Caroline Wozniacki nervous for New York City Marathon, even in her dreams

Caroline Wozniacki
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NEW YORK — A funny thing happened when Caroline Wozniacki went for a run in Central Park shortly after the U.S. Open in September.

Onlookers stopped, clapped and raised their thumbs.

“Everyone knows that I’m running,” Wozniacki said Wednesday, about 14 hours after flying into New York from her native Denmark. “I’m probably in the shape of my life.”

Wozniacki, a two-time Olympian and eighth-ranked tennis player in the world, is arguably the most recognizable woman running the New York City Marathon on Sunday (actress Teri Hatcher may have an argument).

“I’m a little bit nervous,” were the 24-year-old’s first words in a news conference four days before the race. “I’m probably not going to get much sleep the night before.”

Wozniacki said she recently panicked thinking about the race while in Asia.

“I had a few dreams that night that I didn’t finish [the marathon],” Wozniacki said, laughing. “I had to be carried through with a wheelchair.”

Wozniacki decided one week before Wimbledon that she wanted to run the 26.2-mile, five-borough race (a few weeks after golfer Rory McIlroy called off their wedding, planned for November). Her team didn’t believe her when she said she could squeeze it in the week after her season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore.

She told her manager to look up charities, received a list that night and decided to run for Team for Kids. Wozniacki said Wednesday she wouldn’t be running Sunday if not for the organization that supports youth fitness programs.

“Everybody’s told me I’m crazy,” said Wozniacki, who called the marathon a bucket list item. “Life is too short to not do things that you would love to do.”

She’s raised more than $50,000.

As for the race, Wozniacki repeated she has a time goal in mind but wouldn’t divulge it. She will have two pacers with her. Her strategy?

“Start off slow,” said Wozniacki, an athlete used to short sprints and heart-rate fluctuations on the court.

Wozniacki hasn’t run more than a half marathon in training, canceling her longest planned training run in Singapore due to tennis activities. Wozniacki reached the semifinals of the WTA Finals, falling to Serena Williams on Saturday.

She flew from Singapore to Copenhagen, stretched her legs in Denmark for a day and then came to New York on Tuesday. She didn’t run before addressing the media Wednesday afternoon but planned a few treadmill runs before Sunday.

“It’s important to get [used to] the time zone, first of all,” Wozniacki said. “I can push through anything.”

Wozniacki said other players — such as Olympic champion Andy Murray — and the WTA are supporting her charity. Williams, who beat Wozniacki in the U.S. Open final Sept. 7, committed to but hadn’t delivered as of Wednesday.

“Now I put [Williams] on the spot,” Wozniacki joked. “Now she doesn’t have a choice [but to donate].”

She joins other tennis players who have run the five-borough marathon, including three retired professionals in 2010.

Former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo completed the race in 3 hours, 40 minutes, 20 seconds. Former French Open champion Yannick Noah did it in 4:01:38, followed by Justin Gimelstob in 4:09:58.

People have started asking Wozniacki if a marathon will become an annual event.

“I need to finish this one first,” she joked. “It’s something I’m going to take with me for years and years to come.”

U.S. Winter Olympic champion to run NYC Marathon

Madison Chock, Evan Bates win an ice dance world title for the ages

Madison Chock, Evan Bates
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After 12 years and three Olympics together, Madison Chock and Evan Bates won their first world title in ice dance, becoming the oldest gold medalists in the event and the second U.S. couple to win.

Chock, 30, and Bates, 34, won worlds in Saitama, Japan, totaling 226.01 points between the rhythm dance and free dance for their first gold after three previous silver or bronze medals.

Despite Chock’s fluke fall in the middle of Saturday’s free dance, they prevailed by 6.16 over Italians Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri. Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier took bronze.

“We wouldn’t be sitting here today without many of those challenges that we faced, not just this season, but through all the many seasons of our career,” Chock said. “We really persevered and showed a lot of grit, and, I think, maybe our performance today was a little reflection of that — perseverance and grit yet again. That little blip in the middle was so fast and so unexpected.”

All of the medalists were in their 30s, a first for any figure skating discipline at worlds since World War II, in an event that included none of last year’s Olympic medalists. None have decided whether they will continue competing next season.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results

French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who won last year’s Olympic and world titles, skipped this season on an indefinite and possibly permanent break from competition. Olympic silver medalists Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov have been barred from competing since last March due to the blanket ban on Russians for the war in Ukraine. Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the Olympic bronze medalists, retired.

Chock and Bates, the top returning couple from last season, became the oldest couple to win the ice dance at worlds or the Olympics.

