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

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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