Skeleton - Winter Olympics Day 6

Noelle Pikus-Pace, Katie Uhlaender in women’s skeleton medal position

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After today’s first two runs of women’s skeleton, the U.S. combo of former world champions Noelle Pikus-Pace (pictured) and Katie Uhlaender are toward the front of the field.

Pikus-Pace is second behind her main World Cup circuit rival, Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold, by just .44 of a second, while Uhlaender is fourth at just .14 of a second off of the bronze position that’s currently occupied by Russia’s Elena Nikitina (+.55 seconds).

Going into Sochi, Pikus-Pace’s best Olympic finish was a fourth four years ago at Vancouver; Uhlaender’s was a sixth at Torino in 2006.

“That would be a dream come true if Katie and I could both be up on that podium together, to have two U.S. flags flying and waving in the wind,” Pikus-Pace said in a team release. “That would be absolutely incredible.”

WATCH: Pikus-Pace’s remarkable Olympic journey

The Russians were at the center of a protest of Thursday’s results that was filed by Australian officials. The home team was accused by the Australians of having an unfair advantage by using a push track that wasn’t open to all nations before the race. However, the protest was denied.

Yarnold is looking to defend Great Britain’s skeleton gold from Vancouver four years ago, which was won by her own landlord, Amy Williams. It was the first Winter Olympic individual gold for Great Britain in 30 years.

In Run 1, Yarnold built up a lead of one quarter-second, and then tacked on .19 of a second more in Run 2.

Nikitina – who surely benefits from the knowledge she’s gained about her home track leading up to the Olympics – actually bested Pikus-Pace for second in Run 1 before the American moved back into P2 behind Yarnold.

The women’s skeleton competition concludes tomorrow, with action beginning at 10:20 a.m. ET.

Anderson Varejao will miss Olympics

Anderson Varejao
AP
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One of Brazil’s most recognizable Olympians (to a U.S. audience, at least) will miss the Rio Games.

Golden State Warriors big man Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics due to a back injury, the NBA team said Wednesday.

The Brazil men’s basketball team is now down two of its top four scorers from the 2012 Olympics.

The team was already without Atlanta Hawks big man Tiago Splitter, who underwent NBA season-ending hip surgery in February.

Splitter and Varejao were the third- and fourth-leading scorers on Brazil’s 2012 Olympic team that was eliminated in the quarterfinals after not qualifying for the Games in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Brazil’s Olympic roster includes four other NBA players — Leandro Barbosa, Marcelo HuertasNenê and Raul Neto.

MORE: Tony Parker leads 5 NBA players on France roster

Dhani Jones, former NFL linebacker, joins NBC’s Olympic coverage

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01:  TV personality Dhani Jones attends the 2016 NBCUniversal Summer Press Day at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village on April 1, 2016 in Westlake Village, California.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
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Former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones will serve as a reporter during NBC’s coverage of the Rio Games it was announced Wednesday.

The host of NBC primetime hit “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge,” Jones will travel to various venues over the course of the Games and contribute to features on a variety of platforms. He’ll also be a part of the Olympic Zone, which is a 30-minute nightly show set to air on NBC affiliates.

“Dhani is an engaging personality with a wide-range of experiences and interests – from professional athlete to primetime entertainment host to haberdashery and philanthropy. We’re excited to have him on our team in Rio,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics.

Jones has worked on various shows since his 11-year career with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals came to an end in 2011. He hosted “Dhani Tackles the Globe” on Travel Channel, and is the current host of “Playbook 360” on Spike. He has also written a memoir, The Sportsman.

Jones’ colleague on “Spartan,” Kyle Martino, will be an NBC Olympics soccer analyst after serving in that role for NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage.

MORE: Sanya Richards-Ross, Trey Hardee join NBC’s track and field coverage