Ashley Wagner wins Skate Canada in feat not seen since 2010

Ashley Wagner
AP
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Ashley Wagner held on to beat the reigning World champion for her fourth Grand Prix series victory at Skate Canada on Saturday.

Wagner, a three-time U.S. champion, totaled personal bests in her short program Friday (70.73 points) and free skate Saturday (131.79) at the Lethbridge, Alberta, event.

“Backstage [before the free skate], I was looking at [coach Rafael Arutyunyan], and I was just like, ‘I’m not ready to do this. I don’t want to do this,'” Wagner said at a press conference. “So I’m glad that I looked composed by the time I got out there.”

Russian World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva improved from seventh after a disastrous short program to finish second to Wagner, but 13.6 points behind. Tuktamysheva outscored Wagner by 1.83 in the free skate, landing a triple Axel.

“I’m happy that I was able to pull myself together for today and to show all jumps that I can do,” Tuktamysheva said through a translator at a press conference. “I tried to forget about the short program. Everybody can make mistakes. There’s nothing terrible about it.”

Wagner, skating last on Saturday, landed seven triple jumps in her free skate, though three of her overall jumps were under-rotated.

“I knew how well Elizaveta had skated,” Wagner said. “I was backstage just thinking, thinking, thinking about what I had to do, and then Raf pulled me aside and reminded me that — it sounds so cheesy — but he told me it wasn’t about what everybody else was doing. It was just another day on the ice. It was practice for me and an opportunity to train the program under pressure for Nationals and Worlds, which are my main focuses this year.”

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Wagner, 24, became the first U.S. singles skater to win an event that included a reigning Olympic or World champion since Evan Lysacek dethroned Yevgeny Plushenko at the 2010 Olympics.

Wagner’s career record includes Grand Prix victories at Trophee Bompard (2012, 2013) and Skate America (2012) and the Four Continents Championship (2012). Her best finish at an Olympics or Worlds is fourth, as no U.S. woman has earned a medal at the two most prestigious events since 2006.

Wagner’s next competition is NHK Trophy in Japan in four weeks, an event headlined by three-time World champion Mao Asada, the only active skater with more Grand Prix series wins than Wagner. Asada has 14 Grand Prix victories.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Full season broadcast schedule

Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off helps from official, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and reportedly said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together.”

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”

Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

Asher Hong
Getty
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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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