Tatyana Volosozhar, Maksim Trankov

Volosozhar, Trankov win European Championship with disastrous free skate

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Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov won their third straight European pairs figure skating title, but their performance was far from golden.

Both Russians fell during their “Jesus Christ Superstar” program (video here) in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday. They totaled 220.38 points to win by 12.4 over Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov in a Russia medal sweep.

But Volosozhar and Trankov, the world champions, were outscored in the free skate by Stolbova and Klimov and benefited from the withdrawal of their biggest competition come Sochi.

Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy pulled out before the free skate, reportedly due to Savchenko’s illness on her 30th birthday.

Savchenko and Szolkowy are the only pair to have beaten Volosozhar and Trankov in top-flight competition. They last did so at the Grand Prix Final in December, handing the Russians their first loss in more than one year.

They would have done so again in Budapest had they skated Sunday and came within four points of their Grand Prix Final free skate score.

Trankov stepped out of a side-by-side triple Salchow and fell on a triple jump. Volosozhar hit the ice on a throw triple Salchow.

Volosozhar and Trankov broke short- and long-program score records at the beginning of the season but are no longer an iron-clad gold-medal favorite.

They’re hoping to restore Russia’s pairs dominance in Sochi. The Soviet Union, Unified Team and Russia won Olympic pairs gold at every Games from 1964 through 2006. No Russian pair made the podium in 2010.

Kovtun implodes at European Championships

Simone Biles discusses anxiety medicine, therapy in up-and-down year

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Simone Biles sees a therapist regularly and takes medication for anxiety, acknowledging mental-health struggles.

Biles was asked on “Good Morning America” how she has processed standing up as a Larry Nassar survivor on Jan. 15.

“I’m on anxiety medicine now because I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the year, trying to figure out what was wrong,” Biles said. “So I go to therapy pretty regularly. It’s not easy, but the people surrounding me are some of the best.”

Biles is an experienced mental-health advocate.

Last year, she partnered with the #BeUnderstood campaign for Learning Disabilities and ADHD Awareness Month in October. She spoke with two sisters who have ADHD about her own experience with ADHD since age 9.

Biles appeared on Tuesday’s morning show to reveal her ESPN the Magazine cover for being named the most dominant athlete of 2018.

Biles, after taking 14 months off from training, swept all five titles at the U.S. Championships, then became the first gymnast to earn medals on every event at a world championships in 31 years.

She is not expected to compete again before March.

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Mikael Kingsbury named Canada Athlete of the Year

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Mikael Kingsbury, the Olympic moguls champion, is the first freestyle skier to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, Canada’s athlete of the year award.

Kingsbury, 26, dominated in PyeongChang, receiving the highest scores for time, turns and air moves in the final to win by 4.06 points. It marked the first instance in moguls history that a man topped the final field in all three categories that make up the total score, albeit the format moved from a 20-skier final to a six-skier final in 2014.

Kingsbury also finished first or second in all eight World Cup moguls or dual moguls events so far in 2018. He’s up to 50 World Cup victories, breaking the moguls record shared by U.S. Olympic champions Donna Weinbrecht and Hannah Kearney.

The other reported Lou Marsh finalists were:

Brooke Henderson, Golf: Second in the LPGA Tour’s Race to the CME Globe
Kaitlyn Lawes, Curling: Olympic mixed doubles, world women’s titles
Connor McDavid, Hockey: 2017-18 NHL points leader, most outstanding player
Kaetlyn Osmond, Figure Skating: Olympic bronze medalist, world champion

The Lou Marsh Trophy went to an Olympian 15 times in the last 20 years, most recently Olympic 100m freestyle swimming champion Penny Oleksiak in 2016. Winners in Winter Olympic years included speed skaters Catriona LeMay Doan (2002) and Cindy Klassen (2006) and bobsledder Kaillie Humphries (2014), all gold medalists those years.

That history worked against Henderson and McDavid, who didn’t have an Olympics in 2018. Osmond had arguably the best year for an individual Canadian figure skater with her three major medals, but Russians Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva beat her in PyeongChang.

Lawes led all women in shooting percentage in the first Olympic mixed-doubles event and led her team (skipped by Sochi Olympic champ skip Jennifer Jones) in shooting in the gold-medal game of the world championship a month later.

Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were ineligible for the individual award together, according to Canadian media.

The Lou Marsh Trophy, named after the former Toronto Star sports editor and columnist, is annually voted on by Canadian sports journalists.

MORE: U.S. figure skating rankings going into nationals

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