Yuzuru Hanyu, Patrick Chan
AP

Patrick Chan returns at loaded Skate Canada for Olympic rematch

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Of the six events leading up to the Grand Prix Final in December, this week’s Skate Canada boasts the strongest singles field.

The most anticipated skater is Canadian Patrick Chan, the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World champion who is competing at the top international level for the first time since being bumped to silver at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Chan, 24, said missing an Olympic title did not determine whether he would return to the sport following a one-season break. Any achievements the rest of his career will be “a bonus,” he said in May.

Chan will seek his fifth Skate Canada title against a field that includes the man who beat him in Sochi, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu.

Icenetwork.com will broadcast Friday’s short programs (4:20 p.m. ET for the women; 7:45 ET for the men) and Saturday’s free skates (2 p.m. ET for women; 8:45 for men) live for subscribers. NBC will air coverage Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Full season broadcast schedule

Hanyu, 20, also has something to prove this season after taking silver at the World Championships in March behind Spain’s Javier Fernandez.

“I found that the men’s event [all last season] was, as I expected, nothing too special, no offense,” Chan said in May.

The other men’s podium threats include a pair seeking their first Grand Prix victories, Canadian national champion Nam Nguyen and U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon.

The women’s competition features Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who romped to the World title in March while landing a triple Axel. Tuktamysheva won eight titles last season, including sweeping the Grand Prix Final, European Championships and Worlds.

This season, Tuktamysheva can become the first woman to repeat as World champion since Michelle Kwan, but she may have to go through Japan’s Mao Asada to do it. Asada outscored Tuktamysheva at the Japan Open team event in October in her first competition since winning the 2014 World title one month after Sochi.

Tuktamysheva won’t have to worry about Asada at Skate Canada.

The Russian will be a heavy favorite this week against a field that includes U.S. Olympians Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds, who were fifth and eighth at Worlds.

Wagner and Edmunds each endured highs and lows last season.

Wagner, 24, came back from last place after the Grand Prix Final short program to earn bronze in December, then dethroned Gracie Gold for her third U.S. title in January before stumbling to 11th place in the Worlds short program and eliminating any medal hopes.

Edmunds, a 17-year-old who was the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports in Sochi, was fortunate to make Worlds last season.

She was fourth and eighth in her two Grand Prix starts and then fourth at the U.S. Championships but made the three-woman team for Worlds in part because third-place Karen Chen was too young. Edmunds notched the biggest win of her senior career at February’s Four Continents Championships, an event that included zero Russians.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Max Aaron ends U.S. drought at Skate America

START ORDER
Friday
Women’s short program
5:27 p.m. ET — Polina Edmunds
5:40 — Ashley Wagner
5:46 — Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

Men’s short program
8:18 — Patrick Chan
8:45 — Adam Rippon
8:58 — Nam Nguyen
9:11 — Yuzuru Hanyu

Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

MORE: Eliud Kipchoge opines on shoe technology debate

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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MORE: Top U.S. bobsled driver pregnant, to miss season