Rio 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics day-by-day events to watch

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The complete Rio Olympic competition schedule was released Tuesday, allowing Games fans to start setting up their viewing schedules for August 2016.

Here’s a daily look at potentially intriguing events (all times Eastern):

Friday, Aug. 5 — Opening Ceremony

The Olympics will open at the famed Maracanã, though preliminary soccer matches will be played the preceding two days, as has been the case since 2000.

The Opening Ceremony will be highlighted by the Parade of Nations and cauldron lighting, the final torch bearer always a closely guarded secret. (Of note, the final torch bearer has actually been multiple people at the last three Olympics, so it will be interesting to see if Rio ends that streak.)

Saturday, Aug. 6 — Day 1

Gymnastics: Men’s qualification. Historically, the top eight nations qualify for the team final, the top 24 gymnasts competing on all six events make the all-around final (maximum two per country) and the top eight per event make each of the six apparatus finals (maximum two per country). The U.S. has qualified into the team final at the last four Olympics and put two men in the all-around final at the last three.

Swimming (9 p.m.): The women’s 4x100m freestyle relay could be another U.S.-Australia duel. The Aussies broke the world record at last summer’s Commonwealth Games. Missy Franklin has been part of the American quartet at every major international meet since 2011.

RELATED: Missy Franklin turns pro, starts plotting course to Rio 2016

Sunday, Aug. 7 — Day 2

Gymnastics: Women’s qualification. Same as the men, it has historically been the top eight nations, top 24 all-around gymnasts and top eight per the four apparatuses. The U.S. always qualifies into the team and all-around finals.

Swimming (9 p.m.): The men’s 4x100m freestyle relay has traditionally been a marquee event. Several teams could factor into the medals, including reigning Olympic champion France, World champion Australia, the U.S. and host nation Brazil. If Michael Phelps makes his fifth Olympic team, this figures to be his first day of competition. Katie Ledecky could go for her first individual gold of the Games in the 400m free (she’s the world record holder).

Monday, Aug. 8 — Day 3

Gymnastics (3 p.m.): Men’s team final. China won the last two Olympics and the last six World Championships. Japan could be its biggest rival, while the U.S. looks to return to the podium after a disastrous fifth place at London 2012.

Fencing (3 p.m.): Women’s saber medal rounds. American Mariel Zagunis took gold in 2004 and 2008 but tearfully dropped to fourth in 2012, after carrying the U.S. flag into the Opening Ceremony.

Rugby (4:30 p.m.): Women’s medal matches. The first rugby medals since 1924 will be awarded, though this is the first time rugby sevens has been part of the Olympics.

Swimming (9 p.m.): The 100m backstroke finals could include both defending U.S. Olympic champions Matt Grevers and Missy Franklin. The men’s 200m free final also takes place, an event Michael Phelps won in 2008 and Ryan Lochte won at the 2011 World Championships.

Tuesday, Aug. 9 — Day 4

source: Getty Images
Simone Biles was chased off a medal podium by a bee at the 2014 World Championships. (Getty Images)

Gymnastics (3 p.m.): Women’s team final. The U.S. has never won back-to-back Olympic team golds, but it will be favored if the dominating performance at the 2014 World Championships is any indication. Expect the usual contenders to be in the medal mix — Russia, China, Romania.

Swimming (9 p.m.): The women’s 200m free final could include Franklin and Ledecky, as it did at the 2014 U.S. Championships. Phelps and Lochte could be in the same race, too, on the U.S. team for the 4x200m free relay.

Wednesday, Aug. 10 — Day 5

Gymnastics (3 p.m.): Men’s all-around final. Japan’s Kohei Uchimura could become the first man in 44 years to repeat. British, Chinese, German and American men could all factor into the medals. American Danell Leyva took bronze in 2012.

Swimming (9 p.m.): The men’s 100m free final could see a rematch of 2012, when Nathan Adrian beat James Magnussen by .01. Brazilian sprinters may be boosted by the home crowd, too. The women’s 4x200m free relay could include Franklin and Ledecky.

Thursday, Aug. 11 — Day 6

Judo (2:30 p.m.): Women’s 78kg medal rounds. In 2012, Kayla Harrison became the first U.S. Olympic judo champion. She’s since missed a year due to knee surgery and was beaten at the 2014 World Championships, by Brazilian rival Mayra Aguiar.

Gymnastics (3 p.m.): Women’s all-around final. The U.S. could put two women on the podium, and as of today two-time reigning World champion Simone Biles is a heavy favorite. London all-around champ Gabby Douglas just started her comeback, as did fourth-place Aly Raisman. Again, Russia, China and Romania should field the biggest threats.

Rugby (4:30 p.m.): Men’s medal matches. Watch out for Fiji, which has never won an Olympic medal in any sport but is ranked second in this season’s World Series.

Swimming (9 p.m.): It could be a busy night for Lochte with the 200m back and 200m IM finals. He’s won medals in both events at the last two Olympics. Phelps could join him in the 200m IM final, looking for his fourth straight Olympic title in the event. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, however, won the event over the Americans at the Pan Pacific Championships last August. The 100m free final could include Franklin, rising star Simone Manuel and the fast Aussies.

RELATED: A recent history of U.S. Olympic gymnastics comebacks

Friday, Aug. 12 — Day 7

Shooting: Women’s skeet. In London, Kim Rhode became the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics. In 2014, another American, Brandy Drozd, won the World Championship and Rhode missed the podium.

Swimming (9 p.m.): If Phelps makes it to Rio, his last individual Olympic swim could come in the 100m butterfly final. He’s won it at the last three Olympics. It could also be the final individual swims in Rio for Franklin (200m back) and Ledecky (800m free) in events they won in 2012.

source: Getty Images
Serena Williams didn’t lose more than three games in any set at London 2012. (Getty Images)

Saturday, Aug. 13 — Day 8

Tennis: Women’s singles medal matches. Serena Williams took gold at Wimbledon in 2012. No singles player has ever repeated as Olympic champion.

Rowing (7:50 a.m.): Women’s eight. The U.S. won gold at the last two Olympics and the 2014 World Championships.

Track and Field (7 p.m.): The world’s fastest woman will be crowned in the 100m final (9:35). Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took gold in 2008 and 2012. No woman has won the same individual Olympic track and field event three straight times. The U.S. could have medal threats in the men’s long jump and 10,000m (training partners Britain’s Mo Farah and American Galen Rupp went one-two in London). Great Britain currently has three medal contenders in the heptathlon that finishes up, including London champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, coming back from child-birth.

Swimming (9 p.m.): The competition concludes with the shortest and longest events (women’s 50m free, men’s 1500m free) and both medley relays. The U.S. men have never lost the Olympic medley relay. Phelps and Franklin were part of the medley relays at London 2012.

Sunday, Aug. 14 — Day 9

Tennis: Men’s singles final. Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray won the last two gold medals. That means an Olympic title is one of the glaring holes on the résumés of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Golf (6:30 a.m.): Men’s final round. The first Olympic golf medals since 1904 will be awarded at the conclusion of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament.

Gymnastics (1 p.m.): Apparatus finals include women’s vault, where McKayla Maroney‘s silver medal-winning facial expression went viral in 2012. Maroney hasn’t competed since October 2013, and no U.S. woman has made back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.

Track and Field (7 p.m.): The world’s fastest man will be crowned in the 100m final (9:25). Usain Bolt could try to become the first Olympic men’s runner to win the same individual event three straight times. The last two Olympic 400m champions could also face off for gold — Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt.

RELATED: Usain Bolt talks Justin Gatlin, retirement, Michael Jordan

Monday, Aug. 15 — Day 10

Gymnastics (1 p.m.): Apparatus finals include men’s still rings, which may include Brazil’s top gymnastics medal hope. Arthur Zanetti became the nation’s first Olympic gymnastics medalist in 2012, when he took rings gold. He followed that up with gold and silver at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships.

Track and Field (7 p.m.): The men’s 800m final (9:25) and women’s 400m final (9:45) could include both 2012 Olympic champions — Kenya’s David Rudisha and the U.S.’ Sanya Richards-Ross. Both endured injuries in the year after London and may not enter Rio as favorites.

Tuesday, Aug. 16 — Day 11

Gymnastics (1 p.m.): The artistic gymnastics competition concludes with three apparatus finals, including women’s floor exercise. Biles is the two-time reigning World champion in that event.

