Paul Wylie

Catching up with Paul Wylie

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Paul Wylie‘s silver medal at the 1992 Olympics was seen as stunning for a skater who had never finished higher than ninth at a World Championships, but his place at the Winter Games to begin with raised some eyebrows, too.

Wylie, then 27, finished second, barely, over the younger Mark Mitchell at the U.S. Championships one month before the Albertville Olympics. Three men would be selected for the Olympic Team, but U.S. Figure Skating had leeway to veer from taking the top three finishers at nationals.

One of the chosen ones was Todd Eldredge, the 1990 and 1991 U.S. champion who was unable to compete at the U.S. Championships but would be healthy for the Olympics. The second spot was wrapped up by the enigmatic Christopher Bowman, “Bowman the Showman,” who won the U.S. title in Orlando.

Wylie’s free skate was called “sloppy” by the Hartford Courant, and he received “charitable” judges scores, according to The Associated Press. Wylie himself, after skating first of the top five contenders, was changing into street clothes and preparing his retirement speech when he learned that he finished second, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A U.S. Figure Skating committee ticketed Wylie for Albertville over Mitchell, though it gave Mitchell the nod for the post-Olympics World Championships.

But Wylie proved himself in Albertville, bringing the Olympic Ice Hall crowd to its feet with his free skate to finish below only Viktor Petrenko. Wylie went onto professional skating after Albertville and is still involved in the sport.

OlympicTalk recently caught up with Wylie to reflect on his career and discuss what he’s doing today:

OlympicTalk: What’s something about the 1992 Olympics that would surprise a young figure skating fan?

Wylie: I had never been higher than ninth in the world, and I got second at the Olympics. It was amazing for me as a person, but in our sport that the IJS system wasn’t around, it was really kind of unheard of to make that leap [referencing today’s judging system that replaced the 6.0 format after the 2002 Olympics]. I always think that was a pretty important Olympics in that sense because there was an importance to breaking that mold.

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OlympicTalk: 1992 gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi has said she’s never returned to Albertville since the Olympics. Have you?

Wylie: No. I’ve wanted to go back. We’ve been talking about doing it as a 20th anniversary, so maybe a 25th now. I think it would be us in a little restaurant on the side of the road with a little candle [joking] . We went skiing after the Olympics in Meribel and Courchevel, and it was outstanding. I had a lot of fun there.

OlympicTalk: Did you ever think about returning to amateur competition after the 1992 Olympics?

Wylie: No. I was 27 by the time I retired from amateur skating, and then I was enjoying my professional career and making money. I was still able to compete. I competed 12 times a year as a professional with people who were my peers — Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning and Brian Boitano. It was so much fun on the other side of that. I think skaters today miss out on that opportunity.

OlympicTalk: Who was your favorite skater to compete against?

Wylie: I really enjoyed Christopher Bowman. We kind of grew up together. I miss him terribly to this day [Bowman died of an accidental drug overdose at age 40 in 2008]. Just a really fun guy to hang out with. He just kind of disappeared. It’s sad.

OlympicTalk: What did you think of the men’s performances in Sochi?

Wylie: I think everyone was kind of disappointed in the free skate. The guys were trying so hard to put two quads into their programs. There’s just so much pressure at the Olympic level. I was glad that many of them performed well in the short program [laughs].

I would say the team event was an interesting dynamic because I think a lot of people put their best performances out there in that. You come to the Olympics, and you’ve dreamed about it, and then all of a sudden you’re on the ice. To sustain that type of energy was a bit of a challenge for skaters like Patrick [Chan] and Yuzuru [Hanyu].

OlympicTalk: What are you doing today?

Wylie: I’m coaching, doing [figure skating] seminars and skating, too, and working with people in health and wellness. I’m based in Charlotte.

OlympicTalk: Why is it important to stay involved in skating?

Wylie: It just seems that happens naturally. You just keep getting roped back into it, whether it’s somebody asking for help with their student or a skater who wants choreography or a club that would like to have a seminar. Even in the health and wellness field, I feel like there’s such a good tie-in with skating.

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Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail at world championships, has surgery

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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail at the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title, and underwent leg surgery as a result.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, who had a left leg laceration, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, about 25 miles from the worlds host of Imola.

“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been,” USA Cycling chief of sport performance Jim Miller said in a press release. “While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter. With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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