Polina Edmunds leads U.S. Championships after Gold, Wagner falter

Leave a comment

An Olympian leads after the U.S. Figure Skating Championships women’s short program, but not the one most expected.

Polina Edmunds, the youngest competitor on the entire 2014 U.S. Olympic team, skated clean and tallied 70.19 points in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday night.

Neither Gracie Gold nor Ashley Wagner could match their Sochi teammate. Gold, the 2014 U.S. champion, singled her opening jump and scored 62.50 for second place. Wagner, a three-time U.S. champion, fell on her opening jump combination and posted 62.41 for fourth.

“I want it so much that sometimes I just strangle myself,” Gold told media in St. Paul (more in an NBC interview). “One mistake, that’s it. If I want to even be relevant, I have to hit the rest, which I did.

“The long program has always been better for me. I’ve always felt more comfortable, and [coach] Frank [Carroll] and I have a mission.”

Edmunds takes a whopping 7.69-point lead into the free skate Saturday (8-11 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra), the largest short-program lead by a U.S. woman in Nationals history under the 11-year-old scoring system.

“I’ve never had the chance to be in this position before,” Edmunds said (more in an NBC interview). “I’m glad that what I put out today was my best and that I was rewarded for it.”

Edmunds, 17, finished a surprising second at the 2014 U.S. Championships to earn her place in Sochi.

She placed ninth at the Olympics and then fell to fourth at the 2015 U.S. Championships but made the three-woman 2015 World Championships team as the third-place finisher at last year’s Nationals, Karen Chen, was too young for Worlds.

Edmunds was eighth at a second straight Worlds last March and missed the podium in both of her fall international events, coming into Nationals without the fanfare of Gold and Wagner.

“There’s always pre-competition hype and buzz, and I don’t really pay attention to it,” Edmunds said. “Every competition, regardless who’s in the audience, if it’s two people or 1,000, it doesn’t change for me. The pressure’s the same, and I feel like I’m capable of handling it.”

Courtney Hicks and Chen, two podium contenders coming in, fell twice each Thursday and sit 11th and 12th, respectively.

The U.S. champion earns an automatic spot at the World Championships in Boston in two months. She’ll be joined by two more women selected by a committee.

Wagner is in a precarious position, but a familiar one. She finished fourth at the 2014 U.S. Championships and was put on the Olympic team over third-place finisher Mirai Nagasu (who was fifth Thursday).

In St. Paul, Wagner is .04 behind Tyler Pierce, a 17-year-old without the top-level senior international experience that also goes into a committee’s decision on World Championships team members.

“I am exactly where I need to be,” Wagner told NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce. “This is a work in progress.”

Earlier, Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea topped the pairs short program, relegating defending champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim to second place.

The U.S. Championships continue with the short dance and men’s short program on Friday (full broadcast schedule here).

MORE: Gracie Gold discusses retirement

NBA participation in Tokyo Olympics could be limited, Adam Silver says

Kevin Durant
Getty Images
Leave a comment

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the Tokyo Olympics’ effect on the league’s schedule planning for 2021 is unclear, but that it’s possible that Olympic participation may be limited.

“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing,” Silver told Bob Costas on CNN on Tuesday. “Obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics from other countries. That’s something we’re going to have to work through. I just say, lastly, these are highly unique and unusual circumstances. I think, just as it is for the Olympic movement, it is for us as well. We’re just going to have to sort of find a way to meld and mesh those two competing considerations.”

Silver said his best guess is that the next NBA season starts in January with a goal of a standard 82-game schedule and playoffs. A schedule has not been released.

In normal NBA seasons that start in late October, the regular season runs to mid-April and the NBA Finals into mid-June.

The Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony is July 23. If an NBA season is pushed back two or three months to a January start, and the schedule is not condensed, the Olympics would start while the NBA playoffs are happening.

The current NBA season is in the conference finals phase in an Orlando-area bubble after a four-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a factor in our planning,” Silver said of the Olympics. “It would be tough for us to make a decision in January based on the Olympics happening on schedule when that’s so unclear.”

The NBA has participated in every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Monday was the 29th anniversary of the announcement of the first 10 members of the original Dream Team on an NBC selection show (hosted by Costas).

Before the NBA era, U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams consisted of college players.

MORE: When Michael Jordan lost in wheelchair basketball to Paralympian

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

French Open
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final