Track and Field (7 p.m.): In the women’s 1500m (9:30), reigning Diamond League champ Jenny Simpson could break a 44-year U.S. gold-medal drought in track events longer than 400m. The 110m hurdles goes 15 minutes later. The reigning Olympic and World champions are Americans — Aries Merritt and David Oliver. The men’s high jump (7:30) was the most exciting event in 2014, with Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko making attempts to break a 21-year-old world record.

source: Getty Images
Allyson Felix could make her fourth Olympic team in 2016. (Getty Images)

Wednesday, Aug. 17 — Day 12

Track and Field (7 p.m.): Americans Brittney Reese and Allyson Felix are reigning Olympic champions in the long jump (8:15) and 200m (9:30). Felix is tied with Jackie Joyner-Kersee for the most Olympic track and field medals earned by a U.S. woman (six) and three behind the most won by any woman in the sport (Merlene Ottey, Jamaica). The 100m hurdles (9:55) could include the last two Olympic champions — Australian Sally Pearson and American Dawn Harper-Nelson.

Beach Volleyball (9 p.m.): Women’s medal matches. The Copacabana Beach venue will be rocking if a Brazilian pair reaches the final. American Kerri Walsh Jennings eyes her fourth straight gold, this time with new partner April Ross replacing the retired Misty May-Treanor.

RELATED: Kerri Walsh Jennings on her Super Bowl commercial, toughest loss and brain games

Thursday, Aug. 18 — Day 13

Track and Field (6 p.m.): Bolt expects the 200m final (9:30) to be the last individual race of his Olympic career. The world’s greatest athlete will be crowned after the decathlon 1500m (8:45). American Ashton Eaton is the reigning Olympic and World champion and world record holder. Nobody has repeated as Olympic decathlon champ since Brit Daley Thompson in 1984.

Beach Volleyball (9 p.m.): Men’s medal matches. Several teams are in the medal picture at this point, including 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and two-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal of the U.S. and any pair put forth by Brazil.

Friday, Aug. 19 — Day 14

Water Polo: Women’s final. The U.S. finally took gold in 2012 after silver in 2000, bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008. The Americans captured the 2014 FINA World Cup, led by FINA Player of the Year Maggie Steffens.

Wrestling (3 p.m.): Men’s 74kg freestyle medal matches. American Jordan Burroughs won gold in 2012 and the World Championship in 2013 but, in 2014, lost for the first time since 2009 and settled for bronze at Worlds with an injury. Only two U.S. wrestlers have won gold medals in consecutive Olympics.

Soccer (4:30 p.m.): Women’s final. The U.S. won gold at four of five Olympic tournaments since the introduction of women’s soccer in Atlanta 1996. The semifinals were most memorable in 2012, when the U.S. outlasted Canada 4-3 in extra time.

Track and Field (7 p.m.): Bolt expects the 4x100m final (9:35) to be the last race of his Olympic career. His goal in Rio is sweep the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, which he did in 2008 and 2012. The women’s 4x100m (9:15) could be closer. The U.S. topped Jamaica at the London Games, but Jamaica returned the favor at the 2013 Worlds. Brazil’s best shot at a track and field medal may come with 2011 World champion Fabiana Murer in the pole vault (7:30). The last two Olympic champions — Jenn Suhr and Yelena Isinbayeva — may also be in the field.

source: Getty Images
Michelle Wie will likely have to keep her top-15 world ranking to make the Rio Olympic team. (Getty Images)

Saturday, Aug. 20 — Day 15

Golf (6:30 a.m.): Women’s final round. The only other time women’s golf was part of the Olympics, the U.S. swept the medals in 1900. That’s quite unlikely in Rio, given South Korea’s dominance on the professional tours.

Triathlon (10 a.m.): Women’s race. American Gwen Jorgensen is currently an overwhelming favorite, having won seven straight World Triathlon Series events. Triathlon has been part of the Olympic program since 2000, and the U.S. has collected one medal, a bronze in 2004.

Basketball (2:30 p.m.): Women’s final. There’s no reason to believe the U.S., on a 41-game Olympic winning streak, won’t take a sixth straight gold. It’ll likely be a matchup with Australia, France or Spain.

Diving (3:30 p.m.): Men’s platform final. The sport’s marquee event is the last of eight in the Olympic diving program. In 2012, American David Boudia won the first U.S. diving gold since 2000. As was the case four years ago, he’s currently looking up at Chinese divers in the run-up to the Olympics.

