Gracie Gold

Gracie Gold: ‘I can do a lot better’ after Four Continents short program (video)

Leave a comment

Former U.S. champion Gracie Gold popped an Axel and skated into the boards in her second-place short program at the Four Continents Championships in Seoul on Friday.

Gold scored 62.67 points, well off her season’s best 68.16 set at NHK Trophy in Japan in November, before she took time off due to a small stress fracture in her foot.

She trails Japan’s Satoko Miyahara by 2.17 points heading into Sunday’s free skate at the top international event before the World Championships in March. Four Continents does not include the Worlds medal favorites from Russia.

“I can do a lot better,” Gold said, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “I’ve been skating very well, but it’s OK. I was still able to skate an OK program and will still be in the running for a medal, if not first place. The triple Lutz-triple toe was completed, although I was too close to the barrier. The mistake on the Axel was silly. I know I can do a double Axel.”

Polina Edmunds was in fourth place with 61.03. Samantha Cesario was in ninth with 54.95.

Earlier, U.S. ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia and Alex Shibutani fell from first and second after the short dance to finish in second and third, passed by Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

The Four Continents Championships continues with the men’s free skate, including U.S. champion Jason Brown, on Saturday.

Video: Jason Brown attempts quadruple jump in Four Continents short program

David Taylor will not defend wrestling world title

United World Wrestling
Leave a comment

David Taylor waited five years to get his chance at the world championships. The wait will also be a little longer than expected to defend his world title.

Taylor suffered a knee injury in a May 6 match and underwent surgery, according to his social media. He was to face Pat Downey in two weeks for the U.S.’ spot at 86kg at September’s world championships, but that’s not happening now.

“The nature of competing as a professional athlete is a delicate one,” was posted on Taylor’s accounts. “One year, you find yourself winning the tilte of the 86 kg World Champion and being voted best pound for pound wrestler on earth. In the blink of an eye, you lose yourself in thought over the noisy lull of the MRI machine, hoping that the pain in your knee isn’t what you fear most.”

Taylor, 28, was one of three U.S. men to earn maiden world titles last October in Budapest, along with fellow former NCAA standouts J’den Cox and Kyle Dake.

Taylor upset Iran’s Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani in his first match at worlds. He suffered a knee injury in his second match and said he was kicked in the face in the semifinals. He then dumped Turkey’s top-seeded Fatih Erdin in the final, scoring a two-point takedown in the first 10 seconds and getting a 12-2 tech fall.

“To be able to earn it the way that I earned it, there’s no easy way,” Taylor said. “I wrestled every single best guy every single round.”

Taylor became the oldest first-time Olympic or world champion for USA Wrestling since 2006. He had finished second or third at trials for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 World teams and the 2016 Olympic team. He is one of four men to win the NCAA Wrestler of the Year award multiple times, doing so in 2012 and 2014 for Penn State.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Helen Maroulis on why she missed world team trials

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire