Adelina Sotnikova
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Adelina Sotnikova’s return headlines Rostelecom Cup; preview

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Don’t be surprised if Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova finishes off the podium at the Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix event in Moscow this weekend, the Russian’s biggest competition since her Sochi triumph.

That’s because Sotnikova, who essentially missed all of last season with an ankle injury, appears to be slowly trying to regain her form. She finished fourth among a decorated field at the free skate-only Japan Open exhibition and second in a lower-level Russian event, both in October.

“I had certain problems with motivation after my recovery from injury,” Sotnikova said, according to Agence France-Presse. “But after a short period of hesitation I understood that I’m too young to finish my career. I want to show the fans something different, some new features of my skating.

“I was really missing the competitions throughout this year. I want to feel adrenalin in my blood ahead of the new start again.”

This week, she must deal with two countrywomen who weren’t age-eligible to compete when Sotnikova became the first woman to win an Olympic title with zero prior World Championships medals.

The Rostelecom Cup favorites are arguably 16-year-olds Yevgenia Medvedeva and Yelena Radionova, the last two winners of Skate America and the World Junior Championships.

Medvedeva will clinch a spot in December’s six-skater Grand Prix Final if she finishes on the podium after Saturday’s free skate. Radionova, who was third at Cup of China two weeks ago, will clinch a Grand Prix Final spot if she wins Rostelecom Cup.

Both skaters can make it with lower finishes depending on the performances of other skaters in Moscow and next week at NHK Trophy in Japan, the final Grand Prix Final qualifier.

World champion Javier Fernandez leads the men’s field in Moscow. He will clinch a spot in the Grand Prix Final in his home nation in Barcelona if he lands on the podium Saturday, after his Cup of China victory.

Needing better finishes are U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon and Canadian champion Nam Nguyen, who took fourth and fifth at Skate Canada.

Icenetwork.com will stream for subscribers live coverage of men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance short programs and free skates. NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage Sunday from 12-1:30 p.m. ET.

Men’s short program — Friday, 8:25 a.m. ET (start order here)
Women’s short program — Friday, 12:30 p.m. ET (start order here)
Men’s free skate — Saturday, 7:35 a.m. ET
Women’s free skate — Saturday, 11:35 a.m. ET

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Top Grand Prix season scores

WOMEN
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 206.01 (Skate America)
2. Gracie Gold (USA) — 202.80 (Skate America)
3. Ashley Wagner (USA) — 202.52 (Skate Canada)
4. Mao Asada (JPN) — 197.48 (Cup of China)
5. Rika Hongo (JPN) — 195.76 (Cup of China)
6. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 188.99 (Skate Canada)
7. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 188.07 (Skate America)

MEN
1. Patrick Chan (CAN) — 271.14 (Skate Canada)
2. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 270.55 (Cup of China)
3. Jin Boyang (CHN) — 261.23 (Cup of China)
4. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 259.54 (Skate Canada)
5. Max Aaron (USA) — 258.95 (Skate America)
6. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 257.43 (Skate America)
7. Daisuke Murakami (JPN) — 252.25 (Skate Canada)

Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

Chicago Marathon
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The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the fourth World Marathon Major called off this year.

Organizers cited the challenge of staging the 45,000-runner event “out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators.”

Previously, major marathons were canceled in Berlin (originally scheduled for Sept. 27), Boston (April 20, then Sept. 14) and New York City (Nov. 1). The London Marathon, originally scheduled for April 26 and postponed to Oct. 4, remains scheduled.

The other World Marathon Major, Tokyo, took place on its scheduled date of March 1 but with elite runners only.

Last year, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won Chicago by taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Figure skating Grand Prix events in China remain scheduled

Grand Prix Final
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Figure skating Grand Prix events in China in November and December remain scheduled, the International Skating Union announced Monday, four days after reports about international sporting events in China being canceled through the end of 2020.

A notice about sports events, issued Thursday by the General Administration of Sport of China, made an exception for Beijing Winter Olympic test events and other preparations for the first Winter Games in China in February 2022.

The Grand Prix Final, the second-most prestigious annual figure skating competition, is still scheduled for December in Beijing because it is an Olympic test event.

Furthermore, the Cup of China, one of six events across the globe that determines Grand Prix Final qualifiers, remains scheduled for November in Chongqing because it is related to the Final.

“Like for all other five ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in the different countries, this is of course subject to finding the necessary logistical, medical and safety solutions to hold the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events as planned,” according to the ISU.

The ISU previously announced it set a deadline to decide on possible event cancellations: 12 weeks before an event starts. For the first Grand Prix Series competition, Skate America in Las Vegas, the decision deadline is Aug. 1.

The ISU council will meet virtually on Aug. 3 to decide on further action for upcoming competitions.

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