Kerri Walsh Jennings

ESPN Body Issue photos of Olympians published

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Images from this year’s ESPN the Magazine Body Issue are out, and, again, it features a slew of Olympians.

Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings, snowboarder Elena Hight, boxer Marlen Esparza, soccer player Sydney Leroux, basketball player Swin Cash and tennis players Agnieszka Radwanska and John Isner were among the athletes featured in the fifth edition that comes out Friday.

Of the Olympians, Walsh Jennings garnered the most publicity for her shots before and after giving birth to her third baby, daughter Scout, in April. Her post-baby photos came nine weeks after Scout was born, according to People magazine.

“Driving there I was sweating bullets,” said Walsh Jennings, 34, a three-time Olympic champion, to People. “I was really, really nervous. I felt exposed, not just physically, but with all of my insecurities.

“When I was offered this opportunity it wasn’t an automatic yes. I had to think about it. I’m my parents’ daughter. I have my husband,” she said. “When I came down to it, I had the opportunity to do something uncomfortable. I think that’s an important part of life. It’s something new. I looked at it as a challenge.”

Hight, 23, was sixth in the 2006 Olympic halfpipe and 10th in 2010. She’ll battle Olympic champions Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter, Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler and world champion Arielle Gold for one of a maximum four spots on the 2014 Olympic team.

“Your body is all you have in this lifetime, so taking care of it and honoring it is a huge part of my life,” Hight said in a caption under a photo of her grilling wearing only snow boots. “As an athlete you ask so much of your body all the time, so what you do to get that response is important.”

Esparza, 23, won bronze in the flyweight division at the London Olympics, the first Games including women’s boxing.

“Girls want breast implants or butt implants so they can look like Kim Kardashian, and I’m against that,” Esparza told ESPN. “We should let girls feel pretty no matter what they look like. But I like that I have long legs. I have a nice, toned back. My stomach is flat. But nothing’s my favorite. I think all-around, I’m average.”

Body Issue photos: Kerri Walsh Jennings | Elena Hight | Marlen Esparza | Sydney Leroux | Swin Cash

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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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