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Katie Ledecky beaten by Simone Manuel, still sets two personal bests in 25 minutes

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The legend of Katie Ledecky grows, even with a defeat.

In one of the greatest short-course-yards doubles in history, Ledecky broke the American record in the 400-yard individual medley and then lowered her personal best in the 200-yard free by a half-second in a 25-minute span at the Pac-12 Championships on Friday.

Ledecky won the Pac-12 title in the 400-yard IM by chopping three seconds off her personal best, clocking 3:57.68 in Federal Way, Wash.

About 25 minutes later, the Stanford freshman nearly came back to beat co-Olympic 100m free champion Simone Manuel in the 200-yard free final. Manuel had to cut .58 off her 200-yard free personal best to edge Ledecky by .13. Full results are here.

Manuel led by .99 after the first 50 yards, but Ledecky closed 1.2 seconds faster than Manuel in the final 50 yards. It marked Ledecky’s second defeat in a freestyle final longer than 100 meters since Jan. 18, 2014. Manuel also beat Ledecky in a 200-yard free in November.

Still, Ledecky chopped .54 off her 200-yard free personal best, touching the wall in 1:40.50.

Their anticipated rematch in the NCAA Championships in three weeks should be the event of that meet.

But the 400 IM may be more intriguing come the summer. Ledecky’s last 100 yards of freestyle in Friday’s final were 4.06 seconds faster than runner-up Ella Eastin.

The NCAA 400 IM is in a 25-yard pool. Internationally, the 400 IM is in a 50-meter pool.

Ledecky has never raced the 400m IM at a major international meet and scratched out of the event on the eve of the Olympic Trials eight months ago. She ranked fifth in the U.S. in the event in 2016 but never raced it fully tapered.

Her time on Friday was faster than the 400-yard IM personal best of Maya DiRado, who took Olympic 400m IM silver in Rio and then retired.

Ledecky could conceivably try and race the 400m IM this summer. At nationals in June, the 400m IM final is on a night where Ledecky would have no other finals. At worlds in July, the 400m IM comes on the final day of the meet (as opposed to the first day at the Olympics), also on a night where Ledecky would have no other individual events.

Earlier at Pac-12s, Ledecky lowered her American record in the 500-yard free by 1.31 seconds on Thursday, swimming faster than Ryan Lochte‘s personal best at the same age.

The Pac-12 Championships conclude Saturday.

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Simone Biles eyes medal that has eluded her at world championships

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Whenever Simone Biles takes the competition floor, she’s setting out for some kind of history. But it’s what’s in her own past that’s motivating at this week’s world championships, her first international meet since bagging four gold medals at the Rio Olympics.

“I’ve never medaled in a bar final [uneven bars], but I’ve only been in one,” Biles said last week when asked the event she would most like to win aside from the team competition. “Maybe if I could make a bar final, that would be pretty cool because I think of all the medals you can get and the finals you can participate in, I always admire the bar workers just because it’s so hard mentally and physically.”

Biles’ U.S. team is an overwhelming favorite to earn a sixth straight Olympic or world title in Doha — the longest female run of dominance in the sport since the 1970s Soviet teams.

She’s just as expected to grab a fourth world all-around crown, breaking a tie with Russian Svetlana Khorkina for the female record. (Worlds were not held as often in the era of legends Larisa Latynina, Vera Caslavska and Nadia Comaneci.)

Men’s qualifying starts Thursday. The U.S. women’s qualifying session is Saturday. The women’s team final is next Tuesday, followed by the all-around two days later and individual apparatus finals the two days after that.

MORE: Gymnastics worlds TV schedule

Biles is the lone member of the U.S. women’s team of six (one will be named an alternate) who has competed at an Olympics or in a world championships team competition.

That doesn’t mean they’re not decorated.

Morgan Hurd won the world all-around title in Biles’ year off in 2017 (when there was no team event). Ragan Smith was favored over Hurd for last year’s gold before tearing ankle ligaments on a warm-up vault minutes before introductions. Riley McCusker made the U.S. all-around podium the last two years.

But of Rio’s Final Five, only Biles has competed on the elite level since the Games.

“We have a different group of girls,” Biles said. “They’re all upcoming and trying to make a name for themselves. … Here I am a veteran.”

Most of Biles’ teammates speak of her in awe.

