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Mao Asada vows to skate on after disastrous Japan Nationals

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It appears three-time world champion Mao Asada will not end her career with a 12th-place finish at the Japanese Championships.

Asada said she will stick with her plan to compete next season after her worst result in 14 career nationals appearances over the weekend, according to Japanese media.

“I wasn’t able to put together my best performances in either the short program or the free, so there’s a lot of frustration,” Asada said, according to Kyodo News.

Asada, now 26 years old, has been competing at senior nationals since she was 12. She finished third or higher in her last 11 nationals appearances. Before this year, her last time off the podium was in 2003, when she was eighth at the age of 13.

Asada, reportedly dealing with a left knee injury this year, saw an awful season bottom out in Osaka over the weekend.

Over two programs, she fell twice, singled two jumps and had her patented triple Axel downgraded in the free skate. She was eighth after the short program and 12th-best in the free skate.

Asada ended up 40.45 points behind Satoko Miyahara, who captured her third straight national title and earned one of three berths for the world championships. Wakaba Higuchi and Mai Mihara will join Miyahara at worlds in Helsinki in three months, according to Japanese media.

Asada also had her worst Grand Prix season in the fall, finishing sixth at Skate America in October and ninth at Trophée de France in November.

Asada took Olympic silver in 2010 and world titles in 2008, 2010 and 2014.

Shoma Uno won the men’s national title with Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu sidelined by the flu. Uno, Hanyu and Keji Tanaka were named to the world championships team, according to Japanese media.

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David Rudisha escapes car crash ‘well and unhurt’

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David Rudisha, a two-time Olympic champion and world record holder at 800m, is “well and unhurt” after a car accident in his native Kenya, according to his Facebook account.

Kenyan media reported that one of Rudisha’s tires burst on Saturday night, leading his car to collide with a bus, and he was treated for minor injuries at a hospital.

Rudisha, 30, last raced July 4, 2017, missing extended time with a quad muscle strain and back problems. His manager said last week that Rudisha will miss next month’s world championships.

Rudisha owns the three fastest times in history, including the world record 1:40.91 set in an epic 2012 Olympic final.

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Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals