Gracie Gold
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Gracie Gold’s struggles continue at Grand Prix of France

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Gracie Gold recorded her lowest-scoring short program in nearly four years on Friday, piling onto struggles that may stem from her world championships disaster in April.

The U.S. champion erred on all three of her jumping passes at Trophée de France, punctuated by popping her final Axel attempt.

Gold totaled 54.87 points, her lowest since the January 2013 U.S. Championships, when she finished ninth in the short program and won the free skate to place second overall in her senior-level breakout.

That kind of turnaround in Saturday’s free skate in Paris appears very unlikely, even though this competition was the site of Gold’s best Grand Prix short program a year ago. On Friday, a sunken Gold stared down at her hands for 15 seconds after her score came up.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva, who in April won the world title as Gold fell from first after the short to fourth, performed a contrastingly clean short program Friday.

She scored 78.52 points, which is the second-best women’s short score under this decade-old judging system. Full results are here.

The free skate Saturday may be Gold’s final competitive program until the U.S. Championships in January, given she is an extreme long shot to qualify for December’s Grand Prix Final.

Gold fell in both of her programs at Skate America in October and finished fifth, matching her worst Grand Prix result in nearly four years.

She talked openly about physical struggles and even depression before and after that event, her season debut after taking weeks off from training in the summer and contemplating skipping the fall season altogether.

“We just need to adjust my physical shape and mental shape and see if the program can be salvaged for the rest of the year,” Gold said at Skate America, according to Icenetwork.com.

NBCSN and the NBC Sports app will air Trophée de France coverage Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

MORE: Michelle Kwan’s role in the Hillary Clinton campaign

Trophée de France broadcast schedule (all times Eastern)

Saturday Pairs free skate 7:45 a.m. Icenetwork.com
Saturday Free dance 9:25 a.m. Icenetwork.com
Saturday Men’s free skate 12:20 p.m. Icenetwork.com
Saturday Women’s free skate 2:30 p.m. Icenetwork.com
Saturday Free dance, pairs free 8-10 p.m. UniHD
Sunday Trophée de France 4:30-6 p.m. NBCSN, NBC Sports app

Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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Susie O’Neill, Australian great, answers Katie Ledecky by balancing beer while swimming

Susie O'Neill
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Katie Ledecky‘s feat of balancing a glass of chocolate milk while swimming reverberated Down Under, where one of Australia’s Olympic legends attempted to mimic it with a cup of beer.

Susie O’Neill, an eight-time Olympic medalist from 1992-2000 known as Madame Butterfly, accepted a challenge put forth by her fellow radio show hosts. In video shared across Australian media, she took 13 strokes before the beer came off her head, just before reaching a wall.

“It’s actually not as hard as I expected,” O’Neill said in an Instagram Live. “Well, it was pretty hard.”

O’Neill, 47, said backstrokers sometimes train with a water bottle on their foreheads to stay straight. But O’Neill, a freestyler and butterflier, never balanced anything on her head while training.

MORE: O’Neill in tears watching Sydney Olympic defeat for first time

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