Russian women sweep figure skating worlds podium for first time


Russian women secured their first podium sweep in the 115-year history of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships on Friday night, thanks to two 16-year-olds and a 24-year-old.

Anna Shcherbakova, 16, led the way with a program that included a cheated quad flip but was otherwise clean, holding on to her lead from the short program.

Skating in her first senior worlds, the 2019 world junior silver medalist earned 152.17 points for her free skate. She ended the event with a 233.17 total.

“I think the world championship is a very important competition,” Shcherbakova said. “To me, it is a great honor to have won and I think it will give me more energy to work harder and for next season.”

Shcherbakova turns 17 on Sunday and said the victory was the “best ever present for my birthday.”

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | TV, Stream Schedule

Russian women have now won five of the last six women’s world titles, and 10 of the last 12 world junior titles.

At age 24, Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva returned to worlds for the first time since 2015, when she won gold, to take the silver with a 220.46 total and a free skate that included two triple axels.

“This has not been an easy year for any of us,” Tuktamysheva, who had contracted COVID-19 toward the end of 2020, said. “For me, the silver medal at the world championships in the pre-Olympic year motivates me and I want to qualify for the Olympic Games.”

Aleksandra Trusova made the comeback of the week, vaulting from a shocking 12th in the short program to land the winning free skate score of 152.38, good for a total of 217.20 and the bronze medal in her worlds debut. The 2018 and 2019 world junior champion’s free skate included an attempted five quads (three had errors), something only one or two men planned to attempt at this world championships.

“I’m very happy I was able to move from 12th to third place,” Trusova said. “Yes it was a difficult year and I am very happy the world championships took place because last year it was canceled and we were really waiting for it.”

Meanwhile, 2018 Olympians Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell did just enough to all but secure three spots for U.S. women at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, one more than they had at the 2019 and 2021 world championships. For a country to earn three spots, their top two athletes had to earn placements that added up to 13 or lower.

It looked as if the Americans would just miss that cutoff, but as Japan’s Rika Kihira, the 2018 Grand Prix Final champion who was in silver-medal position after the short program, faltered on three of her jumps and fell to seventh, they were given renewed hope.

“I was in shock, for sure, just because the situation wasn’t looking that great, but I was shocked and really happy, just felt a lot of emotions,” Chen, who finished fourth, 8.57 points off the podium with a total of 208.63. “I have no regrets. Whether we secured two spots or three spots, I was just proud of myself for delivering two really good programs.”

A U.S. woman will have to compete at Nebelhorn Trophy in the fall to confirm the third spot.

Stockholm marks the second worlds appearance of Chen’s career.

Her first came in 2017, where she also finished fourth and was clutch in helping the U.S. maintain three Olympic spots.

“I feel like I’m a totally different person and skater from who I was in 2017,” she reflected. “In the past, skating was my everything and it still is my everything, but I just have a much better grasp of my life. I definitely gained perspective from the year I had on campus (at Cornell). I know that skating is something I truly love, and I want to give it my best this moment in time.”

Tennell was ninth, slipping from seventh after the short, with three under-rotated jumps in her free. Her total was 197.81. The U.S. champion revealed after her skate that the boot on her landing foot had broke on one of her first days in Sweden, hindering both of her performances.

“This entire competition did not go nearly according to plan,” Tennell said. “I am very disappointed, to be honest, with my skates. It’s not what I’ve been training at all. I’ve been training clean programs, short and long, so to come here and put out these performances is very disappointing, especially at such an important competition. Unfortunately some issues with my boot arose and there was nothing I could do, so I kind of just did the best that I could do, and I’m really proud of the effort I put out.”

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Jim Hines, Olympic 100m gold medalist and first to break 10 seconds, dies

Jim Hines

Jim Hines, a 1968 Olympic 100m gold medalist and the first person to break 10 seconds in the event, has died at age 76, according to USA Track and Field.

“I understand that God called him home today and we send the prayers up for him,” was posted on the Facebook page of John Carlos, a 1968 U.S. Olympic teammate, over the weekend.

Hines was born in Arkansas, raised in Oakland, California and attended Texas Southern University in Houston.

At the June 1968 AAU Championships in Sacramento, Hines became the first person to break 10 seconds in the 100m with a hand-timed 9.9. It was dubbed the “Night of Speed” because the world record of 10 seconds was beaten by three men and tied by seven others, according to World Athletics.

“There will never be another night like it,” Hines said at a 35th anniversary reunion in 2003, according to World Athletics. “That was the greatest sprinting series in the history of track and field.”

Later that summer, Hines won the Olympic Trials. Then he won the Olympic gold medal in Mexico City’s beneficial thin air in 9.95 seconds, the first electronically timed sub-10 and a world record that stood for 15 years.

Hines was part of a legendary 1968 U.S. Olympic track and field team that also included 200m gold and bronze medalists Tommie Smith and Carlos, plus gold medalists Wyomia Tyus (100m), Bob Beamon (long jump), Al Oerter (discus), Dick Fosbury (high jump), Lee Evans (400m), Madeline Manning Mims (800m), Willie Davenport (110m hurdles), Bob Seagren (pole vault), Randy Matson (shot put), Bill Toomey (decathlon) and the men’s and women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m relays.

After the Olympics, Hines joined the Miami Dolphins, who chose him in the sixth round of that year’s NFL Draft to be a wide receiver. He was given the number 99. Hines played in 10 games between 1969 and 1970 for the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

He remains the only person to have played in an NFL regular season game out of the now more than 170 who have broken 10 seconds in the 100m over the last 55 years.

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the top hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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