Ashley Wagner, Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir dazzle in Paris (video)

Ashley Wagner
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Favorites Ashley Wagner and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir held on to win the Trophee Bompard in Paris on Saturday, but both are looking up at Olympic silver medalists.

Wagner, the two-time reigning U.S. champion, totaled 194.37 points after a slightly flawed free skate, topping Russian teens Adelina Sotnikova (189.81) and Anna Pogorilaya (184.69).

Virtue and Moir, the Olympic ice dance champions, tallied 180.96 to win by a more comfortable nine points over a field lacking rivals and training partners Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

NBC and NBC Live Extra will air Trophee Bompard on Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Wagner, who led by six points after the short program Friday, took second to Mao Asada at Skate America in her other Grand Prix appearance.

They’ll be medal favorites at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, from Dec. 5-8, but Asada will be the clear favorite.

On Saturday, Wagner, 22, two-footed a landing on her opening triple-triple jump combination and stepped out of a later jump skating to “Romeo and Juliet.”

Still, she solidified her status as the unquestioned top American woman. Three will make the Olympic Team, named after the U.S. Championships in Boston in January.

Gracie Gold, the silver medalist to Wagner at the U.S. Championships last January, has also been better than the rest of the U.S. women during the Grand Prix season.

Harvard’s Christina Gao fell twice and popped another jump during her free skate in Paris on Saturday and finished eighth of nine skaters.

Samantha Cesario bettered Gao by 20 points and took fourth Saturday. The door is also open for Agnes Zawadzki and Mirai Nagasu, who were unimpressive in their Grand Prix season debuts. They skate next week at the Rostelecom Cup.

Here are the top Grand Prix season women’s scores so far:

1. Mao Asada (NHK Trophy) — 207.59
2. Mao Asada (Skate America) — 204.55
3. Yulia Lipnitskaya (Skate Canada) — 198.23
4. Ashley Wagner (Trophee Bompard) — 194.37
5. Ashley Wagner (Skate America) — 193.81
6. Akiko Suzuki (Skate Canada) — 193.75
7. Yelena Radyonova (NHK Trophy) — 191.81 (too young for Olympics)
8. Adelina Sotnikova (Trophee Bompard) 189.81
9. Gracie Gold (Skate Canada) — 186.75
10. Anna Pogorilaya (Trophee Bompard) 184.69

The reigning Olympic champion, Yuna Kim, has yet to compete this season due to a foot injury. She’s scheduled to compete in a lower-level competition in Zagreb, Croatia, in early December.

In ice dance, Virtue and Moir went two for two in Grand Prix events this season, following their Skate Canada win by beating Russians Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov by nine points.

Virtue and Moir scored lower than they did at Skate Canada, barely, and haven’t been within five points of rivals and training partners Davis and White this Grand Prix season.

Virtue and Moir are the reigning Olympic champions, but Davis and White haven’t lost in nearly two years. They should go head to head for the first time since the World Championships in March at the Grand Prix Final.

Here are the top Grand Prix season ice dance scores so far:

1. Davis/White (Skate America) — 188.23
2. Davis/White (NHK Trophy) — 186.65
3. Virtue/Moir (Skate Canada) — 181.03
4. Virtue/Moir (Trophee Bompard) — 180.96
5. Weaver/Poje (Skate Canada) — 175.23
6. Ilinykh/Katsalapov (Trophee Bompard) — 171.89
7. Pechalat/Bourzat (Trophee Bompard) 171.08

8. Cappellini/Lanotte (Skate America) — 168.49
9. Pechalat/Bourzat (Cup of China) — 165.68
10. Bobrova/Soloviev (Cup of China) — 163.42

Trophee Eric Bompard

Women’s
1. Ashley Wagner (USA) 194.37
2. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) 189.81
3. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) 184.69
4. Samantha Cesario (USA) 172.70
5. Mae Berenice Meite (FRA) 166.11
6. Amelie Lacoste (CAN) 158.11
7. Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) 153.27
8. Christina Gao (USA) 152.85
9. Natalia Popova (UKR) 136.43

Ice Dance
1. Virtue/Moir (CAN) 180.96
2. Ilinykh/Katsalapov (RUS) 171.89
3. Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA) 171.08
4. Zhiganshina/Gazsi (GER) 147.27
5. Papadakis/Cizeron (FRA) 143.26
6. Monko/Khaliavin (RUS) 139.96
7. Coomes/Buckland (GBR) 128.59
8. Orford/Williams (CAN) 119.60

Chan reaches new heights in Paris

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing World Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. all picked up five medals at last week’s Para Alpine Skiing World Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”