Yuna Kim imperfect in season debut short program

Yuna Kim
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Yuna Kim stumbled out of one of three jumping passes in her competitive return from a foot injury but still posted her highest short program score since the Vancouver Olympics on Friday.

The Olympic and world champion earned a 73.37 at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia. That’s higher than any woman’s short program score during this Grand Prix season. Here’s video of the program. The free skate is Saturday.

She landed a triple-triple combination to open her “Send in the Clowns” skate in a yellow dress and added a triple flip before stepping out of her final jump, putting her hand on the ice on a double Axel.

No matter, she received a rousing standing ovation and applauded and smiled herself when the score was announced.

Japan’s Miki Ando was in second place with 62.81 with six skaters to go. Ando is the 2007 and 2011 world champion who gave birth in April.

A right foot injury had forced Kim to withdraw from two Grand Prix assignments earlier this fall. It was announced in late September that Kim, 23, would miss around six weeks.

She’s attempting to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic figure skating titles since Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988.

It’s somewhat apples to oranges, but here’s Kim’s short program score compared to other Olympic medal threats from the Grand Prix Final and other competitions:

Yuna Kim (KOR) — 73.37 (Golden Spin)
Mao Asada (JPN) — 72.36 (Grand Prix Final)
Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) — 68.38 (Grand Prix Final)
Ashley Wagner (USA) — 68.14 (Grand Prix Final)
Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 67.74 (Rostelecom Cup)
Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS) — 66.62 (Grand Prix Final)

Hanyu wins Grand Prix Final

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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