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Yuzuru Hanyu struggles, Yevgenia Medvedeva stars at Skate Canada

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After all those world records last fall, Yuzuru Hanyu is in the same place at Skate Canada as he was a year ago, looking up at rival Patrick Chan on the scoreboard after an uncharacteristically flawed Grand Prix season debut.

The Olympic champion Hanyu was not himself in Mississauga, Ontario, on Friday night, landing his first jump on one knee, nearly putting his hand on the ice on a second and not doing a combination.

Hanyu goes into Saturday’s free skate in fourth place, trailing three-time world champion Chan by a whopping 10.91 points. Full scores are here.

Chan fell on a triple Axel but was otherwise clean, with one quadruple jump, in his first Grand Prix skate since a disappointing fifth-place finish at least season’s world championships.

Earlier, Yevgenia Medvedeva followed up her world title with a personal-best short program in her Grand Prix season debut.

Medvedeva, a 16-year-old Russian, landed all of her jumps cleanly and tallied 76.24 points, bettering her previous high of 74.58 from last season’s Grand Prix Final.

She leads by 1.91 points over Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond. Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 World champion, is in third place, 9.45 points behind.

American Mirai Nagasu fell on her opening triple flip and is in ninth place out of 11 skaters. Full results are here.

Medvedeva is the youngest world champion since Tara Lipinski in 1997 and hasn’t lost in nearly one year.

Medvedeva’s short program score Friday was 6.74 points higher than world silver medalist Ashley Wagner‘s total from Skate America last week.

Later in ice dance, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir scored 77.23 points, their third-best short dance ever, to lead by 1.02 over world bronze medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Virtue and Moir are competing this season for the first time since taking silver at the Sochi Olympics.

In pairs, two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada lapped the field by 8.96 points with a personal-best 78.39. Americans Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier were fourth.

The free skates are all Saturday. A full broadcast and streaming schedule is here.

NBC and the NBC Sports app will air Skate Canada coverage Sunday from 5-6 p.m. ET.

MORE: Lipinski, Weir back Gold’s comments about weight

April Ross, Alix Klineman back atop Olympic beach volleyball qualifying

April Ross, Alix Klineman
FIVB World Tour
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Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman moved back on top of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball qualifying standings by winning an event in Itapema, Brazil this week.

Ross, who split from Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2017, and Klineman beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 in Sunday’s final for their third title in 11 FIVB World Tour tournaments together.

“Every victory is important, but this counts for more,” Klineman said, according to the FIVB. “We want to send a message and we want to be consistently the best.

Ross and Klineman supplanted Walsh Jennings and her new partner, Brooke Sweat, for the lead in the early U.S. Olympic qualifying rankings with still more than a year of events ahead.

1. Ross/Klineman – 3,240 (5 events played)
2. Walsh Jennings/Sweat – 3,100 (7 events)
3. Day/Flint – 2,180 (5 events)
4. Hughes/Ross — 2,000 (4 events)
5. Larsen/Stockman — 1,840 (5 events)
6. Sponcil/Claes — 1,600 (3 events)

Each team’s 12 best results from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 14, 2020, go into the Olympic qualifying rankings. That means Ross and Klineman are comfortably in front, having played two fewer events than Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost in the quarterfinals in Itapema.

The top two U.S. pairs come June 15, 2020, provided they’re ranked high enough internationally, will qualify for Tokyo. Most of the qualifying events, including the ones with the most points available, are still to come this summer.

Ross, 36, picked up Klineman, 29, after Walsh Jennings didn’t join her in signing a domestic AVP contract in 2017. The 6-foot-5 Klineman primarily played indoor the previous decade, including at Stanford from 2007-10 after being the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school.

MORE: Brazil volleyball star faints during courtside interview

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Katie Ledecky extends 5-year win streak

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Katie Ledecky extended a five-year domestic win streak by taking the 200m freestyle at the Tyr Pro Swim Series at Bloomington on Saturday.

In her last full meet before July’s world championships, Ledecky clocked 1:55.80 to beat training partner Simone Manuel by 1.44 seconds for her second win in as many days. Ledecky is also entered in Sunday’s 800m free on the last day of the meet.

Ledecky, who also cruised to a 400m free victory on Friday, ranks third in the world in the 200m free this year, behind Australian Ariarne Titmus and Swede Sarah Sjöström (the Olympic silver medalist who is not expected to race the 200m free at worlds).

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, hasn’t lost a 200m, 400m, 800m or 1500m free final at a domestic meet since Allison Schmitt beat her in a 200m free on Jan. 18, 2014 when Ledecky was 16 years old.

BLOOMINGTON: Full Results

But Ledecky lost the two biggest 200m frees of this Olympic cycle so far, at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Italian veteran Federica Pellegrini handed Ledecky her first individual final defeat at a major international meet at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky dropped to third in the 200m free at Pan Pacs in Tokyo last year, beaten by younger swimmers Taylor Ruck of Canada and Rikako Ikee of Japan.

Ruck, who like Ledecky trains at Stanford, is in Bloomington, but she chose not to swim the 200m free on Saturday. She instead swam the 200m backstroke about 45 minutes after the 200m free and was upset by 17-year-old Regan Smith. Smith won in 2:06.47, moving to No. 3 in the world this year.

In other events Saturday, Ella Eastin captured the 400m individual medley in 4:37.18, taking 1.25 seconds off her personal best and moving to fifth in the world this year. Eastin is not on the world championships team after an untimely bout with mono before qualifying meets last summer.

Blake Pieroni won the men’s 200m free in 1:47.25. No American ranks in the top 20 in the world this year. World silver medalist Townley Haas did not enter Bloomington.

MORE: Olympic breaststroke champion faces ban for missed drug tests

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