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)

Michael Johnson took Olympic mindset in stroke recovery

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Michael Johnson‘s first walk, reportedly three days after suffering a stroke in the summer, was 200 meters down a hospital corridor.

“It took about 15 minutes,” Johnson said in a BBC video, detailing his full recovery in recent interviews.

Johnson, who at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics swept the 200m (in a world-record 19.32 seconds) and the 400m, suffered what he called “a mini stroke” after a home workout in late August.

Johnson felt not pain but tingling leaving his home gym and underwent a 20-minute MRI. The 50-year-old, who worked out regularly and was in otherwise great physical shape, almost fell rising out of the machine.

“Couldn’t put any weight on left side, no longer could really move my left leg,” Johnson said in the BBC interview. “The numbness of my left arm, which was sort of mild at the beginning and up to that point, was really intense at that point. I couldn’t feel a lot of my arm. You immediately start to think about, what’s my life going to be like going forward?”

There was no immediate answer.

“You start to think about loved ones — is my wife going to have to take care of me for the rest of my life?” Johnson said, according to the Telegraph. “Am I going to be able to walk again? Am I going to be in a wheelchair? Am I going to be able to stand in the shower or go to the restroom alone? You’re forced to think about what your life might be like if that worse-case scenario is reality.”

He began physical therapy early the next week. After that first walk, the distance equivalent of a half-lap of the track that he owned in the 1990s, he told his wife, “I will make a full recovery, and I will make a full recovery faster than anyone has ever done it before,” according to the Telegraph.

Within two weeks, Johnson was backing that up. He tweeted a photo of himself on Sept. 13, his 51st birthday, grimacing while lifting a square-shaped weight with each hand. “Almost back to normal. No days off! Even today. My birthday!” the caption read.

On Sept. 27, Johnson tweeted that it had been grueling, but he relearned to walk and made a full recovery.

“Once I knew that I will make a full recovery, and once I started to believe that, it’s very similar to the type of situation that I experienced as an athlete training for the Olympic Games, then all of a sudden suffering a pulled hamstring,” said Johnson, who fell to the track in the 2000 Olympic Trials 200m final with an upper left leg injury, then won the 400m at his last Games in Sydney. “The reward, in this particular situation, was going to be even greater, was going to be able to walk again, regaining my mobility, regaining my independence.”

MORE: Michael Johnson: My advice to Usain Bolt on retirement

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Tatjana Hüfner, 2010 Olympic luge champion, to retire after this season

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Tatjana Hüfner, a 2010 Olympic luge champion and five-time world champion in singles, said she will retire after this season, according to German newspaper Bild.

Hüfner, 35, cited recent health problems, including back and leg injuries leading into her last Olympics in PyeongChang, where she finished fourth, missing a fourth straight medal by .69 of a second (Hüfner dropped from second place going into the last run). Plus breaking a rib in a training crash this preseason, plus suffering food poisoning, according to the report.

Hüfner, who reportedly said before February’s Olympics that they would be her final Games, has been arguably the most integral luger in Germany’s recent dominance in female sliding.

Her Olympic career began as a spectator at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, watching Sylke Otto lead a German medal sweep. Later, Hüfner would break Otto’s record with five world singles titles, plus join Otto on the podium at Torino 2006, earning bronze. Hüfner took gold in Vancouver, then silver behind the new leading woman, Natalie Geisenberger, in Sochi.

Huefner spent offseasons scaling European peaks such as Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, the Matterhorn, and the Sella in northern Italy.

This season’s world championships are in Winterberg, Germany, in January.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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