World Diving Championships preview, schedule, broadcast information

Leave a comment

Olympic platform champion David Boudia believes not one but two medals are possible at the World Diving Championships that begin this weekend in Kazan, Russia.

Boudia, who in 2012 became the first American to win an individual Olympic diving medal since 2000, hopes to earn a third straight Worlds platform medal on the final day of competition Aug. 2.

But one week before that, this Sunday, Boudia believes he and rising Purdue sophomore Steele Johnson can contend for gold in the synchro platform. So much so that Boudia, the only U.S. medalist at either 2011 or 2013 Worlds, said his chances of individual gold and synchro gold are “pretty even.”

In 2012, Boudia took Olympic synchro bronze with Nick McCrory, who has since retired. Boudia and Johnson first teamed last year and finished second and third in their two international competitions.

In Kazan, all eyes will be on the dominant Chinese, winners of nine of 10 diving events at the 2013 Worlds. Their one defeat two years ago? The synchro platform, to a German pair.

Boudia and Johnson may benefit Sunday from the reported Chinese roster for Kazan, since its men’s synchro platform team includes neither of China’s individual platform superstars — Qiu Bo and Yang Jian.

Nor is it the Chinese pair that beat Boudia and Johnson by 1.98 points at a FINA World Series event in Windsor, Ontario, on May 22. Nor is it the pair that beat Boudia and Johnson by 80.34 points at the 2014 FINA World Cup in Shanghai.

Individually, Boudia used a silver-medal performance at the 2011 Worlds as fuel for an upset victory at the London Olympics, over the past World champions Qiu and Brit Tom Daley.

“It definitely is a little different now than it was leading into London, and leading up to London, because there’s two powerful Chinese divers,” Boudia said recently, as Yang is new to the scene. “It’s not going to be easy.”

In 2013, Boudia trounced Qiu in the Worlds semifinals (534.40 to 457.55) but was no match in the final (a 581.00 to 517.40 margin in Qiu’s favor).

The American has finished no higher than third in six World Series individual platform competitions since. Qiu, Yang and Daley shared the six World Series titles this year.

Boudia remains confident and said he’s on “middle ground” with the Chinese in degree of difficulty.

“I can see holes in their training, I can see holes in their competition where I know it’s anybody’s game,” he said. “I can be real and say that I’m not going to win, but that’s not how it is. I know that there’s possibilities, that there’s holes for mistakes, and it can happen to anybody.”

USA Diving World Championships roster | Universal Sports broadcast schedule

UniversalSports.com will stream all finals live for subscribers.

Finals Schedule (ET)
Saturday, July 25 — Mixed synchro platform (8-9:30 a.m.)
Saturday, July 25 — Women’s synchro springboard (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Sunday, July 26 — Men’s synchro platform (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Monday, July 27 — Men’s 1m springboard (8-10:15 a.m.)
Monday, July 27 — Women’s synchro platform (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, July 28 — Women’s 1m springboard (8-9 a.m.)
Tuesday, July 28 — Men’s synchro springboard (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Wednesday, July 29 — Team event (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Thursday, July 30 — Women’s platform (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Friday, July 31 — Men’s 3m springboard (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 1 — Women’s 3m springboard (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 2 — Mixed synchro springboard (8-9:30 a.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 2 — Men’s 10m platform (12:30-1:45 p.m.)

Nathan Chen calls 3 quads at Skate America ‘a given’

AP
Leave a comment

When Nathan Chen won Skate America in 2017, he competed two quadruple jumps in the short program and one downgraded quad in the free skate.

When Chen won the event in 2018, he did one under-rotated quad (which was also given an edge call) in the short and three in the free.

For Skate America this weekend (Oct. 18-20, streaming live on the NBC Sports “Figure Skating Pass”), two-time and reigning world champion Chen told reporters on Monday’s media teleconference that three quads in the free skate was “a given.”

“Honestly, I don’t really know exactly,” Chen said, after admitting he gets asked this question a lot and usually ends up giving a “vague” answer. “I have ideas. I want to push three. I want to push four… As of now, I think three is a given. But beyond that, we’ll see.”

Chen completed six quads to win the free skate at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where he ultimately finished fifth.

He’ll skate to La Boheme for the short program in Las Vegas, choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, and selections from “Rocket Man” for the free skate, choreographed by Marie-France Dubreuil. Bourne is a former ice dancer and choreographs programs for many singles skaters as well as pair teams. Dubreuil is a noted former ice dancer and current dance coach, training the top teams in the world at her school in Montreal.

Chen explained that both of the choices were the choreographers’ picks, and he had to sit on the music for a day or two before committing to skating to it. Ultimately, he likes when choreographers are able to find something that they think suits him.

“I love to listen to Elton John,” Chen said. “I don’t necessarily feel as though I’m an embodiment of his character, per se. But I do feel that no matter how you listen to music there are always many ways to interpret it. The way that we’re approaching it is not necessarily that I’m trying to be Elton John but mostly that we’re trying to interpret his music and share his music.”

And compared to last season, when he was a freshman at Yale University, classes this time around are “a lot harder,” the sophomore said. In general though, he’s a lot more comfortable trying to balance both skating and his studies.

“Skating is always tough, always a challenge,” he said. “But I would say, relative to last season, skating might be a little bit on the easier side. I think classes are definitely a lot harder… You have to really grind for a long period of time or else you don’t do well.”

Luckily for Chen, Skate America is aligned with Yale’s scheduled fall break.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

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. Check out a free trial of the Figure Skating Pass during Skate America from Oct. 18-20. 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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Simone Biles reveals one thing she cannot do: Wear all her medals at once

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Three days after raising the record for world championship medals to 25, Simone Biles said her career total is a bit too much to wear at once.

“I’ve worn all five of them (from one world championship) for one time, but they’re pretty heavy, so I can’t imagine 25,” Biles said Wednesday on the “Today” show.

MORE: Mother and daughter share world championship experience

Last week, Biles became the first gymnast to win five gold medals at the world championships. She and her teammates ran away with the team gold, and she won the all-around by a staggering 2.1 points. She then won the vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Only a fifth-place finish in the uneven bars kept her from a sweep.

One event that stood out for her was the ever-challenging balance beam.

“Out of all of my performances this past week, the beam performance was one of my favorites, because I did it exactly like practice, and that’s what I’ve been training to do,” Biles said. “So it definitely helped my confidence.”

GYM WORLDS: Finals Results

Biles had her breakout performance at age 18, her first year in senior competition, in the 2013 world championships with a four-medal performance, including gold in the all-around and floor exercise. In 2014, she won those events again, along with the team event and the balance beam, and added a fifth medal on the vault. She matched that performance in 2015, then switched the vault and beam in her four-gold, five-medal performance in the 2016 Olympics.

After a post-Olympic break, she returned for the 2018 world championships to win medals in all six events, including four golds and a silver on the uneven bars, historically her least successful event.

She didn’t win six medals this year, but she took five golds for the first time. This year’s championships are also special because they’re almost certainly her last, with next year’s Olympics expected to be her last major competition.

Given all that, she’ll make more of an effort to go back and watch what she did.

“Most of the time I don’t want to see it, but this world championships was one of the best out of all five of them, so I definitely wanted to see my performances, so afterward, I would go and try to find it with my coach,” Biles said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!