Gabriele Grunewald accepted into U.S. Champs, racing amid chemotherapy

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Gabriele Grunewald underwent chemotherapy infusions the last two weeks. Next week, she will race at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series).

Grunewald, battling cancer for the fourth time since 2009, was accepted into the 1500m for nationals, USA Track and Field announced Friday.

Grunewald had not met the automatic qualifying time of 4:09.50, but she ranked 24th in the U.S. standings in the last year with a best time of 4:11.86. USA Track and Field can extend national fields beyond automatic qualifiers to 30 or more runners.

Grunewald, who just missed the 2012 Olympic team by finishing fourth at Trials, was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer, in 2009 and underwent surgery. It was later found again in her thyroid a year later and her liver both last August, leaving a 13-inch scar across her stomach, and then in March.

Grunewald delayed chemotherapy this spring in a bid to automatically qualify for nationals.

She raced five times on the track with a best time of 4:12.29. Her most recent attempt to hit the qualifying mark came last Saturday, four days after her first chemotherapy treatment. She ran 4:28.88.

“I was feeling pretty good with almost zero side effects from my first infusion so I thought I’d give the US standard one more ‘go’ at the Music City Distance Carnival [in Nashville],” was posted on Grunewald’s Instagram. “It. was. tough! Even though I felt normal on my warmup and during my little workout two days before the race, I just didn’t feel like myself out there. I was okay through about 800 but then the wheels fell off —dramatically and abruptly — after that. I’ve never thought to myself, ‘wow, a lap to go seems really far’ in a 1500, but there’s a first time for everything! It was truly a disaster in terms of running fast but I feel satisfied in giving it a shot.”

Expect to see Grunewald toe the line for the 1500m first round Thursday night on NBC Sports Gold. The 12-woman final is two days later.

Three days after that, Grunewald will begin round 2 of chemotherapy, according to Women’s Running.

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Javier Fernandez, Alina Zagitova highlight action at European Championships

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Spain’s Javier Fernandez competes for what is expected to be the final time this weekend at the European Figure Skating Championships in Minsk, Belarus. Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia is also looking to defend her title in the ladies’ field.

NBC Sports Gold’s “Figure Skating Pass” will live stream every program starting on Wednesday, and NBCSN and NBC will also have coverage.

MORE: Schedule/ How to watch

Men

Fernandez, the 2018 PyeongChang bronze medalist, owns six European titles. No man since Austrian Karl Schaefer – who won eight consecutive European titles beginning in 1929 – has won as many straight titles as Fernandez. Fernandez traded world titles during the last Olympic quadrennial with his training partner Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. They both train in Toronto under Brian Orser.

Also in the field are Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic, who most recently finished fourth at the Grand Prix Final at age 28, and three Russian men: Mikhail Kolyada, Maxim Kovtun, and Alexander Samarin.

Ladies

Reigning Olympic gold medalist Zagitova could lead a Russian podium sweep at the 2019 European Championships with teammates Stanislava Konstantinova and Sofia Samodurova.

The competition-within-the-competition at Europeans is also notable: Russia will not choose their World team until after the event. For example, two-time world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva is not competing at Europeans, and 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva was already told to train for Worlds despite not competing at Europeans.

Pairs

French pair Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres will try and buck a trend at Europeans, where teams representing Russia or the Soviet Union have won 47 of the last 54 titles. Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are looking for a three-peat, though have been inconsistent so far this season and recently returned to last season’s short program.

James and Cipres missed out on bronze by 0.01 points at the 2018 Europeans, and could become the first French pair to win the event since 1932. The last non-Russian team to win Europeans was Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy in 2011.

Ice dance

Three-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France should coast to the gold medal in Minsk for a fifth consecutive title. Other dance teams have won more European titles, but no team has ever won five in a row.

The rest of the podium is more unclear. The Italians, Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, will likely split the difference between the two Russian teams – who have their own domestic battle to contend with: Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin.

As a reminder, you can watch the European Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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How to watch the European Figure Skating Championships

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Javier Fernandez returns to competition for probably a final time with his eyes on a seventh title at the European Figure Skating Championships in Minsk, Belarus Jan. 23-27.

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova looks for a second European title in the ladies’ field, while two couples from France look to top the podiums in the dance and pairs’ fields.

NBC Sports Gold’s “Figure Skating Pass” will live stream every program from Minsk starting Wednesday with the ladies’ short program.

NBCSN and NBC will also have coverage throughout the weekend.

Preview: Javier Fernandez, Alina Zagitova highlight Europeans

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European Figure Skating Championships broadcast schedule (all times Eastern)

Wednesday

Ladies’ short program: 3 a.m. (GOLD) begins at 4:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Pairs’ short program: 10:45 a.m. (GOLD)

 

Thursday

Men’s short program: 4 a.m. (GOLD) begins at 7 p.m. on NBCSN

Pairs’ free skate: 11 a.m. (GOLD), begins at 11 p.m. on NBCSN

 

Friday

Rhythm dance: 3:30 a.m. (GOLD) begins at 2 p.m. on NBCSN

Ladies’ free skate: 10 a.m. (GOLD) begins at 6 p.m. on NBCSN

 

Saturday

Men’s free skate: 3:15 a.m. (GOLD) begins at 11 a.m. on NBCSN

Free dance: 8:25 a.m. (GOLD)

 

Sunday

Ladies’ and men’s free skate: 1:30 p.m. on NBC