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Jordan Burroughs suffers first U.S. loss since 2009 at world trials

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Jordan Burroughs lost on U.S. soil for the first time since 2009 but rallied to make the world championships team on Saturday night.

Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic champion and three-time world champion, beat Kyle Dake 2-1 in the best-of-three 74kg freestyle finals at the world team trials in his hometown of Lincoln, Neb.

“After leaving Rio de Janeiro with no medal, I promised myself I’d never let a man feel like that again,” said Burroughs, who had not competed in Lincoln since 2011. “My wife thinks I’m a whole lot sexier when I’m winning, so it’s going to be a good night for me.”

Burroughs lost the opener to Dake on a 2-2 tiebreaker but rallied to win the second and third matches 8-4 and 6-2. He joins Rio gold medalists Helen Maroulis and Kyle Snyder headlining the U.S. team for worlds in Paris in August.

“I don’t even want to be the leader anymore,” Burroughs said. “I think this is Kyle Snyder’s time.”

Burroughs, 29, moved to 142-5 in his senior international freestyle career dating to 2011. The opening loss to Dake marked his second pro defeat to an American (Nick Marable, 2014) and first on U.S. soil since 2009, when he wrestled folkstyle at the University of Nebraska.

Dake is one of only four men to win four NCAA wrestling titles, doing so from 2010-13. He’s the only one to do so in four different weight classes or without a redshirt year. But Dake, 26, has struggled against the older Burroughs, getting swept at the world team trials in 2013 and 2015.

Last year, Dake moved up one weight class in part to avoid Burroughs at the Olympic Trials, where only one wrestler per weight class advanced to the Games.

But Dake lost in the 86kg finals at Olympic Trials to Missouri’s J’den Cox, who went on to take bronze in Rio before his senior NCAA season.

Dake returned to 74kg this year and pushed Burroughs to a 2-2 affair at the U.S. Open in April, but lost on a tiebreaker.

Dake had to win two matches earlier Saturday just to face Burroughs, who earned a bye into the finals via that U.S. Open victory.

“I had to sleep in the same house with two toddlers all week, so I say we’re even,” Burroughs joked of his two kids. “I’m getting older, a little bit slower. It’s a little bit harder to get up in the morning and go to practice.”

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MORE: Snyder savors matchup with Russian Tank

Alina Zagitova hands Yevgenia Medvedeva first loss in 2 years

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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva is no longer the clear favorite in the Winter Olympics’ marquee event.

The two-time world champion lost for the first time in more than two years, upset by training partner Alina Zagitova at the European Figure Skating Championships in Moscow.

Italian Carolina Kostner earned bronze.

Zagitova, the 15-year-old world junior champion, set personal bests in the short program and free skate and totaled 238.24 points. She beat Medvedeva by 5.38 points.

Medvedeva, in her first competition since November due to a broken foot, fully rotated all of her jumps Saturday, but Zagitova was cleaner. She also stumbled out of a double Axel in her short program.

“I did not feel the injury,” Medvedeva said after the short program, according to the International Skating Union. “Everything has healed.”

Full results are here. NBCSN will air coverage Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

Zagitova was born three months after the Salt Lake City Olympics and without a name for her first year. Her parents eventually decided on Alina after watching Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Alina Kabayeva on TV.

She had been working to this point in her first senior international season. She swept her two fall Grand Prix starts, then won the Grand Prix Final in December, all without Medvedeva in the field.

On Saturday, she landed all of her jumps (including seven triples) in the second half of her program for 10 percent bonuses. It’s the type of technical content layout ambitious enough to challenge Medvedeva.

“I think that Zhenia [Medvedeva] is her role model in life, in behavior, in her way to work,” shared coach Eteri Tutberidze said last year, according to Goldenskate.com. “Alina absolutely tries to copy her way to work, the amount of work and she doesn’t stop. This helps. I can sometimes show Zhenia and say, ‘Look how Alina is working,’ and I tell Alina, ‘Look how Zhenia is working.’”

Medvedeva, whose last defeat was in November 2015, also won both of her Grand Prix starts, posting the world’s highest scores this season, while dealing with foot pain.

She underwent an MRI that revealed a crack, then withdrew from the Grand Prix Final and the Russian Championships in December. She is still expected to be on the Olympic Athlete from Russia team in PyeongChang.

Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who made her Europeans debut in 2003, fell on her opening triple Lutz and landed just three triple jumps Saturday.

She hung on to win a medal at her 11th straight European Championships.

Russian Maria Sotskova, the Grand Prix Final silver medalist, fell on her last triple jump, a Lutz, among other landing troubles. She placed fourth.

Those four skaters are the Olympic medal contenders along with Canadians Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman and Japanese Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto.

U.S. champion Bradie Tennell ranks 14th in the world this season.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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Julia Marino, Hailey Langland qualify for Olympics; U.S. sweeps possible

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The addition of snowboard big air to the Olympics next month means Jamie AndersonJulia Marino and Hailey Langland have two chances for a U.S. podium sweep in PyeongChang.

Marino and Langland qualified for the U.S. big air and slopestyle team Saturday, joining the already qualified Anderson, who won slopestyle’s debut in Sochi.

Anderson, Marino and Langland swept the podium in that order at the last Olympic qualifier in slopestyle in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

They also made up three of the top four riders at the 2017 X Games big air and slopestyle.

The U.S. has never swept the Winter Olympic medals in a women’s event but could do so in big air, slopestyle and even snowboard halfpipe in PyeongChang.

MORE: U.S. Olympic roster

While Anderson is the veteran, an X Games medalist 11 of the last 12 years, Marino and Langland represent the new wave of U.S. big air and slopestyle riders.

Marino, a 20-year-old from Connecticut who trains in Quebec, earned slopestyle and big air medals at X Games Aspen and Oslo last year in her debuts at those events.

They included slopestyle gold in Aspen over Anderson.

Langland, a 17-year-old from Southern California who plays the ukulele, guitar and piano, won the first X Games women’s big air title last year and took bronze in slopestyle in 2016.

Born in 2000, she is younger than any previous female Olympic snowboarding medalist.

“She reminds me of a younger me,” Anderson said, according to NBC Olympic Research.

The U.S. could add a fourth woman to the big air/slopestyle team, likely either Jessika Jenson or Ty Walker, a pair of 2014 Olympians in slopestyle.

The U.S. men are not as strong internationally in big air and slopestyle, where the Olympic favorites hail from Canada and Norway.

Kyle Mack won the last qualifier Saturday — without the top international riders in the field — to clinch the third and last automatic spot on the men’s big air/slopestyle team.

Chris Corning and Red Gerard previously qualified for PyeongChang. A fourth rider can be added via discretionary selection.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Snowboard Big Air/Slopestyle 
(through five of five events)
Three riders auto qualify per gender; one possible discretionary spot
1. Chris Corning — 2,000* QUALIFIED
1. Red Gerard — 2,000* QUALIFIED
3. Kyle Mack — 1,800* QUALIFIED

4. Chandler Hunt — 1,400* (2nd and 3rd)
5. Ryan Stassel — 1,400 (2nd and 3rd)

1. Jamie Anderson — 2,000* QUALIFIED
2. Julia Marino — 1,800* QUALIFIED
3. Hailey Langland — 1,600* QUALIFIED
4. Jessika Jenson — 1,600 (1st and 3rd)
5. Ty Walker — 1,300 (2nd and 4th)
*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result against entire field.

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