Frank Carroll, familiar figure skating face, back again

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SOCHI, Russia – There was only one time that legendary figure skating coach Frank Carroll considered quitting the sport altogether – way back in 1980.

“After Linda Fratianne lost the Olympic Games in 1980, I thought, ‘I don’t want any part in this sport anymore,’” the 75-year-old Carroll told NBCOlympics.com Sunday. “The next year I had the junior world champion and I remember the president of U.S. Figure Skating saying, ‘Oh, I thought you were going to quit.’ I guess quitting didn’t work out and I’m glad it didn’t.”

Figure skating is glad, too. From Fratianne to Michelle Kwan to Evan Lysacek and now Gracie Gold (with others in between), Carroll has seen skating through generation after generation from the boards, a stoic face and unfettered fatherly presence on the side of the ice.

“He is the most extraordinary coach of our generation,” said Scott Brown, a figure skating coach that works alongside Carroll training Gold. “Everything that he does I want to emulate. I’m fortunate with Gracie that I get to spend all this time with him. He’s the athlete’s coach and the coach’s coach. We can all just aspire to be half as great as him. He is the real deal.”

And he has been for over 30 years, which makes Carroll’s legacy that much more powerful. Friday night he won another Olympic medal, this time as the coach for Denis Ten, who trains with Carroll and Gold in Los Angeles. The Kazakhstan native won a bronze in the men’s singles event after Gold had helped the U.S. to third place in the new team event earlier in the week.

But the fact that Carroll is sticking around for the final few days of these Olympics – the ladies singles event – was not a situation foreseen just six months ago. He and Gold began working together only in September.

“One of the things that I’m known for – god, it sounds like I’m incredibly proud of myself! – is being able to package a skater,” Carroll said, a slight grin on his face. “With Gracie, she was taught extremely well, but I think she had troubles with how to go about competing on an emotional level – putting it all together. I think I have an eye for how to put things together. I basically took a talented girl with good skating skills and tried to make her into a package.”

He’s helping to do the same with Polina Edmunds, the third member of the U.S. ladies team along with Gold and Ashley Wagner, consulting with her coach David Glynn, himself a former Carroll student.

“He’s such a great role model for every young coach,” said Glynn, who trains Edmunds in San Jose. “He’s so willing to offer advice and help; his integrity is wonderful. He wants to help not only the skaters, but the parents and the whole skating community.”

RELATED: Edmunds not skipping out on homework while in Sochi

Helped he has for years and years. Why then, for a man at his age, does Carroll continue to do the work that he does?

“What’s that song from ‘Follies’? ‘I’m Still Here’?” Carroll said, laughing. “It’s sort of like a game to me. It’s like pieces of a puzzle: ‘Can I put this together? Can I get this person to be a real achiever?’ I play games with myself all the time.”

In those short five months, Carroll has helped piece together the 18-year-old Gold, who is considered an outside shot to win a medal in Sochi come Wednesday and Thursday.

Come those nights, Carroll says he will get a little nervous, but not like he used to.

“It’s not electricity anymore, but a little bit of nervousness,” Carroll said. “I’m very used to it all. That intense anxiety has really worn off a lot. I realized what will be will be. By the time Evan won his gold, I wasn’t expecting anything … It was, for me, if the cards worked out right, he was going to win. And he did!”

Yet that was four years ago, when Carroll was already past 70 and – aside from Lysacek – without an American prospect for Sochi. Though Carroll still expected to be here.

“Of course!” He said, smiling. “And if I don’t quit, I expect to be back at the next one, too. I sound like ‘Ol’ Man River’ who just keeps going on. It’s a fun profession to be in and I don’t have any immediate plans to retire.”

Carroll jokes that it’s greed that keeps him on the boards, but it’s obvious he just can’t quit. And hasn’t thought about it since 1980.

RELATED: Gracie faces pressure of living up to her name

“You’re a lifer in skating,” said Brown, who with Carroll and Gold once a month. “If you’re addicted, this is what you’re doing. You go throw the ups and downs, but the ups are so great and they feel so good and make you always wanting more. I think he feels that.”

Carroll’s skaters have felt a variety of things over the years. Frank has become a fixture every four years on TV sets across the U.S. In 1998, an emotional Kwan leaned into his shoulder tight as her scores came in just a touch low, giving Tara Lipinski the window she needed to win. But Frank’s face remained unchanged.

It was Gracie Gold who was having trouble keeping her emotions in check before she came to Frank, working with longtime coach Aleksander Ouriyashev in Chicago. But with Carroll, there are no outbursts, only continuously improving skating skills and know-how.

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

Anna van der Breggen
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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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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

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