Ashley Wagner
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Ashley Wagner wins Skate Canada in feat not seen since 2010

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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

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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