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Australians must sign no-doping pledge to compete

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A plan to require Australian athletes to sign a declaration revealing past use of performance-enhancing drugs, proposed Nov. 2 by Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates, was accepted by the AOC executive board Friday and will go into effect for the 2014 Games.

The measure, which comes in response to the backlash against Lance Armstrong, will force Aussie athletes to state they have “no doping history.”

Those caught lying will face up to seven years of jail time. Those who don’t sign simply won’t be selected.

“What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has,” AOC President John Coates told the AP when he proposed the measure earlier this month.

The AOC still isn’t sure what substances will land on the banned list, but Coates claimed there may be some “wriggle room” for doping cases with mitigating circumstances. He also explained that recreational drugs like marijuana won’t be part of the pledge. It will be strictly performance based.

“An athlete could be available for a games after serving a two-year suspension,” Coates said of the penalties. “However, we talked about it and we will not accept onto the team in any official or coaching position anyone who may have, as an athlete, violated an anti-doping rule and served such a sanction.”

Apparently Coates got the idea from the British Sky cycling team, who was also reacting to the Lance Armstrong news. No other Olympic committees have talked about similar declarations, but we imagine all the top world teams like the U.S., Great Britain, and Russia won’t be far behind.

How to watch Alpine skiing World Cup Soelden on NBC Sports

Mikaela Shiffirn
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Olympic champions Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety open the World Cup Alpine skiing season in Soelden, Austria, this weekend, live on the NBC Sports app.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom gold medalist, faces a field including Swiss World Cup overall champion Lara Gut in the women’s giant slalom Saturday.

The first run is at 4 a.m. ET and the second run at 7 a.m. ET, both live on the NBC Sports app.

Ligety, the Olympic and world giant slalom champion coming back from a torn ACL, looks for his fifth Soelden victory Sunday. He’ll go up against home favorite Marcel Hirscher, the five-time reigning World Cup overall champion.

The first run is at 4 a.m. ET and the second run at 7 a.m. ET, both live on the NBC Sports app.

This weekend’s races open a season that will run through the end of March.  U.S. Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso are expected to make their season debuts later this fall.

The world championships are in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in February. The World Cup Finals, the last races of the season, will be in Aspen, Colo., in March.

Day Coverage Network Time (ET)
Saturday Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 (LIVE) NBC Sports app 4 a.m.
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 (LIVE) NBC Sports app 7 a.m.
Women’s Giant Slalom Universal HD 3 p.m.
Sunday Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 (LIVE) NBC Sports app 4 a.m.
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 (LIVE) NBC Sports app 7 a.m.
Men’s Giant Slalom NBCSN 9:30 p.m.

ALPINE SKIING: Men’s preview | Women’s preview

How to watch Skate America on NBC Sports

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 20:  (L-R) Ashley Wagner with silver, Mao Asada of Japan with gold and Elena Radionova of Russia with bronze pose with their medals after the ladies free at Skate America 2013 at the Joe Louis Arena on October 20, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold highlight the field for Skate America, the biggest annual international figure skating competition in the U.S., live on NBC and the NBC Sports app this weekend.

Terry Gannon will be on the call with 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski and two-time U.S. Olympian Johnny Weir.

Competition in Hoffman Estates, Ill., runs from Friday through Sunday. will also have live streaming coverage for subscribers.

Wagner, the world silver medalist, and Gold, the U.S. champion, are joined in Chicagoland by three-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan.

The men’s field is led by world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China, Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Shoma Uno of Japan and the last two U.S. champions — Adam Rippon and Jason Brown.

U.S. pairs champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea and ice dance champions Maia and Alex Shibutani are also competing.

Skate America is the first of six events in the Grand Prix series, with top skaters competing twice over six weeks looking to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Marseille, France, from Dec. 8-11. Six per discipline qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

SKATE AMERICA: Preview | Gold mulled skipping GP | Wagner has 2 years left

The broadcast and streaming schedule is here:

Day Time (ET) Program Network
Friday 8:05 p.m. Women’s Short (LIVE)
Friday 10 p.m. Pairs Short (LIVE)
Friday 11 p.m. Women’s Short Universal HD
Saturday 2:05 p.m. Men’s Short (LIVE)
Saturday 4:30 p.m. Women’s Free (LIVE) NBC, NBC Sports app
Saturday 8 p.m. Short Dance (LIVE)
Saturday 9:40 p.m. Pairs Free (LIVE)
Saturday 11:30 p.m. Men’s Short Universal HD
Sunday 12:30 a.m. Pairs Free Universal HD
Sunday 12:30 p.m. Men’s Free (LIVE) NBC, NBC Sports app
Sunday 2:45 p.m. Free Dance (LIVE)
Sunday 9 p.m. Free Dance Universal HD
Monday 8 p.m. Women’s, Men’s Free Universal HD

MORE: Full figure skating season broadcast schedule