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Laurie Hernandez undecided on competing in 2017

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NEW YORK — Unlike Simone Biles and Aly RaismanLaurie Hernandez does not know if she’ll be competing in 2017.

Hernandez is about to embark on a “Dancing with the Stars” tour, which runs into mid-February and means she won’t be able to return for the biggest event of the first half of 2017, the American Cup on March 4 in her home state of New Jersey.

“It is so exciting to be able to do the Olympics and be able to do all the activities afterwards, but at the same time gymnastics is still a sport that’s in my heart,” Hernandez said at the CNN Heroes event in Manhattan on Sunday night.

Hernandez shrugged when asked if she plans to compete at the P&G Championships from Aug. 17-20 in Anaheim, Calif.

“I do plan on coming back, just because I love the sport dearly, but at the same time I am taking it day by day,” she said.

If Hernandez competes in 2017, she would instantly become a threat for the world all-around title, to be contested in early fall in Montreal. Hernandez missed out on the chance to compete in the all-around at the Rio Olympics, as Biles, Raisman and Gabby Douglas got the three U.S. spots in qualifying.

“I’ve never been to worlds, but at the same time, I know that aside from the Olympics, worlds is the biggest gymnastics competition,” said Hernandez, who won team gold and balance beam silver in Rio as the youngest member of the U.S. team at age 16. “So, I feel like, if I were able to medal in that competition, in the all-around, that would mean the world to me.”

In the last three months, Olympic all-around gold and silver medalists Biles and Raisman said they would take all of 2017 off.

Douglas, the 2012 Olympic all-around champion, hasn’t said if or when she will return to competition.

Fellow Olympic and/or world championships team members Madison KocianMaggie Nichols and MyKayla Skinner are all starting NCAA careers and, at least temporarily, leaving elite gymnastics behind.

Ragan Smith was the only woman who finished in the top 11 in the Olympic Trials all-around who attended a recent national team camp.

Smith placed fifth at Olympic Trials and was one of three Olympic team alternates.

MORE: Simone Biles will not follow Aimee Boorman to Florida

Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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MORE: What to watch every day of PyeongChang Olympics

USOC letter assures Olympians about South Korea security

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The U.S. Olympic Committee’s security chief sent a letter to potential Winter Olympians saying there are no indications that recent developments between the U.S. and North Korea have compromised security in South Korea.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press shortly after it was sent Friday, makes no suggestion that the U.S. is considering skipping the PyeongChang Winter Games for security reasons.

But Chief Security Officer Nicole Deal does write that provocations that have been volleyed between the United States and North Korea are likely to persist for the foreseeable future, and “should not be dismissed as insignificant nor feared as precursors of an inevitable conflict.”

The letter comes at the end of a week in which France’s sports minister suggested the country’s athletes would stay home if security could not be guaranteed.

The International Olympic Committee, trying to calm concerns, reiterated that in conversations with high-level officials in China and South Korea, none have expressed doubt about the Winter Games proceeding as scheduled, next February.

The USOC also sent out a public statement Friday from CEO Scott Blackmun.

“We will continue to work with our State Department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe,” he said.

The letter, sent to athletes, national governing bodies and other Olympic leaders in the United States, said the USOC’s security division is operating as “business as usual for our security planning and preparations.”

Deal writes that the USOC is reviewing crisis management plans that address a range of potential scenarios “to ensure our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.”

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MORE: What to watch every day of PyeongChang Olympics