Prefontaine Classic preview, schedule, broadcast info

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The Prefontaine Classic will provide an early look at World Track and Field Championships contenders, live on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday.

The annual Diamond League meet in Eugene, Ore., will carry extra significance this year, given it will be contested on the 40-year anniversary of the death of its namesake, 1972 Olympic 5000m runner Steve Prefontaine.

Competition starts Friday night, with Olympic and World champion Brittney Reese in the long jump, Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa in the shot put, Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp in the 5000m and Olympic and World champion Mo Farah in the 10,000m. USATF.TV will have live coverage.

On Saturday, Olympic champions Allyson FelixJustin GatlinSanya Richards-Ross and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce headline the fields.

NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET, followed by NBC from 4:30-6. Live Extra will stream the entire broadcast window. The full schedule and entry lists can be found here.

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

Friday
11:03 p.m. — Men’s discus
11:06 — Women’s long jump
11:28 — Men’s shot put
12 a.m. (Saturday) — Men’s 5000m
12:20 — Men’s 10,000m

Saturday
3:21 p.m. — Women’s triple jump
3:26 — Men’s pole vault
3:41 — Women’s 400m
3:49 — Men’s 800m
3:56 — Men’s high jump
4:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
4:11 — Men’s 3000m steeplechase
4:30 — Women’s javelin
4:33 — Women’s 100m
4:42 — Men’s 100m
4:49 — Men’s 400m
4:55 — Women’s 800m
5:05 — Men’s 110m hurdles
5:12 — Women’s 5000m
5:32 — Men’s 200m
5:40 — Women’s 1500m
5:49 — Men’s Bowerman Mile

Here are five track events to watch Saturday:

Women’s 400m (3:41 p.m. ET)

Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix will race a 400m at a Diamond League meet for the first time in more than one year. Felix said she will enter one of the 200m or 400m at the World Championships in August, and her performance at the Prefontaine Classic could go into determining her event at Worlds in Beijing.

On Saturday, Felix will oppose Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who owns the fastest time in the world this year. Felix is capable of beating Richards-Ross when at their best, as she did at the 2011 World Championships. The Pre Classic field is lacking the world’s other elite 400m runner, American Francena McCorory.

Women’s 100m (4:33 p.m. ET)

The field includes the fastest women from 2015 (Elaine Thompson, Jamaica), 2014 (Tori Bowie, U.S.), 2013 and 2012 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica) and 2011 (Carmelita Jeter, U.S.).

The opportunity is ripe for Thompson, 22, to stake her claim as the favorite to be crowned world’s fastest woman at the World Championships in three months. She’s already won 100m races in Kingston in March, April and May, but training partner and Olympic and World champion Fraser-Pryce was not in any of those races.

Thompson’s clocked 10.92 this year, but it was Bowie who starred in 2014 with a top time of 10.80. The Mississippi native missed the end of last season after a late August hamstring injury and ran 11.07 in Shanghai on May 17.

Men’s 200m (5:32 p.m. ET)

Usain Bolt ran 20.13 on a wet track in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Tuesday. Bolt is not in Eugene, but rival Justin Gatlin is in this 200m field. Gatlin ran mostly 100m races since his return from a four-year doping ban in 2010, but last year he clocked 19.68 and 19.71 in the 200m, the fastest times in the world since Bolt won the 2013 World Championship in 19.66. Gatlin hasn’t run a wind-legal 200m yet this season. He did clock a wind-aided 20.10 on April 11.

Gatlin’s competition Saturday will come from the three fastest Jamaicans aside from Bolt this year — Julian ForteNickel Ashmeade and Rasheed Dwyer — Panama’s 2009 World silver medalist Alonso Edward and U.S. 2013 World bronze medalist Curtis Mitchell.

Women’s 1500m (5:40 p.m. ET)

The day’s final women’s race includes reigning Diamond League champion Jenny Simpson, the world’s fastest woman from 2014, Ethiopian-born Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, plus talented Americans Shannon Rowbury, the 18-year-old Alexa Efraimson and steeplechaser Emma Coburn.

It’s early, but Simpson and Rowbury are threats to break a 44-year U.S. gold-medal drought in Olympic track events longer than 400m next summer in Rio de Janeiro.

Men’s Bowerman Mile (5:49 p.m. ET)

The traditional finale of the meet could be a U.S.-Kenya battle. The Kenyan contingent includes two-time reigning World champion Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat, the fastest 1500m runner in the last decade. Americans Matthew Centrowitz, the 2013 World silver medalist, and Leo Manzano, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, will look to dethrone them.

Mary Cain leaves Oregon, returns home to New York

Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Kimmie Meissner, Casey entering skating Hall of Fame

Meryl Davis, Charlie White
AP
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — As they enter the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, Meryl Davis and Charlie White ponder just who they are joining in receiving one of the highest honors in their sport.

