Yevgenia Medvedeva thankful for Brian Orser late-night talk after Skate Canada disaster

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Yevgenia Medvedeva said she will always remember her seventh-place Skate Canada short program. She won’t soon forget how coach Brian Orser helped her process it early Sunday morning.

“After short program, I was really ready to die,” the Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion told Skate Canada of her performance Saturday, her first time outside the top three in any program in her four senior seasons. “I didn’t want to say, ‘Oh no, I don’t care, just go forward.’ I felt awful. I felt so bad. I just really wanted to kill myself. I wasn’t even in the main warm-up [for the top six in the free skate].”

Medvedeva rebounded with the highest-scoring free skate Sunday, albeit with jumping errors, to finish third overall behind countrywoman Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Japanese Mako Yamashita. Medvedeva kept her flawless record of making the podium in all 20 of her competitions since turning senior in 2015.

“Really thankful to Brian because he talked with me until 1 a.m. this night,” Medvedeva said Sunday. “I almost didn’t sleep this night. I slept about two hours and a half because I thought about all the stuff.”

In her free skate, Medvedeva landed seven triple jumps, though one was downgraded and she lost points on two edge calls. Her score — 137.08 — ranks her ninth in the world this season.

“I really tried to wake up wild animal inside of me,” said Medvedeva, who wore a crown of flowers in the kiss and cry and shouted out Johnny Weir. “I made a huge step forward because I lose all concentration in the short program.”

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, whom Medvedeva trained with before splitting from coach Eteri Tutberidze and moving to Orser’s training group in Toronto after PyeongChang, has the world’s best free skate score this season of 158.5.

“I didn’t know what to expect after free program,” Medvedeva said. “I really didn’t think even about podium. I thought that I just have to do everything in my power just to not regret about all of this competition. But I will remind myself that mistake in the short program for all my life. I think it’s a good lesson to me to keep concentration and attention.”

Medvedeva next competes at Internationaux de France in three weeks, with a place in December’s six-skater Grand Prix Final at stake.

“I know that I have to win in France,” she said.

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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April Ross, Alix Klineman back atop Olympic beach volleyball qualifying

April Ross, Alix Klineman
FIVB World Tour
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Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman moved back on top of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball qualifying standings by winning an event in Itapema, Brazil this week.

Ross, who split from Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2017, and Klineman beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 in Sunday’s final for their third title in 11 FIVB World Tour tournaments together.

“Every victory is important, but this counts for more,” Klineman said, according to the FIVB. “We want to send a message and we want to be consistently the best.

Ross and Klineman supplanted Walsh Jennings and her new partner, Brooke Sweat, for the lead in the early U.S. Olympic qualifying rankings with still more than a year of events ahead.

1. Ross/Klineman – 3,240 (5 events played)
2. Walsh Jennings/Sweat – 3,100 (7 events)
3. Day/Flint – 2,180 (5 events)
4. Hughes/Ross — 2,000 (4 events)
5. Larsen/Stockman — 1,840 (5 events)
6. Sponcil/Claes — 1,600 (3 events)

Each team’s 12 best results from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 14, 2020, go into the Olympic qualifying rankings. That means Ross and Klineman are comfortably in front, having played two fewer events than Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost in the quarterfinals in Itapema.

The top two U.S. pairs come June 15, 2020, provided they’re ranked high enough internationally, will qualify for Tokyo. Most of the qualifying events, including the ones with the most points available, are still to come this summer.

Ross, 36, picked up Klineman, 29, after Walsh Jennings didn’t join her in signing a domestic AVP contract in 2017. The 6-foot-5 Klineman primarily played indoor the previous decade, including at Stanford from 2007-10 after being the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school.

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Katie Ledecky extends 5-year win streak

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Katie Ledecky extended a five-year domestic win streak by taking the 200m freestyle at the Tyr Pro Swim Series at Bloomington on Saturday.

In her last full meet before July’s world championships, Ledecky clocked 1:55.80 to beat training partner Simone Manuel by 1.44 seconds for her second win in as many days. Ledecky is also entered in Sunday’s 800m free on the last day of the meet.

Ledecky, who also cruised to a 400m free victory on Friday, ranks third in the world in the 200m free this year, behind Australian Ariarne Titmus and Swede Sarah Sjöström (the Olympic silver medalist who is not expected to race the 200m free at worlds).

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, hasn’t lost a 200m, 400m, 800m or 1500m free final at a domestic meet since Allison Schmitt beat her in a 200m free on Jan. 18, 2014 when Ledecky was 16 years old.

BLOOMINGTON: Full Results

But Ledecky lost the two biggest 200m frees of this Olympic cycle so far, at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Italian veteran Federica Pellegrini handed Ledecky her first individual final defeat at a major international meet at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky dropped to third in the 200m free at Pan Pacs in Tokyo last year, beaten by younger swimmers Taylor Ruck of Canada and Rikako Ikee of Japan.

Ruck, who like Ledecky trains at Stanford, is in Bloomington, but she chose not to swim the 200m free on Saturday. She instead swam the 200m backstroke about 45 minutes after the 200m free and was upset by 17-year-old Regan Smith. Smith won in 2:06.47, moving to No. 3 in the world this year.

In other events Saturday, Ella Eastin captured the 400m individual medley in 4:37.18, taking 1.25 seconds off her personal best and moving to fifth in the world this year. Eastin is not on the world championships team after an untimely bout with mono before qualifying meets last summer.

Blake Pieroni won the men’s 200m free in 1:47.25. No American ranks in the top 20 in the world this year. World silver medalist Townley Haas did not enter Bloomington.

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