Tyson Gay speaks to thousands at vigil for daughter Trinity (video)

AP
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Thousands of people joined Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay at a candlelight vigil Monday night on a Kentucky high school track honoring Gay’s 15-year-old daughter, who was fatally shot over the weekend.

Gay stood on the track at Lexington’s Lafayette High School where he and daughter Trinity excelled and he thanked people for showing support after the girl’s death early Sunday after gunfire erupted outside a restaurant in that city. The teen’s mother, Shoshana Boyd, also was present amid the crowd honoring her memory.

“I want you guys to love each other, have peace and protect each other,” said Gay, who added that he was numb from crying over her death. “That’s what Trinity would have wanted. … Life is not a joke.”

Many in the crowd wore pink and purple — Gay’s favorite colors — with some holding balloons of those same hues that were later released into the air. Several pairs of track spikes hung from a fence along with a baton that said In Memory of Trinity.

Three men charged in connection with the shooting pleaded not guilty Monday and face an Oct. 25 court date. The three appeared via video before Fayette County, Kentucky, District Court Judge T. Bruce Bell.

Bell set bail at $5,000 each for Chazerae Taylor, 38, and his son, D’Markeo Taylor, 19, on wanton endangerment charges. Dvonta Middlebrooks, 21, is charged with wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His bail was set at $12,500.

Bell will assign attorneys for two of them. The younger Taylor already has a lawyer.

Lexington police say Middlebrooks was in the parking lot of the Cook Out restaurant early Sunday and fired multiple shots in the incident in which Trinity Gay was shot. Court records said the Taylors acknowledged firing shots.

Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said police don’t believe Trinity Gay was in either of two vehicles involved.

Gay told The Associated Press on Monday evening that in talking with police, he believed his daughter was an innocent bystander. But he said authorities didn’t reveal details of their investigation.

Tyson Gay said he and his daughter were very close, according to Lexington TV station WLEX, which spoke to him Sunday.

“It’s so crazy. I have no idea what happened,” Gay told the station.

Grief counselors also went to the Lexington high school Monday for students and staff, Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said. Years ago, Gay had attended the same school as his daughter. Trinity Gay was a standout sprinter, placing in the top five in several events at the state championships in May. Her father still holds the state record in the 100 set in 2001.

Lafayette principal Bryne Jacobs, teacher Rhonda Mullins and girls track coach Crystal Washington all described Trinity Gay as friendly and outgoing. She dreamed of becoming a surgeon.

“She was full of energy and life,” said Mullins, who had Gay in family and consumer science classes along with the Future Educators of America club. “She was a kid that everybody wanted to teach.”

Jacobs said Trinity Gay’s mother, who also attended Lafayette, had thanked him for support from the school and community, and noted that Trinity’s life was something to celebrate.

“Our hearts are burdened that she is not in our building anymore,” Jacobs said.

The emotions flowed before, during and after a candlelight vigil on the track where Trinity Gay excelled. Tyson Gay hugged Shoshana several around him.

Many others hugged and cried, but Jerome Brown, 16, held his feelings for his former teammate in check. “I don’t want to cry, but it hurts a lot,” said Brown, who ran with Trinity Gay since she was 9. “I wanted to come here for her mom. With Trinity, when she was on the track, it was home.”

Tyson Gay competed in the last three Summer Olympics. He was part of a team that won a silver medal in the 4×100-meter relay at the 2012 London Games, though that medal was ultimately stripped after Gay tested positive for steroids in 2013.

Last summer’s Games in Rio featured another stinging disappointment for Gay, 33, who has battled injuries. He was a member of the American men’s 4×100-meter relay team that finished third in the final before being disqualified for an illegal baton exchange between Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin. The team’s appeal was denied, giving Canada the bronze medal.

Japanese pair edges Americans for historic Grand Prix Final figure skating title

Riku Miura, Ryuichi Kihara
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Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the biggest title ever for a Japanese figure skating pair, taking the Grand Prix Final and consolidating their status as the world’s top active team.

Miura and Kihara, last season’s world silver medalists, barely outscored world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier in Turin, Italy, in both Thursday’s short program and Friday’s free skate to win the six-pair event that is a preview of March’s worlds.

The Japanese totaled 214.58 points, distancing the Americans by a mere 1.3 points after Frazier erred on both of their side-by-side jumping passes in the free skate. Italians Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii took bronze.

