Karolyi’s soft retirement means little change for Team USA

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USA Gymnastics announced changes to the program’s coaching staff in preparation for the eventual departure of National Team Coordinator Martha Karolyi. But don’t panic! Karolyi isn’t running off to retirement yet, she’s just doing what Martha does… getting everything she wants.

Karolyi made it clear she has another four years in her, but she’s clearing her plate and handing over responsibility of the junior program to Valeri Liukin (aka: Nastia’s dad). It’s a non-shocker since Karolyi’s answers regarding who will take the reins is usually Liukin for reasons related to his technical prep of athletes that makes his now famous gym, WOGA, a hot bed of talent for up and coming juniors who turn into dominating seniors (See: Patterson, Bross, Liukin).

USA Gymnastics confirmed Liukin’s role as Elite Athlete Development Coordinator effective January 2013. There’s no official word yet on what will happen with his personal coaching duties. Karolyi had long been retired as a personal coach when she assumed her role overseeing the national team, but Liukin is still deeply immersed in coaching his current roster of athletes, which includes U.S. junior champ Katelyn Ohashi (among other much hyped juniors) and still potentially includes 2010 National Champion Rebecca Bross.

Liukin taking a role with the national team while still participating as a full time coach to athletes who might be on said team seems like a pretty straightforward conflict of interest. However, Liukin will only oversee junior development. Steve Rybacki, a long time Martha sidekick, will serve as Director of Elite Athlete Programs, which includes helping select teams for international competition, but final word on team selection and line up remains with Karolyi.

Liukin will be the guy overseeing the talent pipeline. In some aspects over seeing juniors could able him to continue with Bross and Ohashi. After all, he’s a coach who loves having a gymnast in the spotlight and one could assume this role was given to him to allow him to coach Ohashi through the 2016 Rio Games.

But for the near future it doesn’t appear fans will feel much impact from these changes. Nothing will really change until Martha fully relinquishes her role. Which clearly… could take a while.

Bradie Tennell ready to show off more hard work

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For the first time in several years, Bradie Tennell is healthy for a full season – and it’s paying dividends.

She seemingly came out of nowhere to win a surprise bronze medal at the Skate America Grand Prix over Thanksgiving weekend. Then, she won a gold medal at the national championships in January and was named to her first Olympic team.

She debuted in PyeongChang for Team USA in figure skating’s team event. She competed her short program – set to a South Korean film soundtrack – and earned a bronze medal already in PyeongChang. But just being at the Olympics an accomplishment in itself, she said.

Read the full preview at NBCOlympics.com

The ladies’ short program is Tuesday, February 20 in Primetime on NBC and NBCOlympics.com and the free skate is Thursday, February 22 in Primetime on NBC and NBCOlympics.com.

Winter Olympics late night: What to watch/stream

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It looks like the Olympics are getting into more serious territory, with four medal events being covered tonight as well as the last games in the round robin phase of the curling tournament.

Among those competing for a medal tonight are the Finnish women’s hockey team, who were decimated by the Americans in the semifinals. They take on OAR in the bronze medal game.

Elsewhere, the American men and women have one more game to sneak into the curling knockout rounds.

Continue reading below for full coverage of tonight’s events on NBCOlympics.com.


Curling

The round robin phase finally wraps up tonight, and there’ still work to be done for a handful of teams. For the men:

Men’s Tournament

USA vs. GBR Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

DEN vs. CAN Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

SWE vs. NOR Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

KOR vs. JPN Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

Women’s Tournament

SWE vs. USA Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

SUI vs. JPN Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

OAR vs. CAN Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

KOR vs. DEN Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

Hockey

Both of these teams were just minor obstacles for Canada and United States, but both performed well to get to the bronze medal game.

The fact that all four teams from the semifinals were all in Group A is a testament to just how tough that group really was. Aside from their losses against Canada and the USA, Finland have outscored opponents 12-3. They also took the first game against OAR 5-1.

Women’s Tournament

Bronze medal game: FIN vs. OAR Stream Live Here 2:40a.m. EST / 11:40p.m. PST

Cross-Country

Is there any doubting the Norwegians at this point? Johannes Klaebo clinched the gold for the men during the 4x10km relay, making it seem easy along the way. Not to mention, the man is a natural sprinter in cross-country and his presence will be a huge lift for the Norwegians.

On the women’s side, Norway will have some competition with Sweden as Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson can both put up impressive times. The Americans have an outside chance at a minor medal, having a very respectable performance in the women’s individual sprints.

Men’s and Women’s Team Sprints Stream Live Here 3:00a.m. EST / 12:00a.m. PST

Speed Skating

The U.S. face a tall task ahead of them when they challenge Netherlands in the women’s team pursuit semifinals. Led by Heather Bergsma, the USA started out very strongly but ended up sliding into fourth place. A bronze medal is a more realistic expectation for this group.

Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit Finals Stream Live Here 6:00a.m. EST / 3:00a.m. PST

Bobsled

Women’s bobsled concludes in the early hours on Wednesday with a battle between Germany and USA for the medals. Germany hold the gold and silver medal positions, while the USA holds the silver and fourth. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs set the start record on their second run, but a sluggish middle section pushed them into second place. Only .07 seconds separate them from the German team with two runs remaining.

Nigeria and Jamaica will also be making their final two runs tonight.

Women’s Runs 3-4 Stream Live Here 6:40a.m. EST / 3:40a.m. PST

Figure Skating

The Olympic Ice crew recap the ladies’ short program.

Olympic Ice Post Show Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST