Madison Chock, Evan Bates take ice dance silver at World Championships

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Madison Chock and Evan Bates could not become the second U.S. ice dance couple to win a World Championship, dropping from first after the short dance to take silver following the free dance in Shanghai on Friday.

“I had a bobble on my twizzle, but after that, I was like, ‘Nope, I want this too badly, and I’m going to fight my tail off to get it,'” Chock said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Chock and Bates finished 2.94 points behind French gold medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. The French couple jumped from fourth in the short dance, overcoming a 2.53-point deficit to the Americans.

“It’s a big surprise,” Papadakis said. “I have no words.”

Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje earned the bronze (full results here).

Papadakis, 19, and Cizeron, 20, captured their biggest crown in their second season as senior skaters and became the youngest World champions in ice dance in 40 years.

They previously earned silver at the 2013 World Junior Championships and gold at the most recent European Championships in January. They were 13th at their senior-level World Championships debut last March.

“The summer before this season, our goal was to be in the top 10,” Cizeron said.

This season marked a major shake-up in ice dance, with the last two Olympic champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, sitting out. It’s unknown if or when they will return to competition.

Chock and Bates hoped to join Davis and White as the only U.S. ice dance couples to win World titles. They took silver in three straight international events — the Grand Prix Final in December, the Four Continents Championships in February and now the World Championships.

That’s remarkably strong consistency for a couple that finished eighth at the Sochi Olympics and fifth at the World Championships last March. Their goal this season was to earn a medal at Worlds.

“This is unchartered territory for us, and it’s harder than it looks,” Bates said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Chock and Bates’ silvers will likely be the only medals won by Americans at these World Championships. The top U.S. pair finished seventh. The top U.S. woman was in seventh after the short program. A U.S. man has not won a medal at Worlds since 2009.

Final Results
Gold: Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) — 184.28
Silver: Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 181.34
Bronze: Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) — 179.42
4. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) — 177.50
5. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 172.03
10. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) — 156.56

U.S. women struggle in short program; Russian soars

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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