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Sochi earns rave reviews from figure skaters

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Whether it’s the views, the weather, or the facilities, figure skaters from around the world are singing the praises of Sochi after the first test event was held in the 2014 Olympic Park over the weekend.

“It’s a beautiful arena and the atmosphere here is just fantastic,” world champ Meryl Davis told Reuters. “We’ve been several times in Moscow but this is our first visit to Sochi. Everything feels great.”

“For us it’s a great privilege to be here so early,” added 2010 gold medalist Scott Moir. “The venue definitely has an Olympic feeling to it It reminds me a lot of the arena in Vancouver.”

Davis and her partner, Charlie White, won the first event held at Sochi’s Iceberg Palace – the Russian Grand Prix. The pair said they’re excited to return to Sochi in 14 months to try for the Olympic title that eluded them when they won silver in Vancouver.

Not everything is perfect of course. Traffic and empty arena seats seemed to plague the weekend’s event, but the President of the International Skating Union, Ottavio Cinquanta, wasn’t concerned. Those kinks are why Sochi will continue to regularly run test events leading up to the Games.

And the athletes weren’t bothered much, either.

“We’re seasoned competitors and we’ve been around many places, so if we’re stuck in traffic or the food is not that great, these things don’t bother us,” White concluded. “It doesn’t take our focus away from our main goal, which is to skate well.”

Craig Sager will miss Rio Olympics as he battles leukemia

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Basketball reporter Craig Sager will miss the Rio Games as he returns to a cancer center to continue his battle against acute myeloid leukemia, NBC announced in a statement Thursday.

Sager was set to cover his fifth straight Olympics for NBC, but instead needs to undergo a third bone marrow transplant at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He resumed receiving chemotherapy on Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle, with the goal being to force the disease into remission so the transplant can be performed next month.

“We’ve known since February we would have to have the third transplant,” Sager told the Chronicle. “We tried to delay it until after the Olympics, but (the disease) is very aggressive, and there is a sense of urgency to do it now.”

Sager was diagnosed in 2014, went into remission after a bone marrow transplant, was told the cancer came back in March 2015, underwent a second transplant last year, and then found out in February he was no longer in remission.

“My body isn’t getting stronger, so they want to do it while I’m strong enough,” Sager said. “Third transplants are kind of rare, so hopefully we will get it done and I’ll be ready in time for (NBA) opening night.”

MORE: Marv Albert to call Olympic basketball for first time since 1996

Details of NBC Olympics’ Facebook, Instagram content for Rio

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NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram will team up to provide video highlights and interviews on social media daily during the Rio Olympics.

An on-site “Social Command Center” in Rio will capture Facebook Live content, including interviews with athletes and NBC Olympics commentators.

A daily two-minute recap video will be produced for Facebook, while Instagram will have a daily slow-motion video around an inspiring moment.

Instagram will also feature NBC Olympics commentators and athletes on its own account, @instagram, along with highlights of NBC videos through its Search & Explore video channels.

More on the NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram partnerships is here.

MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster