Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte’s injured knee ‘hurt’ after Orlando Grand Prix

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Ryan Lochte‘s return to competition following his freak Nov. 2 knee injury wasn’t quite a smashing success.

Lochte’s left knee hurt after he swam two events in Orlando on Feb. 15. The 11-time Olympic medalist only made it to the meet for the final day due to a snowstorm keeping him stranded in Charlotte.

He finished second in a 200m backstroke and seventh in a 100m freestyle, saying his knee was 80 percent at the time.

Lochte went against doctors’ suggestions in racing in Orlando about three and a half months after he reportedly tore his left MCL and sprained his ACL after a teenage girl ran to him, he caught her and they both fell on Nov. 2. His knee hit a curb, Lochte’s publicist said.

“I got back in the water faster that what was expected,” Lochte told the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal on Saturday. “The doctors still say that I should be more careful, and I said, ‘Ahh, I don’t want to listen to them, I want to get back in the water.’ It started feeling fine. Then when I raced in Orlando, I don’t know, something happened, something was wrong in my knee and it hurt, so I knew I pushed it too hard.”

Lochte told the newspaper he’s still rehabbing the knee and unable to swim breaststroke.

“Certain things I still can’t do, but I’m working at it,” Lochte said. “I don’t like losing, and I don’t like not being at swim meets, so hopefully I’ll get back into it. Right now, it’s getting stronger.”

He doesn’t expect to miss the next Grand Prix meet, though, eyeing the Mesa, Ariz., event from April 24-26.

The bigger meets are the U.S. Championships in Irvine, Calif., from Aug. 6-10 and the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, beginning Aug. 21.

The U.S. Championships are a qualifying meet for the Pan Pacific Championships and the 2015 World Championships.

Keep in mind that Lochte’s former rival, Michael Phelps, will be eligible to swim at the Mesa meet in April, based on what his coach, Bob Bowman, said of Phelps re-entering the drug-testing pool last year.

Here’s Rowdy Gaines interviewing Lochte at the Orlando Grand Prix last month:

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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