Ashley Wagner

Ashley Wagner in Grand Prix Final fight after finishing behind Russians at Trophee Bompard (video)

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Ashley Wagner finished third after a flawed free skate at Trophee Bompard on Saturday, putting her hopes of making a third straight Grand Prix Final in jeopardy.

Wagner, who finished seventh at the Sochi Olympics and March’s World Championships, fell on a triple flip but managed to keep her standing from Friday’s short program in Bordeaux, France. She held one of her arms across her stomach as she walked to and sat in the kiss-and-cry area.

“I just don’t want to puke,” Wagner said as she waited for her score (177.74 points). “That’s way better [of a score] than I thought it was going to be.”

Russian Yelena Radionova won for the second time in five Grand Prix series events with 203.92 points. Radionova, who is 15 years old and was too young for the Sochi Olympics, became the first woman to crack 200 points this Grand Prix season.

Another Russian, Yulia Lipnitskaya, took second. Lipnitskaya was the star of the Sochi Olympic team event, helping Russia win gold.

Radionova, Lipnitskaya and countrywomen Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Anna Pogorilaya have qualified for four of the six spots in the Grand Prix Final in three weeks in Barcelona.

The field for the Grand Prix Final, the top annual international competition outside the World Championships, is made up of the top skaters from the Grand Prix series’ six events. The series concludes with NHK Trophy in Japan next week.

Wagner could make her third straight Grand Prix Final but must wait to see what happens at NHK Trophy. Only one other U.S. woman has made three straight Grand Prix Finals, Michelle Kwan.

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

Trophee Bompard women’s results
1. Yelena Radionova (JPN) — 203.92
2. Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS) — 185.18
3. Ashley Wagner (USA) — 177.74
4. Courtney Hicks (USA) — 172.58
7. Samantha Cesario (USA) — 161.7

Leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Yelena Radionova (RUS) — 203.92 (Trophee Bompard)
2. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 196.6 (Cup of China)
3. Yelena Radionova (RUS) — 195.47 (Skate America)
4. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) — 191.81 (Skate Canada)
5. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 189.62 (Skate America)
6. Ashley Wagner (USA) — 186 (Skate Canada)
7. Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS) — 185.18 (Trophee Bompard)
8. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 181.75 (Skate Canada)
9. Gracie Gold (USA) — 179.38 (Skate America)
10. Rika Hongo (JPN) — 178 (Rostelecom Cup)
Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova is out with a torn ankle ligament.

U.S. leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Ashley Wagner — 186 (Skate Canada)
2. Gracie Gold — 179.38 (Skate America)
3. Ashley Wagner — 177.74 (Trophee Bompard)
4. Samantha Cesario — 174.58 (Skate America)
5. Courtney Hicks — 174.51 (Skate Canada)
6. Courtney Hicks — 172.58 (Trophee Bompard)
7. Mirai Nagasu — 165.88 (Rostelecom Cup)
8. Samantha Cesario — 161.7 (Trophee Bompard)
9. Polina Edmunds — 161.27 (Cup of China)

Grand Prix Final qualifiers
1. Yelena Radionova (RUS)
2. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
3. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
4. Yulia Lipnitskaya (RUS)
5. TBD
6. TBD

Fighting for final two Grand Prix Final spots
1. Ashley Wagner (USA)
2. Satoko Miyahara (JPN)
3. Gracie Gold (USA)
4. Kanako Murakami (JPN)
5. Polina Edmunds (USA)

If Miyahara, Gold, Murakami or Edmunds wins NHK Trophy, she will make the Grand Prix Final.

If one of those four wins NHK Trophy and one of Miyahara, Gold and Murakami finishes second, the second-place finisher and Wagner will go to a tiebreaker for the last Grand Prix Final spot. The tiebreaker is which skater has a higher combined point total from their two events this season (Wagner led that tiebreaker after the four skaters’ first events).

If none of those four wins NHK Trophy (such as Russian Alena Leonova winning), Wagner will make the Grand Prix Final. In that scenario, if Miyahara, Gold or Murakami finishes second, she will also make the Grand Prix Final.

UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) is looking for a new host for the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland can no longer host the week-long event in late September after a national decision to extend a ban on events with more than 1,000 people through next month.

Amid reports the competition has been canceled, the UCI clarified Wednesday that it still hopes to hold it in some form, perhaps without some of the junior or senior races.

It now seeks an “alternative project,” preferably still in Europe and on the same dates (Sept. 20-27).

Worlds were due to start in Switzerland on the same day that the rescheduled Tour de France ends, though the senior elite men’s races are typically not on the first three days.

The Tour de France is still scheduled to start Aug. 29.

Last year, American Chloe Dygert starred at road worlds, winning the time trial in dominant fashion. Other world champions in Olympic events: Annemiek van Vleuten (road race), Rohan Dennis (time trial) and Mads Pedersen (road race).

MORE: Chloe Dygert had the most dominant ride in history. It still drives her nuts.

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Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15 in 2000

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In the biggest race of his young life, a 15-year-old Michael Phelps turned for the last 50 meters in fourth place of the U.S. Olympic Trials 200m butterfly final on Aug. 12, 2000.

His mom, Debbie, couldn’t watch. She turned away from the Indianapolis Natatorium pool and stared at the scoreboard. Both Debbie and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, mentally prepared their consolation speeches for the rising Towson High School sophomore outside Baltimore.

Then Phelps, fueled by nightly Adam’s Mark chicken sandwich-and-cheesecake room service and amped by pre-race DMX on his CD player, turned it on. He zoomed into second place, becoming the youngest U.S. male swimmer to qualify for an Olympics since 1932.

Phelps had “come out of nowhere in the last six months” to become an Olympic hopeful, NBC Sports swimming commentator Dan Hicks said on the broadcast. True, Phelps chopped five and a half seconds off his personal best that March.

“He doesn’t know what it means to go to the Olympics and how it’s going to change his life,” Tom Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist who held off Phelps in that trials final, said that night, according to The Associated Press. “He’s going to find out soon.”

Phelps, who did his trademark arm flaps before the trials final, made Bowman look like a prophet. Four years earlier, the coach sat Debbie down for a conversation she would not soon forget.

“Told me what he projected for Michael,” Debbie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s front-page story on a local 15-year-old qualifying for the Sydney Games. “He said that in 2004, he would definitely be a factor in the Olympics. He also said that he could be there in 2000, to watch out for him. At the time, he was only 11.”

The trials were bittersweet for the Phelps family. Whitney, one of Phelps’ older sisters, withdrew before the meet with herniated discs in her back that kept her from making an Olympics after competing in the 1994 World Championships at age 14.

After Phelps qualified for the Olympics, one of the first people to embrace him was Whitney on the pool deck.

The next week, Phelps, still with bottom-teeth braces, did his first live TV sitdown on CNN, swiveling in his chair the whole time, according to his autobiography, “Beneath the Surface.”

The next month, Phelps finished fifth in his Olympic debut, clocking a then-personal-best time that would have earned gold or silver at every previous Olympics.

Following the Olympic race, gold medalist Malchow patted Phelps on the back, according to “No Limits,” another Phelps autobiography. What did Malchow say?

“The best is ahead of you.”

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