Yuzuru Hanyu breaks world records, three-peats at Grand Prix Final

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Yuzuru Hanyu broke his world record free skate and total scores for the second straight competition and became the first man to win three straight Grand Prix Finals in Barcelona on Saturday.

The Olympic champion landed three quadruple jumps and two triple Axels on Saturday. He scored 219.48 points for his free skate and 330.43 overall, both breaking his world records from NHK Trophy in Japan two weeks ago.

His margin of victory, 37.48 points, broke the Grand Prix Final record of 35.1 points under the decade-old scoring system set by Yevgeny Plushenko in 2004. No man, woman, pair or ice dance couple has ever won by the large of a margin at an Olympics, Worlds or Grand Prix Final.

Hanyu said the performance was “almost perfect.”

“I just want to do the perfect feeling,” said Hanyu, who also broke his short program world record from NHK on Friday and is the only man to clear 300 points. “I feel like score is score. My performance is my performance. That’s a difference, right?

“I’m really, really nervous, and I feel really heavy pressure today. So I wasn’t comfortable. Please tell me how do I get confidence in my performance?”

Spain’s Javier Fernandez took silver behind Hanyu for a second straight year with 292.95 total points, landing two quads clean and stepping out of the landing of a third in his free skate.

“After the short program, I know Yuzuru was way far away already,” said Fernandez, who trailed by 19.43 after the short program. “If he does a great program, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Japan’s Shoma Uno, the reigning World junior champion, earned bronze with 276.79 and two quads Saturday.

Canada’s Patrick Chan, a three-time World champion, improved from last place (sixth overall) after the short program to finish fourth.

NBC will air Grand Prix Final coverage Dec. 20 from 4-6 p.m. ET. The Grand Prix Final is the most prestigious annual competition outside of the World Championships.

The figure skating season continues with National Championships in Japan, Russia and the U.S. in December and January.

The World Championships are in Boston in late March and early April. Fernandez upset Hanyu at last season’s World Championships.

MORE: U.S. women miss medals at Grand Prix Final

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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