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Four Continents Figure Skating Championships schedule, preview

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Yuzuru HanyuPatrick Chan and U.S. champion Nathan Chen headline the Four Continents Championships at the 2018 Olympic venue, on NBC Sports this week.

Four Continents brings together the world’s best skaters outside of Europe, which already had its own continental championships in January.

It doubles as the Olympic test event, making it a tune-up not only for the world championships next month but also for PyeongChang 2018.

The men’s field includes the 2014 Olympic gold and silver medalists, Hanyu and Chan, plus the American Chen, who outscored both of them at the Grand Prix Final free skate in December. And Japan’s Shoma Uno and China’s Jin Boyang, the bronze medalists at the last two major international competitions.

The field includes every worlds medal contender save two-time reigning world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

If Chen wins this week, skating like he did at the U.S. Championships in January, he has to be considered the world championships favorite. It’s a tall order, though.

On the women’s side, the U.S. team is made up of national champion Karen Chen, plus Mariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu, who placed third and fourth at nationals. U.S. silver medalist Ashley Wagner is skipping Four Continents as usual to prepare for worlds.

The favorite is Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond. Another Canadian, Gabrielle Daleman, and Japanese Wakaba Higuchi and Mai Mihara are also in the medal mix, along with the U.S. trio. Japanese champion Satoko Miyahara withdrew last week with a hip injury.

The ice dance field is loaded with the top couple this season, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, plus the three best U.S. couples.

Maia and Alex ShibutaniMadison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue made up half of the top six at the 2016 World Championships, including silver for the Shibutanis and bronze for Chock and Bates.

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, the top U.S. pair in international competition the previous two seasons, will compete for the first time this season at Four Continents. They’ve been out due to her unspecified abdominal issue that lasted from April to November and required three surgeries.

They were cleared for full training a week before the U.S. Championships, opted not to compete at nationals and successfully petitioned for a place on the Four Continents and worlds teams.

They’ll go up against pairs that went one-two at the last two worlds, Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Four Continents Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Network
Wednesday Short dance 9 p.m. Icenetwork.com*
Thursday Pairs short program 12:15 a.m. Icenetwork.com*
Thursday Women’s short program 4:30 a.m. Icenetwork.com*
Thursday Short dance 12 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday Pairs short program 2 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday Women’s short program 4 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday Free dance 11:30 p.m. Icenetwork.com*
Friday Men’s short program 3:45 a.m. Icenetwork.com*
Friday Free dance 12 p.m. NBCSN
Friday Men’s short program 1:30 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday Pairs free skate 12 a.m. Icenetwork.com*
Saturday Women’s free skate 4 a.m. Icenetwork.com*
Saturday Pairs free skate 8 a.m. NBCSN
Saturday Women’s free skate 2:30 p.m. NBC
Saturday Men’s free skate 9 p.m. Icenetwork.com*
Saturday Men’s free skate 11 p.m. NBCSN

*Live stream for subscribers

U.S. women’s hockey players show solildarity in portraits

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The U.S. women’s hockey team is … family, powerful, united, strong, brave, together, limitless, fierce, bold, historic, ambitious, resilient, fearless and devoted.

All 23 players on the U.S. roster planning to boycott the world championship that starts in one week posted portraits on Twitter on Friday morning. Each player held a paper with a one-word descriptor.

The players plan to boycott the world championship tournament in Plymouth, Mich., unless their wage dispute with USA Hockey is settled.

The players believed they reached an agreement with USA Hockey in a 10-hour-plus meeting Monday, but USA Hockey’s later counter offer “didn’t reflect the progress of the negotiations,” according to the players’ representatives.

USA Hockey said Thursday that it will start reaching out to potential replacement players, but it still hopes to come to an agreement to field its original team in Plymouth.

“As we have maintained from the beginning, this issue is about more than the compensation of the current team: it’s about equitable treatment for female players now and in the future,” the players said in a statement Thursday. “A forward-looking agreement will benefit the next generation of players even more than the current players. For that reason, and the fact that the younger players identify with us, we are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play.”

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MORE: Stanley Cup-winning goalie joins U.S. women’s coaching staff

Nathan Chen marvels at his haircut in throwback Jason Brown photo

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Jason Brown sent figure skating social media into a frenzy on Thursday evening when he posted an incredible throwback photo of himself with Nathan Chen.

Brown and Chen make up the U.S. men’s team for the world championships next week (watch on NBC Sports), which will mark their fourth time competing at the same event this season.

Given Brown is 22 years old and Chen is 17 years old, Brown’s Throwback Thursday post is likely circa 2007.

Chen’s flexibility at such a young age is impressive, but the skater found another aspect of the photo worth gushing over — his hair.

“This is amazing tho I can’t believe you found this,” Chen posted on Instagram. “OH MY GOD #BOWLCUT.”

They are both precocious talents. In 2014, Brown became the youngest U.S. men’s singles skater since 1976. Two months ago, Chen became the youngest U.S. men’s champion since 1966.

Together, they’ll try to ensure the U.S. gets three men’s spots for the 2018 Olympics. To do that, their results at worlds must add up to no greater than 13.

They’re favored to do so, given Chen ranks No. 1 in the world this season and Brown is No. 8 by top international scores.

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