“One of the things that makes it so special is we are friends with and respect so much so many previous people who have gone into the Hall of Fame,” Davis said before the induction ceremony Saturday. “Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamguchi, Brian Boitano — people we look up to and now we are in their company.”

As are 2006 world champion Kimmie Meissner and the late Kathy Casey, one of American figure skating’s most successful coaches.

Davis and White, along with training partners and friends Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, were at the forefront of bringing ice dance to previously unreachable heights for Americans. Once the abyss of the sport, Americans now tend to populate podiums in international competitions.

In 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics, Davis and White followed Belbin and Agosto four years earlier as silver medalists. At the Sochi Games in 2014, they edged Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 champions, for the gold.

Davis and White won every U.S. title from 2009-14, plus two world crowns.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

But Davis and White were — and are — about so much more than their on-ice performances. He now coaches and she has been instrumental in the startup and development of Figure Skating in Detroit, an offshoot of the inner city Figure Skating in Harlem program that has been a rousing success in New York City.

“When we were young skaters and took the lay of the land of the sport,” White said, “we thought about becoming leaders of the sport. We recognized we would have a role as we were ascending and we felt it was a real responsibility. Be thoughtful and considerate with anyone you deal with. We tried to let our skating do the talking as competitors, but we wanted the way we conducted ourselves off the ice to be professional and helpful to the sport.

“We have felt the responsibility because of everything skating has given to us to give back responsibly and, in the end, to always be grateful.”

Meissner, still one of the few American women to master the triple Axel, also is one of those rare athletes to be a champion on all level. She won novice, junior and senior U.S. titles.

Her performance at age 16 at Calgary worlds soon after finishing sixth at the Turin Olympics as the youngest U.S. athlete not only was a highlight of her career but of any world championships.

“I was ready for that moment,” said Meissner, who also coaches and is in school to become a physician’s assistant. “I had been practicing that way pretty much before the Olympics. It was nerves at the Olympics and I was happy to salvage what I did.

“At worlds, I was not shocked at all that I skated clean at a time when it really needs to happen.”

Casey, who died in September, spent more than 50 years in the sport. She helped advance the biomechanical studies of jumps and was expert at helping skaters correct technical aspects of their performances. In 2005, she was the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Science Coach of the Year.

The official U.S. coach at three Olympics, Casey coached two-time U.S. champion Scott Davis (1993-94). She was the Professional Skaters Association president from 1989 to 1994, was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2008.

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MORE: Nathan Chen leads men’s short program, followed by world team battle

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season 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.

Nathan Chen leads U.S. Figure Skating Championships, followed by world team battle

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Nathan Chen broke his own U.S. Figure Skating Championships short program scoring record, hitting two quadruple jumps en route to a whopping 13.14-point lead on Saturday.

Chen, trying to become the first man to win four straight national titles since Brian Boitano in 1988, tallied 114.13 points. Jason Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, is in second after beating Chen in artistic marks but lacking a quad. Andrew Torgashev is the surprise third-place skater going into Sunday’s free skate.

Chen hit a quad flip, triple Axel and a quad toe-triple toe combination in Greensboro, N.C., on limited practice due to a recent flu.

“I’m thrilled with it,” Chen, a Yale sophomore, said on NBC. “This was probably the least prepared I’ve been, but I really made good use of the last week, the week that I was able to actually start getting training in.”

Nationals continue later Saturday with the pairs’ free skate and the free dance, live on NBC Sports. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

How substantial is Chen’s lead? No other skater, pair or dance couple has led a U.S. Championships by double digits after a short program since the Code of Points was instituted in 2006. Chen has now done it three times in the last four years.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, is all but assured to lead the three-man world championships team. Who will join him is what will be determined Sunday.

Brown is in strong position to go to a fourth world championships in Montreal in March. He was clean on his three jumping passes, though the only man in the top five without a quad. Brown is the second-ranked U.S. man overall this season, coming back from a late August concussion when his Uber ran a red light, T-boned another car, then swung sideways and hit the car a second time.

“The season has been such a struggle,” Brown said. “To work through each setback and to be able to put up a performance like that, that I’ve worked so hard to do, that’s where the emotion came from.”

Torgashev, who won the 2015 U.S. junior title at age 13, made his case with a clean short featuring a quad toe. Torgashev’s best senior nationals finish in three starts was seventh last year. He is the son of two world junior medalists from the Soviet Union.

Vincent Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, has twice finished second to Chen at nationals. He was strong on Saturday considering his turbulent season, placing fourth with a quad Salchow.

Zhou attempted to match Chen last fall by balancing Ivy League classes with training. It didn’t work, and he went the entire autumn without committed skating. He decided to take a break from Brown University and move to Toronto to train under a new coach, Lee Barkell.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Adam Rippon takes pleasure in new role — coaching U.S. silver medalist

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season 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.