Johnny Weir
Getty Images

Johnny Weir ranks Yuzuru Hanyu’s record skates with 4 historic performances

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Johnny Weir said Yuzuru Hanyu‘s record-breaking win at NHK Trophy in Japan last weekend was “one of those things that will stay forever.”

The Olympic champion Hanyu posted the highest short program and free skate scores under the decade-old system that replaced the 6.0 scale. His total score of 322.40 points smashed Patrick Chan‘s previous record by 27.13.

Weir, speaking at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday, ranked Hanyu’s performance with four of his favorite all-time skates.

“It was a moment in time,” Weir said. “I don’t know how long it’ll take for someone to even come close to that score.”

Here are the four performances Weir grouped with Hanyu’s record:

Michelle Kwan‘s short program and free skate at the 1998 U.S. Championships.

Kwan regained her U.S. crown from Tara Lipinski after coming back from a broken toe with skating that reportedly left at least one judge in tears. Seven of nine judges awarded her perfect 6.0s in presentation for the short, and eight of nine did so for the free skate.

Kwan captured the second of her nine U.S. titles and would go on to take Olympic silver behind Lipinski in Nagano one month later and then bronze at Salt Lake City 2002.

Yevgeny Plushenko‘s free skate at the 2002 Olympics.

The Russian fell in his Olympic debut in the short program, putting him in fourth going into the free skate. Unable to control his own destiny for a gold medal, Plushenko nonetheless skated brilliantly, landing two quadruple jumps, including a quad-triple-triple combination, stepping out of the landing on the last jump.

He was beaten by only Yagudin in the free skate and earned silver behind the countryman with whom he formerly shared a coach. Plushenko was only 19 and embarking on a career that would include Olympic medals at the next three Winter Games.

Irina Slutskaya‘s short program and free skate at the 2000 World Championships and free skate at the 2005 World Championships.

Slutskaya almost gave the sport up after failing to make the Russian team for the 1999 World Championships, one year after taking Worlds silver. She came back strong for 1999-2000, however, sweeping the Russian Championship, Russian Grand Prix, Grand Prix Final and European Championship. She took silver behind an exquisite Kwan at Worlds in Nice, France.

In 2004-05, Slutskaya came back from a lengthy hospital stay due to a heart condition to win a World title at home in Moscow. The previous two years, she had pulled out before the 2003 Worlds due to her mother falling ill and then finished ninth at the 2004 Worlds before the hospitalization.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Nancy Kerrigan finds new passion

*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Yevgeny Plushenko won gold medals at the last three Olympics. He won silver in 2010.

Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

Leave a comment

Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines covered swimming together at the last six Olympics, including every one of Michael Phelps‘ finals, but they’ve never called a “race” quite like this.

“We heard you were looking for something to commentate during the down time….might this short short short course 100 IM help?” tweeted Cathleen Pruden, posting a video of younger sister Mary Pruden, a sophomore swimmer at Columbia University, taking individual medley strokes in what appeared to be an inflatable backyard pool.

“Hang on,” Gaines replied. “This race of the century deserves the right call. @DanHicksNBC and I are working some magic!”

Later, Hicks posted a revised video dubbed with commentary from he and Gaines.

They became the latest commentators to go beyond the booth to post calls on social media while sports are halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Sports hockey voice Doc Emrick (who has also called Olympic hockey and water polo) did play-by-play of a windshield wiper installation.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Ledecky, Manuel welcome Olympic decision after training in backyard pool

Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

Team USA Olympics
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Soon after Tokyo Olympic qualifying events began getting postponed, the International Olympic Committee announced that all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes.

The IOC repeated that position over the last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed (now to open July 23, 2021). What does that mean for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee?

Well, 76 athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team before the Olympic postponement was announced. That full list is here.

Those 76 athletes can be separated into two categories.

  • Athletes who earned Olympic spots BY NAME via International Federation (i.e. International Surfing Association or International Aquatics Federation) selection procedures.
  • Athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team by their national governing body (i.e. USA Swimming or USA Track and Field) and confirmed by the USOPC using NGB selection procedures after the NGB earned a quota spot.

When the IOC says “all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes,” it means just that. USA Softball still has 15 athlete quota spots from qualifying a full team via international results. Surfer Kolohe Andino still has his Olympic spot from qualifying BY NAME via the International Surfing Association selection procedures route.

USA Softball named its 15-player Olympic roster last fall. Those 15 athletes did not earn Olympic quota spots for themselves. Unlike Andino (and 13 other American qualifiers across all sports), the 15 softball players had to be nominated by USA Softball and confirmed by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unless and until the USOPC confirms that any of those other 62 athletes remain qualified, for now the list of U.S. Olympic qualifiers is these 14 who qualified BY NAME:

Karate (1)
Sakura Kokumai

Modern Pentathlon (2)
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Swimming (3)
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Sport Climbing (4)
Kyra Condie
Brooke Raboutou
Nathaniel Coleman
Colin Duffy

Surfing (4)
Caroline Marks
Carissa Moore
Kolohe Andino
John John Florence

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement