Landon Donovan on why Olympics ‘will forever haunt me,’ Tim Howard at Rio 2016

Landon Donovan
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Landon Donovan said finishing fourth at his only Olympics “will forever haunt me” and that “it would make a great story” if his 2000 Olympic teammate Tim Howard makes the Rio Olympic team.

Earlier this week, Donovan reflected on his lone Olympic appearance as an 18-year-old with blond hair in Sydney. He was the youngest member of the U.S. team that finished fourth, losing to Spain and Chile in medal matches.

“My fondest [Olympic] memory is knowing that we had a chance to win a medal,” Donovan said. “It will forever haunt me. I’m a massive sports fan in general. I always watched the Olympics growing up. So to have an Olympic medal would have been cool.”

Donovan said he “many times” thought about and hoped he could return to the Olympics.

In 2004, he and the U.S. lost to Mexico in a winner-goes-to-Athens qualifying game.

In 2008, he could have been named as an over-age Olympic player but was left off the team because the U.S. senior team needed him for a 2010 World Cup qualifier that took place during the Beijing Games.

In 2012, the U.S. under-23 team failed to qualify for the London Games.

For Rio, the U.S. under-23s will play Colombia later this month in a home-and-home series to determine the final team to qualify for the 16-team Olympic soccer tournament.

While the retired Donovan has no more chances to play in the Olympics, one of his Sydney 2000 teammates could be an intriguing over-age option for Rio 2016 if the U.S. beats Colombia.

That’s goalie Tim Howard.

“I think it would make a great story,” Donovan said. “Obviously, the coach, Andi Herzog, has to make those decisions, but I think Tim would be a great candidate. What I learned in that [2000] experience was having people through the spine of your team that are experienced, over-age players helped me — Brad Friedel, Jeff Agoos, Frankie Hejduk. Those three, just their experience and leadership helped a lot. So Tim would be a valuable asset.”

In 2000, Howard helped the U.S. under-23 team qualify for the Sydney Olympics. He was the No. 2 goalie on the U-23 team and was named along with the No. 1 goalie, Adin Brown, to the U.S. Olympic team one month before the Games.

Two weeks before the Sydney Games, Brown was taken off the Olympic team due to injury, leaving Howard and a to-be-named replacement as the U.S. goalies for Sydney.

The following day, the replacement was named — longtime U.S. men’s national team goalie and 1992 Olympian Brad Friedel.

Friedel was one of a maximum three over-age players on the U.S. roster. An over-age spot opened up for Friedel with midfielder Chris Armas suffering a knee injury one day after he was named to the original Olympic team with Agoos and Hejduk as the over-age players.

Friedel played every minute of the 2000 Olympics, relegating Howard to the bench.

“That’s the unfortunate part of the way the Olympics are set up in soccer, is you have people who qualify, but you might not make the Olympic team, or, if you do make the team, you might be on the bench if someone else comes in,” Donovan said.

Howard’s potential Olympic return (and playing debut) in Rio in August is complicated by his club and national team statuses.

A February report said Howard would join the MLS’ Colorado Rapids this season from his longtime English club Everton. The move has not been announced.

The Olympics fall in the middle of the MLS season, as opposed to the English Premier League season, which starts Aug. 13. The Olympic men’s soccer schedule runs from Aug. 4-20.

Professional soccer clubs do not have to release players to play in the Olympics.

Howard could also be named to the U.S. team for Copa America Centenario in June, a tournament that clubs are required to release players for.

However, Howard may not play much or at all in that tournament as he’s in a battle for the No. 1 U.S. spot with Brad Guzan.

Last September, Herzog said a goalie could be one of his Olympic over-age players.

“First we have to qualify and then I have to see which player could help me most and if I have a position where I need leaders,” Herzog said, according to ProSoccerTalk. “Maybe an attacking leader, defensive leader or a goalkeeper. I didn’t make any thoughts about this right now.”

MORE: Brazil coach prefers Neymar at Olympics over Copa America

Kaori Sakamoto leads figure skating worlds; U.S. in medal mix in women’s, pairs’ events


Defending champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan topped the women’s short program at the world figure skating championships, while Americans are in the medal mix in the women’s and pairs’ events going into the free skates.

