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Three men plead not guilty in connection to death of Tyson Gay’s daughter

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Three men charged in connection with the shooting death of Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay‘s 15-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty Monday and face an Oct. 25 court date.

The three appeared via video before Fayette County, Kentucky, District Court Judge T. Bruce Bell, who will assign attorneys for them.

Bell set bail at $5,000 each for Chazerae Taylor, 38, and his son, D’Markeo Taylor, 19, on wanton endangerment charges. Dvonta Middlebrooks, 21, is charged with wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His bail was set at $12,500.

 Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said police don’t believe Trinity Gay was in either of the vehicles involved.Tyson Gay said he and his daughter were very close, according to Lexington TV station WLEX, which spoke to him Sunday.

“It’s so crazy. I have no idea what happened,” Gay told the station.

Grief counselors were at Lexington’s Lafayette High School on Monday for students and staff, Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said. Both Gay and his daughter attended the school.

Lafayette principal Bryne Jacobs, teacher Rhonda Mullins and girls track coach Crystal Washington all described Trinity Gay as friendly and outgoing. She dreamed of becoming a surgeon.

“She was full of energy and life,” said Mullins, who had Gay in family and consumer science classes along with the Future Educators of America club. “She was a kid that everybody wanted to teach.”

Near the end of a Monday morning news conference, grief counselors brought in a large purple banner bearing a hashtag that read “#LLT” for Long Live Trinity and adorned with expressions from students and staff. A therapy dog named Hannah Joy was also brought in.

Jacobs said Trinity Gay’s mother, Shoshana Boyd, who also attended Lafayette, had thanked him for support from the school and community, and noted that Trinity’s life was something to celebrate.

“Our hearts are burdened that she is not in our building anymore,” Jacobs said.

A candlelight vigil is planned at 8 p.m. Monday on the school’s track, where Trinity Gay excelled.

Trinity Gay was a standout sprinter, placing in the top five in several events at the state championships in May. Her father still holds the state record in the 100 set in 2001.

“Coming from a coach’s perspective, a lot of athletes didn’t want to race her,” Washington said, “Especially the ones that might not have been as good as her. Then there were some that were like, ‘I’m going to beat her today.’ … She knew, OK, I want to beat this person today and want to get out of the blocks fast so I can win this race.”

Washington added that she saw a lot of Tyson Gay in his daughter, and in her competitive drive. She took losses hard but didn’t boast or talk trash when victorious.

Lexington police say Middlebrooks was in the parking lot of the Cook Out restaurant and fired multiple shots in the incident in which Trinity Gay was killed early Sunday. Court records show the Taylors admitted also firing shots.

Tyson Gay competed in the last three Summer Olympics. He was part of a team that won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2012 London Games, though that medal was ultimately stripped after Gay tested positive for steroids in 2013.

Last summer’s Games in Rio featured another stinging disappointment for Gay, 33, who has battled injuries. He was a member of the American men’s 4x100m relay team that finished third in the final before being disqualified for an illegal baton exchange between Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin. The team’s appeal was denied, giving Canada the bronze medal.

The sports world has been mourning the news of the death on social media. USA Track and Field tweeted, “Sending our thoughts & prayers to @TysonLGay & his loved ones as they mourn the tragic & senseless loss of his daughter, Trinity.”

Several of Gay’s USA track teammates echoed the comment, including Natasha Hastings and Arman Hall. Former NFL wide receiver Santonio Holmes, NBA veteran Vince Carter and tennis great Martina Navratilova have also tweeted messages of support for Gay.

Chinese lead, star pairs struggle in world championships short program

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China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong recorded the highest pairs short program score in the world since the 2014 Olympics, topping the world championships field in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Two-time defending world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada and Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov are well behind in seventh and 13th place, respectively.

Sui and Han, in just their second event this season, tallied a personal-best 81.23 points.

They lead by 1.39 over Germans Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot going into the free skate Thursday (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are in third.

The Chinese will go for their first world title after giving up a short-program lead last year and taking silver for a second straight time.

Full worlds short program results are here.

PREVIEWS: Men | Women | Pairs | Dance | TV schedule

Sui and Han missed the fall season after Sui underwent right ankle and left foot surgeries last spring. They returned at the Four Continents Championships in February and posted personal-best free skate and total scores, ranking only behind Tarasova and Morozov for the season.

Duhamel and Radford, looking to become the first pair to three-peat in 40 years, came in slowed by Radford’s hip injury suffered in the last week. Radford was off-balance on his triple toe loop landing Wednesday. Duhamel’s hand touched the ice on her throw triple Lutz landing.

They scored 72.67 points, which is 8.56 behind Sui and Han.

Stolbova and Klimov both suffered falls in their short program and scored 65.59, qualifying for the 16-pair free skate by four points. The Russian champions missed the autumn season due to Stolbova’s left leg injury.

The top U.S. pair was Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, who posted a personal-best 72.17 points for eighth place. The husband-and-wife pair are competing for the second time this season after Scimeca Knierim’s serious abdominal injury.

U.S. champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier suffered two falls and placed 20th, matching the worst U.S. pairs finish in worlds history. They did not qualify for the 16-pair free skate.

Therefore, the Knierims must finish 10th or better after the free skate to ensure the U.S. earns two pairs places at the 2018 Olympics.

Pairs is the U.S.’ weakest discipline. The last U.S. medal in pairs at worlds came in 2002. The last Olympic medal was in 1988.

North Korean pair Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik placed 14th in the short program, the highest of any pair expected to compete for one of four final Olympic quota spots in September.

North Korea sent no athletes to the Sochi Olympics, and it’s not a guarantee it will qualify any athletes for PyeongChang, or if it will send athletes to South Korea in February. But Ryom and Kim’s personal best by nearly 11 points on Wednesday was very encouraging.

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MORE: U.S. pairs skater back from life-threatening condition

Pairs Short Program
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 81.23
2. Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER) — 79.84
3. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 79.37
8. Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Christopher Knierim (USA) — 72.17
20. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 56.23

Missy Franklin out due to shoulder surgeries

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Missy Franklin is sidelined from swimming competition for an undisclosed period of time to recover from surgeries on both of her shoulders due to bursitis, according to her social media.

“This is what’s best for me to come stronger than ever,” was posted on Franklin’s Instagram. “I’m so far from being done with this sport.”

The five-time Olympic champion was diagnosed in early January following an MRI, underwent surgeries that month and has returned to limited training.

Franklin, who has not raced since the Rio Olympics, will not compete in the next USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., in two weeks.

Her return date is not set.

The U.S. Championships are in June in Indianapolis and serve as a qualifying meet for the world championships in Budapest in July.

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