Oct 20, 2013, 5:52 PM EST
Shaky Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada held on to win the first Grand Prix figure skating event of the season, beating a field that included U.S. champion Ashley Wagner.
Asada, a two-time world champion, scored 204.55 points at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Wagner looked like an Olympic medal threat Sunday, totaling 193.81 for second place (full results below).
In the pairs competition, Russian world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov reset their world record for a free skate one day after they broke their mark in the short program to win easily.
The Grand Prix season continues with Skate Canada beginning Friday (NBC coverage Sunday, 4 p.m. ET). Three-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan and U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold lead the field in St. John, New Brunswick.
On Sunday, Asada, 23, fell on a triple axel, the toughest jump in women’s skating today. She also doubled the second jump of a planned triple-triple combination.
It was still good enough to beat Wagner, who was four points behind Asada after the short program Saturday.
Wagner landed a triple-triple jump combination for the second straight day after adding it to her repertoire for the Olympic season. The daughter of a U.S. Army officer hit six more triple jumps skating to “Romeo and Juliet.”
“Two solid programs back to back, that’s a huge accomplishment any time of the year,” Wagner told NBC. “I have a lot of work to do until Sochi, but I’m on the way up.”
Wagner is a favorite to grab one of three women’s spots on the U.S. Olympic team that will be named after the U.S. Championships in Boston in January.
She just missed the two-woman Olympic team in 2010, placing third at the National Championships.
In the pairs, Volosozhar and Trankov confirmed their massive Olympic favorite status with 237.71 points, nearly 30 more than the rest of the field.
They skated to “Jesus Christ Superstar” with Trankov in yellow velvet pans, hitting side-by-side triple salchows, a triple toe loop-double toe loop combination and a pair of throw triples.
They broke the world record for short and long programs for the second time this season.
“You never stop, and we try to do better and better every competition.” said Trankov in an interview for the Joe Louis Arena crowd before he switched to Japanese to thank their fans from that country.
Volosozhar and Trankov may be the host country’s only figure skating gold medalists at the Sochi Olympics. They’re trying to regain Russian dominance in pairs skating.
A Russian/Unified Team/Soviet pair won gold at every Olympics from 1964 through 2006, but none won a medal in 2010.
Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, fourth at the World Championships, were nearly 30 points behind in second place.
U.S. pairs took fourth, sixth and seventh, led by 2012 U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin.
Pairs has been the U.S.’ weakest figure skating event for the last decade with no Olympic medalists since 1988.
Denney and Coughlin, 2013 U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (sixth at Skate America) and Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, ninth at worlds, are the top contenders for two spots on the Olympic team.
1. Mao Asada (JPN) 204.55
2. Ashley Wagner (USA) 193.81
3. Yelena Radyonova (RUS) 183.95
4. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) 176.75
5. Samantha Cesario (USA) 167.98
6. Mae Berenice Meite (FRA) 167.35
7. Valentina Marchei (ITA) 156.79
8. Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) 152.34
9. Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO) 148.94
10. Caroline Zhang (USA) 110.12
1. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) 237.71
2. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) 208.45
3. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) 187.35
4. Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (USA) 182.43
5. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) 180.27
6. Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA) 177.11
7. Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay (USA) 168.42
8. Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (CAN) 146.28
Dec 11, 2013, 4:09 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn plans to compete in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21 as her comeback from major knee surgery continues. The Olympic downhill champion will skip this weekend’s World Cup stop in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The World Cup stops for a slalom in between St. Moritz and Val d’Isere, but Vonn said in October she didn’t…
Dec 11, 2013, 2:14 PM EST
2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter‘s bid to make a third U.S. Olympic Team is off to an inauspicious start. Teter, 26, was the biggest name not to qualify for the women’s snowboard halfpipe final at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., on Wednesday. She took 16th in qualifying, where the top eight advance to…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:02 AM EST
Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Pozner will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games. “With his deep Russian roots and American upbringing, Vladimir Pozner is uniquely qualified to provide a Russian outlook to our audience during the Sochi Olympics,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics. “At yet another significant moment in…
Dec 11, 2013, 10:10 AM EST
Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson scrutinized doping in track and field and the popularity of the sport outside Usain Bolt at a forum in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday. “You are never going to have a situation where no one cheats — athletics is a microcosm of real life, and in real life you will always have people who…
Dec 11, 2013, 9:37 AM EST
An emerging medal contender in the super-G is out for the season after suffering a major knee injury in a race last weekend. Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who was fourth in the super-G at the World Championships in February, suffered a rupture of the cruciate ligament and a meniscus lesion on her left knee in a downhill crash…
Dec 10, 2013, 5:46 PM EST
