Isabeau Levito wins world junior figure skating title, ends U.S. women’s drought

Isabeau Levito
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Isabeau Levito completed a U.S. sweep of the world junior figure skating singles titles, becoming the first American woman to win a world senior or junior title in 14 years.

Levito, 15, tallied 206.55 points between two programs in Tallinn, Estonia, prevailing by .54 over South Korean Shin Jia. American Lindsay Thorngren earned bronze.

Levito, with seven triple jumps in a clean free skate, became the first U.S. woman to win a global title — junior or senior — since Rachael Flatt‘s junior crown in 2008.

Levito ended the longest gold-medal drought for the U.S. women in junior worlds history.

She entered the week ranked sixth in the world by best junior score this season, according to SkatingScores.com. The top five were from Russia, whose athletes are banned from competition due to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Levito took bronze at January’s senior U.S. Championships but was too young to be named to the three-woman Olympic team. She can debut on the senior international level next season.

Earlier Sunday, siblings Oona Brown and Gage Brown won the ice dance, becoming the fifth different U.S. couple to capture that title in the last eight junior worlds.

On Saturday, American Ilia Malinin won the men’s junior title, shattering the record for margin of victory in any discipline.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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