COVID-19 once again wreaks havoc on the international figure skating calendar


What COVID-19 has done is spur competitions to switch to Europe. Considering that Tallinn is already hosting the Continental Championships in January, it made sense to move all four continents there, even though none of those four continents include Europe.

While the Grand Prix final can still be held at the end of the season, it seems impractical and redundant, with the Olympic Games in February and the World Championships in France at the end of March.

The Russians were ready to dominate in Osaka. Their wives won five of six entries, led by a 15-year-old Kamila Valieva and 17 years old Anna shcherbakova. The Fatherland also qualified four pairs, one man (Mikhail Kolyada), and a couple of dancers. The Americans reportedly sent three men – Nathan Chen, Vincent zhou, and Jason brown – plus dancing couples Madison HubbellZachary Donohue and Madison holdEvan bates.

The pursuit of Shiffrin’s record

Mikaela shiffrin, which equaled Ingemar Stenmark The Ski World Cup record of 46 career victories in a discipline by winning his fifth consecutive crown in slalom at Killington last weekend, will have to wait some time to beat it since the next race of this event does not will only take place on December 29 in Lienz, Austria.

After that, Shiffrin’s next career milestone will pass Lindsey Vonn as the American woman with the most overall wins (82). Shiffrin, who is 71, probably won’t make it this season unless she takes care of the sprint races. But time is on its side.

Stenmark, the all-time leader with 86 wins (all in technical races), competed for 16 seasons and Vonn for 18. Shiffrin, 26, is only in his 11th.

Freezing conditions

Was it cold on Sunday the opening weekend of the Cross-Country Skiing World Cup in Ruka, Finland, north of the Arctic Circle? So cold (minus -5 degrees in the stadium) that the entire Norwegian men’s team, which is not usually mistaken for fragile wildlife, refused to run in the 15-kilometer chase and let the Russians take over the podium.

Their compatriots however did race and finished first and third with Therese Johaug and Heidi weng in a race that was twice delayed. Rosie Brennan was the best American competitor, in fifth.

Stimulating journey

Zhangjiakou is one of the three main venues for the upcoming Winter Games.WANG ZHAO / AFP via Getty Images

Like most Olympic venues in Beijing, the Secret Garden snowboardcross track in Zhangjiakou will present unusual challenges.

“The course is an interesting combination of gliding skills and power,” observed the American coach. Pierre Foley. “So you need a really well-balanced and incredibly strong snowboarder to do well here. “

Nick baumgartner finished third on virtually the same track as the Olympic course, which bodes well for the American men, who were excluded from SBX medals in PyeongChang for the first time at the Games.

Made for the season

While the World Cup seasons in most Olympic sports have just started, short track speed skating is already over.

Kristen santos of Fairfield, Connecticut, was the top performer in the United States, finishing second in the 1,000-meter and fourth in the 1,500-meter. The Americans qualified three women for the Games in the 500m and 1000m and two in the 1500m, plus the relay.

The men, who don’t think they are close to the podium in Beijing, qualified one entry in the 500 and two in the 1000 and 1500, but no relays.

Looking to qualify

Ashley farquharson, who finished in the top 12 in the first two World Cup luge races, has a head start on qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team, which is based on three levels of ranking. She has already met the requirements for level B with two top-13s. Summer britcher, who finished sixth at the world championships last season, needs a top-five finish in the Cup to earn a spot.

The soft conditions during last weekend’s shutdown in Sochi – rain, 55 degrees and 80% humidity – didn’t help. Lugers are here again this weekend as events planned in Whistler, British Columbia and Lake Placid have been moved to Russia due to COVID entry bans.

It was a blow to Emily sweeney from Suffield, Connecticut, who is bidding for a return trip to the Games. But because she serves in the military’s world-class athlete program, Defense Ministry rules prohibit her from competing in Russia.

Three way tie

For the first time in the history of the Skeleton World Cup, there was a triple tie for men in Innsbruck last weekend with the Chinese Geng Wenqiang, Great Britain Matt Weston, and Germany Christophe Grotheer stalemate for the first in a sport where times are measured to the hundredth of a second. It was the first Cup of China title and the first for the British since 2008. The Americans, who finished 20th and 27th, were happy to be on the starting line after Florian Austin and Jean Daly tested positive for COVID-19. Florian was shut out the day before the race and Daly just 20 minutes early. . . Turning 100 last month was George “Doc” Nagobads, who was the doctor of the United States men’s hockey team at five Olympics, including the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980. Latvian Nagobads, who suggested coaching Herb Brooks he names Mike Eruzione as a captain for his leadership skills, was the man with the clock on the bench in the victory over the Soviet Union, counting the 40-second shifts that kept the Americans cool for the last few minutes.

(Materials from Olympic committees, sports federations, interviews, websites and press services have been used in this report.)


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