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Changed Yevgenia Medvedeva returns at Skate Canada; TV/stream schedule

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Yevgenia Medvedeva, after three nearly flawless years atop a revolving-door sport, earned silver medals at her last three competitions.

It’s not a shock given the circumstances. Even her most recent outing, taking second to U.S. champion Bradie Tennell at a lower-level season debut last month, if you listen to new coach Brian Orser.

Medvedeva, after the most dominant run in women’s skating since Katarina Witt in the 1980s, succumbed first to a broken bone in her right foot last fall and second to 15-year-old (now former) training partner Alina Zagitova. Zagitova beat Medvedeva at January’s European Championships and in PyeongChang (by a mere 1.31 points).

Medvedeva returns to the Grand Prix series at this week’s Skate Canada in Laval, Quebec, across the provincial border from her new home in Toronto. NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage:

Day Time (ET) Event Network
Friday 2:15-3:45 p.m. Pairs’ Short NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
3:45-5:30 p.m. Men’s Short NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
7-8:30 p.m. Rhythm Dance NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
8;45-10:30 p.m. Women’s Short NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
Saturday 1:15-2:45 p.m. Pairs’ Free NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
3-5 p.m. Men’s Free NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
7-8;45 p.m. Free Dance NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
9-11 p.m. Women’s Free NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
Sunday 2 p.m. Exhibition NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
4-6 p.m. Highlights NBC | STREAM LINK

Medvedeva will not face Zagitova before December’s Grand Prix Final. At Skate Canada, the notable foes are world silver medalist Wakaba Higuchi of Japan and 2015 World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, whom Medvedeva succeeded as the leading Russian.

Some uncertainty shadows Medvedeva going into a season for the first time since she turned senior in 2015.

There is the icy spring split from her coach of 11 years, Eteri Tutberidze, and the transatlantic move.

Medvedeva turns 19 in November, older than any Russian medalist at an Olympics or worlds since Adelina Sotnikova ushered in the nation’s dominance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. The Russian conveyor belt is now producing 14-year-olds with quadruple jumps, though they are not yet eligible for senior international events.

Orser, who coached Yuna Kim and Yuzuru Hanyu to Olympic titles, is reworking part of Medvedeva’s jump technique.

“She has embraced the idea of rebuilding,” Orser told Olympics reporter Phil Hersh before the season. “I think she understands that’s the only option, and we may have to take a couple hits along the way.”

Zagitova has the world’s top score this season by nearly 17 points — 238.43. Medvedeva tallied 204.89 at last month’s Autumn Classic, falling in the free skate and getting passed by Tennell. A 220 this week would put Medvedeva atop everyone except her former training partner.

Also at Skate Canada, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan is the only man from the top 10 at the Olympics in the field. He posted the world’s top score in the pre-Grand Prix season and is the defending champion at this event. His rivals — Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu and world champ Nathan Chen — should be waiting at December’s Grand Prix Final.

Other Skate Canada podium contenders include Jason Brown, the top American finisher at the Sochi Olympics (ninth) who missed the PyeongChang team with a sixth-place finish at January’s nationals. Brown, 23, then left his coach since age 5 and “second mom” — Kori Ade. He moved from Colorado to Orser’s Toronto group.

Brown, yet to land a clean quadruple jump in competition, opened his season with a fourth-place finish at the Autumn Classic. It marked his first time off the podium in seven career lower-level Challenger Series events. Like Medvedeva, he is a work in progress.

In ice dance, U.S. champions and world silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue are favored to make it back-to-back Grand Prix wins following their maiden Skate America title last week. The Skate Canada field is slightly stronger with Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov and Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Nos. 4 and 5 in the world this season.

World bronze medalists Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès lead the pairs’ field.

As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. GO HERE to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season…NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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MORE: New-look Jason Brown returns after missing Olympic team

Dominik Paris, world champion skier, suffers season-ending injury

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Italian Dominik Paris, the reigning world champion in the super-G, suffered a season-ending ACL tear in a training crash Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s speed races in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

Paris crashed in super-G training not far from the hallowed World Cup venue, slipping into a curve and damaging his right knee. He also suffered a fibula microfracture, according to the Italian federation.

“My season ends here,” he said, according to the International Ski Federation (FIS). “Unfortunately while I was sliding, the inside ski caught too much and the ligament broke. There is not much to add. In the next few days we will evaluate, together with the medical staff, how to proceed.”

Paris won his third Hahnenkamm downhill title last year and was one of the favorites for Saturday’s downhill, the most prestigious annual race in the sport. NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage for “Snow Pass” subscribers at 5:30 a.m. ET.

