P&G Gymnastics Championships broadcast schedule

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Two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak and Rio alternates Ragan Smith and Ashton Locklear headline the P&G Gymnastics Championships, which will crown national champions live on NBC Sports and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA this week.

Senior competition in Anaheim starts Thursday with the first half of the men’s meet on the Olympic Channel and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Further coverage on NBCSN on Friday and Saturday and NBC on Sunday will also be streamed.

The event will crown new U.S. all-around champions for the first time in four years.

Simone Biles, champion every year from 2013 through 2016, is taking a break from gymnastics but is expected to resume training ahead of next season. It’s unknown when Biles might return to competition, though.

Her Final Five teammates — Aly RaismanGabby DouglasLaurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian — are also not suiting up in Anaheim. All haven’t competed since Rio save Kocian, who moved to NCAA competition at UCLA.

P&G CHAMPS: Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview |
TV Schedule | Final Five Updates

Smith and Locklear were in Rio as replacement athletes in case of injury. Neither competed, but both returned this year with eyes on October’s world championships in Montreal, where there will be no team competition.

The U.S. men’s program has also seen major turnover. Olympic and world medalists Danell LeyvaJohn OrozcoJacob Dalton and Jonathan Horton have all retired since Rio.

Two members of the Rio Olympic team are entered at P&Gs — Sam Mikulak and Alex Naddour — but neither is expected to factor into the all-around. Mikulak, the U.S. all-around champion the last four years, is coming back from a torn Achilles in February and may feature on one or two apparatuses.

Naddour specializes on pommel horse (where he won the Olympic bronze medal) and still rings.

The all-around could come down to Yul Moldauer and Akash Modi. Moldauer beat Modi at the American Cup in March, while Modi returned the favor at the NCAA Championships in April.

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MORE: For Gabby Douglas, this break from gymnastics is different

Day Time (ET) Network Competition
Thursday 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Men Day 1
Friday 11 p.m.-1 a.m. NBCSN | STREAM LINK Women Day 1
Saturday 9-11 p.m. NBCSN | STREAM LINK Men Day 2
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. NBC | STREAM LINK Men Recap
7-9 p.m. NBC | STREAM LINK Women Day 2

Maria Sharapova wraps up tennis career after nearly two decades, career Slam

Maria Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement after a professional tennis career that includes five Grand Slam wins, 36 singles titles and an Olympic silver medal.

Sharapova was only 17 when she won her first major in 2004 at Wimbledon. She won the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 before completing her career Grand Slam in the 2012 French Open. She won the French Open again in 2014.

After moving from Russia to Florida at age 9 to train at the Bollettieri Academy, she made her professional debut just after her 14th birthday in 2001. She graduated to top-level events and majors within two years and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2003.

In 2004, she upset Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams at Wimbledon and beat Williams again at the Tour Championships.

By 2005, the 6-foot-2 player had claimed the top spot in the world rankings. She remained in the top five for most of the next four years before suffering an injury to her right shoulder that limited her tournament schedule in 2008 and 2009. By 2011, she had reclaimed her status as a top-five player and remained there until 2016.

Her career declined after a positive drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. The substance in question, meldonium, had been given by Russian doctors to many athletes.

An initial suspension of two years was reduced to 15 months, but she wasn’t able to get back to her previous form. She won one more tournament in 2017 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 French Open, but she fared poorly in sporadic appearances in 2019. Her last match was a loss to Donna Vekic in the first round of the Australian Open in January.

SEE: Sharapova discusses reduced ban on TODAY

Her meldonium suspension also cost her commercial sponsorships and her role as a UN Development Program ambassador, which she earned with her work to help survivors of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

She was involved in the Olympics as a silver medalist in 2012, losing to Williams in the final, and as one of the final torch bearers in the relay to the 2014 Olympics opening ceremony in her home country.

She’s also third on the all-time WTA earnings list behind Serena and Venus Williams, taking in more than $38m in her career on top of lucrative endorsement deals.

Federica Brignone hopes World Cup rival Mikaela Shiffrin will return soon

Shiffrin and Brignone
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Mikaela Shiffrin‘s prolonged absence from the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit has opened the door for Italy’s Federica Brignone to break the American’s grip on the season title, but Brignone hopes her friend and rival will be back in competition soon.

“I really do hope that she will return soon for herself so she can do again what she loves most,” Brignone said.

Brignone took the season lead from Shiffrin, who has won the last three World Cup overall titles, on Sunday and has a 73-point advantage with 11 of the season’s 40 races remaining. She also leads Shiffrin by 74 points in the giant slalom standings.

READ: Brignone moves into World Cup lead

No Italian woman has won the overall World Cup. Brignone was fifth in 2017 and won the Alpine combined discipline title last season.

Brignone will have a chance to clinch another Alpine combined discipline title and extend her overall lead in her home country this weekend. While some other sports events in Italy have been canceled or otherwise affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the host resort of La Thuile has so far been spared from the virus’ spread.

Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the only other skier with a realistic chance of winning the overall trophy, is dealing with a knee injury and might not be able to race this weekend. Vhlova leads Shiffrin by 20 points in the slalom standings.

Shiffrin has not competed since the death of her father Feb. 2, and she has not announced plans to return. She was not on pace to match her astounding 17-win 2018-19 season but still had six wins and had reached the podium in 13 of 19 races.

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