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Polina Edmunds ’50-50′ on competing at U.S. Championships

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Polina Edmunds has struggled with a bone bruise in her right foot for about a full year, and the injury could keep her out of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in one month.

“The chances of me competing at Nationals, they’re probably 50-50 right now,” Edmunds said in a phone interview Friday. “I really, really would like to, and because I’ve been working so hard all season to be ready for nationals, and my programs, I really love them this year, they’re beautiful. But my 100 percent focus is for next season.

“We want to make sure all the red flags [with my foot] are gone for next season. It’s really important for next season because it’s an Olympic season. Everything that we’re doing is fully focused on the 2018 season.”

Edmunds, the youngest U.S. participant at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, last competed at the January 2016 U.S. Championships, topping the short program and finishing second overall.

A few weeks prior to those nationals, she began breaking in new skates that may have caused the bone bruise. The foot was an annoyance — rather than a pain — so she switched back to old skates for nationals and then continued breaking in the new ones afterward.

But the foot problems persisted, and she pulled out of her remaining events last season, including the world championships. Edmunds, who finished ninth in Sochi and eighth at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds, missed a global competition for the first time in her senior career.

Edmunds was cleared to train in August, when she attended U.S. Figure Skating’s Champs Camp in Colorado Springs. She continued training for most of the early fall, while starting classes at Santa Clara University near her San Jose home.

But the foot had not fully recovered, so she pulled out before her fall events. Edmunds underwent an MRI in late November, which confirmed the bone bruise remained.

“It’s been kind of off-and-on all season,” she said. “There’s less pain for sure than there was in February, so it’s not as extreme.”

Since the MRI, Edmunds has reeled back to let her foot rest. She’s waiting for doctors to give the go-ahead to train fully again.

She plans to decide in early January if she will compete in the U.S. Championships from Jan. 19-21 in Kansas City. If Edmunds skips nationals, she believes she won’t compete at all this season. She would not want to petition for a spot on the world championships team.

Edmunds’ confidence remains despite the absence.

“To get thrust in at this moment, I think if I did two clean programs I would have a very good chance of winning, just like any other season,” she said.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Yulia Efimova wags finger as Lilly King rivalry heats up (video)

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The Lilly KingYulia Efimova rivalry is back on, but this time the Russian is wagging her finger.

Efimova missed the 100m breaststroke world record by .01 in the semifinals at the world swimming championships in Budapest on Monday.

Efimova celebrated her time by finger wagging, an homage to King’s famous move in the ready room at the Rio Olympics.  She and King will go head to head in the final as the top two seeds on Tuesday after King won her later semifinal in a personal-best time .17 slower than Efimova.

“I’m always looking at the results from the heat before,” King told media in Budapest, adding that she wasn’t shaved for Monday’s semifinals. “I saw a little finger wag. I saw it. It’s just motivating me more, so that’s OK.”

King, who criticized Efimova’s presence in Rio after serving a doping ban, beat the Russian in the Olympic 100m breaststroke final last year.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1 and was absolved along with other athletes.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last fall, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

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Katinka Hosszu wins 200m IM as swimmer leaves pool mid-race (video)

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Hungarian Katinka Hosszu delivered the gold-medal performance a raucous Budapest crowd hoped for at the world swimming championships.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem, a medal favorite, appeared to get out of the pool after 50 meters. Swimming Canada later said she “took on water” approaching the first wall.

“Unfortunately it inhibited her to the point where she wasn’t able to continue in the race,” a press release said.

Hosszu won her third straight world title in the 200m individual medley, clocking 2:07.00 at the frenzied Danube Arena. The Olympic champion and world-record holder was followed by Japan’s Yui Ohashi (2:07.91) and American Madisyn Cox (2:09.71).

“Just another stepping stone,” said Cox, who finished her University of Texas career this year and made her major international debut in Budapest. “Of course, I want to be better. That time will come.”

Hosszu was the overwhelming favorite, given she held the three fastest times in the world this year going into Monday’s final. The “Iron Lady” became the first woman to win 10 individual world championships medals, a mark that Sarah SjostromKatie Ledecky and Yulia Efimova can surpass later in the meet. Retired Australian Leisel Jones won nine, all in breaststroke.

Hosszu scratched her other event Monday night, the 100m backstroke, one of three events she won at the Rio Olympics. Hosszu could earn medals in the 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley later this week.

Pickrem ranked No. 3 in the world this year and had the third-fastest time in the semifinals behind Hosszu and American Melanie Margalis, who finished fourth.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Results
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:07.00
Silver: Yui Ohashi (JPN) — 2:07.91
Bronze: Madisyn Cox (USA) — 2:09.71
4. Melanie Margalis (USA) — 2:09.82
5. Runa Imai (JPN) — 2:09.99
6. Kim Seoyeong (KOR) — 2:10.40
7. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) — 2:10.41
DQ. Sydney Pickrem (CAN)

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