Mao Asada

Mao Asada leads Skate America; Russian pair breaks world record

Leave a comment

Japan’s Mao Asada sat in first place over U.S. champion Ashley Wagner after the women’s short program at Skate America in Detroit on Saturday.

Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, landed the most difficult jump being performed by the top women today, a triple axel, to open her program.

She also hit a triple flip and a triple loop-double loop combination en route to a score of 73.18 points. Wagner, who skated just before Asada at Joe Louis Arena, posted 69.26 points (full results below). The free skate is Sunday afternoon.

In the pairs short program, the favorites for Olympic gold broke the world record score for the second time on the young season.

Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov posted 83.05 points, taking an 11.54-point lead over Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch going into Sunday’s free skate.

NBC and NBC Live Extra will have live Skate America coverage from 4-6 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

The two-time world champion Asada heads a field missing reigning Olympic and world champion Yuna Kim, who is sidelined by a foot injury, and Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who has won a medal at the last three World Championships.

In an excellent season debut, Wagner opened with a clean triple flip-triple toe loop combination and added a triple loop and double axel while skating to Pink Floyd’s “Shine on you Crazy Diamond.”

Her score was a personal best by nearly three points.

Wagner, who just missed the Olympic team in 2010, is a favorite for one of three 2014 U.S. Olympic team spots chosen after the U.S. Championships in Boston in January.

The other top contenders, Gracie GoldChristina Gao and Agnes Zawadzki, are not competing at Skate America.

Davis/White lead ice dance; surprise U.S. men’s results

In the pairs, Volosozhar and Trankov were lacking their biggest competition for Sochi gold — Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy — but were far superior to a field led by the fourth-place finishers from March’s World Championships.

A Russian/Unified Team/Soviet pair won gold at every Olympics from 1964 through 2006, but none won a medal in 2010.

The top U.S. pairs were 2013 national champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (fifth place, 62.56 points) and 2012 national champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin (sixth place, 62.06 points).

Those two pairs figure to vie for two Olympic spots with Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, the top U.S. finishers at worlds in ninth place. Scimeca and Knierim are not competing at Skate America.

The U.S. has not won an Olympic pairs figure skating medal since 1988.

Women’s Short Program
1. Mao Asada (JPN) 73.18
2. Ashley Wagner (USA) 69.26
3. Elena Radionova (RUS) 67.01
4. Valentina Marchei (ITA) 59.25
5. Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) 58.80
6. Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO) 56.68
7. Mae Berenice Meite (FRA) 55.84
8. Samantha Cesario (USA) 53.51
9. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) 53.20
10. Caroline Zhang (USA) 45.76

Pairs Short Program
1. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) 83.05
2. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) 71.51
3. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) 64.80
4. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) 63.85
5. Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA) 62.56
6. Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (USA) 62.06
7. Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay (USA) 55.83
8. Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (CAN) 50.26

U.S. men’s Olympic figure skating picture clouded

Cyclist in induced coma after Tour of Poland crash

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was put into an induced coma Wednesday after suffering injuries in a crash on the final stretch of the Tour of Poland, organizers said.

A massive crash at the finish of the first stage resulted in Dylan Groenewegen‘s disqualification from the race.

Leading a bunch sprint, Groenewegen veered toward the right barrier, pinching countryman Jakobsen, who barreled into the barrier meters from the finish line.

Jakobsen went head over heels, his bike went airborne and the barriers exploded onto the road, causing more cyclists to crash.

Jakobsen was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition and was put into an induced coma, the Tour de Pologne press office said.

Groenewegen crossed the finish line first but was disqualified, giving Jakobsen the stage win, according to the stage race website.

Groenewegen, a 27-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider, owns four Tour de France stage wins among the last three years.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) “strongly condemned” Groenewegen’s “dangerous” and “unacceptable” behavior. It referred Groenewegen’s actions to a disciplinary commission for possible sanctions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

Skate America
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to a Russian media quote confirmed by Phil Hersh.

The ISU has not confirmed or denied Lakernik’s assertion.

Most, if not all, top-level U.S. skaters train in the U.S. or Canada. That makes the first two Grand Prix stops — Skate America and Skate Canada — likely destinations. Grand Prix assignments have not been published.

“I appreciate the ISU is open to adapting competitive formats and is working to give athletes opportunities to compete,” Evan Bates, a U.S. ice dance champion with Madison Chock who trains in Montreal, wrote in a text message to Hersh. “This announcement gives reassurance that the ISU is doing their best to ensure a season will still take place. Of course, it’s hard to predict what will happen, and we’re not sure about what country we would compete in. It would probably depend on what the quarantine rules are at that time.”

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu, who cannot enter the senior Grand Prix until 2021.

Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement that it will have more details on the Grand Prix Series in the coming weeks after collaborating with an ISU-appointed group.

“This is a great example of the figure skating community coming together to ensure that the world’s premier figure skating series will continue during these challenging times,” the statement read. “Figure skaters want to compete and figure skating fans from all around the world want to see their favorite athletes skate, and this format will ensure just that.”

MORE: World’s top skater leaves famed coach

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!