Getty Images

Russian women sweep European Figure Skating Championships medals; Papadakis, Cizeron upset

Leave a comment

Russia dominated the European Figure Skating Championships, winning every gold medal and sweeping the medals in the women’s and pairs’ events.

Alena KostornaiaAnna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova went gold-silver-bronze, just as they did at the Grand Prix Final in December against the world’s other top female skaters.

The Russian Troika, all 15 or 16 and in their first senior international seasons, each fell in the free skate. No matter, no other skater was within 32 points of them. That’s because of their technical content. Kostornaia landed two triple Axels; Shcherbakova a quadruple Lutz and quad flip and Trusova a quad toe.

They go into March’s world championships favored to give Russia the first medal sweep at that event since the U.S. did it in 1991 with Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan

Earlier, Dmitry Aliev won the men’s title and Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy topped the pairs’ event.

A stunner happened in ice dance. French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron lost to a couple other than retired Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for the first time since December 2014.

Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov overtook them in Saturday’s free dance, winning by .14 of a point.

Papadakis and Cizeron are the Olympic silver medalists and two-time reigning world champions. Sinitsina and Katsalopov, last year’s world silver medalists, ended the French couple’s record streak of five straight European titles. A rematch is on top for worlds in Montreal in March.

It’s the first time one nation swept the men’s, women’s, pairs’ and ice dance titles at Europeans since Russia in 2006.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

U.S. NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating 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.

New dates set for Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics in 2021

Tokyo Olympics Delayed
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been rescheduled for nearly one year later with the Olympics set for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be Aug 24-Sept 5.

“These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a press release. The new dates “also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process.”

The original Olympic Opening Ceremony was to be July 24, 2020, before the Games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers said last Tuesday that the Games would be moved to some time in 2021 before the end of summer.

Until Monday’s announcement, it was possible the Olympics could have been scheduled for the spring for the first time since the 1928 Amsterdam Games. IOC President Thomas Bach said keeping the July-August timeframe had “unanimous support” from international sport federations.

The new Olympic dates overlap with the original dates for the 2021 World Championships in aquatics (July 16-Aug. 1) and track and field (Aug. 6-15). Both federations said last week it was possible their world championships dates could be moved to accommodate new Olympic dates.

Cornel Marculescu, the executive director of the international aquatics federation (FINA), said last week there was no chance of its worlds in Fukuoka, Japan, being bumped back to 2022.

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “If they do [the Olympics] in summer, then we (will have to change) the dates (of the world championships).”

World Athletics issued a further update after Monday’s Olympic announcement, saying it began working with organizers of its 2021 World Championships in Eugene, Ore., on new dates in 2022.

The Tokyo Olympics will end fewer than six months before the start of the Beijing Winter Games, which open Feb. 4, 2022. It marks the shortest break between a Summer and Winter Games since they were last held in the same year in 1992.

Non-medal Olympic events typically start one or two days before the Opening Ceremony. The original Tokyo Olympic schedule had softball games kicking off competition two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The new competition schedule for the Tokyo Games in 2021 has not been released.

It is the earliest start to a Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games began July 19.

The original Paralympic Opening Ceremony was to be Aug. 25, 2020.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has coronavirus

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to World Athletics and an Iranian news agency.

“We’ve received word from several Asian journalists that Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi has tested positive for coronavirus,” according to World Athletics. “[Hadadi] trains part of the year in the US, but was home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.”

Hadadi, 35, became the first Iranian to earn an Olympic track and field medal when he took silver in the discus at the 2012 London Games. Hadadi led through four of six rounds before being overtaken by German Robert Harting, who edged the Iranian by three and a half inches.

He was eliminated in qualifying at the Rio Olympics and placed seventh at last fall’s world championships in Doha.