Gracie Gold struggles, Meryl Davis/Charlie White win at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

Meryl Davis, Charlie White
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Courtney Hicks jumped from third to win the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, while world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White easily took the ice dance.

Hicks, 17, performed the cleanest free skate among four American women at the season-opening event in Salt Lake City to total 171.88 points (full results below).

She landed a handful of triple jumps and a double axel in her first senior international competition. Hicks was fourth at this year’s U.S. Championships.

She upset U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold, who led after the short program Friday but stumbled in her free skate at finished with 164.68 points.

Gold was reported Friday by the Chicago Tribune to be changing coaches from Chicago area-based Alex Ouriashev to Frank Carroll in California.

Carroll was the longtime coach of Michelle Kwan and currently coaches Evan Lysacek.

Gold parted ways with Ouriashev immediately after Champs Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., in August, according to icenetwork.com, but no official announcement on Carroll has been made yet.

In the meantime, Gold struggled in her free skate Saturday. She doubled what appeared to be two planned triples and popped two other jumps.

American Samantha Cesario was third (157.29), and 2012 champion Agnes Zawadzki fourth (151.27). Gold and Zawadzki were second and third at nationals and considered the favorites going in.

Three U.S. women will make the Olympic team at nationals in January in Boston. Hicks, Gold and Zawadzki are considered contenders, along with U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and Christina Gao, fifth at nationals.

In the ice dance, Davis and White extended an 11-point lead from the short program to win by 22 over Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were fifth at the World Championships in March.

The next major event is Skate America in Detroit, Oct. 8-10. Wagner, Cesario and Caroline Zhang are entered there, along with ice dancers Davis and White, Maia and Alex Shibutani and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

Women
1. Courtney Hicks (USA) 171.88
2. Gracie Gold (USA) 164.68
3. Samantha Cesario (USA) 157.29
4. Agnes Zawadzki (USA) 151.27
5. Amelie Lacoste (CAN) 147.88
6. Sandy Hoffmann (GER) 124.18
7. Melanie Yuung-Hui Chang (TPE) 109.74
8. Crystal Kiang (TPE) 100.57
9. Dimitra Korri (GRE) 91.62
10. Chelsea Chiappa (HUN) 90.14
11. Georgia Glastris (GRE) 89.58
12. Clara Peters (IRL) 88.33
13. Brittany Lau (SIN) 83.44

Ice Dance
1. Davis/White (USA) 183.69
2. Weaver/Poje (CAN) 161.99
3. Orford/Williams (CAN) 137.60
4. Kriengkrairut/Giuletti-Schmitt (USA) 134.48
5. Coomes/Buckland (GBR) 133.41
6. Zlobina/Sitnikov (AZE) 132.34
7. Tobias/Deividas (LTU) 121.08
8. Cannuscio/McManus (USA) 119.34
9. Polutowska/Gerber (POL) 114.48
10. Reed/Rogov (ISR) 113.49
11. Telegina/Japaridze (GEO) 109.70
12. Bernardi/Mior (ITA) 106.13
13. Aronow/Brubaker (USA) 100.31
14. Maekawa/Maekawa (MEX) 92.26

Max Aaron shaky in men’s free skate

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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