Jeremy Abbott

World Figure Skating Championships pairs, men’s start orders

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The World Figure Skating Championships begin with pairs and men’s short programs in Saitama, Japan, on Wednesday, which means overnight viewing for U.S. followers tonight.

To minimize sleep deprivation, here’s a list of key skaters and when they’re scheduled to take the ice:

Pairs — Tuesday night/Wednesday morning ET
9:41 p.m. — Felicia Zhang/Nate Bartholomay (2014 U.S. Olympians)
12:07 a.m. — Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (2014 Olympic silver medalists from Russia)
12:28 a.m. — Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (four-time world champions from Germany)
12:35 a.m. — Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (2014 U.S. Olympians)

Here’s the full pairs short program start order.

Men — Wednesday morning ET
6:17 a.m. — Jeremy Abbott (two-time U.S. Olympian)
6:30 a.m. — Max Aaron (2013 U.S. champion)
6:50 a.m. — Tatsuki Machida (2014 Olympics, fifth place, from Japan)
7:17 a.m. — Yuzuru Hanyu (2014 Olympic champion from Japan)
7:30 a.m. — Javier Fernandez (2013 world bronze medalist from Spain)

Here’s the full men’s short program start order.

Previews: Men | Women | Pairs | Ice Dance

World Figure Skating Championships daily schedule

Ted Ligety recovers for fifth place in return from torn ACL

SOELDEN, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 23: Ted Ligety of USA in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom on October 23, 2016 in Soelden, Austria (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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Ted Ligety was in unfamiliar position after the opening run of his first race in nine months — in 14th place in Soelden, Austria, where he has been the most successful skier in history.

Ligety, who has won the season-opening giant slalom a record four times and never finished outside the top 10, was 1.49 seconds behind on the Rettenbach glacier going into the second and final run.

Concern would be warranted. Ligety may have won the last three world titles and the 2014 Olympic title in giant slalom, but he is now 32 years old and coming off a torn right ACL suffered in January training.

Before that, Ligety failed to finish six straight races and missed the podium in 11 straight while also dealing with three herniated disks in his back and a torn hip labrum.

So when Ligety entered the start house for his second run Saturday afternoon, he had something to prove.

The American would salvage his start to the season with the third-fastest second run, .16 behind French winner Alexis Pinturault, to finish fifth overall, 1.65 second back.

Austrian Marcel Hirscher, the five-time reigning World Cup overall champion, was runner-up, seven tenths shy of Pinturault. German Felix Neureuther was third. Full results are here.

The Alpine skiing World Cup moves to Levi, Finland, for men’s and women’s slaloms in three weeks.

The next key races for Ligety are in Beaver Creek, Colo., the first weekend of December, including a giant slalom Dec. 4.


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

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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.

“You don’t often see — there aren’t that many — you just don’t see overweight figure skaters for a reason,” Gold said, 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, according to

MORE: Full figure skating season broadcast schedule