“We had a very late start to our season than initially planned, so as we have been performing at each event, I see us getting stronger, improving things,” said Frazier, who with Knierim had their best short program and free skate scores of the autumn.

Knierim and Frazier didn’t decide to continue competing together this season until July.

“I feel a little personally disappointed tonight just for myself for my jumps,” Frazier continued. “I was a little all over the place and, normally, I can execute better, so I feel a little bad, but I’m very proud of us overall. We’ve done a great job of improving each competition and looking forward to the second half of the season where we can start tapping into our best skating.”

GRAND PRIX FINAL: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Miura and Kihara, who partnered in June 2019 and train in Ontario, both waited with trepidation for their final score to be posted, worried that each’s separate mistake on jumps might cost them the title. When they learned they won, both burst into tears.

“This was the first time in eight years that I made a mistake with a Salchow, so I thought we might not get a good score, and it would be my fault,” Kihara said.

Miura and Kihara entered the competition ranked No. 1 in the world by best scores this season ahead of Knierim and Frazier, who in March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979.

Last season, Miura and Kihara became the second Japanese pair to make a Grand Prix podium and to earn a world championships medal. Their ascension helped Japan win its first Olympic figure skating team event medal in February (a bronze that could be upgraded to gold pending the Kamila Valiyeva case).

In Grand Prix Final history, Japan had won 11 gold medals and 40 total medals, all in singles, before this breakthrough.

Knierim and Frazier, already the first U.S. pair to compete in the Grand Prix Final since 2015, became the first U.S. pair to win a Grand Prix Final medal. The Final has been held annually since 1996, though it was canceled the last two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miura and Kihara and Knierim and Frazier ascended to the top of the sport while the top five teams from the Olympics from Russia and China have not competed internationally since the Winter Games.

All Russian skaters are ineligible for international competition due to the war in Ukraine. China’s pairs, including Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, didn’t enter last March’s worlds and did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Later Friday, world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan led the women’s short program with 75.86 points, 1.28 ahead of countrywoman Mai Mihara. American Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old world junior champion, was fifth of six skaters in her Grand Prix Final debut.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier topped the rhythm dance with 85.93 points, edging Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates by .44. Both couples are bidding for the biggest international title of their careers. None of the Olympic medalists competed internationally this fall.

The Grand Prix Final ends Saturday with the men’s and women’s free skates and free dance, all live on Peacock.

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A Winter Olympic medal still being decided, 10 months later

Fanny Smith, Daniela Maier
It's still unknown whether Fanny Smith (green) or Daniela Maier (blue) is the Olympic ski cross bronze medalist. (Getty)
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There is a second Winter Olympic medal result still in question, 10 months after the Games.

While the figure skating team event results are still unknown due to the Kamila Valiyeva case, the bronze medal in women’s ski cross is also in dispute.

Originally, Swiss Fanny Smith crossed the finish line in third place in the four-woman final at the Winter Games in February. Upon review by the International Ski Federation (FIS) jury, she was minutes later demoted to fourth place after making contact with German Daniela Maier near the end of the course. Maier, who originally was fourth, was upgraded to bronze.

“I tried to be OK with the fourth place. I was very disappointed, I have to say, [then] the jury was like this,” Maier said then. “I am really sorry for Fanny that it’s like this right now. … The jury decided like this, so accept it and be happy with the medal.”

Smith and the Swiss ski federation appealed. FIS reinstated Smith as the bronze medalist nine days after the race and six days after the Closing Ceremony. A FIS appeals commission met four times and reviewed video and written documentation for several hours before deciding that “the close proximity of the racers at that moment resulted in action that was neither intentional or avoidable.”

But that wasn’t the end. The case ended up reportedly going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), whose rulings are usually accepted as final. The CAS process is ongoing, European media reported this week.

CAS has not responded to a request for comment. A FIS contact said Friday, “There is currently no update to provide in regards to the bronze medal in ski cross. Should there be any update, we will inform you.”

Smith said there should be news soon regarding the case, according to Blick.

Maier still has the bronze medal at her home and enjoys looking at it, according to German media, which also reported that the German ski federation expects Maier to win the case and keep the medal. Smith and Maier spoke extensively about it in recent training sessions and cleared things up. Maier said the best outcome would be bronze medals for both of them, according to the report.

For now, FIS lists Smith as the bronze medalist. The IOC lists Maier as the bronze medalist.

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