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Coach: Yevgenia Medvedeva asked if Alina Zagitova could be held out of Olympics

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The relationship between Russian figure skater Yevgenia Medvedeva and now former coach Eteri Tutberidze has turned icy, with the coach intimating Medvedeva wanted 15-year-old training partner Alina Zagitova kept in the junior division last season and held out of the PyeongChang Olympics.

Medvedeva announced Monday she will be coached by Brian Orser. More on that here.

Zagitova and Medvedeva went one-two in PyeongChang, with Zagitova rising in the two months before the Winter Games to supplant the returning-from-injury Medvedeva, who had won the previous two world titles and gone undefeated for two years.

Zagitova, in her first senior international season, became the second-youngest Olympic singles champion after Tara Lipinski.

Tutberidze, who coached both skaters, shared a conversation she had with Medvedeva in PyeongChang in this Russian TV interview.

“There was this really childish phrase: ‘Couldn’t you have kept Alina in the juniors for one more year?’” Tutberidze said, according to an Associated Press translation. “I said … we have to give everyone the same chance.”

Medvedeva declined to comment on the exchange later Monday, according to R-Sport. An image was shown on the broadcast of Tutberidze’s text messages to Medvedeva that went unreturned.

“Rumors had been circulating, of course, and I had been writing [Medvedeva] by that time, but I hadn’t received any answers to my texts, and she wasn’t answering my phone calls,” Tutberidze said, according to a TASS translation. “That’s why I realized [Medvedeva] had left us when I heard it on Channel One news.”

Medvedeva, now 18, started training under Tutberidze at age 7. She became world junior champion in 2015 and world senior champion in 2016 and 2017.

She went undefeated for more than two years — the longest streak in women’s singles since Katarina Witt in the 1980s — and looked primed for Olympic gold in PyeongChang before being sidelined by a foot injury last fall.

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Weekend Gymnastics Roundup: Carey and McCusker on World Cup podium

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World medalists Jade Carey and Riley McCusker headlined gymnastics action over the weekend as the World Cup circuit continued with an all-around competition in Birmingham, England, and an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar.

Carey won both the vault and floor events in Doha, pushing her to the top of the standings on both apparatus (she also won the vault and floor competitions the previous weekend at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan).

Doha marked the halfway point of apparatus World Cups, putting Carey in a promising position to qualify for the Tokyo Games heading into the next four events. The apparatus World Cup series includes a total of eight competitions spread over two seasons, and one gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the Olympics based on his or her top three results across the eight events.

Carey, 18, was the 2017 world silver medalist on vault and floor. But she opted not to try for a spot on the 2018 World Championships team due to the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules that active team members who help their countries qualify team spots for Tokyo (as the U.S. women did in November) cannot earn individual spots. Carey, an apparatus specialist rather than an all-around gymnast, chose the World Cup route to keep open her options of qualifying individually.

McCusker, who was part of the U.S. team that won the world title last year, finished second at the all-around World Cup in Birmingham, posting the top scores on the uneven bars and floor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist, won the event. Mustafina bounced back from a shaky showing last weekend at the World Cup in Stuttgart, where she finished fifth in an event won by Simone Biles. Mustafina, 24, is trying to qualify for her third Olympics after giving birth to daughter Alisa in June 2017.

The all-around World Cup circuit continues on April 7 in Tokyo, Japan, where two-time world all-around medalist Morgan Hurd and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are expected to compete.

First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW — Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.