Yuzuru Hanyu

Yuzuru Hanyu finishes second at Cup of China after bloody warm-up collision (video)

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Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu collided with another skater in the Cup of China free skate warm-up, bled, competed with his head wrapped, fell five times in his performance and finished in second place Saturday.

Hanyu, in his first top-level competition since winning the World Championships in March, and China’s Han Yan collided near center ice at the Shanghai venue while preparing for their free skate.

Hanyu lay on the ice for several seconds, blood streaming down his chin, before two officials with medical uniforms on reached him.

Once off the ice, China’s Han lay motionless while being tended to just behind the boards. Han performed his free skate 45 minutes later and finished sixth.

Hanyu was taken farther off the ice and checked out while sitting down. He returned to warm up and appeared disoriented, pointing to his head multiple times.

“He was immediately determined he wanted to compete, and for me, I wanted to make sure he was healthy enough,” said Hanyu’s coach, two-time Olympic silver medalist Brian Orser, according to The Associated Press. “I told him, ‘This is not the time to be a hero. You have to take care of yourself.”’

Hanyu skated about 50 minutes later, fell five times in his “Phantom of the Opera” performance and finished in second place, just as he was after the short program Friday.

Hanyu had to be held up by Orser after he stepped off the ice following his free skate.

“You’ve got to keep breathing, OK?” Orser told him. “Hang onto the boards.”

Russian Maksim Kovtun won with 243.34 points. Hanyu scored 237.55. American Richard Dornbush took third with 226.73.

Hanyu bawled in the kiss and cry area after his score came up, appearing overjoyed.

“I know that tomorrow he’s going to feel like he was hit by a car,” Orser said later, according to the AP. “Both of these boys are going to feel awful.”

Hanyu was attempting be the third different Japanese man to win in the first three Grand Prix events of the season, a feat never done by any nation.

In the women’s competition, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva became the third different Russian woman to win in the first three events this season. That is unprecedented.

Tuktamysheva overtook short program leader Yulia Lipnitskaya, the World silver medalist, after Lipnitskaya fell on a triple Salchow and popped two other jumps in her free skate.

Tuktamysheva, who was 10th at last season’s Russian Championships, stayed on her skates Saturday and landed six triple jumps.

Polina Edmunds, the youngest U.S. Olympic figure skater since Tara Lipinski in 1998, rebounded from a seventh-place short program with the second-best free skate behind Tuktamysheva.

Edmunds landed seven triple jumps and finished in fourth place in her Grand Prix debut.

In ice dance, U.S. Olympic siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani finished second after leading following the short dance Friday.

The Grand Prix season continues next week with the Rostelecom Cup, the fourth of six events before the Grand Prix Final.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Cup of China coverage Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

Lindsey Vonn could return early from knee injury

Cup of China men’s results
1. Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 243.34
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 237.55
3. Richard Dornbush (USA) — 226.73

Leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 269.09 (Skate America)
2. Takahito Mura (JPN) — 255.81 (Skate Canada)
3. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 244.87 (Skate Canada)
4. Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 243.34 (Cup of China)
5. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 237.55 (Cup of China)
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 234.17 (Skate America)
7. Nam Nguyen (CAN) — 232.24 (Skate America)
Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan not competing in Grand Prixs.

U.S. men’s leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Jason Brown — 234.17 (Skate America)
2. Max Aaron — 231.77 (Skate Canada)
3. Stephen Carriere — 231.67 (Skate Canada)
4. Richard Dornbush — 226.73 (Cup of China)
5. Jeremy Abbott — 219.33 (Skate America)
6. Douglas Razzano — 204.48 (Skate America)
7. Adam Rippon — 201.92 (Skate Canada)

Cup of China women’s results
1. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 196.6
2. Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS) — 173.57
3. Kanako Murakami (JPN) — 169.39
4. Polina Edmunds (USA) — 161.27
9. Christina Gao (USA) — 125.04
10. Ashley Cain (USA) — 124.81

Leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 196.6 (Cup of China)
2. Elena Radionova (RUS) — 195.47 (Skate America)
3. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) — 191.81 (Skate Canada)
4. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 189.62 (Skate America)
5. Ashley Wagner (USA) — 186 (Skate Canada)
6. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 181.75 (Skate Canada)
7. Gracie Gold (USA) — 179.38 (Skate America)
Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova to debut at NHK Trophy in three weeks. 

U.S. leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Ashley Wagner — 186 (Skate Canada)
2. Gracie Gold — 179.38 (Skate America)
3. Samantha Cesario — 174.58 (Skate America)
4. Courtney Hicks — 174.51 (Skate Canada)
5. Polina Edmunds — 161.27 (Cup of China)
6. Mirai Nagasu — 158.21 (Skate America)

Maria Sharapova appears set to miss Tokyo Olympics

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Maria Sharapova, who would have a difficult time qualifying for the Olympics next year, committed to play an event in California the week of the Tokyo Games.

Sharapova is scheduled to play World Team Tennis matches in California during the Olympic tennis events in late July, according to a press release. Sharapova’s longtime agent hasn’t responded to a message seeking confirmation that she is ruling out the Tokyo Games.

