Rio Olympic track and field schedule released

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The Rio Olympic track and field schedule includes 13 finals in morning sessions, highlighted by the men’s 400m hurdles and triple jump, events with strong U.S. medal hopes.

The men’s 100m final — where Usain Bolt could go for a record third straight title — is Sunday, Aug. 14, at 9:25 p.m. ET. The women’s 100m final is the night before at 9:35.

The men’s 200m final — which could be Bolt’s last individual Olympic race, as he plans to retire before the 2020 Olympics — is Thursday, Aug. 18, at 9:30 p.m. ET. The women’s 200m final, which could include 2012 Olympic champion Allyson Felix, is the night before at 9:30.

The men’s 4x100m relay final — which could be Bolt’s last Olympic race — is Friday, Aug. 19, at 9:35 p.m. ET.

Eight stadium events will hold morning session finals, a first at the Olympics since 1988. The first is the women’s 10,000m on the first day of track and field competition on Friday, Aug. 12, one week after the Opening Ceremony.

The others are the men’s discus (Aug. 13), women’s 3000m steeplechase and hammer throw (Aug. 15), men’s triple jump and women’s discus (Aug. 16), men’s 3000m steeplechase (Aug. 17) and men’s 400m hurdles (Aug. 18).

U.S. Olympic medal threats in morning finals include Shalane Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist.

Emma Coburn is also a rising threat in the 3000m steeplechase. Coburn was the third-fastest woman in the event this year. The U.S. hasn’t won an Olympic steeplechase medal since 1984.

The U.S. went one-two in the men’s triple jump in London, with Christian Taylor and Will Claye.

Gia Lewis-Smallwood was the second-ranked woman in the discus this year.

Michael Tinsley is the reigning Olympic and World silver medalist in the men’s 400m hurdles.

The men’s 400m hurdles is the event that Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton focused on in 2014. Eaton is expected to return to the decathlon in 2015.

Eaton was the ninth-fastest man in the 400m hurdles in the world this year and second-fastest among Americans, behind Tinsley. Three U.S. men can make the Olympic team in the 400m hurdles, which is not one of the 10 decathlon events.

In 2012, the 400m hurdles final was two days before the start of the decathlon.

In 2016, the 400m hurdles final will be on the same day as the second and last day of the decathlon. If there was any, tiny chance that Eaton could have considered trying the 400m hurdles in Rio, that now appears out of the question.

The eight morning stadium finals are split evenly between men’s and women’s and track and field events.

There is at least one final during each of the six morning sessions in the stadium.

The five road races — men’s and women’s marathon and 20km walks and men’s 50km walk — will also be in mornings.

Rio de Janeiro is one hour ahead of Eastern Time during the summer.

“Staging finals in the morning was done at the request of the Rio LOC [local organizing committee] and the Olympic Broadcasting Service, supported by the International Olympic Committee,” IAAF Competitions Director Paul Hardy said in a press release last month. “Having finals in the morning will also ensure that we receive maximum visibility for athletics at the Olympics across all time zones.

“Our prevailing view was that the leading distance runners will welcome this change to the athletics program at the Olympics as they will often have competitions throughout the year in the morning, such as road or cross-country races, and so will be accustomed to this timing.”

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U.S. junior champions crowned in ladies’ and men’s events

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Gabriella Izzo is the newest junior ladies’ national champion, crowned this week at the U.S. Championships in Detroit. Junior ladies’ national champions of the past include eventual Olympians Mirai Nagasu, Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds and Bradie Tennell.

Izzo had a commanding lead after the short program, with 60.97 points, where she pulled off her first-ever triple Lutz, triple loop combination in competition. (However, it was deemed under-rotated.) Regardless, her 111.45 points in the free skate combined for 172.42 points and the gold medal.

Audrey Shin, who actually won the free skate by just over a point, earned the silver medal with 165.61 points. Emilia Murdock took home the bronze with 154.48 points.

On the junior men’s side, Ryan Dunk rebounded from second after the short program to win the event. His 132.85-point free skate was enough to crack the 200-point overall score, the only man in the field to do so, and win the gold.

Men’s junior champions include eventual world champion Nathan Chen (twice) as well as Olympians Vincent Zhou and Jason Brown.