Soccer (4:30 p.m.): Men’s final. Will Brazil, perhaps led by Neymar, make it to the gold-medal game at the Maracanã with a shot at winning its first Olympic men’s soccer title?

Track and Field (7 p.m.): The last night of competition includes the 4x400m relays, where the U.S. is traditionally strong. However, the U.S. men were upset by the Bahamas at London 2012, and the U.S. women fell to Russia at the 2013 Worlds. The U.S. could earn more medals in the men’s 1500m (8 p.m.) and women’s 800m (8:15).

Volleyball (9:15 p.m.): Women’s final. Brazil defeated the U.S. in the last two Olympic finals. But the Americans, now with Karch Kiraly coaching, swept Brazil in the 2014 World Championships semifinals en route to gold.

RELATED: David Boudia scraps plan to add second diving event for Rio

Sunday, Aug. 21 — Day 16

Track and Field (8:30 a.m.): The men’s marathon takes to the Rio streets. Kenya is traditionally strong, but Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich pulled off the upset at London 2012. American Meb Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, hopes to make the U.S. team and compete in Rio at age 41.

Volleyball (12:15 p.m.): Men’s final. This is one of the most coveted gold medals for the host nation. Brazil won gold in 2004 and silver in 2008 (behind the U.S.) and 2012.

Boxing (1 p.m.): Women’s middleweight final. Claressa Shields has not lost since she became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing champion at London 2012.

Basketball (2:45 p.m.): Men’s final. The U.S. will go for its third straight gold and should be heavily favored. Spain took silver in 2008 and 2012 but lost in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals to France.

Closing Ceremony: The Olympic cauldron will be extinguished at the Maracanã and anticipation will grow for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Watch NBC’s Rio 2016 Olympic promo video

Novak Djokovic rolls at French Open; top women escape

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic began what could be a march to his 18th Grand Slam title, sweeping Swede Mikael Ymer 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 in the French Open first round on Tuesday.

The top seed Djokovic lost just seven points in the first set. He gets Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in the second round in a half of the draw that includes no other man with French Open semifinal experience.

Djokovic had plenty going for him into Roland Garros, seeking to repeat his 2016 run to the title. The chilly weather is similar to four years ago.

As is Djokovic’s form. His only loss in 2020 was when he was defaulted at the U.S. Open for hitting a ball in anger that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Djokovic got a break with the draw when No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem was put in No. 2 Rafael Nadal‘s half. The Serbian also won his clay-court tune-up event in Rome, where he received warnings in back-to-back matches for breaking a racket and uttering an obscenity.

“I don’t think that [the linesperson incident] will have any significant negative impact on how I feel on the tennis court,” Djokovic said before Roland Garros. “I mean, I won the tournament in Rome just a week later after what happened in New York.

“I really want to be my best version as a player, as a human being on the court, and win a tennis match. Because of the care that I have for that, I sometimes express my emotions in good way or maybe less good way.”

If Djokovic can lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires two Sundays from now, he will move within two of Roger Federer‘s career Slams record. Also notable: He would keep Nadal from tying Federer’s record and head into the Australian Open in January, his signature Slam, with a chance to match Nadal at 19.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier Tuesday, No. 2 Karolina Pliskova and No. 4 Sofia Kenin each needed three sets to reach the second round.

The Czech Pliskova rallied past Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif 6-7 (9), 6-2, 6-4. Pliskova, the highest-ranked player without a major title, next gets 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

“Let’s not talk about my level [of play],” Pliskova said. “I think there is big room for improvement.”

Kenin, the American who won the Australian Open in February, outlasted Russian Liudmila Samsonova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

“It doesn’t matter how you win — ugly, pretty, doesn’t matter,” Kenin said on Tennis Channel.

She gets Romanian Ana Bogdan in the second round. Only one other seed — No. 14 Elena Rybakina — is left in Kenin’s section en route to a possible quarterfinal.

American Jen Brady, who made a breakthrough run to the U.S. Open semifinals, was beaten by Danish qualifier Clara Tauson  6-4, 3-6, 9-7.

Sam Querrey nearly made it eight American men into the second round, serving for the match in the third set. But he succumbed to 13th-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. It’s still the best first-round showing for U.S. men since nine advanced in 1996.

The second round begins Wednesday, highlighted by Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal.

MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship

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Alysa Liu grows on the ice and adds inches, too

Liu and Scali in San Francisco
Courtesy Massimo Scali
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Word on the street is Alysa Liu has grown.

The two-time reigning U.S. figure skating champion said that’s true… to a degree. The two inches of height she added between last season and her 15th birthday in August don’t change Liu’s perspective.

“I just went from really short to very short,” Liu said, wryly, via telephone after a training session last week in San Francisco. “I’m up to 5-0. I like the five-foot number, but it’s still short.”

Anyway, the more important measure will be how much Liu has grown as a skater since her successful 2019-20 debut in international junior competition.

As is the case for all skaters, especially those in North America, such skating growth risks being temporarily stunted by restrictions on training and lack of competition caused by the coronavirus pandemic. And physical growth, even if it is only two inches, can also be problematic.

In Liu’s case, issues related to the pandemic have complicated her sudden shift to a new coaching team in late June, when she announced a split from Laura Lipetsky, who had coached her since age 5. Cancellation of the Junior Grand Prix series is giving Liu more travel-free time to adapt to the new situation, although, ironically, travel restrictions are keeping her from having the two-country, three-coach arrangement work the way it was planned.

“I don’t think it affects the long-term plan that much,” Liu said. “I still have my school schedule [where she will finish her high school education before the 2021-22 season, her first as an international senior]. I’m training hard. I’m getting stronger.

“I wasn’t surprised the Junior Grand Prix was cancelled. I’m a little sad I can’t go, but I get to stay home and train, so it’s all good. I do like competing a lot, and I guess I’ll miss that feeling, but because of corona[virus], there is nothing I can do, so I just accepted it.”

As of now, Liu can’t go to Toronto to work face-to-face with coach Lee Barkell, the newest member of the team, and choreographer Lori Nichol, with whom the skater began collaborating last season.

Massimo Scali, the three-time Italian Olympic ice dancer based in the Bay Area who began helping Lipetsky with Liu a month before the 2020 U.S. Championships, now is her in-person coach. Barkell and Nichol contribute via several FaceTime or Zoom sessions each week. Once entry restrictions from the U.S. to Canada are eased, Liu intends to visit regularly while continuing to live with her family in the Bay Area.

Of course, little has gone as might have been planned for Liu over the last two seasons.

In January 2019, at 13, she stunningly became the youngest ever to win a U.S. singles title. In January 2020, at 14, she became the youngest to win two. In the process, Liu became the first U.S. woman to land two triple Axels in a free skate and the first to land a quadruple jump, the former at 2019 nationals, the latter at her 2019 Junior Grand Prix debut.

She won both her 2019 Junior Grand Prix series events. She finished a close second to Russia’s Kamila Valieva at the 2019 Junior Grand Prix Final and a distant third to Valieva at the 2020 World Junior Championships. That made her the first U.S. woman to win a Junior Grand Prix Final medal since 2012 and just the second to win a world junior medal during that period.

Taking over as primary coach of a skate with such a resume carries a burden, especially for a coach like Scali whose entire knowledge base and coaching experience is based in ice dance.

Scali and Liu
Scali and Liu at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center in San Francisco. Courtesy Massimo Scali

“There is a little pressure on me, for sure,” Scali said. “She is an extremely talented skater and an amazing human being. But I know that I have a terrific team behind me, working really well together. My pressure is doing the best for Alysa to improve where she has to improve.”

Barkell is dealing with a different set of challenges: working remotely with a skater he barely knows.

“It was a bit difficult in the beginning, verbally explaining exercises, technique, corrections, etc., instead of being able to show Alysa,” Barkell said in a text message. “But we have figured out ways to make this work. Alysa is very coachable and has been very receptive to new ideas.

“We [myself, Massimo and Lori] are focusing on development of speed and power in her overall skating and continued development and consistency in all of her jumps. We all realize some of these changes will not happen overnight.”

There is a rule of thumb that says figure skaters need between 18 months and two years to get fully comfortable working with new coaches. For Liu, that time frame dovetails nicely with the next Olympic season.

Liu plans to give her first progress report by recording this week her new short and long programs, by choreographed by Nichol, for judging in U.S. Figure Skating’s international selection pool (ISP) points challenge competition. The performances are to go online Oct. 6.

The short uses music from Nino Rota’s score for the Fellini movie, “La Strada.” The long draws from “The Storm,” a work by the Hungarian composer/pianist Balázs Havasi that Nichol had choreographed for Carolina Kostner in the 2018-19 season, when an injury kept Kostner from competing with that program.

