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Yevgenia Medvedeva out of Grand Prix Final

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Olympic figure skating favorite Yevgenia Medvedeva will miss next week’s Grand Prix Final with a leg injury, according to the Russian Figure Skating Federation.

Medvedeva, undefeated for two years, will be replaced in the six-skater field by Japanese Satoko Miyahara, the first alternate.

Medvedeva revealed last week that her right leg was in a cast after an MRI showed bone cracks in her right foot.

Medvedeva said then that she planned to compete in the Grand Prix Final unless a doctor ruled her out.

One of Medvedeva’s choreographers said Friday that the skater would have competed if the Olympics were happening now, but she deserves a spot on the three-woman Russian Olympic team for February even if her injury keeps her out of the Russian Championships later this month, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Medvedeva, 18, is on the best run in women’s skating since Katarina Witt dominated in the 1980s.

She won her two Grand Prix events this season despite rare falls in both free skates.

Medvedeva said she first felt right leg pain before her opening Grand Prix in Moscow in October, undergoing an MRI that determined a cracked bone.

She skated anyway and won by a comfortable 15 points.

She still felt pain before her second Grand Prix in Japan three weeks ago. After winning by 12 points, she underwent another MRI in Japan and flew home to Moscow and was put in a cast.

The Grand Prix Final is the biggest event between now and the Olympics and the second biggest annual event after the world championships. It’s the most exclusive competition, taking the top six per discipline from the fall Grand Prix series.

With Medvedeva out, the favorites are world junior champion Alina Zagitova of Russia, world silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada and Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy.

They’re joined in the field by Russian Maria Sotskova and Wakaba Higuchi and Miyahara of Japan.

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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