Ted Ligety, Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn

NBC, NBCSN, Live Extra to air unprecedented coverage of World Alpine Skiing Championships

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Every event of the World Alpine Skiing Championships will be covered live for the first time in 2015, across NBC, NBCSN, Universal Sports and NBC Sports Live Extra.

The 2015 World Championships are in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo., from Feb. 2-15, the first time worlds will be held outside of Europe since 1999 (also in Vail). They will be the biggest Alpine skiing event in the U.S. since the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports will combine for over 25 hours of coverage, include 16 hours live. NBC will have six hours total, NBCSN will have 8.5 and Universal Sports will have 13.

Live Extra will stream all coverage on NBC and NBCSN.

Universal Sports will air daily pre-race shows in addition to event coverage.

The event is expected to feature six U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing medalists.

2010 Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn expects to return from knee surgery in December. It could be the final World Championships for six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller, who in Sochi became the oldest Olympic Alpine medalist ever at 36.

Ted Ligety hopes to build on his breakout performance at the 2013 World Championships, when he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a single worlds. Julia Mancuso has won a medal at every Olympics and World Championships since 2010.

Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend her World Championship in the slalom, while perhaps racing a speed events at worlds for the first time. Andrew Weibrecht could be a force in the super-G, where he’s won medals at the last two Olympics.

The top international stars will be World Cup overall champions Marcel Hirscher and Anna Fenninger of Austria and Olympic champions Tina Maze of Slovenia and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.

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Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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