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

Ski jumping World Cup season kicks off in Poland

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The World Cup ski jump season opens Friday with men’s team and individual events in Wisla, Poland.

The host country had three of the top five jumpers in the overall standings last year. Defending champion Kamil Stoch placed third, Piotr Zyla was close behind in fourth, and Dawid Kubacki was fifth.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi dominated last year’s competition, finishing with 2,085 points to 1,349 for runner-up Stefan Kraft of Austria, the 2017 World Cup champion.

Kobayashi’s performance was a dramatic improvement over his previous season, when he finished no higher than sixth in any individual competition and was 24th overall. Last year, he had 15 wins and 23 podium finishes in 30 World Cup events, though he only managed fourth and 14th in the two world championship events.

The top American last season, Kevin Bickner, finished 51st overall, a drop from 39th the year before. He was 18th and 20th in the 2018 Olympic jumps.

Women’s World Cup action begins Dec. 6-8 in Lillehammer, Norway.

NBC Sports Gold will broadcast World Cup action throughout the season. This weekend, the qualifying jumps will air at noon ET Friday, the team event starts at 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday, and the individual competition is at 6 a.m. Sunday.

MORE: Full ski jumping broadcast schedule

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Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

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Jake Burton Carpenter, the pioneer who brought snowboarding to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business and Olympic showpiece, has died at 65.

He died Wednesday night in Burlington, Vermont, according to an email sent to the staff of the company he founded. Carpenter had emailed his staff this month saying, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.” He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but after several months of therapy had been given a clean bill of health.

Carpenter quit his job in New York in 1977 to form the company now known simply as Burton. His goal was to advance the rudimentary snowboard, then called a “Snurfer,” which had been invented by Sherman Poppen a dozen years earlier.

It worked, and more than four decades later, snowboarding is a major fixture at the Winter Games and snowboards are as common as skis at resorts across the globe.

“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Burton co-CEO John Lacy said in his email to the staff.

It is virtually impossible to avoid the name “Burton” once the snow starts falling at any given mountain around the world these days. The name is plastered on the bottoms of snowboards, embroidered on jackets, stenciled into bindings.

At a bar in Pyeongchang, South Korea, not far from where snowboarding celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Olympics last year, there was a wall filled with Burton pictures and memorabilia — as sure a sign as any of the global reach of a company founded in his garage in Londonderry, Vermont.

The company sponsored pretty much every top rider at one time or another — from Shaun White to Kelly Clark to Chloe Kim.

Carpenter watched all his champions win their Olympic golds from near the finish line, never afraid to grind away in the mosh pit of snowboarders and snowboarding fans that he helped create.

In an interview in 2010, he said he was happy with how far his sport had come, and comfortable with where it was going.

“I had a vision there was a sport there, that it was more than just a sledding thing, which is all it was then,” Burton said. “We’re doing something that’s going to last here. It’s not like just hitting the lottery one day.”

Lacy said details about the celebration of Burton’s life would be coming soon but, for now, “I’d encourage everyone to do what Jake would be doing tomorrow, and that’s riding. It’s opening day at Stowe, so consider taking some turns together, in celebration of Jake.”

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