Yuzuru Hanyu wins Four Continents; next: world championships and Nathan Chen

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Yuzuru Hanyu overcame an unspecified problem before taking the ice to win the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, a tune-up event for next month’s world championships.

Hanyu, the two-time Olympic champion, totaled 299.42 points — a world-record 111.82-point short program followed by Sunday’s 187.60-point free skate with four quadruple jump attempts (and a fall). He distanced silver medalist Jason Brown of the U.S. by 24.6 points in Seoul.

“Before taking the ice, there was something not as usual happened, so it was difficult for me to concentrate,” Hanyu said through a translator, adding, according to the International Skating Union, that there was “a problem with the ice.” “To be honest, I wasn’t able to let myself really, really get into the program.

“I’m not able to say happy with my performance today, but I really wanted to get the win, so actually I am glad.”

Hanyu’s total score was 23.1 points shy of his season’s best and 35.88 points shy of American Nathan Chen‘s total at December’s Grand Prix Final. Chen, the two-time world champion undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, outscored Hanyu in their last five head-to-head programs starting with the Olympic free skate.

Chen skipped Four Continents to focus on Yale sophomore studies.

Hanyu completed a set of major championship titles with his first Four Continents crown. The event invites the top skaters from the Americas, Asia and Australia. Hanyu earned his first international medal at the event in 2011 at age 16, a silver.

Brown, the U.S. silver medalist, posted his highest-scoring free skate and highest total score of his senior international career. His free skate — to music from “Schindler’s List” — was strong save doubling a potential quadruple toe loop. He has yet to land a clean, fully rotated quad in competition, but Brown is now ranked fourth in the world this season.

“Overall, I’m really happy with my performance,” he said. “I had a little blip, which I would have loved to have tackled. I would have loved to skate completely clean. But I guess I have to leave a little left over for worlds.”

Earlier, Japanese favorite Rika Kihira won the women’s Four Continents title as one of three skaters to attempt a triple Axel in the free skate. She won by 11.11 points over South Korean 15-year-old You Young. U.S. Olympian Bradie Tennell took bronze.

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MORE: Figure skating season TV schedule

Mikaela Shiffrin returns with mantra, stuck to her helmet, to carry forever

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Look close at Mikaela Shiffrin as she steps into a race start gate for the first time in eight months on Oct. 17.

Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion, plans to wear a helmet with two special stickers on the back.

She’s donned the first decal for years — the initials ABFTTB, which stand for “Always Be Faster Than The Boys,” a personalized autograph motto from retired Olympic Alpine skier Heidi Voelker.

The new sticker reads, Be nice. Think first. Have fun.

Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.

After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”

Be nice. Think first.

When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.

“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”

She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.

Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.

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2020 Tour de France results

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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

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