Karate’s pitch for the 2020 Olympics

Leave a comment

Karate’s History: Run by the World Karate Federation, which was founded in 1961 and which has been hosting worlds (roughly) every two years since 1970. This is karate’s third consecutive bid after barely failing to get the necessary two-thirds vote in 2005, and then being beat by golf and rugby in 2009.

Notable Stats: The WKF represents 185 nations and 10 million athletes.

The Pitch: “The K Is On the Way” is karate’s motto for showing the IOC how international the sport is, how the youth movement is creating potential Olympians, and why the Olympics would benefit from karate’s inclusion. It’s also the WKF’s way to show the world how great spectator sport it is, with an easier to understand scoring system, fewer pads, and a more aggressive fighting style than taekwondo.

The Odds: 6-1. Similar to squash being yet another racquet sport, karate is held back because it would be the fourth combat sport in the games after Judo – also Japanese – fencing, and taekwondo. Karate is also going up against the more popular combat sport in wrestling, so while karate could land on the shortlist in its third bid for the Games, it’s bid still likely won’t be strong enough to make it in.

WATCH LIVE: World Cup men’s downhill – 1:30 p.m. ET

Aksel Lund Svindal
Leave a comment

Before missing the downhill World Cup last year due to injury, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the title in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Today, he may become just the eighth man to win this World Cup title at least three times, but he faces competition from countryman Kjetil Jansrud, who won last year’s title in Svindal’s absence.

The World Cup men’s  downhill at Lake Louise is streaming today at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

MORE: Men’s apline skiing season preview

Hanyu, Miyahara into Grand Prix Final with wins at NHK Trophy

Yuzuru Hanyu
Leave a comment

Yuzuru Hanyu won the NHK Trophy in front of a home crowd in Japan in spectacular fashion – setting three world records – and qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the process.

He followed up his short program world record with a record setting free skate of 216.07 and a combined overall score record of 322.40.

China’s Boyang Jin finished second overall followed by Japan’s Takahito Mura. The U.S. Grant Hochstein finished fourth after an eighth-place finish in the short program.

Though the results are still unofficial, the men’s field in Barcelona will likely include no U.S. men, a streak that has continued since 2012. Max Aaron is eighth in the standings, but would be invited if he finished seventh overall. More on that the qualifying process here.

MORE: Fernandez into final with Rostelecom win

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara took the ladies’ competition over the U.S.’ Courtney Hicks, who finished second in her first career Grand Prix circuit medal, and countrywoman Mao Asada, who finished third.

Ashley Wagner was fourth, the lowest place she could have to give her a berth to Barcelona. Wagner has earned a medal at every Grand Prix Final since 2012 (silver in 2012, and bronzes in 2013 and 2014).

Again, the overall standings are unofficial, but Miyahara, Asada, and Wagner should join Gracie Gold, Evgenia Medvedeva, and Elena Radionova in the Grand Prix Final.

Russia finished off the podium entirely in the ladies’ field – Alena Leonova and Anna Pogorilaya finished eitghth and ninth while Maria Artemieva finished 11th.

The last time no Russian women were on a Grand Prix podium – the final or otherwise – was in the 2012-13 season, where it happened a handful of times. Russian women have been featured on every Grand Prix circuit podium since the 2012-13 season, where they only missed out on Skate Canada, the Rostelecom Cup, the NHK Trophy, and the Grand Prix Final from that season. Names like Olympic gold medalists Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaya, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Elena Radionova, Pogorilaya, Leonova, and 2015 world junior champion Evgenia Medvedeva all contributed to that streak.

MORE: Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir practice dog handling skills before dog show

U.S. pairs champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim earned a trip to Barcelona with a bronze medal in Japan. Leading the field in their ninth straight international win was Canadian pair Meaghan Duhamel and Eric Radford followed China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Jin Yang.