Mao Asada

Mao Asada leads Skate America; Russian pair breaks world record

Leave a comment

Japan’s Mao Asada sat in first place over U.S. champion Ashley Wagner after the women’s short program at Skate America in Detroit on Saturday.

Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, landed the most difficult jump being performed by the top women today, a triple axel, to open her program.

She also hit a triple flip and a triple loop-double loop combination en route to a score of 73.18 points. Wagner, who skated just before Asada at Joe Louis Arena, posted 69.26 points (full results below). The free skate is Sunday afternoon.

In the pairs short program, the favorites for Olympic gold broke the world record score for the second time on the young season.

Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov posted 83.05 points, taking an 11.54-point lead over Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch going into Sunday’s free skate.

NBC and NBC Live Extra will have live Skate America coverage from 4-6 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

The two-time world champion Asada heads a field missing reigning Olympic and world champion Yuna Kim, who is sidelined by a foot injury, and Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who has won a medal at the last three World Championships.

In an excellent season debut, Wagner opened with a clean triple flip-triple toe loop combination and added a triple loop and double axel while skating to Pink Floyd’s “Shine on you Crazy Diamond.”

Her score was a personal best by nearly three points.

Wagner, who just missed the Olympic team in 2010, is a favorite for one of three 2014 U.S. Olympic team spots chosen after the U.S. Championships in Boston in January.

The other top contenders, Gracie GoldChristina Gao and Agnes Zawadzki, are not competing at Skate America.

Davis/White lead ice dance; surprise U.S. men’s results

In the pairs, Volosozhar and Trankov were lacking their biggest competition for Sochi gold — Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy — but were far superior to a field led by the fourth-place finishers from March’s World Championships.

A Russian/Unified Team/Soviet pair won gold at every Olympics from 1964 through 2006, but none won a medal in 2010.

The top U.S. pairs were 2013 national champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (fifth place, 62.56 points) and 2012 national champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin (sixth place, 62.06 points).

Those two pairs figure to vie for two Olympic spots with Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, the top U.S. finishers at worlds in ninth place. Scimeca and Knierim are not competing at Skate America.

The U.S. has not won an Olympic pairs figure skating medal since 1988.

Women’s Short Program
1. Mao Asada (JPN) 73.18
2. Ashley Wagner (USA) 69.26
3. Elena Radionova (RUS) 67.01
4. Valentina Marchei (ITA) 59.25
5. Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) 58.80
6. Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO) 56.68
7. Mae Berenice Meite (FRA) 55.84
8. Samantha Cesario (USA) 53.51
9. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) 53.20
10. Caroline Zhang (USA) 45.76

Pairs Short Program
1. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) 83.05
2. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) 71.51
3. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) 64.80
4. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) 63.85
5. Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA) 62.56
6. Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (USA) 62.06
7. Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay (USA) 55.83
8. Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (CAN) 50.26

U.S. men’s Olympic figure skating picture clouded

NBA participation in Tokyo Olympics could be limited, Adam Silver says

Kevin Durant
Getty Images
Leave a comment

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the Tokyo Olympics’ effect on the league’s schedule planning for 2021 is unclear, but that it’s possible that Olympic participation may be limited.

“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing,” Silver told Bob Costas on CNN on Tuesday. “Obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics from other countries. That’s something we’re going to have to work through. I just say, lastly, these are highly unique and unusual circumstances. I think, just as it is for the Olympic movement, it is for us as well. We’re just going to have to sort of find a way to meld and mesh those two competing considerations.”

Silver said his best guess is that the next NBA season starts in January with a goal of a standard 82-game schedule and playoffs. A schedule has not been released.

In normal NBA seasons that start in late October, the regular season runs to mid-April and the NBA Finals into mid-June.

The Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony is July 23. If an NBA season is pushed back two or three months to a January start, and the schedule is not condensed, the Olympics would start while the NBA playoffs are happening.

The current NBA season is in the conference finals phase in an Orlando-area bubble after a four-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a factor in our planning,” Silver said of the Olympics. “It would be tough for us to make a decision in January based on the Olympics happening on schedule when that’s so unclear.”

The NBA has participated in every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Monday was the 29th anniversary of the announcement of the first 10 members of the original Dream Team on an NBC selection show (hosted by Costas).

Before the NBA era, U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams consisted of college players.

MORE: When Michael Jordan lost in wheelchair basketball to Paralympian

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

French Open
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final