Sharapova, 32 and the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, was barred from the Rio Games due to her 15-month meldonium suspension in 2016 and 2017. That alone could rule her ineligible for Tokyo, given the World Anti-Doping Agency’s sanctions against Russia on Monday.

Sharapova is ranked No. 131 after a season shortened by shoulder surgery. She would have to be among the top four ranked Russian women after the French Open in June for possible automatic Olympic qualification. She is currently the 14th Russian.

Olympic eligibility rules include minimum participation requirements in Fed Cup, which Sharapova hasn’t done in this Olympic cycle, though exceptions can be made.

Sharapova’s passion for the Olympics is well documented.

She carried the Russian flag into the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and carried the Olympic flame into Fisht Stadium at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony, where she worked for NBC Olympics.

“It was the one thing that my parents allowed me to watch on TV late into the evening was the Olympics,” Sharapova said in 2017. “I grew up watching figure skating and hockey and a little bit of tennis. … Just capturing the Opening Ceremonies and seeing all the countries and the little hats that they wore, and I, as a little girl, I just imagined that maybe it would be me. But I never, ever thought that I would be carrying the flag.

“I received that [flag] honor in a text message, which is a very Russian way of communicating. I originally thought it was a joke, a big fat joke. Then I showed it to my mother, and she [said], no, they probably wouldn’t joke like that.”

In February 2016, Sharapova entered a Fed Cup tie, despite saying she was injured, in order to receive Olympic eligibility. One month later, her failed drug test was announced.

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Russia banned from Olympics, world champs for 4 years; athletes could compete as neutrals

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Russia is banned from the next two Olympics and other major sports events for four years, though its athletes could still compete without representing the country if cleared by anti-doping authorities.

Russia’s hosting of world championships in Olympic sports also face being stripped after the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee approved a full slate of recommended sanctions for tampering with a Moscow laboratory database.

Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in major events — including world championships — only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or their data was not manipulated, according to the WADA ruling. “In this circumstance, they may not represent the Russian Federation,” according to a WADA release.

“While I understand the calls for a blanket ban on all Russian athletes whether or not they are implicated by the data, it was the unanimous view of the CRC [compliance review committee], which includes an athlete, that in this case, those who could prove their innocence should not be punished, and I am pleased that the WADA ExCo [executive committee] agreed with this,” WADA CRC chairman Jonathan Taylor said.

There are 145 unnamed athletes within WADA’s “target group of most suspicious athletes” from 2012-15 who would not be allowed to compete at the Olympics, Taylor said, adding that it’s possible those names will be made public. About one-third of them are still active.

Russia’s anti-doping agency can appeal the decision within 21 days. Russia previously signaled it would appeal the ruling.

“The decision will come into effect only when it becomes final ie when either RUSADA accepts it or it is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” a WADA spokesperson said in an email.

Russia avoided blanket bans for the Rio and PyeongChang Olympics after a state-run doping program was exposed by media and WADA investigations after Russia hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Approved Russian athletes competed as neutrals — “Olympic Athletes from Russia” — including in team sports in PyeongChang. Those Russians combined to earn two gold medals (figure skater Alina Zagitova and men’s hockey) and 17 overall, compared to the leading 33 Russia earned at the Sochi Olympics before medals were stripped for doping.

“Will Russian athletes be accepted as Olympic Athletes from Russia?” during the ban, Taylor said. “No, they are neutral athletes, which means not representatives of any country. Not representatives of Russia.”

Going forward, “they cannot use the name of the country in the name of the team,” WADA president-elect Witold Bańka told The Associated Press.

Two of the 168 Russians who competed in PyeongChang failed drug tests and were punished for doping.

More recent evidence shows that Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database to hide hundreds of potential doping cases and falsely shift the blame onto whistleblowers, WADA investigators and the International Olympic Committee said last month. “Flagrant manipulation” of the Moscow lab data was “an insult to the sporting movement worldwide,” the IOC said last month.

“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order … but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial,” WADA president Craig Reedie said.

Russia will be allowed to participate in the Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland, that open Jan. 9.

WADA’s inability to fully expel Russia from the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Games frustrated the doping watchdog’s vice president.

“I’m not happy with the decision we made today. But this is as far as we could go,” said Linda Helleland, a Norwegian lawmaker who serves on WADA executive committee and has long pushed for a tougher line against Russia. “This is the biggest sports scandal the world has ever seen. I would expect now a full admission from the Russians and for them to apologize on all the pain all the athletes and sports fans have experienced.”

Although the IOC has called for the strongest possible sanctions, it wants those sanctions directed at Russian state authorities rather than athletes or Olympic officials.

“To allow Russia to escape a complete ban is yet another devastating blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport and the rule of law,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement. “And, in turn, the reaction by all those who value sport should be nothing short of a revolt against this broken system to force reform.”

Russia’s Olympic champion women’s handball team is currently competing at the world championships in Japan. Its next match is Tuesday against Montenegro. Russia has been the scheduled host for the world luge championships in Sochi in mid-February.

The “major sports” events that fall under WADA’s sanctions do not include European Championships or other non-world championships events such as tennis’ upcoming Australian Open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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TIMELINE: Russia’s recent history of sports doping