Sakamoto, trying to become the first Japanese skater to win back-to-back world titles, tallied 79.24 points, taking a significant 5.62-point lead over South Korean Lee Hae-In going into Friday’s free skate in Saitama, Japan. It’s the largest lead after a women’s short program at worlds since 2015.

“Usually, when I go into my short program, there’s some uncertainties and anxiety,” Sakamoto, who skated clean with a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, said through a translator. “But today I was doing very well in practice, and I wasn’t making any mistakes. So I knew that I could just put everything out there, and that’s exactly what I was able to do.”

U.S. champion Isabeau Levito is in fourth (just 59 hundredths out of second), one year after winning the world junior title. Levito, 16, can become the youngest world medalist since 2014.

“I am really happy with my score,” said Levito, who had a negative grade of execution on her triple Lutz-triple toe combination but still had her best score of the season. “Based on this performance, I’m very excited for the long program.”

Fellow Americans Bradie Tennell and Amber Glenn are eighth and 10th, respectively, about in line with their world rankings. The top two American finishes after the free skate must add up to no more than 13 (sixth and seventh, for example) to avoid dropping down to two spots for next year’s worlds.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the pairs’ short program, distancing defending champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S., who placed second despite Frazier’s fall on their side-by-side triple toe loops.

Miura and Kihara, the world’s top-ranked pair this season, can become the first Japanese pair to win a world title, a year after taking silver behind Knierim and Frazier.

Knierim and Frazier, who will likely retire after this season, are trying to become the first U.S. pair to win multiple world titles. They’re skating without their primary coaches, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, who didn’t travel after Sand had a heart attack three weeks ago.

“Todd’s condition is very serious, so it’s difficult to train when you feel broken inside, when your person is not there,” Knierim said. “However, that person is the one that instilled fight in us, so we’re able to work hard every day to make him proud, and I think we did a good job of that today.”

In fourth place are Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps. Stellato-Dudek, the 2000 World junior silver medalist in singles, came out of a 15-year retirement in 2016 and can become, at 39, the oldest world championships medalist in recent memory.

Worlds continue Wednesday night (U.S. time) with the pairs’ free skate, followed Thursday morning with the men’s short program, live on Peacock and USA Network.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships TV, live stream schedule


The world figure skating championships from Saitama, Japan, air live on USA Network and Peacock this week.

The U.S. has medal contenders in all four disciplines, one year after winning a medal in all four events for the first time since 1967 (note Russia’s ban, and China sent no skaters).

In the pairs’ event that starts Tuesday night (U.S. time), Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier can become the first U.S. duo to win multiple world titles, one year after becoming the first American pair to take gold since 1979.

They rank second in the world this season behind Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, last year’s silver medalists who look to earn Japan’s first pairs’ world title.

Japan has the world’s top two women’s singles skaters in reigning world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Grand Prix Final winner Mai Mihara.

Isabeau Levito, a 16-year-old American who won last year’s world junior title, ranks fourth in the field by best score this season. She can become the youngest world medalist since 2014.

Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old American who this season became the first skater to land a quadruple Axel, is seeded second in the men’s field behind Shoma Uno, the reigning world champion from Japan.

In ice dance, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates posted the world’s top score this season at last month’s Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs. After 12 seasons together, their goal is to win their first world title after silver in 2015, bronze in 2016 and bronze in 2022.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships Broadcast Schedule

Day Competition Time (ET) Network
Tuesday Pairs’ Short 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Wednesday Women’s Short 2:45-8 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Women’s Short 6-8 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Pairs’ Free 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Thursday Men’s Short 2:45-8 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Men’s Short 6-8 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Pairs’ Free 8-10 a.m.* USA | STREAM LINK
Rhythm Dance 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM
Friday Women’s Free 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Women’s Free 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Free Dance 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM
Saturday Men’s Free 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM
Men’s Free 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Highlights 8-10 p.m.* NBC | STREAM LINK

*Delayed broadcast.