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Patrick Chan to choose between retirement, Olympic run after Worlds

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Canadian Patrick Chan will either retire after he tries for his fourth World Figure Skating title next week, or go all-in on a run for a third Olympics in 2018.

On Monday, he called the World Championships “a turning point” in his career but things looked “pretty good” about continuing through the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

“If I decide to go ahead and compete [next season], then I’m going for the next two years,” Chan said. “I’m not going to give up after next year because it’d be such a shame. … If I decide not to compete next season, and then I decide to pick it up just for the Olympic season, that would be completely ridiculous strategically. So this is going to be the deciding factor after this season, whether or not I keep going.”

Chan, 25 and the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, is a medal contender at the World Championships in Boston, but not the favorite.

He has been up and down this season, “starting over” after taking the 2014-15 season off from competition.

In the fall, Chan won Skate Canada over Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, then placed fifth in the Trophée Bompard short program before the free skate was canceled due to the Paris terror attacks.

He was last out of six skaters in December’s Grand Prix Final short program, then placed third in the free skate to finish fourth overall behind Hanyu, 2015 World champion Javier Fernandez and Japanese Shoma Uno.

Last month, Chan won the Four Continents Championship over a field that included Uno but not Hanyu or Fernandez. He scored a personal-best 203.99 points in the free skate, which was still 15.49 points shy of Hanyu’s record free skate from the Grand Prix Final.

“I’m at a disadvantage now, technically,” Chan said. “I’m competing against men who are doing five quads between the short program and the long program, and I’m at three between the two programs. Who would ever imagine that three wasn’t enough for some people?”

At Worlds next week, Chan will try to become the first man to win four World titles since Russian Alexei Yagudin in 2002. Chan previously won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World titles.

“I’m healthy, I didn’t run into any major roadblocks this season, and I’ve kind of gotten back into the rhythm of things and what it’s like to compete again, and I enjoy it,” Chan said. “That I think is a good starting point for the next two years.”

MORE: World Championships broadcast schedule

2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics, with Milan-Cortina winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm-Are.

After Winter Games in Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022), they return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006.

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master schedule

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Japan’s gymnastics worlds team: no Kohei Uchimura, Kenzo Shirai

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Not only is Kohei Uchimura going to miss the world championships, but so is 11-time world medalist Kenzo Shirai.

Japan finalized its five-man team for October’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, following a national-level meet this past weekend. Uchimura, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was already out of the running, sidelined with his latest round of injuries.

Shirai, reportedly slowed by a left ankle injury this season, did compete this weekend. But he finished fifth on floor exercise and third on vault, his two best events, and did not earn one of the last two spots on the world team.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion with six world all-around titles, misses worlds for the first time since 2007. Shirai, a 22-year-old with four world titles between floor and vault, had competed in every worlds since debuting in 2013, just after his 17th birthday.

Without their two stars, Japan sends a relatively inexperienced team. Kazuma Kaya and Wataru Tanigawa, both 22, are the only men who have been to a worlds (and were part of the 2018 silver-medal team). The youngest member is 17-year-old Daiki Hashimoto.

Japan has earned a team medal at every Olympics and world championships since 2003, a streak bettered only by the U.S. women.

MORE: Olympic gymnastics team sizes return to five for Paris 2024

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