How to watch 2018 Grand Prix Final

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Nathan Chen and Alina Zagitova headline the Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest annual figure skating event, live on NBC Sports this week.

NBC Sports Gold live streams every program from Vancouver, starting with the men’s short program Thursday night. NBCSN and NBC air highlights Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Final takes the top six skaters per discipline from the six-event Grand Prix Series in October and November.

Chen, the U.S. and world champion, is a clear favorite to repeat as winner with double Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu sitting out a second straight year with an ankle injury. The Yale freshman’s biggest threat is Olympic and world silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan.

Zagitova is a vulnerable favorite. The 16-year-old from Russia won both of her Grand Prix starts in November but was flawed. Japan’s Rika Kihira had the highest score of the Grand Prix season and will face Zagitova in senior competition for the first time.

In ice dance, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue look to join Meryl Davis and Charlie White as the only U.S. couples to win the Final. Hubbell and Donohue haven’t made a Grand Prix Final podium, but neither has anybody else in this week’s field.

Pairs could be tight between French Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres and Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who shared the podium at last season’s world championships. None of the Olympic medalists are competing this fall.

GP FINAL PREVIEWS: Men | Women | Pairs | Ice DanceTV Schedule

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Grand Prix Final broadcast schedule (all times Eastern)

Thursday Men’s Short 10:45 p.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Friday Women’s Short 12 a.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Rhythm Dance 10 p.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Pairs’ Short 11:15 p.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Pairs’ Short/Men’s Free 11:30 p.m. NBCSN | STREAM
Saturday Men’s Free 12:30 a.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Women’s Free 4:45 p.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Free Dance 10 p.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Pairs’ Free 11:15 p.m. NBC Sports Gold | STREAM | SKATE ORDER
Highlights 11:30 p.m. NBCSN | STREAM
Sunday Highlights 4 p.m. NBC | STREAM


April Ross, Alix Klineman back atop Olympic beach volleyball qualifying

April Ross, Alix Klineman
FIVB World Tour
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Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman moved back on top of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball qualifying standings by winning an event in Itapema, Brazil this week.

Ross, who split from Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2017, and Klineman beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 in Sunday’s final for their third title in 11 FIVB World Tour tournaments together.

“Every victory is important, but this counts for more,” Klineman said, according to the FIVB. “We want to send a message and we want to be consistently the best.

Ross and Klineman supplanted Walsh Jennings and her new partner, Brooke Sweat, for the lead in the early U.S. Olympic qualifying rankings with still more than a year of events ahead.

1. Ross/Klineman – 3,240 (5 events played)
2. Walsh Jennings/Sweat – 3,100 (7 events)
3. Day/Flint – 2,180 (5 events)
4. Hughes/Ross — 2,000 (4 events)
5. Larsen/Stockman — 1,840 (5 events)
6. Sponcil/Claes — 1,600 (3 events)

Each team’s 12 best results from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 14, 2020, go into the Olympic qualifying rankings. That means Ross and Klineman are comfortably in front, having played two fewer events than Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost in the quarterfinals in Itapema.

The top two U.S. pairs come June 15, 2020, provided they’re ranked high enough internationally, will qualify for Tokyo. Most of the qualifying events, including the ones with the most points available, are still to come this summer.

Ross, 36, picked up Klineman, 29, after Walsh Jennings didn’t join her in signing a domestic AVP contract in 2017. The 6-foot-5 Klineman primarily played indoor the previous decade, including at Stanford from 2007-10 after being the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school.

MORE: Brazil volleyball star faints during courtside interview

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Katie Ledecky extends 5-year win streak

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Katie Ledecky extended a five-year domestic win streak by taking the 200m freestyle at the Tyr Pro Swim Series at Bloomington on Saturday.

In her last full meet before July’s world championships, Ledecky clocked 1:55.80 to beat training partner Simone Manuel by 1.44 seconds for her second win in as many days. Ledecky is also entered in Sunday’s 800m free on the last day of the meet.

Ledecky, who also cruised to a 400m free victory on Friday, ranks third in the world in the 200m free this year, behind Australian Ariarne Titmus and Swede Sarah Sjöström (the Olympic silver medalist who is not expected to race the 200m free at worlds).

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, hasn’t lost a 200m, 400m, 800m or 1500m free final at a domestic meet since Allison Schmitt beat her in a 200m free on Jan. 18, 2014 when Ledecky was 16 years old.


But Ledecky lost the two biggest 200m frees of this Olympic cycle so far, at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Italian veteran Federica Pellegrini handed Ledecky her first individual final defeat at a major international meet at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky dropped to third in the 200m free at Pan Pacs in Tokyo last year, beaten by younger swimmers Taylor Ruck of Canada and Rikako Ikee of Japan.

Ruck, who like Ledecky trains at Stanford, is in Bloomington, but she chose not to swim the 200m free on Saturday. She instead swam the 200m backstroke about 45 minutes after the 200m free and was upset by 17-year-old Regan Smith. Smith won in 2:06.47, moving to No. 3 in the world this year.

In other events Saturday, Ella Eastin captured the 400m individual medley in 4:37.18, taking 1.25 seconds off her personal best and moving to fifth in the world this year. Eastin is not on the world championships team after an untimely bout with mono before qualifying meets last summer.

Blake Pieroni won the men’s 200m free in 1:47.25. No American ranks in the top 20 in the world this year. World silver medalist Townley Haas did not enter Bloomington.

MORE: Olympic breaststroke champion faces ban for missed drug tests

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