Carolina Kostner of Italy won the world-figure skating title Saturday in Nice, France, delivering a graceful performance of mesmerizing...
Kostner, Chan earn
Carolina Kostner of Italy won the world-figure skating title Saturday in Nice, France, delivering a graceful performance of mesmerizing steps and spins for her first gold medal at a major event.
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Defending champion Patrick Chan of Canada took the men’s title despite a flawed free skate that included a late tumble. Chan, 21, is the first man to win consecutive titles since Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland in 2005 and 2006.
The 25-year-old Kostner, last year’s bronze medalist and the reigning European champion, buried her head in her hands at the end of a faultless free skate punctuated by jumps that sent her rocketing up from third place in the short program.
Russian Alena Leonova, who led after the short program, finished second and Akiko Suzuki of Japan was third. American Ashley Wagner placed fourth.
Daisuke Takahashi of Japan was the men’s runner-up and countryman Yuzuru Hanyu finished third.
The Sony Ericsson Open finalists met at the net to shake hands, Russian Maria Sharapova standing a head taller, even with her shoulders slumped in disappointment.
She lost serve in the final game of each set, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. The second-ranked Sharapova is winless in four finals played in Key Biscayne, Fla., as she was also the runner-up in 2005, 2006 and last year.
Sharapova, a three-time major champion, is 0 for 3 in finals this year.
The 23-year-old Radwanska, ranked a career-best No. 4, earned her ninth career title.
“I think I was just better for couple of points each set,” she said.
Radwanska is 2-7 against Sharapova, with her other victory at the 2007 U.S. Open.
“I’m playing against a really good player, second in the world right now,” said Radwanska, who earned $712,000 for the victory. “I had pretty much nothing to lose. It’s just a great feeling to beat those kind of players, especially in the final playing great tennis.”
Radwanska made 10 unforced errors, compared with 45 for Sharapova.
In the men’s final Sunday, top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia faces No. 4 Andy Murray of Britain.
Mancuso wins 15th title
Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, Calif., overcame a first-run mistake with a blistering second trip to earn a fourth straight giant-slalom title at the U.S. championships in Winter Park, Colo.
Mancuso extended her U.S. record by winning a 15th national title.
Overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., failed to finish her first run when she missed a gate. Vonn said she will have an MRI exam on her aching knees Monday.
gets television job
Fired UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel will be a studio and in-game analyst for the Pac-12 network, according to a SportsbyBrooks report on Twitter that also said Neuheisel’s salary will be $300,000. Neuheisel, 51, is a former Washington Huskies coach.
UCLA will be coached this season by Jim Mora, a former Seahawks coach and UW player.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Neuheisel recently sold his Bel-Air home for $4.995 million; he bought the property in 2008 for $4.5 million, the paper said.
• Harlequins beat London rival Saracens 24-19 before 83,761 at Wembley Stadium, a world-record turnout for a club rugby match.
The previous record crowd was 82,208 for a 2009 match in Dublin, Ireland.
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