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Yuzuru Hanyu upset by Shoma Uno at Japanese Nationals

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Yuzuru Hanyu lost Japanese Nationals for the first time in eight years, taking silver behind Shoma Uno on Sunday.

Hanyu, competing at nationals for the first time since 2015 after injury-marred seasons, led by 5.01 points after the short program but had several jumping errors in the free skate, including falling on a triple Axel.

“There is no good point at all from today’s performance,” Hanyu said, according to the Japan Times, adding to Kyodo News. “I did my best. I wasn’t good enough, and now it’s over.”

Uno, the Olympic silver medalist who struggled in the fall Grand Prix Series, outscored Hanyu by 12.81 in Sunday’s free skate. He landed three quadruple jumps in the free — one fewer than Hanyu — but was much cleaner overall with just one negatively graded jump.

“It was not my best skate, but I feel like I really enjoyed it,” Uno said, according to the Japan Times. “I have had a really hard time this season and finally could enjoy the training and competition for the first time in a while. If everyone skates their best, the result should be different.”

Uno earned his fourth straight national title but his first with Hanyu in the field. The duo combined to win the last eight nationals. Uno became the first skater to beat Hanyu other than Nathan ChenJavier Fernandez and Patrick Chan in more than five years.

Both Hanyu and Uno will be on Japan’s three-man team for the world championships in Montreal in March, where they will be medal contenders along with two-time reigning world champion Chen.

Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist skating singles for the last time, finished 12th. Takahashi is now expected to start competing in ice dance.

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Salwa Eid Naser, world 400m champion, provisionally banned

Salwa Eid Naser
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Salwa Eid Naser, the world 400m champion of Bahrain, was provisionally suspended for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span.

“I’ve never been a cheat. I will never be,” Naser, 22, said in an Instagram live video. “I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. It happens. It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat.”

Naser said “the missed tests” came before last autumn’s world championships, where she ran the third-fastest time in history (48.14 seconds) and the fastest in 34 years.

“This year I have not been drug tested,” she said. “We are still talking about the ones of last season before the world championships.”

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases for track and field, did not announce whether Naser’s gold medal could be stripped.

“Hopefully, it’ll get resolved because I don’t really like the image, but it has happened,” she said. “It’s going to be fine. It’s very hard to have this little stain on my name.”

Naser, the 2017 World silver medalist, upset Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas for the world title in Doha on Oct. 3.

The only women who have run faster than Naser, who was born Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Nigeria to a Nigerian mother who sprinted and a Bahraini father, were dubious — East German Marita Koch (47.60) and Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova (47.99).

“I would never take performance-enhancing drugs,” Naser said. “I believe in talent, and I know I have the talent.”

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When Laurie Hernandez winked at the Olympics

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Blink, and you may have missed one of the social-media-sensation moments of the Rio Olympics.

Laurie Hernandez, then 16, was the youngest woman on the U.S. Olympic team across all sports. She was about to start arguably the most important floor exercise routine of her life.

So, she winked.

“The amazing thing about the Olympics is that you feel so many different emotions in the span of a few days, and they are all intense,” she wrote in her 2017 book, “I Got This,” a nod to what she told herself before her balance beam routine earlier that night. “So it was nice to have at least one totally playful moment.”

The U.S., on its fourth and final rotation, already had the team gold all but locked up. Knowing she was nervous, Hernandez’s teammates confirmed to her that they were a few points ahead.

Then Hernandez heard the beep, and it was time to go. She was in the view of an out-of-bounds judge at the Rio Olympic Arena.

“Well, I looked straight at her and suddenly felt this surge of confidence to wink,” she wrote. “Later, a woman came up to me while I was watching Simone [Biles] and Aly [Raisman] compete in their all-around finals and she said, ‘Wow, I just want you to know that when you winked at the judge, it really worked.’ I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, ‘Thank you. That’s very nice of you to say.’ That’s when she told me she was the out-of-bounds judge! All I could say was ‘Oh my goodness.'”

Hernandez, a New Jersey native, finished the Olympics with a team gold and balance beam silver.

She took more than two years off before making a comeback in earnest last year, announcing she planned to return to competition this spring under new coaches in California. Now that’s on hold given the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

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