seoul, landing seven triple jumps in her free skate. She lagged behind the last two U.S. champions, Ashley Wagner and Gold, all season up to that point, even finishing fourth at the U.S. Championships in January.

Now, she’s in the mix with Wagner and Gold to win the first U.S. women’s medal at a World Championships since 2006.

“Nobody’s training to come and be 10th,” Edmunds said. “If I skate well, I hope to be rewarded.”

Edmunds, who works with a ballet teacher weekly, finished ninth at the Sochi Olympics and eighth at last year’s World Championships.

“Last season was a whole different ballgame,” she said. “I was relatively unknown. … This season, everything’s different, of course. Now, I am known.”

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Watch Simone Biles samba to Destiny’s Child on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Simone Biles easily advanced to the final seven on “Dancing with the Stars,” while Nancy Kerrigan was the last contestant to survive elimination Monday night.

Biles, a four-time Rio Olympic gymnastics gold medalist, danced a samba to Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” with partner Sasha Farber.

They received 35 points out of a possible 40 — with no 10s after Biles received her first 10s the previous week. It was the fourth-best score of eight couples Monday.

Judges felt their timing was off.

Kerrigan, a two-time Olympic figure skating medalist, performed with Artem Chigvintsev to En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind.”

They scored 33 points, lowest of the four women’s contestants remaining, with judges telling Kerrigan she looked unstable and tense at times. Kerrigan has been dealing with back pain and arm weakness.

“We had a lunch break, and we had sushi, and she couldn’t lift the soy sauce,” Chigvintsev said on ABC News.

The elimination came down to Kerrigan and “Glee” actress Heather Morris. Morris was cut, via a combination judges scores and fan votes, despite recording the first perfect score of the season Monday night.

The announcement drew boos from the studio crowd.

Kerrigan and Biles are looking to become the sixth Olympian to win the Mirrorball Trophy in the series’ 24 seasons, joining Kristi YamaguchiApolo OhnoShawn JohnsonMeryl Davis and Laurie Hernandez.

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London Marathon runners reflect on viral finish-line moment

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A collapsing London Marathon runner who was helped to the finish line and the fellow runner who held him up recounted their inspiring two minutes.

Matthew Rees was rounding the final corner, signifying 200 meters left of the 26.2-mile race, when he saw David Wyeth struggling to stay on his feet on Sunday.

“My mind was like, I need to help this guy,” Rees said on the BBC. “He needs to get to the finish. You’ve come 26 miles, and the finish was just there. For me, it was important to get him to the end and cross together.”

Wyeth said he told Rees to go on without him. Rees declined. Wyeth said, “I’ve got to finish,” and Rees told him, “You will,” according to the Press Association.

“I can’t say how grateful I am to Matthew because you say that, Matthew, that others would have stopped,” Wyeth said on the BBC. “And I’m sure you’re right, that there may have been others, but you persisted.”

Rees held up Wyeth as it took them nearly two minutes to trudge to the finish line. Another person, appearing to be a race volunteer or official, also came over to help.

“It was great if I’ve inspired anyone, but I do think that anyone would’ve done the same thing,” Rees said on the BBC. “If it wasn’t me, it would have been the next runner. It’s just being a human, isn’t it? Seeing someone who’s struggling and helping them out.”

The pair crossed the finish at The Mall together, but with different times as they didn’t start together. Rees’ official time was 2 hours, 52 minutes, 26 seconds. Wyeth clocked 2:51:08.

“The time means absolutely nothing to me,” Wyeth said, according to the Press Association. “I feel a slight fraud for having a [finisher’s] medal around my neck. I should cut a little piece out because it belongs to Matthew.

“I really wouldn’t have got across the line — on my hands and knees, maybe, but the time meant nothing in the end because I know I wouldn’t have got there without Matthew putting his arm around me and carrying me over the line.”

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