“Just watching her compete is inspiring,” said Kara Eaker, a balance beam star who was 10 years old when Biles won her first world title in 2013.

What else Biles can do next week in Doha: with three gold medals, pass Vitaly Scherbo‘s 12 for the most in worlds history. Have a vault named after her, if she becomes the first woman to perform the Cheng with an extra half twist. Biles stuck it at the world team selection camp two weeks ago.

“It’s shocking, actually, how easily she does some of these moves,” said Tom Forster, in his first year as U.S. high-performance team director. Forster was asked last week about which five gymnasts of the six were going to compete for the U.S. “I know you’re not going to be surprised by this, but definitely going to use Simone,” was his lone concrete statement.

“She’s really the epitome of what coaches talk about in every sport, an athlete that’s very focused, works really hard, has natural ability and has good technique,” Forster continued. “It’s uncommon to get all those attributes together in one person in any sport. When you do, you get Simone.”

The lone apparatus that Biles has not conquered internationally is the uneven bars. In 2014, Biles said all she wanted for Christmas was to become a good bars worker. During her year off, she dreamed that she went back to the gym and couldn’t do a single giant swing on the apparatus.

Biles has made one uneven bars final at worlds — placing fourth in 2013 — and was 14th in Rio.

When Biles returned to training less than a year ago, her new coach, Laurent Landi, was best known for guiding a bars specialist — Olympic silver medalist Madison Kocian. In her comeback this summer, Biles brought her most difficult bars set yet and won her first national title on the apparatus.

“Never thought at this point in my career I would be most confident on bars,” she tweeted last month.

Biles snapchatted from Doha on Friday the first page of a book’s third chapter titled, “You are not Special.” Read into that what you will. An excerpt:

“Cultivating the mind through learning from failures is more effective than making yourself feel special even for the most trivial things. … High self-esteem is displayed in recognizing your weaknesses and striving to overcome them.”

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Alpine skiing season TV schedule

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NBC Sports and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will combine to air every Alpine skiing World Cup race this season, plus the world championships in February.

Coverage is spread among NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold’s “Snow Pass.”

For Lindsey Vonn, it’s her last season, whether or not she breaks Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins. Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion, is at 82. She debuts at speed races at Lake Louise, Alberta, from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

Mikaela Shiffrin will try to join Vonn as the only women to win three straight World Cup overall titles in the last 25 years. Shiffrin plans to race all of the slaloms and giant slaloms and hand-picked downhills and super-Gs.

Double Olympic champion Ted Ligety returns for his 16th World Cup season, looking for his first win in three years after a series of injuries following his Sochi giant slalom gold medal.

The man to watch, though, is Austrian Marcel Hirscher. Last season, Hirscher became the first skier to win seven World Cup overall titles, earned his first two Olympic titles and moved to fourth place on the World Cup wins list with 58. He trails Stenmark, Vonn and Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll (62).

MORE: NBC Sports Gold launches ‘Snow Pass’

