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Yevgenia Medvedeva earns record score, U.S. trails at World Team Trophy

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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva became the first woman to break 80 points in an international short program to open World Team Trophy on Thursday.

Medvedeva, the two-time reigning world champion, tallied 80.85 points for her short, which included a triple flip-triple toe loop combination. Full results are here.

World Team Trophy is a team event that includes the top six nations from this season — U.S., Russia, Canada, France, Japan and China. Results (but not scores) from men’s, women’s, ice dance and pairs programs are added up to determine the winning nation.

Russia and Japan are tied for the lead through three of eight programs, with the U.S. one point behind. NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will air coverage Thursday, Friday and Saturday (broadcast schedule here).

Three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner placed sixth in the women’s short program but with her highest international score of a subpar season.

“This was a show program, and I loved how the audience reacted to it, so I wanted that for my competitive experience this year,” Wagner said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Karen Chen, the surprise U.S. champion and worlds fourth-place finisher, was eighth Thursday. She performed a triple-double jump combination rather than a triple-triple and later singled a planned triple jump.

In the men’s short program, Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was shockingly seventh. That’s his lowest standing in a short program since the 2013 World Championships.

Hanyu botched his first two jumping passes and scored 83.51 points, which is 27 points shy of his world record.

Japan’s Shoma Uno, the world silver medalist, earned a leading 103.53 points.

U.S. champion Nathan Chen was second in the short program with 99.28 points, landing two quadruple jumps and a triple Axel.

“I was really hesitant going into the Axel just because of what happened at worlds,” said Chen, who fell on his triple Axel in his worlds short program three weeks ago, when he wore faulty boots. “But the boots are better [now]. These are brand-new boots. They’re about a week old.”

Two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates topped the short dance with a personal-best international score. All of this year’s world medalists in dance chose to skip World Team Trophy.

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USOC expects to discuss possible Winter Olympic bid

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PARK CITY, Utah — USOC leaders are expected to discuss a possible Winter Olympic bid as early as next month.

The U.S. could bid for the 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said it would be more difficult to bid for 2026 with the 2028 Summer Games set for Los Angeles.

Salt Lake City, Denver, Reno-Tahoe and other cities have expressed interest in bidding, Blackmun said Monday.

The USOC executive board meets Oct. 13. USOC chairman Larry Probst said they “need to talk about” a possible Winter Olympic bid and whether it could be for 2026 or 2030 or later down the line.

The USOC has focused on Summer Olympic bids since 2003. It was officially awarded the 2028 Olympics 12 days ago.

Blackmun added Monday that he hopes multiple U.S. cities could participate in the IOC’s invitational phase for possible bids over the next year. That phase is for cities to receive feedback before formally deciding to put forward a bid.

IOC members are expected to vote in 2019 to determine the 2026 Winter Olympic host.

Sion, Switzerland, is the only city to confirm bid plans.

Probst, an IOC member, also expects Innsbruck, Austria, to bid to become the first city to host the Winter Olympics three times. A public vote for a possible Innsbruck bid to move forward is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Calgary and Stockholm could also bid.

I think [IOC president] Thomas Bach has publicly stated that he would like to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location,” Probst said. “So, to me, that’s code for Europe or North America. … We’ll have to monitor that, see what the situation looks like and then develop our strategy for whether we’re going to bid for the next Winter Games or longer than that.”

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MORE: Austria looks into multi-country 2026 Winter Olympic bid

USOC supports athletes expressing themselves after anthem protests

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PARK CITY, Utah — The U.S. Olympic Committee supports American athletes expressing themselves at winter sports events leading up to the PyeongChang Olympics.

Some MLB, NFL and WNBA players kneeled and remained in locker rooms during the national anthem at games over the weekend.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun was asked Monday if the USOC would support American athletes peacefully protesting during the national anthem this fall and winter.

“I think the athletes that you see protesting are protesting because they love their country, not because they don’t,” Blackmun said at a pre-Winter Games media summit. “We fully support the right of our athletes and everybody else to express themselves. The Olympic Games themselves, there is a prohibition on all forms of demonstrations, political or otherwise. And that applies no matter what side of the issue you’re taking, no matter where you’re from. … But we certainly recognize the importance of athletes being able to express themselves.”

Blackmun mentioned Tommie Smith and John Carlos‘ raised-fist salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The USOC has honored Smith and Carlos. They visited the White House last year with the Rio Olympic team.

“That was a seminal moment not only for the Olympic Movement, but for the U.S. Olympic team,” Blackmun said of the 1968 podium gesture. “Our stance on this has been fairly clear. We certainly recognize the rights of the athletes to express themselves.”

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