Caroline Wozniacki breaks 3:30 in New York Marathon

Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki
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NEW YORK — Caroline Wozniacki said she partied until 4 a.m. three days before her first marathon, didn’t run more than 13.1 miles in training and spent Saturday night eating popcorn with Serena Williams at a hockey game.

“I’ve done everything you’re not supposed to do before a marathon,” she joked.

Then she ran the New York City Marathon in 3 hours, 26 minutes, 33 seconds.

Wozniacki beat her goal and achieved a qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon on Sunday. She did so after missing breakfast before going to the start in Staten Island, though she grabbed two bagels in a tent.

Wozniacki said her goal when she signed up for the marathon, after boyfriend Rory McIlroy called off their planned November wedding, was to beat four hours. She felt so good in training, despite skipping a planned long run due to tennis commitments, that she hoped to beat 3:30.

“Somewhere in between 3:45 and 3:30 was my goal,” she said after finishing Sunday afternoon. “I’m really proud.”

Wozniacki met her good friend Williams at the finish in Central Park. They embraced two months after Williams swept Wozniacki in the U.S. Open final in Queens.

“I thought I was gonna die,” Wozniacki said shortly after she completed 26.2 miles.

That was a drastic change from early in the race, when she was ripping off sub-8-minute miles. About nine miles in, Wozniacki told the two pacers running with her that she wanted to run another marathon.

She changed her tune as she went through the five boroughs, hitting a wall around the 20-mile mark.

“I’m never running another marathon again,” Wozniacki thought with six miles to go.

Wozniacki said she won’t run Boston next year, despite the qualifying time, but she wants to run another marathon “at some point.”

“I’m going to look back on this experience and say that this was awesome and want to do it again,” she said.

Wozniacki’s splits slowed to 8:20, 8:42 and 8:27 in miles 24, 25 and 26 before she finished shortly around 1:10 p.m. in Central Park. Her time easily beat the Boston Marathon qualifying standard of 3:35 for her age group.

She raised more than $80,000 for her charity, Team for Kids, which supports youth fitness programs. Olympic tennis champions Andy Murray and Williams were among the contributors.

Other tennis players have run the New York City Marathon, but the notables did so after they retired. Wozniacki, 24, is in the middle of her career and finished a tournament in Singapore the previous weekend.

Wozniacki beat three retired tennis professionals’ New York City Marathon times from 2010.

Former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo completed the race in 3:40:20. Former French Open champion Yannick Noah did it in 4:01:38, followed by Justin Gimelstob in 4:09:58.

Mauresmo also ran the 2012 Paris Marathon in a reported 3:16:49. Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm ran the 2004 London Marathon in 3:27.

Wozniacki, ranked eighth on the WTA Tour, resumes competitive tennis in Australia this winter. Until then, she’ll take an earned break.

“I deserve to put my feet up a little bit,” she said.

Also Sunday, another Olympian, 2010 U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion Bill Demong, finished the New York Marathon in an unofficial 2:33:05.

Demong notably beat fellow U.S. Winter Olympic champ Apolo Ohno‘s time of 3:25:14 from 2011.

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Japanese pair edges Americans for historic Grand Prix Final figure skating title

Riku Miura, Ryuichi Kihara
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Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the biggest title ever for a Japanese figure skating pair, taking the Grand Prix Final and consolidating their status as the world’s top active team.

Miura and Kihara, last season’s world silver medalists, barely outscored world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier in Turin, Italy, in both Thursday’s short program and Friday’s free skate to win the six-pair event that is a preview of March’s worlds.

The Japanese totaled 214.58 points, distancing the Americans by a mere 1.3 points after Frazier erred on both of their side-by-side jumping passes in the free skate. Italians Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii took bronze.

“We had a very late start to our season than initially planned, so as we have been performing at each event, I see us getting stronger, improving things,” said Frazier, who with Knierim had their best short program and free skate scores of the autumn.

Knierim and Frazier didn’t decide to continue competing together this season until July.

