Adelina Sotnikova listed as substitute for World Championships; entry list highlights

Gracie Gold
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Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova is listed as a substitute for the World Championships later this month with Russia entering Yulia Lipnitskaya and Anna Pogorilaya instead.

Since Sotnikova is listed as a sub, she could still be entered in the Saitama, Japan, event beginning March 26 instead of Lipnitskaya or Pogorilaya given injury, etc. (full entry lists here)

Russian Olympic pairs champions Maksim Trankov and Tatyana Volosozhar were also listed as subs on entry lists published Wednesday.

Other decorated skaters left off completely — Yuna KimPatrick ChanMeryl Davis and Charlie White and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir — were previously announced to skip worlds.

Here are the key competitors who are entered for worlds:

Men
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 2014 Olympic champion
Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 2013 World Championships bronze medalist
Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 2014 Olympics, fifth
Yan Han (CHN) — 2014 Olympics, seventh
Peter Liebers (GER) — 2014 Olympics, eighth
Takahiko Kozuka (JPN) — 2011 World Championships silver medalist
Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 2013 Grand Prix Final, fifth
Kevin Reynolds (CAN) — 2013 World Championships, fifth
Florent Amodio (FRA) — 2013 European Championships silver medalist
Jeremy Abbott (USA) — 2014 U.S. champion
Max Aaron (USA) — 2013 U.S. champion

Hanyu is a runaway favorite at home and with three-time reigning world champion Chan and Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten absent. Fernandez, who missed bronze in Sochi by 1.18 points, leads the rest of the pack.

Abbott and Aaron could fight for a medal at their best, but it would also be a success if their combined placements were 13th or better to earn the U.S. the maximum three men’s entries at the 2015 World Championships. For example, if Abbott finished sixth and Aaron finished seventh.

The U.S. has not earned three men’s entries at a worlds or Olympics since the 2011 World Championships.

Women
Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 2014 Olympic bronze medalist
Mao Asada (JPN) — 2013 World Championships bronze medalist
Gracie Gold (USA) — 2014 Olympics, fourth
Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS) — 2014 Olympics, fifth
Ashley Wagner (USA) — 2014 Olympics, seventh
Akiko Suzuki (JPN) — 2014 Olympics, eighth
Polina Edmunds (USA) — 2014 Olympics, ninth
Kanako Murakami (JPN) — 2013 World Championships, fourth

Kostner, Asada and Suzuki are the only women in the field with Olympic or World Championships medals already to their name.

The U.S. has a shot at two medals here, though if one American could land on the podium it would be a success. No U.S. woman has won an individual Olympic or World Championships medal since Kimmie Meissner and Sasha Cohen won gold and bronze at the 2006 worlds.

Pairs
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 2014 Olympic silver medalists
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (GER) — 2014 Olympic bronze medalists
Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) — 2014 Olympics, fifth
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — 2013 World Championships bronze medalists
Peng Cheng/Zhang Hao (CHN) — 2013 Grand Prix Final, fourth
Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA) — 2013-2014 U.S. champions
Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (USA) — 2012 U.S. champions

If the Olympic and world champions Volosozhar and Trankov skip the event, it opens the door for either the other Russian pair of Stolbova and Klimov or the Germans Savchenko and Szolkowy to win their fifth world title.

A medal is likely out of reach for the American pairs, but the combined placement of 13th is possible to earn three entries next year. The U.S. hasn’t earned three pairs spots at an Olympics or worlds since 2003.

Ice Dance
Yelena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) — 2014 Olympic bronze medalists
Nathalie Péchalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) — 2014 Olympics, fourth
Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 2014 Olympics, fifth
Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) — 2014 Olympics, sixth
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) — 2014 Olympics, seventh
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 2014 Olympics, eighth
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 2014 Olympics, ninth
Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton (USA) — 2012-13 U.S. junior champions

The gold and silver medalists at the last two Olympics and four World Championships are missing in the form of Davis and White and Virtue and Moir.

The rest of the top Olympic couples are competing, though, meaning it’s not assured the U.S. can get the combined placement of 13 from its top two finishers to ensure three couples at next year’s World Championships.

The last time the U.S. did not earn three ice dance spots at an Olympics or World Championships was 2005.

Yuna Kim happy that ‘absurd’ situation is finished

Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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