Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner
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World Figure Skating Championships broadcast schedule

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The World Figure Skating Championships will be held in the U.S. for the first time since 2009, in Boston from March 30-April 3 on NBC, NBCSN and streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.

NBC Sports will air 29 hours of coverage of Worlds.

Competition will feature U.S. Olympians Gracie GoldAshley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu looking to snap a 10-year medal drought for American women, the longest in the Winter Olympic era.

They’ll go up against formidable talent from Russia and Japan, led by Grand Prix Final champion Yevgenia Medvedeva and three-time World champion Mao Asada.

A U.S. man last earned a medal in 2009, when Evan Lysacek took gold in Los Angeles. This year’s trio of Adam RipponMax Aaron and Grant Hochstein look to end that dry spell.

However, the favorites will be the last three World champions — Javier FernandezYuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan.

In ice dance, U.S. champions Maia and Alex Shibutani and 2015 World silver medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates are medal contenders.

And in pairs, U.S. champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea will make their Worlds debut along with Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, who this season were the first U.S. pair to qualify for the Grand Prix Final since 2007.

WORLDS PREVIEWS: Men | WomenPairsIce Dance

START ORDERS: Ice Dance | Men

Date Time (ET) Program Network
Wed., Mar. 30 Noon Ice Dance Short Dance (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Wed., Mar. 30 Midnight Men’s Short Program NBCSN, Live Extra
Thurs., Mar. 31 4 p.m. Ladies’ Short Program (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Thurs., Mar. 31 8 p.m. Ice Dance Free Dance (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Fri., April 1 3 p.m. Pairs’ Short Program (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Fri., April 1 9 p.m. Men’s Free Skate (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Sat., April 2 2 p.m. Pairs’ Free Skate (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Sat., April 2 9 p.m. Ladies’ Free Skate (LIVE) NBC, Live Extra
Sun., April 3 2 p.m. Gala Exhibition (LIVE) NBCSN, Live Extra
Sat., April 9 1 p.m. Encore Universal HD
Sun., April 10 3 p.m. Encore NBC
Mon., April 18 5 p.m. Encore Universal HD

World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Olympic marathon and race walk move from Tokyo to Sapporo draws some pushback

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In the wake of a dropout-plagued set of world championship endurance races in Qatar, moving the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks from Tokyo to the cooler venue of Sapporo is a quick fix for one problem, pending the potential for untimely heat waves.

But the move has drawn some opposition for a variety of reasons.

First, many organizers and politicians appear to have been caught by surprise. Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, was “taken aback” and Sapporo’s mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto, learned about the move from the media, Kyodo News reported. Koike even sarcastically suggested that the races could move all the way northward to islands disputed by Russia and Japan.

South African sports scientist Ross Tucker suggested that running in heat and humidity poses an interesting challenge for athletes, some of whom may be able to catch up with faster runners by preparing for the conditions.

British marathoner Mara Yamauchi made a similar point, saying the move was unfair to those who already were preparing for the heat, humidity and other conditions.

Belgian marathoner Koen Naert said he will make the best of the change but complained that some of his preparation and every runner’s logistical planning would no longer apply.

The angriest athlete may be Canadian walker Evan Dunfee, who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic 50km race and nearly claimed bronze as a Canadian appeal was upheld but then rejected. He says runners and walkers can beat the conditions if they prepare, which many athletes did not do for the world championships in Qatar.

“So why do we cater to the ill prepared?” Dunfee asked on Twitter.

The move also takes athletes out of the main Olympic city and takes away the traditional, tough less frequent in modern years, finish in the Olympic stadium.

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