Miki Ando

World champion figure skater Miki Ando reveals secret birth

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Two-time world figure skating champion Miki Ando splattered newspaper front pages in Japan on Tuesday after she revealed on a Monday night TV show that she had a baby girl during a break from competition.

Ando, the 2007 and 2011 world champ, hinted that she considered an abortion before giving birth in April, according to Agence-France Press.

“I could not make up my mind all the way, but I hated to make a decision to say goodbye (to the baby),” Ando said, according to AFP. “I have chosen the baby’s life over skating.

“It was a decision I made naturally as a woman.”

Ando, who has landed a quadruple jump in competition, said she will still try to make the Japanese team for the Sochi Olympics, which would be her third Games, and then retire, according to AFP. Ando was fifth at the 2010 Olympics and 15th at the 2006 Olympics, when she was 18.

Japan is deep again in ladies figure skating, so Ando’s task will be tough. There’s 2010 Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada and 2010 world junior champion Kanako Murakami, who placed third and fourth, respectively, at worlds in March. Akiko Suzuki, the 2012 world bronze medalist, is the third favorite at the Japanese championships in December, where Ando will almost surely have to make the podium to have a shot at selection into the three-skater Olympic team.

Ando, who hasn’t skated competitively in nearly two years, is reportedly without a coach and did not receive Grand Prix assignments for the upcoming season.

What we learned from figure skating worlds

Russia to finish Youth Olympics with most medals

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Russia clinched the top spot in the Youth Olympic medal standings, two days before the Closing Ceremony in Buenos Aires and eight months after it was excluded from the PyeongChang Winter Games for its doping problems.

The Russians have 52 medals with 25 golds so far, distancing the rest of the world.

1. Russia — 52 total, 25 gold
2. China — 36 total, 18 gold
3. Mixed NOCs — 36 total, 12 gold
4. Japan — 34 total, 14 gold
5. Italy — 31 total, 10 gold
10. U.S. — 15 total, 4 gold

China and Russia went one-two in total medals at the first two Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing, China in 2014. The U.S. has never topped a Youth Olympic total medal table, be it Summer or Winter Games.

The U.S. has, however, earned the most total medals at the last six Summer Olympics, beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, do not emphasize medal counts (plus have many medal events where athletes from different nations compete on the same team). The Games include many Olympic events and some that are not on the Olympic program, including break dancing, where a Russian who goes by Bumblebee earned gold last week.

The next Youth Olympics are the winter version in the IOC base of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2020, followed by the summer version in 2022 in Dakar, Senegal, the first Olympic Games of any kind to be held in Africa.

The Youth Olympics conclude with the last full day of medal competition on Wednesday and the Closing Ceremony on Thursday.

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MORE: Youth Olympic TV schedule

Aliya Mustafina returns to gymnastics worlds, year after giving birth

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Aliya Mustafina, an all-around medalist at the last two Olympics, made Russia’s team for next week’s world gymnastics championships, 16 months after giving birth to daughter Alisa.

Mustafina, 24, is joined by one Rio Olympic teammate, Angelina Melnikova, and three world championships rookies (plus Olympian Daria Spiridonova as an alternate), according to Russia’s gymnastics federation.

Mustafina is the last non-American woman to win an Olympic or world championships all-around, back in 2010 in her first year as a senior gymnast. A series of injuries followed, including surgeries on both knees and her left ankle.

She missed the 2015 Worlds with back pain but rebounded for a medal of every color in Rio (uneven bars gold, team silver and all-around bronze, just as she had done at London 2012).

Her seven total Olympic medals are tied for the most by a Russian woman since the fall of the Soviet Union with retired gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.

Viktoria Komova, the 2012 Olympic all-around silver medalist who has also struggled with injuries, is not on Russia’s team for worlds in Doha. She last competed at a global championship in 2015, sharing the uneven bars title with three other gymnasts.

Mustafina joins a list of distinguished moms to return to the top level of gymnastics, including Oksana Chusovitina, who began competing in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and, seven Olympics later, is still competing at age 43 (for Uzbekistan).

The most decorated Olympic gymnast, Soviet Larisa Latynina, earned 12 of her 18 medals after becoming a mom.

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