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

It has been 7 years since Simone Biles last lost an all-around

Simone Biles
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Simone Biles had braces but no driver’s license and “Harlem Shake” topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last time she was beaten in all-around competition, seven years ago this week.

Biles, then having just turned 16, took second to 2012 Olympian Kyla Ross at a tri-meet among the U.S., Germany and Romania in Chemnitz, Germany, on March 30, 2013.

It was just the third senior meet of Biles’ career in her first year as a senior gymnast. Since that runner-up, Biles has won 21 straight all-arounds through the October 2019 World Championships, rarely even challenged (though she has been defeated in unofficial national team camp competition).

Chemnitz marked one of the least consequential meets of Biles’ sterling career. She devoted one sentence to it in her autobiography, “Courage to Soar,” and noted she was distracted from the stress of competition on the overseas trip by daydreaming about a birthday present.

“Secretly, I hoped that when I got back home, a shiny new turquoise-blue Ford Focus would be waiting for me in our driveway,” she wrote.

Ross, speaking by phone last week, faintly recalled when asked the last time Biles was defeated.

“I think it was … were we in Germany?” she said. “Oh gosh, I don’t even know if I can remember it that well.”

Ross did remember training before the meet at a German national team gym.

“When we got to the arena we were all kind of shocked,” she said. “In elite, we’re all used to competing on podium or in these big arenas. It was more of just almost like a college meet. Like it was a basketball floor. Nothing was on podium.

“I don’t even remember how the scores were shown or anything. Those meets in the spring in elite we’re just trying to get our routines figured out and get more consistent.”

Ross was the all-around star of the U.S. program at the time, given fellow 2012 Olympians Gabby DouglasJordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman were taking breaks. She won both Chemnitz and the U.S. Classic (where Biles was pulled mid-competition by coach Aimee Boorman after early struggles).

Later that summer, Biles edged Ross by two tenths of a point combining scores from two days at nationals, and they again went one-two at the world championships.

“I felt like it was kind of the two of us,” Ross said. “This was her time to upgrade and make a name for herself. I definitely feel like I helped her and guided her a little bit. I feel like Martha [Karolyi] wanted me to teach her the ropes a little bit just because she always so fun and outgoing but definitely needed to try to learn and focus and understand what it was like to compete internationally and compete for Team USA.”

NBC Sports researcher Sarah Hughes contributed to this report.

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MORE: Kocian, Ross reflect on likely end to gymnastics careers

 

Boglarka Kapas, world champion swimmer, tests positive for coronavirus

Boglarka Kapas
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Boglarka Kapas, the Hungarian swimmer and world 200m butterfly champion, said she tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I don’t have any symptoms yet, and that’s why it’s important for you to know that even if you feel healthy you can spread the virus,” was posted on her social media. “Please be careful, stay at home and stay healthy.”

Kapas said her first test was negative but a second test showed she had the virus. She was staying in quarantine at home for two weeks.

Kapas, 26, won the 200m fly at last summer’s world championships by passing Americans Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot in the last 25 meters. She clocked 2:06.78 to prevail by .17 of a second.

Kapas also took bronze in the Rio Olympic 800m freestyle won by Katie Ledecky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.