Dinh Tran finished second with 196.03 points after a fourth-place short program. Joonsoo Kim, who lead after the short program on Tuesday, ended up with the bronze medal with 187.95 points.

NBC Sports Gold’s “Figure Skating Pass” will live stream each junior competition and replays will also be available on-demand. Check out the full schedule and live streaming information here.

The junior rhythm dance took place earlier Wednesday. Siblings Caroline and Gordon Green lead the field with 70.82 points, while Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik are second with 65.92 points. The brother-sister team of Oona and Gage Brown are in third with 63.34 heading into Friday’s junior free dance.

Also Wednesday, Laiken Lockley and Keenan Prochnow took the lead in the junior pairs’ short program. The junior pairs’ free skate is Thursday. Kate Finster and Balazs Nagy are second, followed by Isabelle Martins and Ryan Bedard in third.

MORE: Full streaming schedule

As a reminder, you can watch the junior and senior U.S. Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Chloe Kim, David Wise among X Games headliners

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The X Games return to Aspen, Colorado, this week at Buttermilk Mountain. A marquee event on the yearly snowboarding and freeskiing calendar, the X Games will feature a handful of Olympic gold medalists and notable names in action sports. Below are a few storylines to watch for this week:

Nearly full field of Olympic gold medalists will compete in Aspen

All four freestyle skiing gold medalists in X Games events (halfpipe, slopestyle) and five of six Olympic snowboarding champions (slopestyle, halfpipe, big air) are expected to compete in Aspen. Among them is Chloe Kim, who has not lost a contest since the Olympics. She finished last season with a win at the US Open, and has three victories already this season, including at the Dew Tour in December. Since the Olympics, Kim’s star has only grown: she’s thrown out the first pitch at a Dodgers game and become an awards show regular, but her ability to crush her competition on the pipe remains unchanged.

In addition to Kim, the three other U.S. gold medalists from 2018 should all contend: in men’s ski halfpipe, two-time defending Olympic gold medalist David Wise has continued to impress this season, but as in previous years, he’ll be challenged by his teammates, Aaron Blunck and Aspen native Alex Ferreira, who would skip school as a kid to watch the X Games in person. Snowboard slopestyle gold medalists Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson are both podium threats as well.

After missing Olympics, can Sildaru sweep in Aspen?

Three years ago, a quiet and unassuming Kelly Sildaru won her first X Games title at 13, becoming the youngest ever winner in a winter event. Pegged early as a star for the PyeongChang Games in both slopestyle and halfpipe, the Estonian teenager missed the Olympics with a torn left ACL. Sildaru, who hails from a country with no mountains, will attempt a rare triple in Aspen: she’ll compete in slopestyle, halfpipe, and big air. No winter sports athlete has ever won three gold medals at the same X Games contest. Sildaru missed last year’s event due to her knee injury and has looked sharp so far this season: she won the U.S. Grand Prix in halfpipe and the Dew Tour in slopestyle. Sildaru has four X Games medals in total: two in slopestyle and two in big air.

White’s protégé awaits his big moment

Toby Miller learned from the best: the 18-year-old was mentored by three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, who brought Miller to PyeongChang as his guest. White hasn’t competed since the Olympics, focusing instead on skateboarding, while Miller is having a notable season of his own: he finished third at the Dew Tour and second at the U.S. Grand Prix. The U.S. halfpipe contingent remains deep: Olympians Jake Pates, Ben Ferguson and Chase Josey are all contenders on any given day, though PyeongChang bronze medalist Scotty James will likely be the favorite.

Big tricks

The X Games are often a staging point for new tricks: in 2017, Norway’s Marcus Kleveland became the first to land a quad in competition, only to be topped by Canadian Max Parrot, who won the event with a quad of his own. Chloe Kim and PyeongChang big air gold medalist Anna Gasser have been at the forefront of innovative tricks this season. Kim, a four-time X Games winner, is still far ahead of the field with back-to-back 1080s, which she used last weekend at a World Cup event in Laax. In October 2018, she became the first woman to land a frontside double cork 1080, though she has yet to execute it in competition. Kim can win easily with the arsenal of tricks she already has – but she’d make a bit of history if she decides to go for it.

In November, Gasser became the first woman to land a cab triple underflip, though like Kim, she has not done so in competition. Known for her progressive approach to the sport and impressive arsenal of difficult tricks, Gasser could attempt the triple at the X Games.