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Jin Boyang beats Shoma Uno at Four Continents Championships

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Jin Boyang of China jumped his way to gold at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in the last international competition before the PyeongChang Olympics.

Jin, who missed last month’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with foot injuries, received 200.78 points in Saturday’s free skate for a total of 300.95.

“After I withdrew from the Grand Prix Final I worked really hard on my recovery and I trained the hardest I ever have,” Jin said. “Thanks to that I was able to give an almost perfect performance today. The result of this competition gives me confidence to challenge myself to give two perfect performances in Pyeongchang.”

Jin’s routine included a huge quadruple lutz, quad salchow, a quad toe-double toe and a quad toe. The only glitch came when the two-time World bronze medalist stumbled on a triple lutz-double toe combination.

Japan’s Shoma Uno, first after the short program, scored 197.45 points and totaled 297.94 to slip to second.

“Unfortunately I missed my quad flip,” Uno said. “But the good part was that I kept calm and finished the program nicely. I didn’t do my best today, but I still think the practice was not a waste. I would like to be more confident and take it to the next competition.”

Uno and Jin took second and third, respectively, at last season’s world championships. None of the other Olympic medal contenders — Yuzuru HanyuNathan Chen and Javier Fernandez — were in this week’s field.

Jason Brown, who missed the U.S. Olympic team, was third with a season’s best 179.44 points for 269.22 overall.

Brown’s routine featured a triple axel-triple toe and five more clean triples.

“Nothing was easy about this year,” Brown said. “I felt that I was chasing something – in this case it was kind of chasing the quad. That wasn’t who I am.”

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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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