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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Danell Leyva makes incredible save on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Danell Leyva
NBC
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Danell Leyva, a three-time Olympic gymnastics medalist, put those skills to the test in the “American Ninja Warrior” finals, saving himself from splashing out of the course.

In one obstacle, Leyva slipped and fell off one of four flexible boards positioned above water.

He faceplanted onto the last board, his lower body falling off. But Leyva held on with his arms and pulled himself back onto the apparatus and to the next obstacle.

The full Las Vegas Finals episode airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Leyva previously splashed out of the “Leaps of Faith” obstacle in the Los Angeles City Finals episode that aired last month.

Leyva, a 27-year-old who took all-around bronze at the 2012 London Games, retired with parallel bars and high bar silvers in Rio.

Other Olympic gymnasts have tackled ANW, including gold medalists Nastia Liukin and Paul Hamm.

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VIDEO: U.S. gymnast catches high bar with one hand at nationals

Kim Rhode triumphs over theft on road to record-breaking Olympic bid

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Kim Rhode arrived at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, missing a few things.

The six-time Olympic shooting medalist had nearly all her equipment stolen prior to her trip earlier this month after her bag was nabbed from her father’s car.

“I lost everything but my vest and my gun,” Rhode said in Lima (noting with a smile she has seen worse: her gun was stolen a few years ago, though it was later returned). This time, “we’re all frantically trying to piece it back together, somewhat. … At the end of the day, you just have to kinda roll with it.”

It would take more than theft to rattle Rhode, who remains one of her sport’s top athletes 23 years after her first Olympic gold medal at the Atlanta Games.

The continental skeet title she won at Pan Ams (new equipment in tow) built upon a string of strong results since the last Olympics, including a world silver medal in 2018. Earlier this year, she became the first woman to win four straight World Cups in shooting.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Rhode could do something unprecedented: win seven medals in as many consecutive Olympics.

Rhode remembered a lot from her first trip to the Games as a 17-year-old carrying a pager. She described the volume of the crowd chanting “U-S-A” at the Opening Ceremony and the hum of the audience watching her compete, “almost like they were helping us to pull the trigger each and every time.” She recalled the athlete bowling alley, where both the balls and shoes were adorned with an Olympic flame symbol.

After winning gold in double trap, Rhode went back to high school life in El Monte, Calif. She couldn’t have known then that five more Olympics would follow. That one day, she’d have an Olympic medal from every continent in which the Games have been contested. That at 40, she’d still be at the top of her sport.

“I don’t think you ever get over the Olympics,” she said. “I don’t think you ever get used to it. It really takes on a life of its own.”

Rhode has been a constant in a sport that continues to evolve and change, and noted the technological advances that pushed it forward in the last several years: “you are seeing a lot more on the technical side of the stocks, more of these specialized grips,” she said, and “more people going with multiple lenses.”

Her competitors changed, too. Rhode described younger teammates showing her how to take a live photo and set up an Instagram account. “I’m kind of archaic in that sense,” she said with a laugh.

Her competitive spirit remains unchanged. While Tokyo would mark a milestone, Rhode has no plans of slowing down.

“I think I still have a few more in me,” she said, noting she’d like to compete in front of a home crowd again when the Olympics return to Los Angeles in 2028. “I definitely don’t see a need to stop. … Some of the shooters tend to be a lot older than most of the other Olympians because we have no shelf life. That’s the great thing about us.”

Rhode competed at the London Olympics not knowing she was pregnant with son Carter.

What followed was what she described as a difficult pregnancy and recovery. Her bones separated during the pregnancy, and she had her gall bladder removed after the birth.

The complications affected her ability to walk and complete endurance-related activities, which she continues to face. These days, Rhode said she still can’t run a mile, but in preparation for Tokyo, she is working with a physical therapist and nutritionist.

After Pan Ams, Rhode planned to add more strength training. “At the end of the day, I’m slowly but surely making small strides to get back to where I’m at,” she said.

Carter, now 6, speaks three languages and sometimes helps Rhode during practice, pulling for her before she shoots and collecting shells. He was on hand when Rhode earned a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, but he isn’t overly impressed (yet) by his mom’s long list of accomplishments.

“I don’t think he grasps the whole picture of what it is that I’m doing,” she said. “I think that’ll come a little bit later.”

She stores Olympic mementos at her parents’ home, a collection of bags from each Games stuffed with clothing, pins and other paraphernalia, and vacuum-sealed.

“My family is running out of room with all the bags,” she said, noting she isn’t sure when she’ll open them up and go through what’s inside.

Maybe after she collects a few more.

“To have had that opportunity so many times is amazing,” she said of her Olympic career so far. “I feel very, very fortunate.”

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