Patrick Chan outduels Yuzuru Hanyu at Skate Canada in comeback

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Patrick Chan kneeled, covered his face and took in the noise of the Alberta crowd and the wave of Canadian flags. He said he felt like the Chan of old.

The three-time World champion came all the way back after a one year-break, beating the man who kept him from Olympic gold and overtaking the short program leader to win Skate Canada on Saturday night.

“It’s been a battle,” Chan said in the kiss-and-cry area shortly before his score was announced — 271.14 total points, which would have won silver at last season’s World Championships.

Chan, who last skated at the top international level earning two silver medals at the Sochi Olympics, bettered Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu by 11.6 points for his fifth Skate Canada title and 12th overall in the Grand Prix series.

Short program leader Daisuke Murakami finished third, followed by U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon and Canadian champion Nam Nguyen.

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

“A big relief,” Chan told CBC. “It was a challenging day, but I’m really pleased with the results. I didn’t think it would turn out this way. I had no expectations, results-wise.”

Chan said he covered his face after a clean, 4-minute, 30-second free skate because he couldn’t believe what had happened given how he felt just before taking the ice.

“I really was lost and didn’t know where to start and was really scared to go out and skate,” he said in a press conference. “Talked it through [with coach Kathy Johnson], stepped on the ice and really skated with no thought of who’s around and who’s watching, just really skating because it feels good.

“As vulnerable as it was and uncomfortable and kind of embarrassing, you’ve got to have those moments to take that next step sometimes,” he told CBC.

Chan was in second place behind Japan’s Daisuke Murakami after Friday’s short program, when he fell on a triple Axel and doubled a planned triple Lutz.

“Maybe in the short program I was thinking too much about, I want to show people that I’m back,” Chan said.

He cleaned up in the free skate, opening with a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and then nailing the triple Axel.

Hanyu, who was sixth in the short program due to receiving zero points on two of his three jumping passes, improved to pass everybody but Chan on Saturday. Hanyu landed three quadruple jumps and then fell on a triple Lutz.

“I felt more about skating my best and just showing what I’ve been doing at the practice rather than try and skate clean,” Hanyu said through a translator in a press conference.

The Grand Prix series continues with the Cup of China next week. Chan will next compete in Trophee Bompard in France the following week. Hanyu’s next competition is NHK Trophy in Japan in four weeks.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Full season broadcast schedule

Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
United World Wrestling
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.