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Date Time (ET) Event Network#
Oct. 27 4 a.m. Women’s GS – Soelden NBC Sports Gold
Oct. 28 4 a.m. Men’s GS – Soelden NBC Sports Gold
Nov. 17 7 a.m. Women’s SL – Levi Olympic Channel
Nov. 18 7 a.m. Men’s SL – Levi Olympic Channel
12 p.m. Men’s & Women’s SL – Levi* NBCSN
Nov. 24 1 p.m. Women’s GS – Killington NBCSN
3 p.m. Women’s GS – Killington* NBC
Nov. 24 4 p.m. Men’s DH – Lake Louise Olympic Channel
Nov. 25 1 p.m. Women’s SL – Killington NBC
4 p.m. Men’s SG – Lake Louise Olympic Channel
Nov. 30 12:30 p.m. Men’s SG – Beaver Creek NBCSN
2 p.m. Women’s DH – Lake Louise NBCSN
Dec. 1 1 p.m. Men’s DH – Beaver Creek NBCSN
2 p.m. Women’s DH – Lake Louise NBCSN
5 p.m. Men’s DH – Beaver Creek NBC
Dec. 2 1 p.m. Women’s SG – Lake Louise Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. Men’s GS – Beaver Creek NBCSN
5 p.m. Men’s GS – Beaver Creek NBC
5:30 p.m. Women’s SG – Lake Louise* NBCSN
Dec. 8 5 a.m. Women’s SG – St. Moritz Olympic Channel
7 a.m. Men’s GS – Val d’Isere Olympic Channel
10:30 p.m. Women’s SG – St. Moritz NBCSN
Dec. 9 6:30 a.m. Men’s SL – Val d’Isere Olympic Channel
7:30 a.m. Women’s Parallel SL – St. Moritz Olympic Channel
5 p.m. Women’s Parallel SL – St. Moritz NBCSN
Dec. 14 6 a.m. Men’s SG – Val Gardena Olympic Channel
8 a.m. Women’s SC – Val d’Isere Olympic Channel
Dec. 15 4:30 a.m. Women’s DH – Val d’Isere Olympic Channel
6 a.m. Men’s DH – Val Gardena Olympic Channel
7 p.m. Women’s DH – Val d’Isere* NBCSN
8 p.m. Men’s DH – Val Gardena* NBCSN
Dec. 16 5 a.m. Women’s SG – Val d’Isere Olympic Channel
7 a.m. Men’s GS – Alta Badia Olympic Channel
6 p.m. Women’s SG – Val d’Isere* NBCSN
Dec. 17 12 p.m. Men’s Parallel GS – Alta Badia Olympic Channel
Dec. 21 7:30 a.m. Women’s GS – Courchevel Olympic Channel
12 p.m. Women’s GS – Courchevel* NBCSN
Dec. 22 7:30 a.m. Women’s SL – Courchevel Olympic Channel
11 a.m. Men’s SL – Madonna di Campiglio Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. Women’s SL – Courchevel* NBCSN
Dec. 23 3 p.m. Women’s SL & GS – Courchevel* NBC
Dec. 28 4:30 a.m. Women’s GS – Semmering NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Men’s DH – Bormio Olympic Channel
12 p.m. Men’s DH – Bormio* NBCSN
Dec. 29 4:30 a.m. Women’s SL – Semmering NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Men’s SG – Bormio Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. Men’s SG – Bormio* NBCSN
Jan. 1 10:30 a.m. City Event – Oslo Olympic Channel
Jan. 5 10 a.m. Women’s SL – Zagreb Olympic Channel
Jan. 6 9:30 a.m. Men’s SL – Zagreb Olympic Channel
Jan. 8 12 p.m. Women’s SL – Flachau NBC Sports Gold
Jan. 12 5:45 a.m. Women’s DH – St. Anton NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s GS – Adelboden Olympic Channel
Jan. 13 5:30 a.m. Women’s SG – St. Anton NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s SL – Adelboden Olympic Channel
Jan. 15 7 a.m. Women’s GS – Kronplatz Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Women’s GS – Kronplatz* NBCSN
Jan. 18 8 a.m. Men’s SC – Wengen Olympic Channel
6 p.m. Men’s SC – Wengen* NBCSN
Jan. 19 4:30 a.m. Women’s DH – Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympic Channel
6:30 a.m. Men’s DH – Wengen Olympic Channel
Jan. 20 5 a.m. Women’s SG – Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympic Channel
7 a.m. Men’s SL – Wengen Olympic Channel
8 p.m. Women’s SG – Cortina d’Ampezzo* NBCSN
9 p.m. Men’s DH – Wengen* NBCSN
Jan. 25 5:30 a.m. Men’s SG – Kitzbuehel NBC Sports Gold
Jan. 26 5:30 a.m. Men’s DH – Kitzbuehel NBC Sports Gold
