Yevgenia Medvedeva wipes Yuna Kim off record books at Europeans

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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva is looking like an overwhelming favorite for the Olympic women’s figure skating title. And looking like the most dominant women’s skater in 30 years.

Medvedeva, 17, broke Yuna Kim‘s world record for total score from the 2010 Olympics in tallying 229.71 points at the European Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Friday. Medvedeva already held the short program and free skate world records.

She prevailed by 18.32 points over countrywoman Anna Pogorilaya at Europeans. Italian Carolina Kostner, back this season after two years away, took bronze. Full results are here.

“I’m really happy I broke the world record, but it isn’t my main goal,” Medvedeva said. “My main goal, I think it is just to have fun and give fun for my fans.”

Medvedeva is strong across the board, but especially on her jumps, rarely falling. She landed eight clean triples in her free skate set to music and lyrics from “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a 2011 film relating to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“I heard the reaction after each jump that I did, and then it was nice to see the standing ovation at the end,” Medvedeva said through a translator. “I’m working for these moments, like being on the podium, listening to the anthem. These moments are not very long, but they are worth all the hours I’m working on the ice.”

Medvedeva goes into the world championships in two months looking to become the first woman to repeat since Michelle Kwan in 2000 and 2001.

But even Kwan lost competitions in both of those seasons. Medvedeva, who has lost once in two seasons as a senior skater, could at worlds cap a two-year stretch not seen since German Katarina Witt‘s dominance in the 1980s.

At worlds, Medvedeva’s biggest competition may be her countrywomen. Russians are five of the top eight ranked skaters this season, along with Kostner, Japan’s Satoko Miyahara and Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond.

Russia can only send three skaters to worlds, though, likely to be Medvedeva, Pogorilaya and either Sotskova or Yelena Radionova.

The top U.S. skater this season, Ashley Wagner, faces a challenge to repeat her world silver medal from last season. She ranks ninth in the world this season and was beaten by 17-year-old Karen Chen at the U.S. Championships last week.

MORE: U.S. worlds team could be its strongest in a decade

World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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