U.S., Canada

U.S., Canada women’s hockey to play 6-game series before Sochi Olympics


The U.S. and Canada’s women’s hockey teams are going to get very familiar with each other ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

The only two nations to win Olympic gold will play at least six times beginning Oct. 12, Hockey Canada announced Thursday.

Here’s the schedule:

Oct. 12, 7 p.m. ET at Burlington, Vt.
Oct. 17, TBD at Boisbriand, Quebec
Third game TBD in Canada
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET at Grand Forks, N.D.
Dec. 28, 4 p.m. ET at St. Paul, Minn.
Sixth game TBD in Canada

“The rivalry between Canada’s national women’s team and the U.S. women’s national team is one of the most exciting and intense in hockey,” Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith said in a press release. “We look forward to traveling south of the border to take on our talented American competitors, and welcoming both the U.S. team and our fans to the province of Quebec for some of the best women’s hockey in the world.”

Canada is coming off a trip to Sochi, where it beat Russia 6-1 on Sunday at 9-1 on Monday. Russia won bronze at the World Championships in April. Those results reinforced how far the U.S. and Canada are past the rest of the world.

Every Olympic and World Championships gold and silver medal has been won by the U.S. and Canada except for the 2006 Olympic silver won by Sweden. Canada beat the U.S. for gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but the U.S. won 3-2 in the gold-medal game at worlds five months ago.

The U.S. and Canada are in the same group for the Sochi Olympics and will play Feb. 12 before a likely gold-medal game rematch eight days later. This is the first time they’ve been grouped together since the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament in 1998, when all the teams were in one group.

By being in the same group, the U.S. and Canada are assured to be in opposite semifinals, should they be the top two in group play.

The U.S. and Canada also played a six-game series leading into the 2010 Olympics. That’s nothing compared to 15 years ago, when the nations played a physical 13-game exhibition series, won 7-6 by Canada.

(h/t @JohnHoweNBC)

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Shoma Uno wins Skate America as Jason Brown clears quad hurdle

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Shoma Uno of Japan competes in the men short program at 2016 Progressive Skate America at Sears Centre Arena on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
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Japan’s Shoma Uno became the youngest man to win Skate America since 2002, while Jason Brown landed a quadruple jump en route to second place in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on Sunday.

Uno, the 18-year-old Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, landed three quadruple jumps in his free skate after planting two in his leading short program Saturday.

Uno fell on triple jumps in both programs but still scored 279.34 total points, prevailed by 10.96 over Brown and became the youngest man to win Skate America since France’s Brian Joubert in 2002.

Reigning U.S. champion Adam Rippon was third, flipping places with Brown after the short program. Full results are here.

Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, totaled personal-best scores in the free skate (182.63) and overall (268.38) en route to his third straight Skate America medal. Brown matched his career-best Grand Prix finish.

Brown had never landed a clean, fully rotated quad in competition before, and while Sunday’s jump was called under-rotated, it was still a benchmark for the 21-year-old.

“To hit it and be like, ‘Oh my god, keep going, keep going,'” Brown said on NBC. “I just dreamed about landing that quad in the program. I felt like it kept getting closer, but today it finally hit. … Now I know I can do it under pressure. I can do it skating last. I can do it at a Grand Prix, so I can do it anywhere.”

Rippon attempted one quad this weekend, falling in a free skate he said he had only been practicing for a week and a half.

“I’m pleased with what I did today,” Rippon said. “It was a strong program for October. … This is a good start to the season, and I really want to build on this.”

Brown and Rippon positioned themselves well to become the first American men to qualify for the Grand Prix Final since Jeremy Abbott in 2011, should they be in podium contention at their next Grand Prix starts.

Rippon returns for Trophée de France in three weeks. Brown next competes at NHK Trophy in five weeks.

The Grand Prix season continues this week at Skate Canada, highlighted by world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva of Russia, Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and the Grand Prix return of 2010 Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

MORE: Full figure skating season broadcast schedule

Gracie Gold details weight issues in figure skating after Skate America struggles


Gracie Gold said she has struggled with weight issues this whole year and in recent seasons in reported comments after she finished fifth at Skate America on Saturday and then clarified them on Instagram Sunday.

“You don’t often see — there aren’t that many — you just don’t see overweight figure skaters for a reason,” Gold said Saturday, according to USA Today. “It’s just something I’ve struggled with this whole year and in previous seasons. It’s just difficult when you’re trying to do the difficult triple jumps. It’s something that I am addressing, but it’s obviously not where it should be for this caliber of competition.

“It’s just not what’s required for this sport. It’s a lean body sport, and it’s just not what I have currently.”

Gold fell once in her Skate America short program and twice in her free skate en route to her lowest Grand Prix finish (excluding Grand Prix Finals) since her debut at 2012 Skate Canada.

Gold also finished sixth out of six skaters in her first competition this season, the free-skate-only Japan Open on Oct. 1.

Gold was fourth at the world championships in April, falling from first after the short program. The U.S. champion was still dealing with that “worlds depression” in the summer, even considering skipping the fall Grand Prix season.

Her next scheduled competition is in three weeks at Trophée de France in Paris, which she won last season.

“We just need to adjust my physical shape and mental shape and see if the program can be salvaged for the rest of the year,” Gold said Saturday, according to Icenetwork.com.

Gold’s update on Sunday on Instagram is below.

MORE: Full figure skating season broadcast schedule

To all my fans and friends. Thank you for the concern you have voiced. My comments in the mixed zone were spoken in the heat of emotion. To clarify, I feel that my results this far in the season are a result of my decision to live a more "normal life" this past summer. I traveled and really took time off from being an elite athlete. For a figure skater, there is an ideal body weight for top performance. It's different for each athlete. That doesn't mean scary skinny, but rather a lean, wiry composition. I realize that I am at a healthy weight and I am rapidly regaining the strength and tone I desire. I just started back a little later than I needed to for peak fitness in October. In reading Christine Brennan's story I realize that I came across pretty negatively. In fact, rather than being unhappy with my programs, I think they are the best I've ever had! I remain committed to my sport and quest for World and Olympic success.

A photo posted by Gracie Gold (@graciegold95) on