Liu’s jump layouts this season include a triple Axel in the short program with two triple Axels and a quadruple Lutz in the long. She may wait until later competitive events to include them. She plans to skate at the USFS Championship Series competitions in Spokane, Wash., November 10-15 and Henderson, Nevada Nov. 24-28.

“I just want to do good programs for whatever competitions are available,” Liu said. “It will take me a long time to get everything perfect. But I have been working hard on skating skills, and hopefully people can see a difference.”

Barkell handles nearly all the jump instruction, although Scali said is learning enough from watching the remote sessions to be aware of what Liu is supposed to do. Nichol is primary choreographer, with the concept, the music cuts and the steps coming from her.

Scali, who has done choreography for ice dancers, makes occasional choreographic suggestions. But his focus is the areas of skating covered by component scores (PCS).

Liu’s PCS was 6.31 points lower than Valieva’s in the world junior free skate. And Liu’s aggregate PCS for the two programs at 2020 nationals was 9.35 points behind that of runner-up Mariah Bell, but a whopping 18.66 margin over Bell in technical scores – most from jumps – made Liu an easy winner.

Scali and Liu
Scali and Liu at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center in San Francisco. Courtesy Massimo Scali

“We want Alysa to go out on the ice and look like a mature, different skater,” Scali said. “We are working on details – expression, speed, gliding, posture – to polish the programs so that they give an image of an Alysa who is more empowered and more mature and really ready for senior level competition.”

Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic champion, skates twice a week at the San Francisco rink where Liu has been training for the last seven weeks. He gives her tips on jumps and moves like spread eagles.

Boitano proctored Liu’s clean run-throughs last week that did not include the Axels or a quad. “It was great,” Boitano said of the long program.

“We don’t know yet [about the big jumps],” Scali said. “Her training was so affected by this pandemic, and this ISP competition is so early in the season considering all she went through.”

Liu has been training in San Francisco because of issues with ice time availability at her home rink in Oakland, in a different county with different pandemic rules than San Francisco.

When no rinks at all near her were open after coming back from junior worlds, Liu and her father, Arthur, an attorney, went to Wilmington, Del., from early March through mid-May, living in an AirBnb property. She trained in Wilmington on her own except for spotting from a coach with jumps done on a pull harness.

She found herself going stir crazy at times in Delaware, especially missing her four younger siblings, who stayed in California. There is only so much anime on Netflix one can watch.

Once she and her father returned west, it became a case of being careful what you wish for. The siblings, like the home-schooled Liu, now are doing remote learning at home. So far, the Wi-Fi is holding up.

“It’s very chaotic,” she said, laughing. “They are all so crazy it’s kind of ridiculous. I get home every day, and there’s always a racket in the house. My sister Julia is always falling. My sister Selina is always FaceTiming her friends. And the boys [Joshua and Justin] are always fighting.”

Since she has been training in San Francisco, Liu takes the BART train back and forth, sometimes by herself, sometimes with Scali, who lives in Berkeley.

When they began working together on a full-time basis, it was briefly at her usual rink (the Oakland Ice Center), where Lipetsky still teaches. Lipetsky was away at the time, so there were no potentially uncomfortable encounters.

In the June 22 USFS release announcing the coaching change, Liu acknowledged and thanked Lipetsky for the coach’s role in the skater’s success.

“We’ve worked so closely together, and she has helped me get to where I am today,” Liu said.

In a June 22 text message to me, Lipetsky wrote:

“I have really enjoyed working with Alysa for her entire skating career. Massimo Scali and her father informed me that I would no longer be working with her. To not add to her distraction and allow her the opportunity to focus on being the best she can be, I prefer not to comment any further.”

In a text message to me a few days later, Arthur Liu said neither he nor Alysa wanted to talk about the reasons why she left Lipetsky.

“We need to move on and focus on her training,” he wrote.

Scali said they plan to return to the Oakland Ice Center as soon as they can get the ice time Alysa needs there. He does not expect any issues if they are in the rink at the same time as Lipetsky, who, Scali said, had asked him last December to work with the skater on skating skills and components.

“It’s all good,” Scali said. “Alysa is serene and happy about the decision she made, so there will be no problems.”

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 11 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to

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