Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir

Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Terry Gannon named NBC’s lead figure skating announcers

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Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir, 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski and Terry Gannon were named NBC Sports Group’s new lead figure skating broadcast team, debuting with this weekend’s Skate America (Sunday, 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC).

Weir, Lipinski and Gannon earned acclaim for their commentary at the Sochi Winter Olympics as NBCSN’s live figure skating team.

“Johnny, Tara and Terry were breakout TV stars in Sochi,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “We’re excited that viewers will be treated to this team’s informative and entertaining commentary for many years to come, all while looking fabulous.”

NBC figure skating broadcast schedule for 2014-15

Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion, will continue as a special contributor at big events, such as the U.S. Championships and the Winter Olympics. Hamilton has been with NBC since 2002.

Weir, Lipinski and Gannon replaced NBC’s previous lead figure skating team of Tom Hammond, Hamilton and Sandra Bezic.

“We thank Tom, Scott and Sandra for their many years of excellent work on Olympic figure skating,” Bell said. “They set the bar high. We are looking forward to hearing more of Tom’s signature track and field calls at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.”

Weir, Lipinski and Gannon will team with analyst Tracy Wilson and reporter Andrea Joyce for Skate America, the first of seven events in this season’s Grand Prix series.

“I am so honored to be a part of the NBC family and I hope to bring figure skating and the Olympics into America’s living rooms for many years to come,” Weir said. “I cannot wait to start a fresh new era of commentary and analysis that will entertain and inform. I love my sport and I can’t wait to go on more Olympic journeys with the marvelous athletes, seated next to all of you!”

“My goal is to continue educating, entertaining and bringing the incredible sport of figure skating to a new generation of fans,” Lipinski said. “It is an honor to be a part of an Olympics. I cannot wait to begin, and I’m lucky to have my talented co-pilots Johnny and Terry by my side.”

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Cyclist in induced coma after Tour of Poland crash

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Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was put into an induced coma Wednesday after suffering injuries in a crash on the final stretch of the Tour of Poland, organizers said.

A massive crash at the finish of the first stage resulted in Dylan Groenewegen‘s disqualification from the race.

Leading a bunch sprint, Groenewegen veered toward the right barrier, pinching countryman Jakobsen, who barreled into the barrier meters from the finish line.

Jakobsen went head over heels, his bike went airborne and the barriers exploded onto the road, causing more cyclists to crash.

Jakobsen was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition and was put into an induced coma, the Tour de Pologne press office said.

Groenewegen crossed the finish line first but was disqualified, giving Jakobsen the stage win, according to the stage race website.

Groenewegen, a 27-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider, owns four Tour de France stage wins among the last three years.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) “strongly condemned” Groenewegen’s “dangerous” and “unacceptable” behavior. It referred Groenewegen’s actions to a disciplinary commission for possible sanctions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to a Russian media quote confirmed by Phil Hersh.

The ISU has not confirmed or denied Lakernik’s assertion.

Most, if not all, top-level U.S. skaters train in the U.S. or Canada. That makes the first two Grand Prix stops — Skate America and Skate Canada — likely destinations. Grand Prix assignments have not been published.

“I appreciate the ISU is open to adapting competitive formats and is working to give athletes opportunities to compete,” Evan Bates, a U.S. ice dance champion with Madison Chock who trains in Montreal, wrote in a text message to Hersh. “This announcement gives reassurance that the ISU is doing their best to ensure a season will still take place. Of course, it’s hard to predict what will happen, and we’re not sure about what country we would compete in. It would probably depend on what the quarantine rules are at that time.”

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu, who cannot enter the senior Grand Prix until 2021.

Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement that it will have more details on the Grand Prix Series in the coming weeks after collaborating with an ISU-appointed group.

“This is a great example of the figure skating community coming together to ensure that the world’s premier figure skating series will continue during these challenging times,” the statement read. “Figure skaters want to compete and figure skating fans from all around the world want to see their favorite athletes skate, and this format will ensure just that.”

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