Early starts a concern for Olympic figure skaters

patrick chan
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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — One by one, some of the biggest names in figure skating tumbled to their backsides inside Gangneung Ice Arena, the opening day of their Pyeongchang Olympics program going nothing like planned.

Patrick Chan of Canada hit the deck first. Nathan Chen of the U.S. followed him. Russian skater Mikhail Kolyada was next, falling twice during his short program as part of the team competition.

They all had a readily available excuse: early-morning starts.

“I did a few simulations in the morning and I was like, ‘That was rough,'” said Adam Rippon, who will tackle the team free skate for the U.S. on Monday. “I’ve been getting to bed really early and waking up a few hours before practice, just to kind of move the day forward.”

Competition is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. local time, so that means athletes are setting their alarm clocks and coffeemakers for 5 a.m. That gives them about an hour to wipe the sleep from their eyes, get dressed and board the bus to the arena for 7 a.m. practice.

Read the rest of the story and watch exclusive video at NBCOlympics.com