Lolo scores silver in bobsled debut

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American track star turned bobsledder Lolo Jones kicked off her new career nicely on Friday, finishing second at her winter sports debut during an event in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The London 100m hurdler teamed with pilot Jazmine Fenlator and clocked a time of 1:54.39 to finish less than a half second behind Canadian world champ Kaillie Humphries and her brakeman Chelsea Valois. Gold medal 4x100m sprinter Tianna Madison and her pilot Elana Meyers finished third, just 0.01 seconds behind Fenlator and Jones.

“I’m kind of in shock,” Jones told the AP. “We’ve been training with all the other Team USA members. It’s been an inner battle within our own team. I think this is great that we had a great run today on race day. I’m so used to just so relying on myself. I’ve never experienced this level of having a team before.”

Fenlator said she was similarly “shocked,” but seemed impressed by the American rookies.

“Lolo and Tianna have great experience in high-pressure situations,” added Fenlator. “They stayed really calm, so even though they’re rookies in the sport, you know on game day they’re going to be ready to go.”

U.S. women’s coach Todd Hays said he enjoyed the moment and was proud of the performances, but will continue to tweak the teams in order to help them reach their full potential.

He’ll rotate rookies Jones, Madison, and college track standout Aja Evans among the sleds throughout the World Cup season and will name his team heading to the Sochi Games around this time next year.

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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