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Winter Olympics: What to watch/stream

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The bar could not be set any higher in the men’s snowboard halfpipe competition (almost literally). Coming into the tournament, the talk has surrounded on a showdown between Shaun White and Scotty James. After their qualification performances, we understand why. But there will also be outsiders looking to spoil the party, namely Ayumu Hirano, who won gold in the X Games in January.

With the exceptionally high standard that’s been set in the qualifying rounds, you could expect to see some of the most captivating drama in PyeongChang tonight on NBC’s primetime coverage.

Snowboard

Shaun White performed like he had something to prove in the men’s qualification stage last night. The American, who still remembers his poor form in Sochi, landed an impressive 98.50 in his second run, and looks like his vintage self as he seeks his third Olympic gold medal. But Australia’s Scotty James, White’s biggest competitor, will have a say about that before the halfpipe concludes.

There are a handful of outsiders looking to spoil the party, however. Keep an eye on Ben Ferguson, Ayumu Hirano, and Raibu Katayama.

Men’s Halfpipe Final Stream Live Here 8:30p.m. EST / 5:30p.m. PST

Alpine Skiing

Mikaela Shiffrin has had to wait a while to get her Olympics rolling. The 2014 Olympic gold medalist, though, doesn’t feel any added stress from the delay. France’s Tessa Worley and 2010 gold medalist Viktoria Rebensburg are also serious gold medal contenders.

Women’s Slalom Run 1 Stream Live Here 8:15p.m. EST / 5:15p.m. PST

Figure Skating

The Knierims are back in action tonight in the pairs short program. They enter the competition as outsiders of a gold medal shot, with Germany and OAR set to duke it out for the top of the podium.

Short Program Stream Live Here 8:00p.m. EST / 5:00p.m. PST

Curling

Following a disappointing showing in the mixed doubles competition, Matt Hamilton will look to bounce back in the men’s doubles competition.

Canada, who won the gold in the mixed doubles, remain a solid favorite to win gold again. Great Britain and Sweden will also be looking to emulate their podium positions from 2014.

DEN vs. SWE Stream Live Here 7:05p.m. EST / 4:05p.m. PST

CAN vs. ITA Stream Live Here 7:05p.m. EST / 4:05p.m. PST

KOR vs. USA Stream Live Here 7:05p.m. EST / 4:05p.m. PST

SUI vs. GBR Stream Live Here 7:05p.m. EST / 4:05p.m. PST

Ice Hockey

Sweden and Switzerland have already punched their tickets to the semifinals, both starting 2-0 in group play. So what’s at stake in what could be argued a dead rubber game? Well, on the other side of the bracket are Canada, USA, and Finland. Those three nations are the three medal contenders, and only two – most likely Canada and USA – will advance. A first place finish in this group doesn’t mean much. Would would be meaningful, though, is an improbable win over one of the North American powerhouses.

SWE vs. SUI Stream Live Here 10:10p.m. EST / 7:10p.m. PST

 

USA Gymnastics settles sex abuse lawsuit

USA Gymnastics
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Gymnastics has reached a confidential settlement in a Georgia lawsuit that spurred a newspaper investigation into the organization’s practices for reporting child abuse.

A former gymnast filed the lawsuit against USA Gymnastics in 2013, alleging that the organization that trains Olympians received at least four warnings about coach William McCabe, who videotaped her in various states of undress.

The lawsuit revealed that USA Gymnastics wouldn’t forward child sex abuse allegations to authorities unless they were in writing and signed by a victim or a victim’s parent.

A judge in Effingham County, Georgia, dismissed the lawsuit on April 12, according to court records. USA Gymnastics admits no wrongdoing or liability in the settlement, said W. Brian Cornwell of Cornwell & Stevens LLP, the gymnast’s lawyer.

Both parties have declined to comment on the settlement.

“We want to make it clear that the settlement does not prevent the former gymnast from speaking publicly about her experiences,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Thursday.

McCabe pleaded guilty in Georgia in 2006 to federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and making false statements. He’s serving a 30-year prison sentence.

The suit sparked The Indianapolis Star’s investigation of USA Gymnastics, which exposed abuse by Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor, and spurred the resignations of the organization’s president and board.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced this year to prison terms that will keep him locked up for life after roughly 200 women gave statements against him in two courtrooms over 10 days.

USA Gymnastics faces additional lawsuits from women who say Nassar sexually abused them. The suits allege the organization was negligent, fraudulent and intentionally inflicted emotional distress by failing to warn or protect athletes from Nassar’s abuse. The organization has denied the allegations and wants the lawsuits dismissed.

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MORE: Full transcript of McKayla Maroney’s first comments since Larry Nassar case

Max Aaron retires from figure skating

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Max Aaron, a national champion and Skate America winner, has retired from competitive figure skating.

Aaron, 26, ends his career as the only Skate America men’s winner not to compete in an Olympics. He is one of three U.S. men’s champions in the last 55 years not to compete in an Olympics, along with Ryan Bradley and Rudy Galindo.

“Of course, becoming an Olympian, or having an Olympic medal would have been great to say, ride off on my white horse, but having the ability to say that I have no regrets in my entire career of figure skating, for me that is my gold medal,” Aaron said Thursday night.

Aaron, a former top USA Hockey developmental player, also figure skated growing up to help with his skating skills as one of the smaller players on his team.

He stopped playing hockey at 16 due to a broken vertebra but continued full-time with figure skating. By 2012, Aaron considered quitting figure skating after placing eighth at nationals (one year after being U.S. junior champion) and being told he wasn’t artistic enough.

But Aaron kept with it and completed a remarkable bounce back the next year, winning the U.S. title and setting himself up as a favorite to make the 2014 Olympic team.

But Aaron ended up third at the 2014 U.S. Championships. The two Sochi Olympic spots went to Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown.

Aaron continued, becoming the first U.S. man to win Skate America in six years in 2015 and topping the short program at the 2016 U.S. Championships before ultimately finishing second to Adam Rippon.

Aaron plummeted to ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, coming back from offseason hernia surgery, but returned to the Olympic team radar last fall with a personal-best free skate at Cup of China, including three landed quadruple jumps. He went into the 2018 U.S. Championships ranking third among American men for the season.

But Aaron was again ninth at nationals, missing the Olympic team. He was called on to compete at last month’s world championships as the third alternate after Rippon, Ross Miner and Brown all passed.

Aaron had stopped skating and instead was training for a triathlon. He went to worlds in Milan on two weeks of training and finished 11th, a result that helped the U.S. keep three men’s spots for 2019 Worlds. Nathan Chen won the world title, but Vincent Zhou was 14th. The U.S. needed its second man to be 12th or better to go along with Chen’s first place to ensure three spots next year. Aaron reportedly said at worlds that it may have been his last competition.

Aaron said he’s started a job with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s really been a great ride. I have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one thing that I always told myself, in sport, in life, I want to have no regrets, and I can honestly say, with the help from my coaches and friends, that I have no regrets in the sport.”

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