What we learned from Figure Skating Worlds

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Here are a few things we learned from the 2013 Figure Skating World Championships heading into next February’s Sochi Olympics:

The US Women are climbing back: Not since 2006 has an American woman won an Olympic or world medal in figure skating. Gold used to be the standard, now the goals have become more modest: survive and earn back the third Olympic birth team USA embarrassingly missed in 2010. That was the single task for these championships and, as 5th place finisher Ashley Wagner stated after the competition, ‘Mission accomplished.”

Hope for a perfect Ten: The new code of points has made it a little more difficult for surprise winners and out of the blue medalists. So often it’s the same names at the top of the podium, the same back stories told again and again. But Denis Ten’s surprise silver medal proved that even if gold is spoken for, the minor medals can be just as thrilling.

Catch Yuna Kim… if you can: Kim ran away with the women’s title after two full years away from the sport, winning by more than twenty points over defending champ Caroline Kostner of Italy, who took silver. There’s nothing else to say other than: “Good luck, ladies.”

America’s got talent: Meryl Davis and Charlie White took home their second world title in Ice Dancing this weekend, by more than four points. Their dominance puts the 2010 Olympic silver medalists as the front-runners for Sochi – perhaps America’s best (maybe only) chance at figure skating gold.

Canada is top dog in the team event: Figure skating isn’t just for pairs and individuals any longer. A new team event will debut next year in Sochi and with the Canadians showing more depth than any other country, along with their final tally of medaling in three of the four disciplines at their hometown worlds, Canada stamped itself the team to beat.

The Code of points isn’t perfect: And neither are the skaters. With more difficulty comes more opportunity for errors. And there were errors at these championships. With degree of difficulty being the marquee attraction for high scores under the new figure skating code, cleanly performed routines have become increasingly rare, and thus increasingly cherished and can prompt hashtags like “Chanflation” to spread around the web in response to Patrick Chan’s fall ridden performance winning gold. The code of points is still a work in progress. So are the routines skaters build around it.

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. Icenetwork.com 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) Icenetwork.com
Friday 10 p.m. Pairs Short (LIVE) Icenetwork.com
Friday 11 p.m. Women’s Short Universal HD
Saturday 2:05 p.m. Men’s Short (LIVE) Icenetwork.com
Saturday 4:30 p.m. Women’s Free (LIVE) NBC, NBC Sports app
Saturday 8 p.m. Short Dance (LIVE) Icenetwork.com
Saturday 9:40 p.m. Pairs Free (LIVE) Icenetwork.com
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) Icenetwork.com
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