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Lindsey Vonn’s goal in race versus men remains the same, 5 years later

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Lindsey Vonn‘s reported goal is to finish in the top 30 of a men’s World Cup race, should she get the opportunity before her expected retirement in two years.

“I think that would be doable,” Vonn said, according to a Ski Racing magazine article published Tuesday. “In men’s races, they’re so tight there’s usually only a second and a half to 30th, especially in Lake Louise where it’s an easier track for them.”

Vonn petitioned the International Ski Federation (FIS) both in 2012 and this year (and perhaps instances in between) to be allowed to enter a men’s race at her favorite venue — Lake Louise, Alberta, which traditionally hosts men’s speed races in late November and women’s speed races the following weekend.

So far, her bids have been denied by FIS, but her (and the U.S. Ski Team’s) case is slated to be discussed again in October. FIS said in 2012 “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

Vonn has won 18 times in 41 career World Cup starts at Lake Louise and eyes a men’s race there in November 2018 in what could be her final season of racing.

“There are some commentators who think that I would be far outside of the men,” Vonn said in 2012, according to The New York Times. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I’d like the chance to compete against them and see where I stand. I’d definitely like to be inside the points, in the top 30.”

Vonn was quoted in Tuesday’s Ski Racing story saying that she sometimes beat male Norwegian downhill star Aksel Lund Svindal in training five or six years ago.

Svindal, the pre-eminent men’s speed racer over the last decade, has publicly backed Vonn’s bid for years.

“My experience is if you are on a hill that she likes, and you don’t ski good, she can beat you,” Svindal said in 2012, at the height of Vonn’s dominance, according to the Canadian Press. “It’s realistic that she would be in the race.

“I say let her race. To get America more involved in skiing would be good for us. From a marketing point of view, it seems very strange to just cut it off like that and say ’not possible.’

“If I was FIS, I would keep that door open. Those are the kind of stories that are bigger than the sport and the kind of stories that would be popular in America.”

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2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens TV, streaming schedule

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The Rugby World Cup Sevens, held in the U.S. for the first time, airs live on NBC, NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

NBC Sports’ TV coverage totals more than 30 live hours. NBC Sports Gold will also stream live, commercial-free coverage of every match with its “Rugby Pass.”

NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will stream all NBC Sports and Olympic Channel TV coverage.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the biggest standalone competition outside of the Olympics for an event that debuted at the Rio Games. Traditional 15-a-side rugby was played at the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924.

Like the Olympics, the World Cup takes place every four years, now in the middle of every Olympic cycle, with men’s and women’s competitions at the same site.

New Zealand is the defending World Cup champion for men and women, though Fiji took the men’s Olympic title and Australia the women’s gold in Rio.

The U.S. finished fifth (women) and sixth (men) in this season’s World Series standings, though the U.S. men won the only World Series leg played in the U.S. in Las Vegas in March.

The U.S. men are led by Perry Baker, the 2017 World Player of the Year, and Carlin Isles, the 2018 World Series leader in tries. The U.S. women feature Naya Tapper and Rio Olympian Alev Kelter, two of the top scorers from the World Series.

The NBC Sports broadcast team includes U.S. Olympian and Super Bowl champion Nate Ebner as a studio analyst. Leigh Diffey and Bill Seward are on play-by-play, and Ahmed Fareed hosts on-site studio coverage.

Former USA Sevens captain Brian Hightower, U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame member Dan Lyle, former Premiership Rugby and English international prop Alex Corbisiero and World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight will provide game and studio commentary.

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Day Time (ET) Network Coverage Highlights
Friday 1 p.m. NBC Sports Gold Men’s Qualifiers
4-7 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Qualifiers
7 p.m.-1 a.m. NBCSN Women’s Quarters/Men’s Round of 16
Saturday 12:25-3 p.m. Olympic Channel Women’s Semifinal 1
3-5 p.m. NBC Women’s Semifinal 2
5-6 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Challenge Quarters
6:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN Men’s Quarters/Women’s Finals
Sunday 11:55 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Bowl/Challenge Semifinals
2:30-5 p.m. NBC Men’s Semifinals
5-7 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Bowl Finals
7-10 p.m. NBCSN Men’s Finals

Denis Ten, Olympic medalist figure skater, dies

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Denis Ten, the 2014 Olympic figure skating bronze medalist from Kazakhstan, died after he reportedly was stabbed in Almaty on Thursday.

The International Skating Union and the Kazah Olympic Committee confirmed Ten’s death.

Ten, 25, competed in three Olympics and earned world championships silver and bronze medals in 2013 and 2015.

At 16, Ten was the youngest men’s competitor at Vancouver 2010 and finished 11th in his Olympic debut; he was also only the second singles skater Kazakhstan had ever sent to the Olympics.

Ten made unexpected history in 2013, becoming the first skater from Kazakhstan to win a world championships medal. After experiencing health setbacks at the start of his 2014 Olympic season, he was the biggest question mark among the top men in Sochi, but he surprised by becoming the first skater from Kazakhstan to earn an Olympic medal.

Ten struggled through health issues leading into his last Olympics in PyeongChang, where he placed 27th. Those Winter Games were nonetheless special to Ten, who was of South Korean descent; his great-grandfather was a famous general who fought for Korean independence, and there is a statue and memorial dedicated to him in Wonju, a town 35 miles southwest of PyeongChang.

Ten also played a significant role as an ambassador for his hometown Almaty’s bid for the 2022 Winter Games. Beijing got the Games over Almaty in an IOC members vote in 2015.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.