Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt learns Russian (video)

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Usain Bolt won’t have too much competition at the world championships in Moscow next month, so he’s taking on a new challenge: learning Russian.

In the above Puma video, he inserts a language learning tape cassette following a workout — where, of course, he’s wearing a Puma shirt — and begins repeating Russian phrases.

There are the generic — “My name is Usain” and “I am from Jamaica” — and the slightly more interesting — “My favorite color is gold,” “Have the other guys crossed the line yet?” and “Can you please hold my medals for a moment?”

The world track and field championships run Aug. 10-18. Bolt is favored to win back the 100-meter world title that he lost to compatriot Yohan Blake after false-starting out of the 2011 final. Blake and American record holder Tyson Gay will miss worlds due to injury and a failed drug test, respectively.

That leaves 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Justin Gatlin as the only man who has even a slight chance of beating Bolt. Gatlin did hand Bolt a loss in Rome in the spring, but Bolt has since run faster than Gatlin’s best time this year.

Bolt is an even more overwhelming favorite in the 200 given Gatlin isn’t running that event.

On Monday, Bolt responded to Mo Farah’s challenge to a race, but that would surely have to wait until after worlds, if it happens at all.

Track worlds medals unveiled (photo)

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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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future