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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MORE: New-look Jason Brown returns after missing Olympic team

LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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LA 2028
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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record was the product of pain, rain

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When Eliud Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, he began his celebration near the finish line by doing the same thing he did upon breaking the record in Berlin four years earlier.

He hugged longtime coach Patrick Sang.

The embrace was brief. Not much was said. They shook hands, Kipchoge appeared to stop his watch and Sang wiped his pupil’s sweaty face off with a towel. Kipchoge continued on his congratulatory tour.

“It felt good,” Sang said by phone from his native Kenya on Thursday. “I told him, ‘I’m proud of you and what you have achieved today.'”

Later, they met again and reflected together on the 2:01:09 performance, chopping 30 seconds off his world record in 2018 in the German capital.

“I mentioned to him that probably it was slightly a little bit too fast in the beginning, in the first half,” Sang said of Kipchoge going out in 59 minutes, 51 seconds for the first 13.1 miles (a sub-two-hour pace he did not maintain in the final miles). “But he said he felt good.

“Besides that, I think it was just to appreciate the effort that he put in in training. Sometimes, if you don’t acknowledge that, then it looks like you’re only looking at the performance. We looked at the sacrifice.”

Sang thought about the abnormally wet season in southwestern Kenya, where Kipchoge logs his daily miles more than a mile above sea level.

“Sometimes he had to run in the rain,” said Sang, the 1992 Olympic 3000m steeplechase silver medalist. “Those are small things you reflect and say, it’s worth sacrificing sometimes. Taking the pain training, and it pays off.”

When Sang analyzes his athletes, he looks beyond times. He studies their faces.

The way Kipchoge carried himself in the months leading into Berlin — running at 6 a.m. “rain or shine,” Sang said — reminded the coach of the runner’s sunny disposition in the summer of 2019. On Oct. 12 of that year, Kipchoge clocked 1:59:40 in the Austrian capital in a non-record-eligible event (rather than a traditional race) to become the first person to cover 26.2 miles on foot in less than two hours.

Sang said he does not discuss time goals with his students — “Putting specific targets puts pressure on the athlete, and you can easily go the wrong direction,” he said.

In looking back on the race, there is some wonder whether Kipchoge’s plan was to see how long he could keep a pace of sub-two hours. Sang refused to speculate, but he was not surprised to see Kipchoge hit the halfway point 61 seconds faster than the pacers’ prescribed 60:50 at 13.1 miles.

“Having gone two hours in Monza [2:00:25 in a sub-two-hour attempt in 2017], having run the unofficial 1:59 and so many times 2:01, 2:02, 2:03, the potential was written all over,” Sang said. “So I mean, to think any differently would be really under underrating the potential. Of course, then adding on top of that the aspect of the mental strength. He has a unique one.”

Kipchoge slowed in the second half, but not significantly. He started out averaging about 2 minutes, 50 seconds per kilometer (equivalent to 13.2 miles per hour). He came down to 2:57 per kilometer near the end.

Regret is not in Kipchoge’s nature. We may never know the extent of his sub-two thoughts on Sunday. Sang noted that Kipchoge, whose marathon career began a decade ago after he failed to make the London Olympic team on the track, does not dwell on the past.

“If you talk to him now, he probably is telling you about tomorrow,” Sang joked.

The future is what is intriguing about Kipchoge. Approaching 38 years old, he continues to improve beyond peak age for almost every elite marathoner. Can Kipchoge go even faster? It would likely require a return next year to Berlin, whose pancake-flat roads produced the last eight men’s marathon world records. But Kipchoge also wants to run, and win, another prestigious fall marathon in New York City.

Sang can see the appeal of both options in 2023 and leaves the decision to Kipchoge and his management team.

‘If we can find the motivation for him, or he finds it within himself, that he believes he can still run for some time, for a cause, for a reason … I think the guy can still even do better than what he did in Berlin,” Sang said. “We are learning a lot about the possibilities of good performance at an advanced age. It’s an inspiration and should be an inspiration for anybody at any level.”

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