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

 

Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
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LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

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