“I feel a little personally disappointed tonight just for myself for my jumps,” Frazier continued. “I was a little all over the place and, normally, I can execute better, so I feel a little bad, but I’m very proud of us overall. We’ve done a great job of improving each competition and looking forward to the second half of the season where we can start tapping into our best skating.”

GRAND PRIX FINAL: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Miura and Kihara, who partnered in June 2019 and train in Ontario, both waited with trepidation for their final score to be posted, worried that each’s separate mistake on jumps might cost them the title. When they learned they won, both burst into tears.

“This was the first time in eight years that I made a mistake with a Salchow, so I thought we might not get a good score, and it would be my fault,” Kihara said.

Miura and Kihara entered the competition ranked No. 1 in the world by best scores this season ahead of Knierim and Frazier, who in March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979.

Last season, Miura and Kihara became the second Japanese pair to make a Grand Prix podium and to earn a world championships medal. Their ascension helped Japan win its first Olympic figure skating team event medal in February (a bronze that could be upgraded to gold pending the Kamila Valiyeva case).

In Grand Prix Final history, Japan had won 11 gold medals and 40 total medals, all in singles, before this breakthrough.

Knierim and Frazier, already the first U.S. pair to compete in the Grand Prix Final since 2015, became the first U.S. pair to win a Grand Prix Final medal. The Final has been held annually since 1996, though it was canceled the last two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miura and Kihara and Knierim and Frazier ascended to the top of the sport while the top five teams from the Olympics from Russia and China have not competed internationally since the Winter Games.

All Russian skaters are ineligible for international competition due to the war in Ukraine. China’s pairs, including Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, didn’t enter last March’s worlds and did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Later Friday, world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan led the women’s short program with 75.86 points, 1.28 ahead of countrywoman Mai Mihara. American Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old world junior champion, was fifth of six skaters in her Grand Prix Final debut.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier topped the rhythm dance with 85.93 points, edging Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates by .44. Both couples are bidding for the biggest international title of their careers. None of the Olympic medalists competed internationally this fall.

The Grand Prix Final ends Saturday with the men’s and women’s free skates and free dance, all live on Peacock.

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A Winter Olympic medal still being decided, 10 months later

Fanny Smith, Daniela Maier
It's still unknown whether Fanny Smith (green) or Daniela Maier (blue) is the Olympic ski cross bronze medalist. (Getty)
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There is a second Winter Olympic medal result still in question, 10 months after the Games.

While the figure skating team event results are still unknown due to the Kamila Valiyeva case, the bronze medal in women’s ski cross is also in dispute.

Originally, Swiss Fanny Smith crossed the finish line in third place in the four-woman final at the Winter Games in February. Upon review by the International Ski Federation (FIS) jury, she was minutes later demoted to fourth place after making contact with German Daniela Maier near the end of the course. Maier, who originally was fourth, was upgraded to bronze.

“I tried to be OK with the fourth place. I was very disappointed, I have to say, [then] the jury was like this,” Maier said then. “I am really sorry for Fanny that it’s like this right now. … The jury decided like this, so accept it and be happy with the medal.”

Smith and the Swiss ski federation appealed. FIS reinstated Smith as the bronze medalist nine days after the race and six days after the Closing Ceremony. A FIS appeals commission met four times and reviewed video and written documentation for several hours before deciding that “the close proximity of the racers at that moment resulted in action that was neither intentional or avoidable.”

But that wasn’t the end. The case ended up reportedly going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), whose rulings are usually accepted as final. The CAS process is ongoing, European media reported this week.

CAS has not responded to a request for comment. A FIS contact said Friday, “There is currently no update to provide in regards to the bronze medal in ski cross. Should there be any update, we will inform you.”

Smith said there should be news soon regarding the case, according to Blick.

Maier still has the bronze medal at her home and enjoys looking at it, according to German media, which also reported that the German ski federation expects Maier to win the case and keep the medal. Smith and Maier spoke extensively about it in recent training sessions and cleared things up. Maier said the best outcome would be bronze medals for both of them, according to the report.

For now, FIS lists Smith as the bronze medalist. The IOC lists Maier as the bronze medalist.

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