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Brittany Bowe out of Worlds, ends season early after concussion

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World champion speed skater Brittany Bowe is ending her season early after a brief comeback from a July concussion, pulling out of next week’s World Single Distance Championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue.

“After much reflection, I have decided to step away from the competitive ice season and focus on my recovery from a concussion I sustained earlier this season,” was posted on Bowe’s social media. “I am dedicated to the recovery process and focused on my preparations for 2018!”

Bowe competed in one World Cup this season in December, placing 12th in a 500m and third in a 1000m in Heerenveen, Netherlands. She was coming back after sustaining a concussion following colliding with a teammate in a July practice.

Bowe was one of the U.S.’ top athletes across all winter sports last season, breaking the 1000m world record and winning the world sprint championship in addition to her World Cup 1000m and 1500m season titles.

Bowe also earned the most medals of any male or female skater at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships — silver in the 500m and bronze in the 1000m and 1500m. She swept the 1000m and 1500m at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships.

Bowe was part of a disappointing U.S. speed skating team at the Sochi Olympics, where her best individual finish was eighth.

The U.S. team at next week’s World Single Distance Championships is led by four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis and two-time Olympian Heather Bergsma.

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future