Carolina Kostner set for figure skating return

Carolina Kostner
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Italian Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner is entered in a free skate-only Jan. 15 event in Japan with several retired figure skaters, potentially her first event following a 21-month suspension.

Kostner’s name is among 10 listed for the Medal Winners Open in Osaka, Japan. Eight of the other nine skaters have retired from competition, and the other, four-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, is not skating competitively this season and might never again.

Kostner is eligible to return to competition on Jan. 1 after serving a backdated 21-month suspension for helping ex-boyfriend and Olympic race-walking champion Alex Schwazer evade drug testers in 2012.

The Osaka event will aid Kostner in a possible bid for eligibility to compete in the World Championships in March and April, according to The Associated Press.

Kostner said this fall that she hoped to return to competition.

”The desire is there, and it includes also obviously a possible Olympics,” Kostner, 28, said on Oct. 6, according to The Associated Press.

Kostner said before the Schwazer controversy that she would take the 2014-15 season off, after she won Olympic and World Championships bronze medals earlier in 2014.

In Sochi, she became the second oldest women’s figure skating medalist since 1928, according to sports-reference.com.

She owns six World Championships medals, including gold in 2012.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Olympic, World champions miss Russian Championships podium

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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