Ashley Wagner

Ashley Wagner trails, Denis Ten leads at Trophee Bompard (video)

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Ashley Wagner placed third in the Trophee Bompard short program Friday as she seeks to clinch a Grand Prix Final berth in Bordeaux, France.

Wagner, who was seventh at the Sochi Olympics and March’s World Championships, scored 61.35 points Friday. She trailed Russian leaders Yelena Radionova and Yulia Lipnitskaya, who scored 67.28 and 66.79, respectively.

Wagner lost points for underrotated landings on her triple flip-triple toe loop combination and a triple loop. The 23-year-old scored 63.86 in her short program at Skate Canada, her only other Grand Prix series event this season. Wagner finished second there.

If Wagner finishes first or second at Trophee Bompard after the free skate Saturday, she will clinch a berth in the Grand Prix Final in three weeks in Barcelona. She could still make the Grand Prix Final with a finish lower than second, depending on results from other skaters this week and at NHK Trophy in Japan next week.

The Grand Prix Final field includes the top six skaters per discipline from the six-event Grand Prix series, which finishes next week.

Wagner is hoping to become the second U.S. woman to qualify for three straight Grand Prix Finals, joining Michelle Kwan, who is the only U.S. woman with more Grand Prix Final berths than Wagner.

Radionova and Lipnitskaya are also looking to qualify for the Grand Prix Final, which will likely include three or four Russian women.

Radionova, 15, was too young for the Sochi Olympics. She won Skate America last month.

Lipnitskaya, 16, was the star of the Sochi Olympic team event, where Russia won gold. She finished second at Cup of China earlier this month.

Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan led the men’s short program with 91.78, topping Japanese World silver medalist Tatsuki Machida by 3.08. American Richard Dornbush was fourth.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Trophee Bompard coverage Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

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Trophee Bompard Short Program

Women
1. Yelena Radionova (RUS) — 67.28
2. Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS) — 66.79
3. Ashley Wagner (USA) — 61.35
6. Courtney Hicks (USA) — 55.7
7. Samantha Cesario (USA) — 55.19

Men
1. Denis Ten (KAZ) — 91.78
2. Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 88.7
3. Konstantin Menshov (RUS) — 87.47
4. Richard Dornbush (USA) — 80.24
7. Adam Rippon (USA) — 76.98
11. Douglas Razzano (USA) — 64.98

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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