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


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

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships TV, live stream schedule


Every race of the world Alpine skiing championships airs live on Peacock from Feb. 6-19.

France hosts the biennial worlds in Meribel and Courchevel — six women’s races, six men’s races and one mixed-gender team event.

Mikaela Shiffrin is the headliner, in the midst of her most successful season in four years with a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts. Shiffrin is up to 85 career World Cup victories, one shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record accumulated over the 1970s and ’80s.

World championships races do not count in the World Cup tally.

Shiffrin is expected to race at least four times at worlds, starting with Monday’s combined. She earned a medal in 11 of her 13 career world championships races, including each of the last 10 dating to 2015.

Shiffrin won at least one race at each of the last five world championships (nobody has gold from six different worlds). Her six total golds and 11 total medals are American records. At this edition, she can become the most decorated skier in modern world championships history from any nation.

She enters one medal shy of the record for most individual world championships medals since World War II (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt) and four medals shy of the all-time record. (Worlds were held annually in the 1930s, albeit with fewer races.)

She is also one gold medal shy of the post-World War II individual record shared by Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson.

The other favorites at these worlds include Italian Sofia Goggia, the world’s top female downhiller this season, and the two leading men: Swiss Marco Odermatt (No. 1 in super-G and giant slalom) and Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (No. 1 in downhill).

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships Broadcast Schedule

Date Event Time (ET) Platform
Mon., Feb. 6 Women’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Tues., Feb. 7 Men’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 8 Women’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 9 Men’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 11 Women’s Downhill 5 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Men’s Downhill 5 a.m Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Tue., Feb. 14 Team Parallel 6:15 a.m. Peacock
Men’s/Women’s Parallel Qualifying 11 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 15 Men’s/Women’s Parallel 6 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 3:45 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Fri., Feb. 17 Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 18 Women’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 19 Men’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock

*Delayed broadcast
*All NBC coverage streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for TV subscribers.

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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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