New-look Anna Shcherbakova leads Grand Prix France; Starr Andrews withdraws

Anna Shcherbakova
Getty Images

World champion Anna Shcherbakova is one program away from setting up a likely showdown with training partner Kamila Valiyeva at December’s Grand Prix Final, a battle between medal contenders two months before the Olympics.

Shcherbakova unveiled a new short program at Internationaux de France in Grenoble on Friday. She tallied 77.94 points, edging countrywoman Aliona Kostornaya by 1.5 points.

Shcherbakova, the three-time reigning Russian national champion, scored 6.21 points more than she did with her previous short program at a Grand Prix in Italy two weeks ago, when she struggled with her jumping combination.

“My coaches decided to change the program,” the 17-year-old said, according to the International Skating Union. “Today I was nervous [performing it for the first time].”

Grand Prix France: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Valiyeva, a 15-year-old not competing in Grenoble, has the world’s top short program score of 84.19.

Both she and Shcherbakova won their first Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. Shcherbakova can clinch a spot in the six-skater Grand Prix Final with a podium finish after Saturday’s free skate, while Valiyeva can clinch in her second event at Rostelecom Cup next week.

Americans Karen Chen and Mariah Bell were fifth and 10th. Another American, Starr Andrews, withdrew after the short program due to unspecified medical reasons, according to the International Skating Union.

Andrews stopped her short program after singling her last jump. She skated toward an official with her hands on her knees, made a brief motion to her chest while talking to the official and then skated over to exit the rink, holding a woman’s hand as she left the ice and went out of camera view.

Andrews later shared on Instagram that she was “doing ok.”

Later Friday. world silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan easily won the men’s short by 10.88 points with 100.64, landing two quadruple jumps. Kagiyama, 18, became the third man to break 100 points in a short this season after Nathan Chen and Shoma Uno.

American Jason Brown was third without a quad on Friday, keeping him in the running to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. Brown was second in his previous Grand Prix.

Four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France topped the rhythm dance with 89.08 points, improving on their world-leading score this season. They distanced world bronze medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada by 7.73.

Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy, the world bronze medalists, led the pairs’ short with 77.17 points. U.S. champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were fourth.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics

Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024

The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!