Morgan Hurd, new world all-around champ, bonds with J.K. Rowling

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U.S. gymnast Morgan Hurd‘s two highlights from the past week:

“Clearly winning,” said the surprise world all-around champion, ” … and clearly getting the tweet from J.K.”

Hurd, the 4 1/2-foot, 16-year-old who competes in glasses, was clearly the standout performer of last week’s world gymnastics championships in Montreal.

Fifth at the U.S. junior championships a year ago — and sixth at this year’s senior nationals (coming off elbow surgery) — Hurd surged to win the most coveted prize in the sport aside from the Olympics.

Word reached Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has clearly had an effect on Hurd.

Then came Saturday and Sunday.

Teammate Jade Carey captured Hurd’s reaction to the first congratulatory tweet. Hurd was lying down, receiving treatment ahead of Sunday’s balance beam final.

“I stopped and started bawling,” Hurd said later. “I had tears streaming down my face.”

Hurd had trouble sleeping the last several nights, acknowledging lament in not being able to thank every single person who praised her on social media.

She awoke Sunday to see the second tweet from Rowling call her a hero.

“I started freaking out, but I had to be really quiet because [teammate] Ragan [Smith] was still sleeping,” Hurd said. “I was, like, jumping up and down in my bed.”

Hurd’s love for Rowling’s series about the boy wizard is compounded by the fact she is a rare gymnast who competes while wearing glasses. Very Potter-like.

“I tried contacts,” she said, according to FloGymnastics in May, “but they made my eyeballs dry, and when I got stuff in my eyes, I had to take them out and put them back in.”

Hurd is not the first elite gymnast to go the glasses route. Remember Fabian Hambuechen in Athens?

Hurd was born in China and adopted as a toddler, moving to Delaware. By developmental camps, she acted and looked like an adult, said her coach, Slava Glazounov.

“She would get herself a little cappucino, without the caffeine,” he said Sunday. “She would sit with her leg up and drink the coffee and read the book. And this was a 10-year-old kid. She does the same thing now.”

Hurd, who was born between “The Goblet of Fire” and “The Order of the Phoenix,” has twice taken the Pottermore quiz to determine her Hogwarts House.

Questions include — moon or stars? And would you rather be envied, imitated, trusted, praised, liked or feared?

Hurd was sorted into Ravenclaw — known for intelligence — and then, the second time, Gryffindor — marked by courage and bravery.

“I truly think I’m a Gryffindor because, I mean, I flip on a four-inch piece of wood,” said Hurd, who earned silver in Sunday’s balance beam final. “That’s got to count for something, right?”

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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Nathan Chen leads Yuzuru Hanyu at Grand Prix opener (video)

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen hopes to become comfortable in this spot this season — ahead of reigning Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu in the standings.

The 18-year-old Chen landed two quadruple jumps in his short program at the opening Grand Prix event in Moscow, taking a 5.69-point lead over Hanyu going into Saturday’s free skate.

Two-time world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva of Russia topped the women’s short program with 80.75 points (one tenth off her world record).

Full Rostelecom Cup results are here.

Chen’s tally — 100.54 points — is the second-highest short of his flourishing international career. It would have been higher if not for two of his three jumping passes receiving negative grades of execution for wonky landings.

The Japanese megastar Hanyu fell on his final jump, a triple toe loop, on Friday. No matter, Winnie the Pooh bears rained down on the ice from the adoring crowd, many of whom traveled from Japan.

Hanyu scored 94.85 points, one month after breaking his world record short program score with 112.72 points in a small event in Canada.

“Today I made some mistakes in my short program, but overall it didn’t feel bad,” Hanyu said, according to the International Skating Union.

Hanyu, though he is the current PyeongChang favorite, has never won his season-opening Grand Prix event in seven tries.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu, who is four years older, in four of their last eight head-to-head skates.

Hanyu was better in the two biggest programs at last season’s world championships. Chen placed sixth at worlds in April, perhaps gassed at the end of his first senior season while competing on duct-taped skates.

In the women’s standings, Medvedeva topped Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy by 6.13 points.

American Mirai Nagasu landed a triple Axel that was called under rotated and fell on her other two jumping passes. She ended up ninth, two spots behind U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell.

In the short dance, two-time world medalists and U.S. champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani tallied 77.30 points.

The siblings lead by .97 over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev going into the free dance.

Russians are one-two in pairs. World bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov lead Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov by 5.49.

All of the free skates are Saturday, live on Olympic Channel. A full schedule is here.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men’s Short
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 100.54
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 94.85
3. Dmitriy Aliyev (RUS) — 88.77
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 67.56

Women’s Short
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 80.75
2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 74.64
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) — 69.60
7. Mariah Bell (USA) — 63.85
9. Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 56.15

Short Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 77.30
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 76.33
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 71.32
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 59.41

Pairs Short
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 76.88
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 71.39
3. Valentina Marchei/Ondřej Hotárek (ITA) — 68.48
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 54.37