Russia strikes first Sochi gold in team figure skating; U.S. gets bronze

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From the go, Team Russia made it clear that the inaugural Olympic team figure skating competition would be theirs.

Today at Iceberg Skating Palace, the Russians emphatically finished off a gold-medal triumph with wins in the men’s and women’s free skates from Yevgeny Plushenko and Yulia Lipnitskaya. In the final standings, Russia eclipsed Canada by a full ten points, 75-65.

As for the U.S., they were able to hold off Italy and Japan to take the bronze with 60 points. Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the free dance, earning a score of 114.34 that was confirmed by U.S. Figure Skating to be the highest free dance score in history – a great sign for them going into the individual ice dancing competition that begins next Sunday.

Plushenko – who jokingly thanked the critics that questioned whether he should even be on the Russian Olympic team – notched a score of 168.20 in the men’s free to add another 10 points for the host nation.

Meanwhile, Jason Brown of the U.S. fell in his free program, suffering the same fate that teammate Jeremy Abbott did in his short program on Thursday. He finished fourth out of five with a score of 153.67.

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In the ladies’ free skate, Gracie Gold had a strong Olympic debut that was marked with the same confidence she had in claiming the U.S. Nationals title last month in Boston. Her score of 129.38 vaulted her into the lead.

But Russia’s 15-year-old dynamo Yulia Lipnitskaya followed Gold with yet another tremendous performance that netted a 141.51, ten more points for her country, and rapturous applause from all in attendance – including the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The free dance closed the proceedings, with Davis and White earning a second win in the team competition after taking the short dance on Saturday, which helped put the U.S. back in medal position.

Their main rivals, reigning Olympic dancing champs Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, were runners-up today with a score of 107.56.

TEAM FIGURE SKATING – FINAL STANDINGS
1. Russia – 75
2. Canada – 65
3. United States – 60
4. Italy – 52
5. Japan – 51

Eliminated after short programs
6. France – 22
7. China – 20
8. Germany – 17
9. Ukraine – 10
10. Great Britain – 8

source: Getty Images
Team Russia celebrates its historic Olympic gold in team figure skating. Photo: Getty Images

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
Getty Images
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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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.

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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