Patrick Chan, Virtue/Moir take early leads at Skate Canada

Patrick Chan

Patrick Chan‘s first skate of the Grand Prix season was clearly the best at Skate Canada on Friday, and he can still improve.

Chan, the three-time reigning world champion, leads after the short program with 88.10 points, more than seven points better than Japanese Nobunari Oda at Saint John, New Brunswick.

Canadian Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir lead the ice dance but weren’t as impressive as American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White the week before.

Skate Canada, the second of six Grand Prix events before the Grand Prix Final, concludes Saturday with the pairs free skate (12 ET), women’s free skate (2:15), free dance (4:30) and men’s free skate (7:10). Universal Sports will have coverage.

NBC and NBC Live Extra will have Skate Canada coverage Sunday from 4-6.

Chan’s short program, to Rachmaninoff’s Elegie in E-Flat Minor, was well short of his world record performance (98.37) at the World Championships in March. He also did not attempt a quadruple jump.

Still, he was the cleanest skater on a night where everybody else was less than perfect in one way or another. His biggest threat, budding Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu, landed an awkward quad toe and doubled the first jump of a combination for 80.40 points, just behind Oda’s 80.82.

Chan’s score Friday would not have been first at Skate America, where another Japanese, Tatsuki Machida, scored 91.18 in the short program en route to winning in Detroit.

The U.S. contingent left plenty to be desired at Skate Canada.

Three-time national champion Jeremy Abbott landed a beautiful quadruple toe loop to start his program.

He followed it with a double-double combination and a triple Axel where he put his hand down. The 2010 Olympian is in fourth place with 74.58 points.

“I landed (the quad) and then I was like, how do I refocus here?” he told coach Yuka Sato in the kiss-and-cry area. “I just felt a little tight.”

World junior champion Josh Farris, in his Grand Prix debut, did not attempt a quad and singled the second jump of his combination.

“My legs were just so shaky, and I kind of knew going into it, I was like, ‘Oh crap,'” Farris, in eighth with 69.14, said in the kiss-and-cry.

Reigning U.S. silver medalist Ross Miner had a disastrous night, falling on his first two jumps. He’s in last place.

He barely said a word in the kiss and cry, his eyes scanning the floor, and only registered a smile when the crowd offered consolatory applause.

The wait for an American man to put together back-to-back strong skates will last at least another week.

In ice dancing, Virtue and Moir were noticeably disappointed with their leading short dance performance. They had issues with their twizzles en route to a 73.15, nearly three points better than compatriots Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

The Canadians are believed to be the biggest threats to Davis and White for gold in Sochi, though the Americans beat them at the three biggest events last season. Davis and White also posted a higher short dance score at Skate America last week — 75.70.

In short, Virtue and Moir have work to do.

The only U.S. ice dance couple at Skate Canada posted a personal best short dance.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were in third place with 60.92 points. They were fourth at Skate America and are in the running for one of three spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Video: Gracie Gold stars in women’s short program

Men’s Short Program
1. Patrick Chan (CAN) 88.10
2. Nobunari Oda (JPN) 80.82
3. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) 80.40
4. Jeremy Abbott (USA) 74.58
5. Takahito Mura (JPN) 73.08
6. Elladj Balde (CAN) 72.35
7. Michal Brezina (CZE) 71.71
8. Josh Farris (USA) 69.14
9. Andrei Rogozine (CAN) 68.31
10. Ross Miner (USA) 66.71

Short Dance
1. Virtue/Moir (CAN) 73.15
2. Weaver/Poje (CAN) 70.35
3. Hubbell/Donohue (USA) 60.92
4. Razanova/Tkachenko (RUS) 59.79
5. Zhiganshina/Gazsi (GER) 55.91
6. Stepanova/Bukin (RUS) 55.63
7. Paul/Islam (CAN) 53.74
8. Guignard/Fabbri (ITA) 52.03

Patrick Chan defends Detroit, inspired by Justin Verlander

Ryan Crouser breaks world record in shot put at Los Angeles Grand Prix


Two-time Olympic champion Ryan Crouser registered one of the greatest performances in track and field history, breaking his world record and throwing three of the six farthest shot puts of all time at the Los Angeles Grand Prix on Saturday.

Crouser unleashed throws of 23.56 meters, 23.31 and 23.23 at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. His previous world record from the Tokyo Olympic Trials was 23.37. He now owns the top four throws in history, and the 23.23 is tied for the fifth-best throw in history.

“The best thing is I’m still on high volume [training], heavy throws in the ring and heavy weights in the weight room, so we’re just starting to work in some speed,” the 6-foot-7 Crouser, who is perfecting a new technique coined the “Crouser slide,” told Lewis Johnson on NBC.

Sha’Carri Richardson won her 100m heat in 10.90 seconds into a slight headwind, then did not start the final about 90 minutes later due to cramping, Johnson said. Richardson is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100m in 2023 (10.76) and No. 2 in the 200m (22.07).

