Simone Biles, Aly Raisman
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‘Grandma’ Aly Raisman and ‘baby’ Simone Biles

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Aly Raisman and Simone Biles have a unique relationship on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team.

“She’s like our sleeping little grandma,” Biles said of Raisman.

“She always says that I sleep a lot,” Raisman said. “She looks at me like I’m the crazy one, but I think she’s the crazy one, because it’s normal to be tired when you work out a lot, but she’s just never tired.”

They’re likely to spend a lot of time together over the next seven months, maybe even the rest of the year, at national team camps, competitions, perhaps even the Olympics and a post-Olympic tour.

Biles, the 18-year-old, three-time reigning World all-around champion, felt inspired watching Raisman’s gold medal-winning floor exercise routine at the London 2012 Olympics.

“I wanted to be just like her, and floor was like my specialty also,” said Biles, who also won floor exercise gold at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Worlds.

Raisman, 21, can become the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s artistic gymnast since 2004 this year. She and Gabby Douglas are in line to become the first women to make back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.

If there’s anything keeping the consummate leader Raisman up at night, it’s the energetic Biles.

“We’re kind of pretty much similar in the gym, but outside of the gym, I’m passed out sleeping, and she’s eating candy and jumping up and down on the beds,” Raisman said in November.

“There’s sometimes when I see her eating candy, and I literally just like snatch it from her, because that’s the last thing that she needs. She was eating these energy things the other day and I was just like, she’s not gonna sleep for like a month. She’s just crazy all the time. So I don’t know. Simone reminds me of that little kid that just doesn’t sit still. … I watch how much sugar she has. She was drinking tea, and she put seven packets of sugar in her tea. It was a small cup of tea, and I was like, ‘That is the last thing that you need, and that’s disgusting.’

“I mean, one packet of sugar is sweet enough. She put seven in a small cup. … So I took it away from her, and she was mad at me. I was like, ‘Sorry, I’m your mom.'”

What about Raisman, what kind of grandmotherly advice does she dole out?

“Go to bed early,” Biles joked.

Raisman, though, sees a little bit of herself in Biles. Never sitting still, except when she’s napping of course.

“If I were to stop doing gymnastics, I would probably be bouncing off the walls all the time,” Raisman said. “Worse than Simone.”

MORE GYMNASTICS: Sam Mikulak looks to ceiling in return from injury

 

Yevgenia Medvedeva’s long shot is Rostelecom Cup; TV, live stream schedule

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Yevgenia Medvedeva‘s situation going into this week’s Rostelecom Cup: fend off her ex-coach’s newest young teenage jumper, or miss qualifying for the most exclusive competition in figure skating for a second straight year.

Medvedeva, who at this stage in the last Olympic cycle began her senior-level dominance, again searches for consistency at this week’s Grand Prix stop in Moscow, streaming live for NBC Sports Gold subscribers.

The 19-year-old last won a top-level international competition two years ago, her final victory of a two-year win streak that included two world titles. An Olympic silver medal followed, then a messy breakup with coach Eteri Tutberidze and a move to Toronto to train under Brian Orser.

Medvedeva failed to qualify for last season’s six-skater Grand Prix Final in her new environment. She rebounded to place third at the world championships, but the start of this Grand Prix season brought more short-program struggles.

She stumbled out of a double Axel landing, then fell and slid into the boards on a triple Lutz at Skate Canada three weeks ago. She ended up fifth overall, making her a long shot for December’s Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest competition of the year after March’s world championships.

To get to the six-skater Final, Medvedeva must win this week and get some help in the standings from other skaters either in Moscow or at next week’s NHK Trophy.

It’s a difficult task given the Rostelecom field includes the world’s top-ranked skater: Alexandra Trusova, a 15-year-old who is part of the Tutberidze group that also includes the other two Grand Prix winners this fall.

Trusova outscored Medvedeva by 31.4 points at Skate Canada, soaring to the title in her senior Grand Prix debut on the power of three quadruple jumps. She became the youngest Grand Prix winner in eight years and an early favorite to become the youngest world champion since Tara Lipinski in 1997.

Medvedeva racked up dominant wins in the last cycle by putting all of her triple jumps in the second half of programs (new rules since took away this bonus). But in the last year, skaters arrived on the senior scene armed with quads and triple Axels that neither Medvedeva nor Olympic champion Alina Zagitova have landed in competition.

Other notables in this week’s field include U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell, who will have a chance at the Grand Prix Final if she can make a second straight Grand Prix podium. And Japanese Satoko Miyahara, a two-time world medalist who was second at Cup of China last week.

The men’s field is wide open given headliner Shoma Uno, the Olympic silver medalist, is coming off an eighth-place finish at his last event. Russia has the top-ranked pairs’ and dance entries in Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy and Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

Rostelecom Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Time (ET) Event Network
Friday 6 a.m. Men’s Short NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
8 a.m. Rhythm Dance NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
10:30 a.m. Women’s Short NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
12:30 p.m. Pairs’ Short NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
Saturday 5:30 a.m. Men’s Free NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
7:30 a.m. Free Dance NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
9:30 a.m. Women’s Free NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
11:45 a.m. Pairs’ Free NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
Sunday 12-1:30 p.m. Highlights NBC | STREAM LINK

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.

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U.S. beats Japan in Olympic baseball qualifier, may still need help

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The U.S. handed Japan its first loss in the Premier12 global Olympic baseball qualifier, at the Tokyo Dome no less, but now the Americans must root for the host nation.

The Americans, with a roster mostly of Double-A and Triple-A players, won 4-3 over a Japanese team that includes some of its domestic league’s biggest stars like two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru and veteran shortstop Hayato Sakamoto.

Outfielder Jo Adell, MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked prospect on the U.S. team, starred by reaching base four times with a home run.

Japan is already qualified for baseball’s Olympic return as the host nation.

The U.S., meanwhile, has a sense of urgency at Premier12, the first of a possible three tournaments in which it could clinch an Olympic spot.

At Premier12, the top-ranked nation from North and South America qualifies for the Olympics. The tournament is at the super-round stage of the final six teams, and two are from the Americas: the U.S. and Mexico.

The top four nations after each has played five games advance to gold- and bronze-medal games.

Mexico already beat the U.S. and ran its super-round record to 3-0 on Tuesday, clinching a spot in the medal round.

The U.S. moved to 1-2 in the super round on Tuesday and must at least get into the same medal-round game as Mexico to keep its hope of finishing as the top team from the Americas.

Japan could help, since it plays Mexico on Wednesday. If Mexico beats Japan, the Mexicans clinch a spot in the gold-medal game, which would put more pressure on the U.S. to win its last two games (vs. Australia on Wednesday and Chinese Taipei on Friday). Even then, South Korea would get into the gold-medal game if it wins out.

If the U.S. is not the top team from the Americas at Premier12, it can still earn an Olympic berth in March. But then it faces trying to come up with a roster at the end of MLB’s spring training rather than during the offseason. MLB teams may be less inclined to release minor leaguers.

“That’ll be a delicate dance,” U.S. general manager Eric Campbell said before Premier12.

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