4 a.m. Women’s DH – Garmisch Olympic Channel
10 a.m. Women’s DH – Garmisch* NBCSN
Jan. 27 4:30 a.m. Men’s SL – Kitzbuehel NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Women’s SG – Garmisch Olympic Channel
9 p.m. Women’s SG – Garmisch* NBCSN
Jan. 28 4 p.m. Men’s DH – Kitzbuehel* NBCSN
Jan. 29 11:45 a.m. Men’s SL – Schladming NBC Sports Gold
11 p.m. Men’s SL – Kitzbuehel* NBCSN
Feb. 1 7 a.m. Women’s GS – Maribor Olympic Channel
12 p.m. Women’s GS – Maribor* NBCSN
Feb. 2 5:30 a.m. Men’s DH – Garmisch Olympic Channel
7 a.m. Women’s SL – Maribor Olympic Channel
Feb. 3 2 a.m. Women’s SL – Maribor* NBCSN
7:30 a.m. Men’s GS – Garmisch Olympic Channel
Feb. 5 6:30 a.m. World Champs – Women’s SG NBCSN
Feb. 6 6:30 a.m. World Champs – Men’s SG NBCSN
Feb. 7 5 a.m. World Champs – Women’s SC – DH NBCSN
Feb. 8 10 a.m. World Champs – Women’s SC – SL NBCSN
Feb. 9 6:30 a.m. World Champs – Men’s DH Olympic Channel
3:30 p.m. World Champs – Men’s DH* NBC
6:30 p.m. World Champs – Men’s DH* NBCSN
Feb. 10 6:30 a.m. World Champs – Women’s DH Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. World Champs – Women’s DH* NBC
11:30 p.m. World Champs – Women’s DH* NBCSN
Feb. 11 5 a.m. World Champs – Men’s SC – DH NBCSN
8:30 a.m. World Champs – Men’s SC – SL NBCSN
Feb. 12 10 a.m. World Champs – Team Event NBCSN
Feb. 14 8 a.m. World Champs – Women’s GS Olympic Channel
10:30 a.m. World Champs – Women’s GS NBCSN
11:30 a.m. World Champs – Women’s GS NBCSN
Feb. 15 8 a.m. World Champs – Men’s GS Olympic Channel
10:30 a.m. World Champs – Men’s GS* NBCSN
11:30 a.m. World Champs – Men’s GS NBCSN
5 a.m. World Champs – Women’s SL Olympic Channel
Feb. 16 7 a.m. World Champs – Women’s SL* NBCSN
8 a.m. World Champs – Women’s SL NBCSN
1 p.m. World Champs – Women’s SL* NBC
5 a.m. World Champs – Men’s SL Olympic Channel
Feb. 17 7 a.m. World Champs – Men’s SL* NBCSN
8 a.m. World Champs – Men’s SL NBCSN
Feb. 19 11:30 a.m. City Event – Stockholm Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. City Event – Stockholm* NBCSN
Feb. 22 7 a.m. Men’s SC – Bansko Olympic Channel
Feb. 23 4:30 a.m. Women’s DH – Crans-Montana Olympic Channel
6 a.m. Men’s SG – Bansko* Olympic Channel
Feb. 24 6:30 a.m. Men’s GS – Bansko Olympic Channel
7:30 a.m. Women’s SC – Crans-Montana Olympic Channel
11 p.m. Women’s SC – Crans-Montana* NBCSN
Mar. 2 2:30 a.m. Women’s DH – Sochi Olympic Channel
4 a.m. Men’s DH – Kvitfjell Olympic Channel
Mar. 3 1 a.m. Women’s DH – Sochi* NBCSN
2:30 a.m. Women’s SG – Sochi Olympic Channel
5 a.m. Men’s SG – Kvitfjell Olympic Channel
4 p.m. Women’s SG – Sochi* NBCSN
Mar. 8 7:30 a.m. Women’s GS – Spindleruv Myln Olympic Channel
12 p.m. Women’s GS – Spindleruv Myln* NBCSN
Mar. 9 6:30 a.m. Men’s GS – Kranjska Gora Olympic Channel
7:30 a.m. Women’s SL – Spindleruv Myln Olympic Channel
Mar. 10 7:30 a.m. Men’s SL – Kranjska Gora Olympic Channel
Mar. 13 5:30 a.m. Men’s DH – WC Finals Olympic Channel
7 a.m. Women’s DH – WC Finals Olympic Channel
12 p.m. Men’s/Women’s DH – WC Finals* NBCSN
Mar. 14 5:30 a.m. Women’s SG – WC Finals Olympic Channel
7 a.m. Men’s SG – WC Finals Olympic Channel
11 p.m. Women’s/Men’s SG – WC Finals* NBCSN
Mar. 15 7 a.m. Team Event – WC Finals Olympic Channel
Mar. 16 7 a.m. Men’s GS – WC Finals Olympic Channel
8 a.m. Women’s SL – WC Finals Olympic Channel
11 p.m. Men’s GS/Women’s SL – WC Finals* NBCSN
Mar. 17 7 a.m. Women’s GS – WC Finals Olympic Channel
8 a.m. Men’s SL – WC Finals Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Women’s GS/Men’s SL – WC Finals* NBCSN

*Same-day delay