Jamaican Ackeem Blake won the men’s 100m in a personal best 9.89 seconds. He now ranks third in the world this year behind Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala and American Fred Kerley, who meet in the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday (2-4 p.m. ET, CNBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock).

The next major meet is the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in early July, when the top three in most individual events qualify for August’s world championships.

Richardson will bid to make her first global championships team, two years after having her Olympic Trials win stripped for testing positive for marijuana and one year after being eliminated in the first round of the 100m at USATF Outdoors.

LA GRAND PRIX: Full Results

Also Saturday, Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won the 100m hurdles in 12.31, the fastest time ever this early in a year. Nigerian Tobi Amusan, who at last July’s worlds lowered the world record to 12.12, was eighth in the eight-woman field in 12.69.

Maggie Ewen upset world champion Chase Ealey in the shot put by throwing 20.45 meters, upping her personal best by more than three feet. Ewen went from 12th-best in American history to third behind 2016 Olympic champion Michelle Carter and Ealey.

Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic ran the fastest women’s 400m since the Tokyo Olympics, clocking 48.98 seconds. Paulino is the Olympic and world silver medalist. Olympic and world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas is on a maternity break.

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy won the 800m in 1:44.75, beating a field that included most of the top Americans in the event. Notably absent was 2019 World champion Donovan Brazier, who hasn’t raced since July 20 of last year amid foot problems.

CJ Allen won the 400m hurdles in a personal best 47.91, consolidating his argument as the second-best American in the event behind Olympic and world silver medalist Rai Benjamin, who withdrew from the meet earlier this week.

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Primoz Roglic set to win Giro d’Italia over Geraint Thomas

106th Giro d'Italia 2023 - Stage 20
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Primož Roglič all but secured the Giro d’Italia title on Saturday by overtaking leader Geraint Thomas on the penultimate stage despite having a mechanical problem on the mountain time trial.

Roglič started the stage 26 seconds behind Thomas — who was trying to become the oldest Giro champion in history — but finished the route 40 seconds quicker than the British cyclist after the demanding climb of the Monte Lussari.

That saw Roglič move into the leader’s pink jersey, 14 seconds ahead of Thomas going into the race’s mainly ceremonial final stage.

Roglič was cheered on all the way by thousands of fans from just across the border to his native Slovenia. They packed the slopes of the brutal ascent up Monte Lussari, which had an elevation of more than 3,000 feet and gradients of up to 22%.

The 33-year-old Roglič celebrated at the end with his wife and son, who was wearing a replica of the pink jersey.

“Just something amazing, eh? It’s not at the end about the win itself, but about the people, and the energy here, so incredible, really moments to live and to remember,” said Roglič, who had tears in his eyes during the post-stage television interview, which he did with his son in his arms.

It will be a fourth Grand Tour victory for Roglič, who won the Spanish Vuelta three years in a row from 2019-2021

Roglič also almost won the Tour de France in 2020, when he was leading going into another mountain time trial on the penultimate stage. But that time it was Roglič who lost time and the race to compatriot Tadej Pogačar in one of the most memorable upsets in a Grand Tour in recent years.

It appeared as if the Jumbo-Visma cyclist’s hopes were evaporating again when he rode over a pothole about halfway through the brutal climb up Monte Lussari and his chain came off, meaning he had to quickly change bicycles.

His teammates and staff had their hands over their heads in disbelief.

Despite that setback, Roglič — who had been 16 seconds ahead of Thomas at the previous intermediate time check — went on to increase his advantage.

“I dropped the chain, I mean it’s part of it,” he said. “But I got started again and I just went … I had the legs, the people gave me extra (energy).”

The 33-year-old Roglič won the stage ahead of Thomas. Joao Almeida was third, 42 seconds slower.

For Thomas, his bad luck at the Giro continued. In 2017, he was involved in a crash caused by a police motorbike, and three years later he fractured his hip after a drinks bottle became lodged under his wheel – being forced to abandon both times.

Thomas turned 37 on Thursday. The Ineos Grenadiers cyclist had seemed poised to become the oldest Giro winner in history — beating the record of Fiorenzo Magni, who was 34 when he won in 1955.

“I could feel my legs going about a kilometer and a half from the top. I just didn’t feel I had that real grunt,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s nice to lose by that much rather than a second or two, because that would be worse I think.

“At least he smashed me and to be honest Primoz deserves that. He had a mechanical as well, still put 40 seconds into me so chapeau to him. If you’d told me this back in (February), March, I would have bit your hand off but now I’m devastated.”

Thomas and Roglič exchanged fist bumps as they waited their turn to ride down the ramp at the start of the 11.6-mile time trial.

The Giro will finish in Rome on Sunday, with 10 laps of a seven-mile circuit through the streets of the capital, taking in many of its historic sites.

“One more day to go, one more focus, because I think the lap is quite hard, technical. So it’s not over til it’s finished,” Roglič said. “But looks good, voila.”

The route will pass by places such as the Altare della Patria, the Capitoline Hill, the Circus Maximus and finish at the Imperial Forums, in the shadow of the Colosseum.

The Tour de France starts July 1, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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