Adelina Sotnikova named European Championships alternate

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Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova was named an alternate for Russia’s team for next month’s European Championships, putting her chances of competing at the World Championships — or anywhere — later this season in doubt.

Sotnikova, who in Sochi became the first woman to win Olympic gold with zero World Championships medals, has not performed in top-level international competition since the Winter Games.

She pulled out of her two Grand Prix series assignments this fall and last week’s Russian Championships after tearing an ankle ligament in early November.

The Russian team for the European Championships — Jan. 29-31 in Stockholm — includes the gold and silver medalists from the Russian Championships, Yelena Radionova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, as well as Anna Pogorilaya, who finished fourth at last season’s Worlds.

Sotnikova, one of three alternates, will have a test skate on Jan. 15, after which a final decision on the European Championships will be made, according to figure skating reporter Tatjana Flade.

Olympic pairs champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov were also named alternates for Europeans. They missed the Grand Prix season and Russian Championships after Trankov suffered a shoulder injury.

Yulia Lipnitskaya, the star of the Sochi Olympic team event, finished ninth at the Russian Championships, capping a disappointing season.

The three-woman Russian team for the World Championships in March is expected to be named after Europeans.

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports

Alysa Liu rallies to win Junior Grand Prix with another quadruple jump

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U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu landed a quadruple Lutz for a second straight Junior Grand Prix, rallying from fourth after the short program to win an event in Poland on Friday.

Liu, who in January became the youngest U.S. champion in history at age 13, won both of her starts in her first season on the Junior Grand Prix to become the first U.S. woman to qualify for the six-skater Junior Grand Prix Final since 2013 (Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen). The Final is held with the senior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

She won Friday by 6.63 points by surpassing a pair of Russians, a rarity in this era. Her free skate is here.

Liu trailed by 4.03 points after doubling a planned triple loop in the short program. She was the lone skater in the field to attempt a triple Axel (landing three of them, including two in combination and one with a negative grade of execution) or a quad.

Liu tallied 138.99 points in the free skate and 203.10 overall. She ranks sixth in the world this season by best total scores among junior and senior skaters, though some top skaters have yet to compete.

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Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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