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

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The U.S. women’s figure skating champion will be crowned Friday night, live on NBC and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.

Bradie Tennell takes her short-program lead into the free skate in San Jose, Calif. She’s followed in the standings by 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu and 2017 U.S. champion Karen Chen.

Three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner sits fifth, needing a strong free skate to make her case for PyeongChang.

Coverage runs from 8-11 p.m. ET.

WOMEN: Stream Link | Start List/Results

The U.S. Olympic team of three women will be chosen after the free skate and announced Saturday morning. A committee will look at results from the last year, so the team won’t necessarily be the top three finishers Friday night.

Also Friday, the ice dance competition begins with the short dance from 4-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.

The favorites for the three U.S. Olympic spots are clear, as the U.S. has three of the top six couples in the world (and nobody else in the top 15), led by two-time defending national champs Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.

ICE DANCE: Stream Link | Start List/Results

The key skaters going Friday:

Short Dance
Madison Chock/Evan Bates — 4:40 p.m. ET
Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue — 4:53 p.m.
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani — 5:41 p.m.

Women’s Free Skate
Mariah Bell — 10:03 p.m.
Ashley Wagner — 10:11 p.m.
Angela Wang — 10:19 p.m.
Mirai Nagasu — 10:28 p.m.
Karen Chen — 10:36 p.m.
Bradie Tennell — 10:44 p.m.

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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 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 | SKATE ORDER
8-11 p.m. Men’s Free NBCSN | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Sunday 3-6 p.m. Free Dance NBC | STREAM
Jan. 13 4 p.m. Exhibition Gala NBC | STREAM

 

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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