Olympic men’s figure skating preview: Clean quads are the key

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Some of the top men’s figure skaters can already call themselves medalists at these Games. Team USA’s Nathan Chen, Canada’s Patrick Chan, and Mikhail Kolyada, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, will all contest the men’s event after making their 2018 debuts in the team event. In their quest for medals n the men’s event, they will face a bigger – and more competitive – field.

Here are some names to know before the event kicks off:

Nathan Chen, Team USA

Buzz about Chen: Chen is the only skater to master five different types of quads: toe loop, Salchow, flip, loop and Lutz. Combined with his improving artistic skills and Vera Wang-designed costumes, he is a threat for the podium… maybe even gold.

Adam Rippon, Team USA

Season so far: Rippon earned a bronze medal at his season opener in Finland and then captured silver medals at his two Grand Prix assignments in Japan and the U.S. He qualified for the Grand Prix Final, where he placed fifth. Then, he placed fourth at the U.S. Nationals; his body of work the past season was strong enough to place him on the 2018 Olympic team.

Vincent Zhou, Team USA

Credentials: 2017 world junior champion, 2018 U.S. national bronze medalist, 2017 U.S. national silver medalist

Buzz about Zhou: He is the youngest member of Team USA across all sports.

Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan
Credentials: 2014 Olympic gold medalist, 2014 and 2017 world champion, four-time Grand Prix Final gold medalist, four-time Japanese national champion

Read the full preview here and live stream men’s short program on NBCOlympics.com

Olympic flame to travel by sea for Paris 2024, welcomed by armada

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024
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The Olympic flame will travel from Athens to Marseille by ship in spring 2024 to begin the France portion of the torch relay that ends in Paris on July 26, 2024.

The torch relay always begins in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, Greece, where the sun’s rays light the flame. It will be passed by torch until it reaches Athens.

It will then cross the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Belem, a three-masted ship, “reminiscent of a true Homeric epic,” according to Paris 2024. It will arrive at the Old Port of Marseille, welcomed by an armada of boats.

Marseille is a former Greek colony and the oldest city in France. It will host sailing and some soccer matches during the Paris Olympics.

The full 2024 Olympic torch relay route will be unveiled in May.

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Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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