Gracie Gold

World Figure Skating Championships schedule

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The U.S. is sending 15 skaters to the World Championships this week, but the key number is 13.

In all four disciplines — men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance — the top two American finishers’ results will be combined for a number that will determine how many spots the U.S. receives for next year’s World Championships.

If that number is 13 or fewer, the U.S. gets three spots in that discipline. Like in 2013, when Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold finished fifth and sixth (a combined 11th) to earn the U.S. three women’s spots not only at the Olympics, but also at this week’s World Championships in Saitama, Japan.

Wagner and Gold headline the U.S. team this week. They’re joined by Polina Edmunds, making the women’s roster the same as it was in Sochi, where Gold was fourth, Wagner seventh and Edmunds ninth.

The rest of the U.S. team is Jeremy Abbott and Max Aaron, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir and Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay and ice dancers Maia and Alex ShibutaniMadison Chock and Evan Bates and Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton.

The fields are missing the Olympic women’s, pairs and ice dance gold medalists, plus every 2013 world champion, creating an opportunity for new stars to emerge.

Previews: Men | Women | Pairs | Ice Dance

Here’s the schedule of events in Saitama (all times Eastern):

Tuesday: Pairs short program (9 p.m.)
Wednesday: Men’s short program (3 a.m.)
Wednesday: Pairs free skate (10:30 p.m.)
Thursday: Women’s short program (2:55 a.m.)
Thursday: Short dance (9:50 p.m.)
Friday: Men’s free skate (4 a.m.)
Friday: Free dance (11:30 p.m.)
Saturday: Women’s free skate (4:15 a.m.)

Icenetwork.com will provide live online coverage to its Season Pass subscribers.

Universal Sports Network will broadcast same-day coverage from Wednesday-Saturday from 1-3 p.m. ET each day. 2011 U.S. champion Ryan Bradley and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Tanith Belbin will be analysts alongside play-by-play voice Steve Schlanger.

NBC will air a World Championships recap show April 13 from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Russian Olympic champions out of worlds

Katie Ledecky helps Bryce Harper celebrate NL East title (video)

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, and Mark Melancon, left, celebrate after clinching the National League East following a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The Washington Nationals won the National League East title last night for the third time in five years.

Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper donned a Katie Ledecky swim cap during the beer-soaked celebration to protect his hair, which he reportedly spends 30 minutes grooming before games.

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime fan of the Nationals. Earlier this year, she had Harper hold her five Olympic medals from Rio while she threw the first pitch at a Nationals game.

Ledecky, who is currently taking classes at Stanford, Tweeted her approval of Harper’s headgear:

MORE: Katie Ledecky declines waffle maker on ‘Ellen’ to stay NCAA eligible

Kenenisa Bekele misses marathon world record by six seconds (video)

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish to win the 43th Berlin Marathon in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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BERLIN (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win the Berlin Marathon just outside the world record time on Sunday.

Bekele’s winning time of two hours, 3 minutes and 3 seconds was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto‘s world record, also set in Berlin in 2014 and is the second best time.

“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.

Bekele and Kipsang opened a considerable lead over the rest of the field and ran shoulder-to-shoulder until Bekele pulled away with about two kilometers to go.

Kipsang finished 10 seconds behind Bekele in 2:03:13, faster than the 2:03:23 he clocked in winning the race in 2013, in what was then a world record.

Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.

Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds and is the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

But he had been slow getting into the marathon, with his previous best of 2:05.04 set in his debut in winning the Paris race in 2014. He was third in London in April, after battling an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Bekele broke the Ethiopian record for the marathon, previously held by the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won the Berlin Marathon and set a world record of 2:03.59 in 2008.

Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.

MORE: Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)