Paris, 30, won a pair of downhills in Bormio in December among five total podiums this season.

In his absence, Swiss Beat Feuz and German Thomas Dressen lead the podium contenders.

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It’s Nathan Chen’s time at nationals for a feat 32 years in the making

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Nathan Chen can join Brian Boitano in U.S. figure skating history this week, a decade after holding Boitano in the palm of his hands with a program set to music from “Kung Fu Panda.”

Chen seeks a fourth straight national title in Greensboro, N.C. He would be the seventh man to do so since World War II. Five of the previous six won Olympic titles — Dick Button, Hayes Jenkins, David Jenkins, Scott Hamilton and, most recently, Brian Boitano from 1985-88.

Boitano remembered the first time he met Chen. He and Kristi Yamaguchi were compelled to leave their seats to find the teeny, tiny wunderkind who performed that program to the 2008 DreamWorks film.

“He was taking off his skates, and he probably came up to our waist,” Boitano said. “We knew when we saw him back then that he was going to be something special. He was really quiet. He’s still very quiet.”

In an interview last week, Chen focused on the present — coming back from a two-week cold or flu bug — rather than the perspective.

“I don’t like to typically think about that,” Chen said when asked about his streak. “It’s just different [from year to year]. It’s not really necessarily easier or harder.”

It is also different from previous eras. The last five men to win four in a row did it all in one Olympic cycle, then stepped away from competition after the Winter Games. That was back when turning professional meant the end of an Olympic career.

“It was kind of the norm back then,” Hamilton said. “After that it was kind of back and forth a lot [until Chen]. The business of skating changed so skaters could stay in a lot more, a lot longer. With all the money they brought in, they were able to prevent skaters from turning professional. So that brought in a different approach to nationals.”

NATIONALS PREVIEWS: Nathan Chen | Alysa Liu | Vincent Zhou | Pairs | TV Schedule

Both Hamilton and six-time (non-consecutive) U.S. champion Todd Eldredge could think of just one name to compare Chen’s dominance in the history of U.S. men’s skating: Button, who won the first seven national titles after World War II, plus two Olympic golds.

Button earned national and world titles as a Harvard student. Chen is on a two-season win streak while majoring in statistics and data science at Yale. Button was the first skater to land a double Axel and a triple jump of any kind. Chen was the first to land six quads in one free skate.

Eldredge coaches skaters at the same rink where Chen trains when Chen visits his Southern California-based coach Rafael Arutunian. He is awed by watching Chen working out. Though Eldredge owns more national titles, he never felt the massive favorite status that accompanies Chen.

Eldredge competed in the post-Hamilton/Boitano era, when national champions began competing over multiple Olympic cycles. Eldredge ebbed and flowed from his first national title in 1990, when compulsory figures were still around, to 2002, when he defeated Timothy Goebel, then known as the Quad King.

“Physically, the demands of the sport take their toll on your body,” Eldredge said. “It’s hard to maintain that same level for that length of period of time.

“[In] 12 years [since Chen’s first national title], when he’s 29 years old, is he going to be able to continue to sustain that?”

All of the recent top U.S. men competed in multiple Olympic cycles. The last multiple national champion was Jeremy Abbott, who earned two titles each in two different Olympic cycles. Abbott finished his career in a third Olympic cycle, placing fifth at the 2015 U.S. Championships. Abbott didn’t remember that Chen made his senior nationals debut that year, finishing eighth at age 15.

“For me, winning the third and the fourth [titles] were harder because I started thinking about winning,” Abbott said. “After the second one, I was heading into a new quad and I was two-time U.S. champion. Then my focus was, oh, I’m expected to win. So that was a harder mental game rather than just focusing on making an Olympic team. The expectation now that I’ve done this twice in a row, I’m expected to win again and again and again.”

Abbott and Chen came up in the era of the points-based judging system instituted in 2004.

“Now with the way the scoring system is very different [from the old 6.0], cumulative points, if you have a bad day as a national champion, that’s it. You can’t get the points,” Eldredge said. “[In previous eras], if a certain skater was, I’ll say politically supposed to be the champion, you got a higher score, and rightfully so in most cases.”

Chen has the benefit of going into competitions knowing the kind of advantage he has in base value points from his jumping arsenal. He won last year’s national title by 58 points. This international season, he is 80 points clear of the next-highest-ranked U.S. man, Jason Brown.

“I don’t think that the try-to-push technique is necessarily my goal here,” at nationals, Chen said. “Hopefully just to maintain my body, maintain my health and try to prepare myself for the second half of the season.”

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As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.