Yuzuru Hanyu

Yuzuru Hanyu tops World Championships short program; Jason Brown leads Americans

Leave a comment

Yuzuru Hanyu returned to the site of a scary warm-up collision and five-fall performance from November and skated much stronger Friday, topping the World Championships short program in Shanghai.

He scored 95.20 points, leading top rivals Spain’s Javier Fernandez by 2.46 and Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten by 9.31. Jason Brown was the top American in sixth (full results here).

Hanyu, the 20-year-old Olympic and World champion, can become the first Japanese skater to repeat as World champion in the free skate Saturday.

In the short program, he stumbled out of a quadruple toe loop, but judges still put him above the two-time World bronze medalist Fernandez, who cleanly landed all of his jumps, including a quadruple Salchow.

“I made an error on the quad toe loop, but my physical condition is nothing to worry about,” Hanyu, who missed weeks in the winter following bladder surgery, said, according to The Associated Press. “For the free skate, I’d like to put out everything that I have.”

At least 10 kids on skates spent minutes cleaning the ice following Hanyu’s short program Friday, after the crowd littered it with gifts and toys, mostly stuffed bears.

Fernandez will skate after Hanyu in the free skate Saturday.

“I’m going to skate around [the bears] and try not to kill myself,” Fernandez said, according to the AP.

Ten, the Olympic bronze medalist thought to be the biggest threat to Hanyu, fell on a quad toe loop and was a distant third.

The U.S. champion Brown scored the highest of any man who did not attempt a quad. He’s in the same position as he was after the Sochi Olympics short program, sixth and less than half of a point out of fourth.

“I feel really proud,” Brown said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon, in his third Worlds appearance and first since 2012, had his quad Lutz downgraded and under-rotated a triple Lutz. He’s in 11th.

“I’m kind of mad right now,” Rippon said, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “I’m going to take my feeling and channel it into my long program.”

The third American, Joshua Farris, fell on his opening triple Axel in his Worlds debut. He’s in 13th, disappointing after taking silver at the Four Continents Championships in February.

“I was nervous, but no more than I normally am,” Farris said, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “That fall did surprise me. In the air I didn’t think I was going to fall. It shook me up a bit.”

The top two U.S. men’s placements following the free skate Saturday must add up to 13 or better (such as Brown in sixth and Rippon in seventh) to ensure they keep three spots for the 2016 World Championships in Boston. Right now, that total is 17.

A U.S. man has not won a Worlds medal since Evan Lysacek‘s gold in 2009.

Men’s Short Program
1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 95.20
2. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 92.74
3. Denis Ten (KAZ) — 85.89
4. Sergey Voronov (RUS) — 84.70
5. Yan Han (CHN) — 84.45
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 84.32
11. Adam Rippon (USA) — 75.14
13. Joshua Farris (USA) — 73.52

Youngest World champions in ice dance since 1975

Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track medalist, to play for Miami Marlins

Eddy Alvarez
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eddy Alvarez realized his MLB dream, six years after earning a Winter Olympic medal, and during a global pandemic that affected his club more than any other U.S. professional sports franchise.

Alvarez, a 2014 U.S. Olympic short track speed skating medalist, is being added to the Miami Marlins roster for Tuesday’s restart of their abbreviated season, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, according to Marlins beat reporters.

The 30-year-old was among a group added after as many as 18 Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus last week, forcing the club to cancel seven games.

Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

He may be the second Olympic medalist in a sport other than baseball to make it to the majors, joining Jim Thorpe. (Michael Jordan tried to do so with the Chicago White Sox, playing Double-A in 1994, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995.)

Alvarez, a Miami native, played baseball in high school and at Salt Lake Community College before focusing on short track in 2012 for a 2014 Olympic run.

He came back from missing the 2010 Olympic team and surgeries on both knees, reportedly leaving him immobile and bedpan dependent for four to six weeks, to make the Sochi Winter Games. Eddy the Jet earned a silver medal in the 5000m relay.

Then Alvarez returned to baseball after three years away. He signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox in June 2014. He worked his way through the minors between that franchise and the Marlins system.

Alvarez was a Kannapolis Intimidator, a New Orleans Baby Cake and a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Now, he’s a big leaguer.

“It definitely was a chance, picking up a kid who hasn’t played in three years who is starting at the age of 24,” Alvarez said in 2014. “It’s not your typical story, but I play like a 17-year-old kid. I’m running around everywhere. I’m diving around everywhere. I’m full of life. I definitely see my progression moving at a rapid pace.”

MORE: What Olympic baseball, softball return looks like in 2021

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Katie Ledecky balances glass of chocolate milk on her head while swimming

Katie Ledecky
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Katie Ledecky will always remember Aug. 3 as the date she won her first Olympic gold medal, at age 15 in 2012.

Now, she can also associate it with the time she created another kind of buzz on social media.

The five-time Olympic champion posted video of her swimming the length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head. Barely any, if any, milk spilled into the pool.

Ledecky swam as part of a new got milk? ad campaign.

“Hoooowww nervous were you when you did this?!” fellow Olympic champion and training partner Simone Manuel asked Ledecky on Instagram.

“I have never braced my core so hard,” Ledecky wrote. “It’s a great drill!”

“Try doing it breaststroke,” British Olympic 100m breaststroke champion and world-record holder Adam Peaty wrote.

“Is it wrong of me to think this is even more impressive than a few of your WR’s?!!!” wrote 1992 Olympic champion Summer Sanders.

MORE: The meet where Kathleen Ledecky became Katie Ledecky

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!