IAAF World Relays schedule, broadcast times, preview

Sanya Richards-Ross
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With no outdoor World Championships or Olympics this year, the IAAF will introduce a new international event, the World Relays, this weekend.

The world’s greatest track nations — from sprinting to middle-distance running — convene in Nassau, Bahamas for events Saturday and Sunday. The World Relays are scheduled to remain in the Bahamas in 2015 and likely to go on a two-year cycle after that, according to Reuters.

The U.S. and Jamaica will be the anticipated head-to-head matchups in sprints. The Bahamas, Russia, Kenya and Ethiopia enter the mix as the distances rise to 4x1500m relays.

Universal Sports will have live TV coverage at 6:30 each night and online coverage at 6:15.

Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

Saturday
5:30 p.m. — Men’s 4x200m heats
5:49 — Women’s 4x100m heats
6:15 — Men’s 4x800m FINAL
6:40 — Women’s 4x400m heats
7:12 — Men’s 4x400m heats
7:45 — Women’s 4x1500m FINAL
8:16 — Men’s 4x200m FINAL
8:42 — Women’s 4x100m FINAL

Sunday
5:30 p.m. — Women’s 4x200m heats
5:49 — Men’s 4x100m heats
6:26 — Women’s 4x400m FINAL
6:48 — Men’s 4x1500m FINAL
7:19 — Women’s 4X800m FINAL
7:52 — Men’s 4x400m FINAL
8:11 — Women’s 4x200m FINAL
8:37 — Men’s 4x100m FINAL

Here’s a look at each event:

Women’s 4x100m

Jamaica is the clear favorite here with a team that includes the reigning Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist Kerron Stewart. In fact, it could field the same quartet that won the 2013 World Championship in a meet-record time.

The U.S. holds the world record in the 4x100m from the 2012 Olympics, but only Tianna Bartoletta returns from that team. Olympic sprint medalists Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter are among the Americans not in Nassau.

Men’s 4x100m

Likewise, Jamaica is a favorite in the men’s 4x100m, even without Usain Bolt, since the U.S. is missing its top sprinters from last year’s World Championships and Olympics. The Jamaicans boast three-quarters of their world-record team from the 2012 Olympics — Yohan BlakeNesta Carter and Michael Frater.

The U.S. is without Justin GatlinTyson Gay and Ryan Bailey, who went three-four-five in the 2012 Olympic 100m final. However, they return the fourth man from the Olympic 4x100m final silver-medal team, Trell Kimmons, and three-quarters of the 2013 World Championships final team that won silver — Mike RodgersMookie Salaam and Charles Silmon. There’s also the rising Marvin Bracy, who won 60m silver at the World Indoor Championships in March.

Women’s 4x200m

Fraser-Pryce is also eligible for the 4x200m relay, and she says she’s focusing more on the half-lap distance this year after winning Olympic silver and World Championships gold the last two seasons. But the rest of the Jamaican 4x200m pool is not near her league (maybe nobody else in the world is, actually), giving the U.S. a chance.

Five different U.S. women made the Olympic and World Championships 200m finals over the last two years, but none of them are in the World Relays 4x200m pool. Still, the Americans boast reigning national champion Kimberlyn Duncan, proven veterans Bianca Knight and Shalonda Solomon and Tori Bowie, whose 22.57 this year is faster than any member of Jamaica’s pool who doesn’t have two hyphens in her name.

Men’s 4x200m

Jamaica must prove its depth here to beat the U.S., since Bolt is out and Blake is only in the 4x100m pool. That leaves Olympic bronze medalist and world silver medalist Warren Weir to carry the load, along with Nickel Ashmeade (fourth at worlds) and Jason Livermore (worlds semifinalist).

The U.S. put one man in the 200m final at each of the last three major outdoor championships. All of them are in the pool to challenge Jamaica — 2011 world silver medalist Walter Dix, 2012 Olympic fourth-place finisher Wallace Spearmon and 2013 world bronze medalist Curtis Mitchell.

Women’s 4x400m

This event has seen some close finishes between the U.S. and Russia over the last several years, but it shouldn’t be that way in Nassau.

The field is headlined by Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who is working her way back from injury. The U.S. pool also includes Olympic 400m bronze medalist DeeDee Trotter and Natasha Hastings and Jessica Beard from last year’s World Championships silver-medal team.

Russia brings back zero members of its 2013 World Championships gold-medal-winning team. That opens the door for Great Britain, with reigning world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, and Jamaica.

