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What to watch at U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Thursday

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Nathan Chen opens his U.S. Figure Skating Championships, plus the pairs competition gets under way on Thursday in San Jose, live on Olympic Channel and NBCSN and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.

The pairs short program starts at 4 p.m. ET on Olympic Channel, with coverage switching to NBCSN at 5.

The men’s short is at 8:30 p.m. on NBCSN.

PAIRS: Stream Link | Start List/Results
MEN: Stream Link | Start List/Results

The key skaters going Thursday:

Pairs
Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim — 4:08 p.m. ET
Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea — 4:35 p.m.
Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier — 5:58 p.m.
Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc — 6:17 p.m.

Men
Max Aaron — 9:06 p.m.
Vincent Zhou — 10:53 p.m.
Nathan Chen — 11:13 p.m.
Adam Rippon — 11:33 p.m.
Jason Brown — 11:39 p.m.

The Olympic team of three men will be named after Saturday’s free skate on Sunday at 11:15 a.m. ET, but it might not be the top three finishers. A committee chooses the team, looking at results from the past year.

Chen is considered a lock as the defending U.S. champion and the world’s only undefeated skater this season.

The one Olympic pairs team will be named Sunday at 12:45 p.m. The Knierims are the favorites as the top-ranked U.S. pair each of the last four seasons.

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PREVIEWS: Men | Women | DancePairsTV Schedule | Olympic Selection

Date Time (ET) Program Network
Wednesday 11 p.m.-1 Women’s Short NBCSN | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Thursday 4-5 p.m. Pairs Short Olympic Channel | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
5-6:30 p.m. Pairs Short NBCSN | STREAM
8:30 p.m.-12 Men’s Short NBCSN | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Friday 4-6:30 p.m. Short Dance NBCSN | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
8-11 p.m. Women’s Free NBC | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Saturday 4-6 p.m. Pairs Free NBC | STREAM
8-11 p.m. Men’s Free NBCSN | STREAM
Sunday 3-6 p.m. Free Dance NBC | STREAM
Jan. 13 4 p.m. Exhibition Gala NBC | STREAM

Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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MORE: Top luge moments from PyeongChang Olympics

Softball set to return to Olympics as first event on Tokyo 2020 schedule

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Softball, returning to the Olympics after a 12-year absence, is scheduled to kick off the 2020 Tokyo Games, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

The preliminary master schedule for the Tokyo Olympics was published Wednesday, with the first softball game scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on the Wednesday before the Opening Ceremony.

The first game is scheduled to be held in Fukushima, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami 155 miles north of Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the Games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster

Traditionally, soccer has been the first sport to have action at a Summer Olympics, one or two days before the Opening Ceremony. While soccer is again scheduled to have matches that same Wednesday, they start later than 10 a.m.

The Tokyo 2020 schedule is subject to change and certainly not a final version — swimming, diving and synchronized swimming schedules are still to be determined, but those sports do not typically start before the Opening Ceremony.

Softball was added in 1991 to the Olympic program to debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won the first three gold medals before softball and baseball were narrowly voted off the Olympic program in 2005/06 (a 52-52 IOC vote for softball, with a majority needed to stay in the Olympics), with the 2008 Beijing Games being the last edition. Japan won the last Olympic softball gold medal 10 years ago.

Then on Aug. 3, 2016, baseball and softball were among five sports added for the 2020 Tokyo Games only, at the request of Tokyo Olympic organizers. Baseball and softball are not guaranteed to remain on the Olympic program in Paris in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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