Rio Olympics Daily Preview: August 9

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With the world watching, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian hope to win the second-consecutive Olympic team final gold medal for the United States in Rio on Day 4 of the Games.

In soccer, the U.S. women have one more obstacle in group play as they go head-to-head with Columbia.

MORE: FULL Day 4 streaming schedule

Over on the beach, Brazil’s Larissa and Talita will have home field advantage against the U.S.’ Olympic first-timers Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat.

What to Watch: Day 4, Aug. 9

8 a.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Rowing: Quarterfinals and semifinals

Women’s rowing single sculls quarterfinals

Returning for her second Olympic games, Cambridge, Massachusetts, single sculler Gevvie Stone looks to improve upon her seventh place finish from London.

Noon EDT – WATCH LIVE – Canoe/Kayak: C1 final

Team USA’s Casey Eichfeld tries to mount the podium in an event historically dominated by European competitors. The last time a U.S. canoe athlete won a medal in C1 was at the 1972 Munich Olympics. James McEwan, father of Eichfeld’s C2 partner Devin, won bronze.

3 p.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Women’s Diving: Synchronized 10m platform final

After being introduced at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the women’s synchronized 10m platform diving competition has been owned by the Chinese.  The U.S. team of Amy Cozad and Jessica Parratto hopes to hang with the world’s best in Rio.

3 p.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Women’s Gymnastics: Team final

The most anticipated gymnastics event of the Olympics pits the rest of the world vs. the American women, who have been on a unbroken winning streak since they won gold four years ago in London.]

With three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles, 2012 Olympians Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, and new stars Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian, the U.S. is heavily favored to repeat as Olympic champions.

5 p.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Men’s Rugby: United States vs. Brazil

The U.S. brings a men’s rugby roster to Rio featuring a former track sprinter (Carlin Isles), an NFL safety (Nate Ebner) and a UK expat captain (Madison Hughes).

6 p.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Women’s Soccer: United States vs. Colombia

The U.S. women close out their preliminary round matches against a Colombia team that’s had more success on the international stage since the 2012 Olympics, but will still need to have the ball bounce in their favor if they hope to advance past the group phase in Rio.

9 p.m. EDT ET – WATCH LIVE – Swimming: Day 4 Evening Session

Don’t miss:

Men’s 100m freestyle semifinal

Women’s 200m freestyle final

Men’s 200m butterfly final

Men’s 4x200m freestyle final

Katie Ledecky attempts to extend her reign in the 200m freestyle with an Olympic win, while Michael Phelps tries to reclaim his from South African Chad le Clos in the 200m butterfly, after le Clos left Phelps stunned in London.

10 p.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Men’s Beach Volleyball: United States vs. Mexico

Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena vs. Virgen/Ontiveros

Ten years after splitting up, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena reunited to form the top U.S. men’s beach volleyball team. Entering the Olympic tournament as the third seed, the U.S. men hope to beat Mexico’s Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros.

11 p.m. EDT – WATCH LIVE – Women’s Beach Volleyball: Brazil vs. United States

Under the lights on Copacabana beach and against the top ranked Brazilians, Olympic rookies Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat will be tested when they face off against Rio favorites, Larissa and Talita.

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier top pairs’ short at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier
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World champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier lead after the pairs’ short program in what may be their last U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Knierim and Frazier, who last March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, tallied 81.96 points to open the four-day nationals on Thursday.

They lead by 15.1 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe going into Saturday’s free skate in San Jose, California. The top three teams from last year’s event — which Knierim and Frazier missed due to him contracting COVID-19 — are no longer competing together.

After nationals, a committee selects three U.S. pairs for March’s world championships in Japan.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Before the fall Grand Prix Series, the 31-year-old Knierim said this will probably be their last season competing together, though the pair also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after a Stars on Ice tour this spring.

“I don’t like to just put it out there and say it is the last or not going to be the last because life just has that way of throwing curveballs, and you just never know,” Frazier said this month. “But I would say that this is the first nationals where I’m going to go in really trying to soak up every second as if it is my last because you just don’t know.”

Knierim is going for a fifth U.S. title, which would tie the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka Ina, Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner, Karol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Knierim is also trying to become the first female pairs’ skater in her 30s to win a national title since 1993. Knierim and ice dancer Madison Chock are trying to become the first female skaters in their 30s to win a U.S. title in any discipline since 1995.

After being unable to defend their 2021 U.S. title last year, Knierim and Frazier reeled off a series of historic results in what had long been the country’s weakest discipline.

They successfully petitioned for an Olympic spot and placed sixth at the Games, best for a U.S. pair since 2002. They considered retirement after their world title, which was won without the top five teams from the Olympics in attendance. They returned in part to compete as world champions and to give back to U.S. skating, helping set up younger pairs for success.

They became the first U.S. pair to win two Grand Prix Series events, then in December became the first U.S. pair to make a Grand Prix Final podium (second place). The world’s top pairs were absent; Russians banned due to the war in Ukraine and Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong from China leaving competition ice (for now).

Knierim and Frazier’s real test isn’t nationals. It’s worlds, where they will likely be the underdog to home favorites Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who edged the Americans by 1.3 points in the closest Grand Prix Final pairs’ competition in 12 years.

Nationals continue with the rhythm dance and women’s short program later Thursday.

NBC Sports’ Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.

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2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships
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Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Pairs Short Program
1. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 81.96
2. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 66.86
3. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea —- 65.75
4. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 63.45
5. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 63.12
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 56.96
7. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 50.72
8. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 46.96
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 46.81
10. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 45.27
11. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 43.99

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

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