Men’s 4x400m

This is the marquee event for the host nation, given the Bahamas won the Olympic 4x400m in London. Its entire team from London is back for this meet.

The U.S., a usual favorite in the 4x400m, boasts a group that includes reigning world 400m champion LaShawn Merritt and three-quarters of the team that won the 2013 World Championships final (which the Bahamas did not qualify for) and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor.

Women’s 4x800m

This is another event Russia is deep in, but the top Russians over the last few years are not entered. The U.S. put three women in the 2013 World Championships 800m final, and two of them are in Nassau — bronze medalist Brenda Martinez and sixth-place Ajee’ Wilson — as well as World Indoor 800m champion Chanelle Price.

The U.S.’ top competition could come from Kenya, which is better in longer distances but fields reigning world 800m champion Eunice Sum and 2012 Olympic finalist Janeth Jepkosgei.

Men’s 4x800m

None of the reigning Olympic or world 800m medalists are in Nassau, opening up the field a little bit. The U.S. is led by Duane Solomon, who was fourth in the epic London Olympic final and sixth at the World Championships.

Kenya, with Ferguson Cheruiyot, challenges the U.S. in overall depth, but it is missing world-record holder David Rudisha. Ethiopia is home to the reigning world champion, but it does not have a 4x800m team entered in Nassau.

Women’s 4x1500m

The U.S. pool includes Morgan Uceny, who fell in the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympic 1500m finals, as well as the world 800m bronze medalist Martinez. It is missing 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson and the precocious Mary Cain.

Kenya looks like the favorite, with reigning world 1500m bronze medalist Hellen Obiri and the second fastest woman in the world last year, Faith Kipyegon.

Men’s 4x1500m

Kenya is loaded here with three men who made both the Olympic and World Championships 1500m finals the last two years, including world champion Asbel Kiprop. Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat were the world’s two fastest men over 1500m in 2012 and are again so far this year.

Ethiopia has long been Kenya’s distance rival, and this is the only relay distance it is contesting. The U.S. team includes Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano but not world silver medalist Matthew Centrowitz.

David Rudisha says the last year ‘has been hell’

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier top pairs’ short at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier
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World champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier lead after the pairs’ short program in what may be their last U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Knierim and Frazier, who last March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, tallied 81.96 points to open the four-day nationals on Thursday.

They lead by 15.1 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe going into Saturday’s free skate in San Jose, California. The top three teams from last year’s event — which Knierim and Frazier missed due to him contracting COVID-19 — are no longer competing together.

After nationals, a committee selects three U.S. pairs for March’s world championships in Japan.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Before the fall Grand Prix Series, the 31-year-old Knierim said this will probably be their last season competing together, though the pair also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after a Stars on Ice tour this spring.

“I don’t like to just put it out there and say it is the last or not going to be the last because life just has that way of throwing curveballs, and you just never know,” Frazier said this month. “But I would say that this is the first nationals where I’m going to go in really trying to soak up every second as if it is my last because you just don’t know.”

Knierim is going for a fifth U.S. title, which would tie the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka Ina, Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner, Karol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Knierim is also trying to become the first female pairs’ skater in her 30s to win a national title since 1993. Knierim and ice dancer Madison Chock are trying to become the first female skaters in their 30s to win a U.S. title in any discipline since 1995.

After being unable to defend their 2021 U.S. title last year, Knierim and Frazier reeled off a series of historic results in what had long been the country’s weakest discipline.

They successfully petitioned for an Olympic spot and placed sixth at the Games, best for a U.S. pair since 2002. They considered retirement after their world title, which was won without the top five teams from the Olympics in attendance. They returned in part to compete as world champions and to give back to U.S. skating, helping set up younger pairs for success.

They became the first U.S. pair to win two Grand Prix Series events, then in December became the first U.S. pair to make a Grand Prix Final podium (second place). The world’s top pairs were absent; Russians banned due to the war in Ukraine and Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong from China leaving competition ice (for now).

Knierim and Frazier’s real test isn’t nationals. It’s worlds, where they will likely be the underdog to home favorites Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who edged the Americans by 1.3 points in the closest Grand Prix Final pairs’ competition in 12 years.

Nationals continue with the rhythm dance and women’s short program later Thursday.

NBC Sports’ Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.

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2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships
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Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Pairs Short Program
1. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 81.96
2. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 66.86
3. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea —- 65.75
4. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 63.45
5. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 63.12
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 56.96
7. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 50.72
8. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 46.96
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 46.81
10. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 45.27
11. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 43.99

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

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