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Carolina Kostner (re)sets competitive figure skating return

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Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner plans to compete for the first time in almost three years in December.

Kostner, a 29-year-old Italian, is scheduled to skate at Golden Spin, a lower-level event in Zagreb, Croatia, from Dec. 9-10. Italian media first reported the news last month, and somebody close to the skater confirmed it for the first time Tuesday.

The Italian Championships are later in December, with the European Championships in January and the world championships in March and April.

Previous reports had Kostner saying she would return in September or that she would return at a small Italian event in November.

The six-time world championships medalist hasn’t competed outside of a pro-am since taking bronze at the March 2014 World Championships, one month after she became the second-oldest Olympic women’s singles medalist since 1928 in Sochi, according to sports-reference.com.

In January, Kostner finished second to retired Canadian 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette in a free-skate only exhibition in Japan, after serving a backdated 21-month suspension for helping ex-boyfriend and Olympic race-walking champion Alex Schwazer evade drug testers in 2012.

Kostner said before the Schwazer controversy that she would take the 2014-15 season off.

She has recently worked with Russian Alexei Mishin, the longtime coach of Yevgeny Plushenko.

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Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week after suffering ankle and knee injuries this fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since a Nov. 9 practice fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.

Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.

He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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