Yuzuru Hanyu
AP

Yuzuru Hanyu out for ‘revenge’ at World Championships

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BOSTON — Yuzuru Hanyu, the smiling, laughing Japanese Olympic champion said Monday that he’s seeking “revenge” at the World Championships this week.

“Because I lost last year in this competition, I feel like I have to revenge,” Hanyu, who sometimes speaks English in interviews, said after his first practice at TD Garden.

A translator stood next to him, but Hanyu chose to let his own words in his non-native language do the talking.

“I feel good, this practice,” Hanyu said. “I don’t know if I’ll be feeling good in competition in a sold-out arena.”

Hanyu entered the 2015 World Championships as the reigning Olympic, World and Grand Prix Final champion.

That stat belied a tumultuous 2014-15 season, when Hanyu collided violently with a skater in a November warm-up, then fell five times in his performance less than an hour later and had his Worlds prep interrupted by bladder surgery.

Hanyu led after the 2015 Worlds short program in Shanghai but uncharacteristically landed zero quadruple jumps in his free skate, falling on his lone attempt as his Spanish training partner Javier Fernandez overtook him for gold.

Hanyu could be seen clapping for Fernandez when the Spaniard’s winning score came up, but his competitive desire was evident in his word choice Monday.

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This season, Hanyu put up the two highest total scores under the decade-old scoring system, beating Fernandez by a whopping 37.48 points in their only head-to-head in December. There, Hanyu and Fernandez both landed three quads.

Fernandez said Monday that he felt he had a chance to repeat this week if he and Hanyu both skated to the best of their abilities. That contradicts what he reportedly said before arriving in Boston.

“At this point, if we both skate clean, clean, clean, I will say he will beat me,” Fernandez said, according to an Icenetwork article published last week.

Their shared coach, Canadian 1988 Olympic silver medalist Brian Orser, refused to pick a favorite.

“Technically, they’re both the same as far as the jumping,” Orser said Monday. “Hanyu’s spins are a bit better, but I think Javi’s steps are better. … It would be hard to be on the [judges] panel to make that call. And I certainly would never make that call. You ain’t getting that from me.”

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David Taylor will not defend wrestling world title

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David Taylor waited five years to get his chance at the world championships. The wait will also be a little longer than expected to defend his world title.

Taylor suffered a knee injury in a May 6 match and underwent surgery, according to his social media. He was to face Pat Downey in two weeks for the U.S.’ spot at 86kg at September’s world championships, but that’s not happening now.

“The nature of competing as a professional athlete is a delicate one,” was posted on Taylor’s accounts. “One year, you find yourself winning the tilte of the 86 kg World Champion and being voted best pound for pound wrestler on earth. In the blink of an eye, you lose yourself in thought over the noisy lull of the MRI machine, hoping that the pain in your knee isn’t what you fear most.”

Taylor, 28, was one of three U.S. men to earn maiden world titles last October in Budapest, along with fellow former NCAA standouts J’den Cox and Kyle Dake.

Taylor upset Iran’s Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani in his first match at worlds. He suffered a knee injury in his second match and said he was kicked in the face in the semifinals. He then dumped Turkey’s top-seeded Fatih Erdin in the final, scoring a two-point takedown in the first 10 seconds and getting a 12-2 tech fall.

“To be able to earn it the way that I earned it, there’s no easy way,” Taylor said. “I wrestled every single best guy every single round.”

Taylor became the oldest first-time Olympic or world champion for USA Wrestling since 2006. He had finished second or third at trials for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 World teams and the 2016 Olympic team. He is one of four men to win the NCAA Wrestler of the Year award multiple times, doing so in 2012 and 2014 for Penn State.

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Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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