Yevgenia Medvedeva rallies, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva wins Skate Canada

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Brian Orser looked to his new pupil, Yevgenia Medvedeva, and said what so many skating fans had to be thinking.

“Been a long 24 hours, huh?”

“Oh yeah,” Medvedeva responded, a wreath of flowers sitting atop her head.

The Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion recovered from the worst program of her senior career Friday with a strong but flawed free skate Saturday. It wasn’t enough to overtake countrywoman Elizaveta Tuktamysheva at Skate Canada.

Tuktamysheva fell on her triple Axel after hitting it in the short program but still totaled 203.32 points, topping Japan’s Mako Yamashita by .26.

Medvedeva jumped from seventh after the short to third with the top free skate, 5.41 behind Tuktamysheva overall.

“Today I felt like a wild animal,” Medvedeva said, according to Golden Skate. “When you feel sorry for yourself, it’s awful. For my mind and for my body also. I’m thankful to Brian for helping me with my mental health so, so much.”

MORE: Skate Canada Results | Grand Prix TV Schedule

It’s the first Grand Prix title for Tuktamysheva since 2015, when she was coming off sweeping every major event in the post-Olympic season. Medvedeva turned senior in 2015-16, when Tuktamysheva plummeted out of the top five of the deep Russian field, eventually missing the PyeongChang Olympics.

While Tuktamysheva may be rediscovering her form, Medvedeva faces her own smaller climb.

She’s been beaten in four straight events since returning in January from a broken bone in her foot. Then-training partner Alina Zagitova had her number in PyeongChang, after which Medvedeva split from their coach, Eteri Tutberidze, and moved from Moscow to Orser’s group in Toronto.

Earlier Saturday, Shoma Uno rallied to win the men’s title, overcoming a 6.18-point deficit to Canadian Keegan Messing from the short program. Uno fell on his final two free skate jumping passes but still landed four quads to Messing’s one to win with 277.25 points.

Messing got second, 12.8 behind, while 2014 U.S. Olympian Jason Brown moved from 11th after the short to sixth.

Uno’s rivals are Olympic and world champions Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen, whom he will not face before December’s Grand Prix Final.

U.S. champions and world silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue were upset in the free dance but held on to win their second straight Grand Prix. They’re the first skaters in any discipline to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

In pairs, world bronze medalists Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres won their first Grand Prix title. The French tallied the highest score in the world this season — 221.81 — and prevailed by a comfortable 20.73. James and Ciprès and Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who won Skate America last week, are the top pairs at the moment with none of the Olympic medalists competing this fall.

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, the 2017 U.S. champions, improved from eighth out of eight in the short program to sixth overall.

The Grand Prix series moves to Finland next week, headlined by Hanyu and Zagitova.

As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. GO HERE to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season…NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

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IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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