Mary Cain

Mary Cain wins World Junior Championships 3000m (video)

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Mary Cain showed veteran savvy to notch the biggest international victory of her young career, sprinting past two Kenyans to win the 3000m at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday night.

Cain, 18 and the youngest American to make a senior World Championships team last summer, appeared boxed in with 200m to go but found an opening with about 120m left and sprinted to win in a personal best 8 minutes, 58.48 seconds. She won by 2.05 seconds.

“That was just such an amazing finish,” Cain told reporters while holding a fun size Twix bar. “That last 50 [meters], I just felt so good. I know you’re not really supposed to look up at the screen, but I was still looking up like, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope I’m in the lead.’ That last 50 was amazing with the crowd. There was nowhere else that they would have been that loud for me.”

Cain, a professional with the Nike Oregon Project, is the home headliner of the meet, evidenced by roars from an announced crowd of 8,112 at Hayward Field.

The recent Bronxville, N.Y., high school graduate overcame a physical race to better her winning time from the U.S. Junior Championships by 17 seconds.

“There was a lot of jostling,” Cain said, according to The Associated Press. “I know I’m supposed to keep running, but I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry!'”

Cain, who is entering her freshman year in the University of Portland honors program, has said she will race on the Diamond League circuit later when it picks up again in August.

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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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