Ashley Wagner

World Figure Skating Championships schedule

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U.S. Figure Skating has lofty goals across all four disciplines at this week’s World Championships in Shanghai, China, including winning its first women’s medal in nine years.

Olympians Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds are all medal threats, the U.S. champion Wagner in particular. Their biggest competition will be three Russians, including Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Yelena Radionova, the two women who beat Wagner at the Grand Prix Final in December.

Wagner, Gold and Edmunds are all trying to become the first U.S. women’s Olympic or Worlds individual medalist since Kimmie Meissner and Sasha Cohen in 2006, the longest drought since World War I.

They’re also out to keep Russia from the first women’s podium sweep since Americans Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1991.

RELATED: Ashley Wagner has Worlds medal in sight, but aims higher

The U.S. men’s trio would like to qualify three spots for the 2016 World Championships in Boston, the first in the U.S. since Los Angeles 2009. To do that, the two best placements from U.S. champion Jason Brown, Adam Rippon and Joshua Farris must combine to be no worse than 13th (Brown places sixth and Rippon seventh, for example).

That won’t be easy. The men’s field includes reigning Olympic and World champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan and World bronze medalist Javier Fernandez of Spain. Russians Maksim Kovtun and Sergey Voronov and Japan’s Takahito Mura also outperformed all of the Americans in the Grand Prix season.

RELATED: Jason Brown doesn’t plan quad for Worlds

The U.S.’ best shot at gold may be in ice dance with Sochi Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates. They were eighth at the Winter Games and fifth at the 2014 World Championships.

But this season, with Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White sitting out, Chock and Bates won two Grand Prix events and finished second at the Grand Prix Final, the second biggest international event behind Worlds.

Finally in pairs, U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim want to finish in the top six. That would match or better the best American finish in pairs since 2006.

Here’s the schedule of events in Shanghai (all times Eastern):

Tuesday: Short dance (9:30 p.m.)
Wednesday: Pairs short program (6:15 a.m.)
Wednesday: Women’s short program (10:30 p.m.)
Thursday: Pairs free skate (7 a.m.)
Thursday: Free dance (10:30 p.m.)
Friday: Men’s short program (4:30 a.m.)
Friday: Women’s free skate (10:30 p.m.)
Saturday: Men’s free skate (5:45 a.m.)

Icenetwork.com will provide live online coverage to its Season Pass subscribers.

NBC will air coverage Saturday from 8-10 p.m. ET.

Tara Lipinski/Johnn Weir previews: Women/Ice Dance | Men/Pairs

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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