U.S. pairs outside top five after World Championships short program

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U.S. pairs champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim were out of sync on their side-by-side triple Salchows and placed seventh in the World Championships short program in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Scimeca and Knierim, who are aiming for top six at Worlds, enter the free skate Thursday trailing Canadian leaders Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford by 11.48 points (full standings here).

“We had to fight through some of it, and we had little errors here and there, but overall it was great and our season’s best [short program score], so we are happy,” said Knierim, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

U.S. silver medalists Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier were one spot behind Scimeca and Knierim, in eighth place in the short program.

The two U.S. pairs’ results must add up to no greater than 13 to earn the maximum three berths at the 2016 World Championships in Boston. Scimeca and Knierim and Denney and Frazier must improve by a combined two places in the free skate to reach 13.

“We would like to be in the top six overall,” said Scimeca, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “We know we have to skate a near-perfect long to make that happen, but we believe in ourselves.”

The U.S. has not had three pairs spots at Worlds since 2003, hasn’t won a Worlds medal since 2002 and hasn’t won an Olympic medal since 1988, its longest droughts of all four figure skating disciplines.

Duhamel and Radford, the two-time reigning World bronze medalists and pre-event favorites, scored .03 off their personal best in the short program. They are undefeated this season and seeking to be the first Canadian pair to win Worlds gold since Jamie Sale and David Pelletier in 2001.

The reigning Russian Olympic champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov and reigning German World champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy are not competing in Shanghai this week.

Pairs Short Program
1. Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — 76.98
2. Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN) — 72.59
3. Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) — 71.63
4. Yuko Kavaguti/Aleksander Smirnov (RUS) — 71.59
5. Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) — 69.67
7. Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knierim (USA) — 65.56
8. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 61.32

World Figure Skating Championships schedule

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
Getty
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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