Viktor Ahn

Viktor Ahn, U.S. shut out at World Short Track Speed Skating Championships

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Viktor Ahn, the most decorated male athlete at the Sochi Olympics with four medals, failed to land on the podium at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Moscow over the weekend.

The South Korean-turned-Russian Ahn ceded his crown as overall World champion to the Netherlands’ Sjinkie Knegt, the man infamous for making an obscene hand gesture toward Ahn (but not necessarily at Ahn) at the 2014 European Championships.

In Moscow, Ahn finished fifth in the 1500m, eighth in the 1000m, 13th in the 500m and fifth with Russia in the 5000m relay. (full results here)

Knegt, the Sochi 1000m bronze medalist, became the first European-born man since 1991 to win the overall World Championship.

The women’s overall title went to South Korean Choi Minjeong, a 16-year-old who also took gold in the 1000m and 3000m in her first senior global championship.

The U.S. won zero medals at Worlds for the second time in three years. The best American individual finishes were by John-Henry Krueger and Jessica Smith, who were 10th and 12th, respectively, in the 1500m.

J.R. Celski taking break from short track speed skating

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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