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Three-time champ Jeremy Abbot highlights men’s nationals

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The competition in Omaha might seem a bit lackluster after Vancouver gold medalist Evan Lysacek and three-time national champ Johnny Weir have recently pulled out of the event. But with Jeremy Abbot aiming for his fourth title in five years, there’s still plenty to be excited about.

“I’m actually feeling good,” he told the OC Register. “It’s actually been a lot of work getting my back feeling good again. I really feel like I’m building some momentum. I want two solid programs, make the team, and then put everything I have into Worlds.”

A fourth U.S. title would put Abbot, who nearly bowed out of the event due to lower back problems, in the elite company of gold medalists Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, and Dick Button.

The 27-year-old admitted that he won’t be throwing a quad jump in his short program Friday night, but will have a quad toe loop for during his long program on Sunday. So, you know, get excited.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic venue progress video

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The next Olympics, the Pyeongchang Winter Games, are in 530 days.

Organizers of the first Winter Olympics in South Korea published a time-lapse video of venue construction on Thursday.

The video shows updates for the main coastal Olympic Park, including short- and long-track speed skating, figure skating and hockey arenas, the sliding center in the mountains and the Olympic Plaza, which will house the Olympic Stadium for Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

As NBC News reported, one concern is a potential lack of natural snow, which 2010 and 2014 Winter Games organizers had to deal with as well. Man-made snow is always a safety-net option.

MORE: Pyeongchang 2018 mascots unveiled

Italian track meet near earthquake canceled to focus on recovery

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An annual track and field meet in Rieti, Italy, about 40 to 50 miles from the hardest-hit areas from Wednesday’s earthquake and aftershocks that have killed at least 267 people, has been canceled in order to devote resources to recovery.

The meet was due to take place Sept. 11.

The Rieti athletics meeting has been held every year since 1971, highlighted by recent men’s world records in the 100m (Asafa Powell, 2007) and the 800m (David Rudisha, 2010).

Meet director Sandro Giovannelli said €60,000 (or about $68,000) generated from the Rieti meet the last three years would be contributed toward earthquake reconstruction efforts.

MORE: U.S. Olympic sprinter turns to bobsled