Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman competitive with U.S. teammates in comeback

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Olympic champions Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman made promising returns in their first gymnastics meet since the London Games at the Jesolo Trophy in Italy on Saturday.

Douglas, the Olympic all-around champion, scored 58.9 points for fourth place among Americans. Raisman, the Olympic floor exercise champion, scored 59.1 for third.

“I was saying to Gabby, it feels like we didn’t take any time off,” Raisman said in an interview with the Italian broadcast. “We’re only more motivated than ever from here.”

As expected, two-time reigning World all-around champion Simone Biles won comfortably with 62.1. The 2013 U.S. junior champion Bailie Key was second with 59.5 in her first senior international meet.

It was the first time that the reigning Olympic all-around champion and reigning World all-around champion faced each other in a meet since 1980, according to USA Gymnastics.

The world’s other top gymnasts, from Russia, Romania and China, were not in the field.

Douglas, 19, made no major mistakes but took a small hop on her vault landing (video), a large step on her uneven bars dismount (video), a small hop on her balance beam dismount (video) and a large step on a floor pass (video).

She had 1.9 points fewer in start value than at the London Olympics. It’s to be expected that she would not perform the most difficult routines in her first meet in nearly 1,000 days. Douglas competed with her right ankle wrapped.

“We put in a lot of hard work,” Douglas said on the Italian broadcast. “It’s phenomenal being back.”

Raisman, 20, starred on her Olympic gold medal event, floor exercise. She scored a 15.2 (video), beaten only by Biles, who is the two-time reigning World champion in the event.

Biles, 18, posted the highest scores of Americans on all four apparatuses. The U.S. team includes 10 women whom USA Gymnastics national team coordinator Martha Karolyi deemed contenders to make the six-woman World Championships team in October.

Five women can make the 2016 Olympic team. Douglas, Raisman, Kyla Ross (who was 2.15 points behind Douglas on Saturday) and McKayla Maroney hope to be the first women since 2000 to make back-to-back U.S. Olympic teams.

The Jesolo Trophy, streamed on the Italian Gymnastics Federation’s YouTube page, concludes with individual apparatus finals Sunday at 4:30 a.m. ET.

The next likely meet for the top U.S. gymnasts is the Secret U.S. Classic on July 25 in Hoffman, Estates, Ill.

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Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

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2014 Olympian Gracie Gold qualified for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships by virtue of a third-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on Saturday in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“Bronze: so hot this fall,” Gold posted on Instagram. She last competed at U.S. nationals in 2017, when she finished sixth. She won the national title in 2014 and 2016.

Gold sat second after the short program with 63.55 points, and ultimately finished third overall with 109.90 points in the free skate for 173.45 points. The top four at the event qualify for the national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in January.

Her free skate included a fall on the opening triple Lutz and an under-rotation on the triple Lutz, double toe loop combination. She also put a hand down on the landing of a double Axel. The rest of the program, though, was clean.

Her performance, set to “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, can be found at the 2:05 mark of the on-demand stream of the event for NBC Gold Pass subscribers.

Meanwhile, her Sochi teammate Polina Edmunds was shut out of nationals based on a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final (top four qualify). Her performance can be found for NBC Gold Pass subscribers at the 1:50 mark of the on-demand stream for the event. Edmunds last competed at Nationals in 2016, when she earned the silver medal behind Gold.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Bronze: so hot this fall 🥉

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Brittany Bowe extends unbeaten streak to open speed skating World Cup

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Brittany Bowe extended one of the most dominant runs for any U.S. Winter Olympian, earning her first straight World Cup 1000m win to open the season on Sunday.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:15.35 in Minsk, Belarus, to beat PyeongChang gold medalist Jorien ter Mors by six tenths. Ter Mors missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Bowe won every World Cup 1000m dating to last December, plus her second world title in the event last February, lowering track records at each stop.

She ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 of a second on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 23 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The World Cup moves to Poland next week.

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