Jaelin Kauf surges atop U.S. moguls with World Cup breakthrough

Leave a comment

With Hannah Kearney retired, there’s an opening for a new leader of the U.S. women’s moguls team. Jaelin Kauf may be that skier.

The 21-year-old from Wyoming notched her first World Cup moguls win in Thaiwoo, China, on Thursday, moving halfway to automatic qualification for her first Olympics.

Kauf continued a recent rise. She was FIS Rookie of the Year in moguls in 2015-16, then recorded her first World Cup win (in the non-Olympic event of dual moguls) last season.

She was also the top American at a February World Cup event at the PyeongChang Olympic venue in fifth place, plus took dual moguls bronze at the March world championships.

Kauf’s parents were both pro tour moguls champions. They never competed in the Olympics, but both later took up ski cross. Her mom made an X Games podium in 2002.

Kauf jostled with Morgan Schild and Keaton McCargo for top U.S. female moguls skier last season, but now she’s in the driver’s seat for one of three automatic Olympic berths through two of seven selection events.

A skier must make two podiums among the events to be eligible for automatic selection, and Kauf’s win is the only podium so far.

The U.S. women’s moguls team could end up with four total athletes in PyeongChang.

Troy Murphy took third in the men’s event Thursday to become the first U.S. man to make a podium in Olympic qualifying.

Kearney was part of the last three Olympic teams but retired in March 2015 after amassing two Olympic medals, three world titles and a record-tying 46 World Cup wins.

The PyeongChang favorites start with Australian Britt Cox, who won seven of 11 World Cup moguls and dual moguls events last season, plus the world title.

Cox was the youngest competitor at the 2010 Olympics in any sport at age 15, then finished fifth in Sochi. She won the season-opening World Cup event on Dec. 9 but was 25th on Thursday, her worst result in nearly seven years.

Sochi Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada made six World Cup podiums last season and was third at worlds.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens TV, streaming schedule

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Fiji puts Olympic champion rugby team on dollars, coins

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.