Belarus says athletes village unsanitary, but Australia set to move in

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MOSCOW (AP) — The Olympic team of Belarus has branded the athletes’ village in Rio de Janeiro unsanitary, a day after Australia refused to check its athletes in over health concerns.

It has complained about having no hot water, only sometimes cold water, and a failing sewage system.

Posting pictures on its website of dirty windows and a filthy shower the Belarus Olympic Committee says “there remains much for the Rio organizing committee to do so that the living conditions meet sanitary requirements.”

Australia’s athletes refused to move into the village on Sunday, with delegation head Kitty Chiller saying water leaks and electrical problems had “endangered” athletes.

However, Chiller since said she expects the Australians to move in Wednesday, after having paid for hotel accommodation for athletes and cleaning services.

Sidney Levy, the CEO of the Rio organizing committee, told The Associated Press that half of the 31 apartment buildings in the village complex were ready on Monday.

“The rest will be delivered in the next few days,” Levy said, adding that each building might have a few apartments with problems “that might take a bit extra to solve.”

Rio spokesman Mario Andrada said 630 people are “working around the clock” so the village’s 3,600 apartments can be ready on Thursday, barely a week before the Olympics open on Aug. 5.

Rio officials said 1,600 people from 115 countries were living in the village on Monday — including 400 athletes. The village will accommodate about 18,000 athletes and officials at its peak.

Many teams are already in Brazil but are attending private training camps and may not need to move into the village for another few days.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, after harshly criticizing Chiller on Sunday, has acknowledged that Australia had the worst prepared building in the vast complex that contains seven swimming pools, tennis courts and a dining area to serve 60,000 meals daily.

Chiller listed seven other delegations — Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Japan and the Netherlands — that arrived early and worked with Australia on varied problems.

The president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, Gerardo Werthein, on Monday called two of the five floors for his delegation “uninhabitable.”

Chiller said speaking out probably put “pressure” on the organizing committee. Then she changed her word choice.

“I wouldn’t like to use the word pressure,” she added. “The resources were made available.”

MORE: Not everyone unhappy with housing in Rio Olympic village

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

Kaori Sakamoto
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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 retain three women’s 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

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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.