U.S. Olympic qualification for snowboarding and freeskiing will be among the toughest of all sports. It begins in Breckenridge, Colo., this week. The Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships, which run Wednesday through Sunday, are the first of five stops in this trials process. The others are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo.,…
Dec 10, 2013, 2:08 PM EST
Dreaming of NFL players in the Olympics? While any possibility is far, far away, the International Olympic Committee provisionally recognized football’s international sports federation Tuesday. “On behalf of the IOC, we are delighted to welcome the IFAF [International Federation of American Football] into the Olympic Family,” said IOC sports director Christophe Dubi, according to a press release.…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:43 PM EST
Specific areas for protests or demonstrations have been set aside for the Sochi Olympics by Russian Games organizers, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday. “People who want to express their opinions or want to demonstrate for or against something,” IOC president Thomas Bach said, according to The Associated Press. “This is a measure we welcome so that…
Dec 10, 2013, 12:05 PM EST
An outpouring of social media support followed Evan Lysacek‘s announcement that he would not defend his Olympic figure skating title. They came from fellow figure skaters, of course, but also the U.S. Olympic community. The widespread well wishes showed the level of admiration and respect for Lysacek across the Olympic landscape. Here’s a selection of posts:…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:53 AM EST
Call him Sir Bradley Wiggins. The 2012 Olympic and Tour de France champion was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. “I can’t remember what she said or what I said,” Wiggins said, according to Sky Sports. “It’s probably more nervous going up there and doing something like that being in an Olympic…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:35 AM EST
Rosa Khutor, a Sochi Olympic mountain cluster venue, is set to officially open for ski season Saturday. But four days before that, and less than two months before the Olympics, an avalanche warning was issued for the mountains near the Russian Olympic host city. “Avalanches could cause blackouts, disruption of communications, housing services and transportation,”…
Dec 10, 2013, 8:22 AM EST
Evan Lysacek will not defend his Olympic figure skating title. Lysacek, 28, was unable to recover fast enough from a torn labrum in his left hip to qualify for the Sochi Olympics, he said on TODAY on Tuesday morning. The Chicago Tribune first reported the news overnight, saying Lysacek would not compete at all this season.…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:04 PM EST
The International Olympic Committee is set to send a letter to national Olympic committees reminding athletes of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” during the Games. “We will give the background of the Rule 50, explaining the interpretation of the Rule 50 to make the…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:23 AM EST
The U.S. could win its first medal at the Sochi Olympics in the new figure skating team event, but the competition for gold will be tight if qualification is any indication. The International Skating Union published its list of the 10 qualified nations into the event Tuesday. The U.S. had the third highest qualification score,…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:35 AM EST
David Remnick, a Pulitzer Prize winner and editor of The New Yorker, will contribute to NBC’s coverage of the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony and offer commentary for NBC News. Remnick, 55, is the former Moscow Bureau Chief for The Washington Post and won his Pulitzer for his book, “Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.” “I…
Dec 8, 2013, 3:39 PM EST
Ted Ligety dominated as usual. Bode Miller looked like the Miller of old. The Americans went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday. It marked the first time the U.S. put two men on a World Cup podium since Jan. 17, 2009. The world champion Ligety won in a two-run time of 2…
Dec 8, 2013, 1:52 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn improved for the second straight day in her first races in 10 months. The Olympic downhill champion placed fifth in a World Cup super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Sunday. Vonn skied the course in 1 minute, 23.71 seconds. Winner Lara Gut of Switzerland was .85 of a second faster. Vonn, in her first races since blowing…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:51 PM EST
American Heather Richardson and her fiance both won races on the final day of the World Cup speed skating stop in Berlin on Sunday. Richardson, the world sprint champion, won the 1000m in 1 minute, 14.51 seconds, .91 better than U.S. teammate Brittany Bowe. Russian Olga Fatkulina was third. Berlin marked the final World Cup before the Olympics, meaning it’s…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:15 PM EST
Erin Hamlin finished fifth in a World Cup luge race to secure her third Olympic berth on Saturday night. Hamlin, 27, of Remsen, N.Y., is the second USA Luger to clinch a spot in Sochi, joining now two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer. Hamlin is now a three-time Olympian. The 2009 world champion finished 12th in Torino and 16th…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:08 PM EST
The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be its largest in Winter Games history with more than 200 athletes. This list of athletes nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team will be updated as national governing bodies announce their teams: Biathlon Lowell Bailey — @lowellcbailey Tim Burke — @tb_burke Susan Dunklee — @susandunklee Curling Erika…
- Lindsey Vonn to skip St. Moritz, ski Val d’Isere downhill 1
- Michael Johnson: track and field would be dead without Olympics 0
- Shaun White, Kelly Clark headline Dew Tour Olympic qualifying event 1
- Evan Lysacek will not compete at Sochi Olympics (video) 2
- Ted Ligety, Bode Miller go 1-2 in Beaver Creek giant slalom (video) 1
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (54)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (45)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (29)
- Vladimir Putin tells critics of Russia at World University Games to ‘try some Viagra’ (18)
- IOC convinced there will be no discrimination at Sochi Olympics (16)