Birthdates are hard to come by for the earliest world champions from Great Britain in the 1950s — before ice dancing became an Olympic event in 1976 — but the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame confirmed many ages, as did Brit Paul Thomas, a 1956 gold medalist who now coaches in Canada.

Chock and Bates join their former training partners, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, as the lone Americans to win a world title in ice dance. Davis and White did it in 2011 and 2013, then in their final competition in 2014 became the first (and so far only) U.S. couple to win an Olympic ice dance title.

Chock and Bates’ competitive future is uncertain, but they are committed to a summer 2024 wedding.

Perhaps no ice dancers, and few, if any, figure skaters since World War II worked this long and hard at the elite level to reach the top podium step.

Each was looking for a new partner in 2011 when they teamed up, a year after Bates placed 11th in his Olympic debut with Emily Samuelson.

After Davis and White stopped competing, Chock and Bates ascended as the next top U.S. couple in the nation’s strongest figure skating discipline.

For years, it looked like their peak came at the 2015 World Championships, when they led after the short dance and then posted their best free dance score of the season. But Papadakis and Cizeron relegated them to silver minutes later with a breakout performance.

The next season, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani overtook Chock and Bates as the top U.S. couple. When the Shibutanis stepped away from competition in 2018, Hubbell and Donohue inherited the American throne.

Chock and Bates endured her ankle injury in the 2018 Olympic season (they were ninth at those Games, a nadir), her concussion after fainting on a walk on a hot Montreal day in 2020 and a fourth-place finish at last year’s Olympics, missing a medal by 3.25 points.

They did earn an Olympic medal in the team event that will be gold or silver, pending the resolution of Russian Kamila Valiyeva‘s doping case.

“When I think about the totality of our career, I’m struck by what our coaches have done for us and the lifeline that they gave us five years ago,” Bates said, noting their move from Michigan to Montreal in 2018. “After PyeongChang, we could have easily been done.”

Chock and Bates ranked second in the world this season after the fall Grand Prix Series. Things changed the last two months.

In January, Chock and Bates won the U.S. title by the largest margin under a 13-year-old scoring system, with what Bates called probably the best skating of their partnership. In February, Chock and Bates won the Four Continents Championships with the best total score in the world this season to that point.

Meanwhile, Gilles and Poirier, the top couple in the fall, lost momentum by missing their nationals and Four Continents due to Gilles’ appendectomy.

World championships highlights air Saturday from 8-10 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships results

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, top 10 and notable results …

Women
Gold: Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) — 224.61
Silver: Lee Hae-In (KOR) — 220.94
Bronze: Loena Hendrickx (BEL) — 210.42
4. Isabeau Levito (USA) — 207.65
5. Mai Mihara (JPN) — 205.70
6. Kim Chae-Yeon (KOR) — 203.51
7. Nicole Schott (GER) — 197.76
8. Kimmy Repond (SUI) — 194.09
9. Niina Petrokina (EST) — 193.49
10. Rinka Watanabe (JPN) — 192.81
12. Amber Glenn (USA) — 188.33
15. Bradie Tennell (USA) — 184.14

Men (Short Program)
1. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 104.63
2. Ilia Malinin (USA) — 100.38
3. Cha Jun-Hwan (KOR) — 99.64
4. Keegan Messing (CAN) — 98.75
5. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 95.56
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 94.17
7. Kazuki Tomono (JPN) — 92.68
8. Daniel Grassl (ITA) — 86.50
9. Lukas Britschgi (SUI) — 86.18
10. Vladimir Litvintsev (AZE) — 82.71
17. Sota Yamamoto (JPN) — 75.48
22. Andrew Torgashev (USA) — 71.41

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

Pairs
Gold: Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) — 222.16
Silver: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 217.48
Bronze: Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii (ITA) — 208.08
4. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps (CAN) — 199.97
5. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe (USA) — 194.73
6. Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud (CAN) — 193.00
7. Maria Pavlova/Alexei Sviatchenko (HUN) — 190.67
8. Anastasia Golubova/Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) — 189.47
9. Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel (GER) — 184.60
10. Alisa Efimova/Ruben Blommaert (GER) — 184.46
12. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea (USA) — 175.59

Ice Dance
Gold: Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 226.01
Silver: Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) — 219.85
Bronze: Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) — 217.88
4. Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) — 214.73
5. Laurence Fournier Beaudry/Nikolaj Soerensen (CAN) — 214.04
6. Caroline Green/Michael Parsons (USA) — 201.44
7. Allison Reed/Saulius Ambrulevicius (LTU) — 199.20
8. Natalie Taschlerova/Filip Taschler (CZE) — 196.39
9. Juulia Turkkila/Matthias Versluis (FIN) — 193.54
10. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) — 190.10
11. Kana Muramoto/Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) — 188.87

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