Sochi 2014

U.S. Olympic trials broadcast schedule

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The Olympic qualification season is already under way, and the official U.S. Olympic trials begin in November.

On Monday, NBC Olympics announced it will broadcast an unprecedented 34.5 hours of live coverage across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra among six sports leading up to the Sochi Olympics — curling, women’s hockey, short and long-track speedskating, ski jumping and Nordic combined.

NBCSN trials coverage will lead off with curling, where one (potential) men’s berth and one women’s berth are at stake in Fargo, N.D., from Nov. 15-17. The U.S. already qualified a women’s spot for Sochi. The winner of the men’s trials is expected to enter the Olympic qualification event in Fussen, Germany, from Dec. 11-15, to try to book a men’s Olympic berth.

The U.S. has qualified men’s and women’s curling teams at every Olympics dating to the sport’s re-addition to the program in 1998. The men won bronze in 2006.

NBCSN will also air two of the six U.S.-Canada women’s hockey matchups leading to the Sochi Olympics, a Dec. 20 game in Grand Forks, N.D., and a Dec. 28 game in St. Paul, Minn. The rivals have played in the gold-medal game of every World Championships and Olympics except for the 2006 Torino Games.

NBC and NBCSN will combine to cover the U.S. Olympic speedskating trials from Dec. 27-Jan. 1 at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah. There, two-time Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis will highlight the coverage.

On Dec. 29, NBC will air live coverage for men’s and women’s ski jumping and Nordic combined from Park City, Utah. Key storylines will be the debut of U.S. Olympic women’s ski jumpers and the return of a U.S. Nordic combined team that won the country’s first Olympic medals in the sport in 2010.

NBC and NBCSN will provide live coverage of the short track speedskating trials from Jan. 3-5 at the Utah Olympic Oval. Two-time Olympic bronze medalist J.R. Celski is expected to lead the U.S. team.

All events will be streamed across NBC Sports Live Extra.

Also in January, NBC Olympics will provide coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.

2014 U.S. Olympic Trials/Run-up broadcast schedule (updated as more events announced)

Date Sport Coverage Network Time**
Friday, Nov. 15 Curling Men’s/Women’s Trials NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16 Curling Men’s Trials NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16 Curling Women’s Trials NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 17 Curling Men’s/Women’s Trials NBCSN Noon
Friday, Dec. 20 Women’s Hockey U.S. vs. Canada NBCSN 8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 27 Speedskating Men’s 5000m/Women’s 3000m NBCSN 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 28 Speedskating Men’s/Women’s 500m NBC 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 28 Women’s Hockey U.S. vs. Canada NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29 Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Men’s/Women’s Trials NBC 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29 Speedskating Men’s/Women’s 1000m NBC 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 31 Speedskating Men’s/Women’s 1500m NBCSN 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 1 Speedskating Men’s 10000m/Women’s 5000m NBCSN 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 3 Short Track Men’s/Women’s 1500m NBCSN 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 4 Short Track Men’s/Women’s 500m NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 5 Short Track Men’s/Women’s 1000m NBC 4 p.m.

**All times ET. Subject to change.

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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