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

USOPC seeks to revoke USA Badminton’s status

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U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland filed a complaint to revoke USA Badminton’s status as the national governing body for the sport, a year after a USOPC audit found the organization lacked athlete safety requirements.

USA Badminton “failed to meet its responsibilities as an NGB and consistently failed to meet its obligations to its members and to U.S. athletes,” according to the USOPC. “Further, USAB has failed to conduct itself in a manner that demonstrates it can fulfill those responsibilities.”

Asked for reaction, USA Badminton interim CEO Linda French said, “I’m very disappointed in the USOPC and the conduct of their staff.”

USA Badminton recently had mass resignations among its board and top officials amid governance issues and the USOPC threatening decertification. A 2018 USOPC audit found four “high risk” areas in USA Badminton’s athlete safety and SafeSport compliance that, by March, had not been fully resolved.

“We have attempted to work with USAB’s leadership over the course of the last year to address our concerns, however those efforts have not yielded the results necessary to give me confidence in USAB’s ability to continue to serve its athletes as an NGB,” Hirshland wrote. “We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.”

The next step is for Hirshland to appoint an independent panel to hear the complaint. There is no specific timeline for a resolution, though Hirshland said it will take a minimum of several weeks.

If USA Badminton’s status is revoked, the USOPC would assume control on an interim basis.

Last November, the USOPC filed the same complaint against USA Gymnastics, seeking to revoke its status after the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes came to light followed by several leadership changes.

USA Gymnastics since filed for bankruptcy and named former college gymnast and NBA executive Li Li Leung its new CEO in February. It remains the sport’s NGB with eight months until the Tokyo Olympics.

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Sun Yang should get lengthy ban if he loses doping hearing, WADA says

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency wants China’s star swimmer Sun Yang banned for up to eight years for alleged doping rules violations.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday ahead of a rare appeal hearing in open court on Friday that WADA requests a ban of two to eight years. Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for a positive test.

If WADA wins, the three-time Olympic freestyle champion will miss the Tokyo Games.

WADA has challenged world swimming body FINA’s ruling to merely warn Sun after a disputed attempt by sample collectors to take blood and urine from him at his home in China in September 2018. The late-night confrontation lasted from 11 p.m. to beyond 3:30 a.m.

The day-long hearing will examine why a secure box storing a glass vial of blood came to be destroyed by Sun’s entourage, who questioned the sample team’s authority. A FINA tribunal panel agreed the officials lacked proper credentials to make the sample collection valid.

WADA believes Sun broke anti-doping rules by refusing to submit to a sample collection.

All sides agreed to Sun’s request to hold a first CAS appeal in public for 20 years.

A verdict is unlikely until early next year.

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