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What to watch in Olympic sports this week

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It’s the busiest time of the winter sports season with world championships in both alpine skiing and freestyle skiing/snowboarding headlining this week in Olympic sports.

At the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Are, Sweden, three-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn is expected to close out her career. Vonn, the most successful female skier in World Cup history, plans to retire after the downhill, which airs live on Sunday at 6:25 a.m. (ET) on NBCSN/Olympic Channel. Mikaela Shiffrin opened her 2019 Worlds with a win in Tuesday’s super-G. The 23-year-old plans to skip the super combined and downhill before returning to the slopes for the giant slalom and slalom during the second week of competition.

Five-thousand miles away in Utah, the best freestyle skiers and snowboarders are also looking to earn world titles. The U.S. team is headlined by 2018 Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim, who is expected to compete in Friday’s halfpipe competition (1:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBCSportsGold).

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP — Are, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 5:30 a.m. Women’s Super Combined Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
9:00 a.m. Women’s Super Combined Downhill* NBCSN
10:15 a.m. Women’s Super Combined Slalom NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 6:25 a.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
3:30 p.m. Men’s Downhill* NBC
6:30 p.m. Men’s Downhill* NBCSN
Sunday 6:25 a.m. Women’s Downhill NBCSN/Olympic Channel NBCSN/Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Women’s Downhill* NBC
10:30 p.m. Women’s Downhill* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

BIATHLON WORLD CUP — Canmore, Alberta

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 2:20 p.m. Men’s 15km Short Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:45 p.m. Women’s 12.5km Short Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Men’s 15km Short Individual & Women’s 12.5km Short Individual* Olympic Channel
Friday 2:30 p.m. Men’s 4×7.5km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:45 p.m. Women’s 4x6km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 p.m. Men’s 15km Short Individual & Women’s 12.5km Short Individual* NBCSN
9:00 p.m. Men’s 4×7.5km Relay* Olympic Channel
10:00 p.m. Women’s 4x6km Relay* Olympic Channel
Saturday 1:00 p.m. Men’s 10km Sprint OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m.* Men’s 10km Sprint Olympic Channel
700 p.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint* Olympic Channel

*Same-day and next-day delay

FIE FENCING GRAND PRIX — Doha, Qatar; Torino, Italy

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 8:00 a.m. From Doha, Qatar* Olympic Channel
Sunday 12:30 p.m. From Torino, Italy OlympicChannel.com

*Pre-recorded

FOUR CONTINENTS FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Anaheim, California

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 3:30 p.m. Ladies’ Short Program NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Ladies’ Short Program NBCSN NBCSN
9:15 p.m. Men’s Short Program NBC Sports Gold
11:30 p.m. Men’s Short Program NBCSN NBCSN
Friday 2:45 p.m. Pairs’ Short Program NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Rhythm Dance NBC Sports Gold
10:00 p.m. Ladies’ Free Skate NBC Sports Gold
Midnight Ladies’ Free Skate NBCSN
Saturday 5:00 p.m. Pairs’ Free Skate NBC Sports Gold
10:00 p.m. Men’s Free Skate NBC Sports Gold
11 p.m. Men’s Free Skate NBCSN NBCSN
Sunday 4:00 p.m. Free Skate NBC Sports Gold
Midnight Free Dance NBCSN

FREESTYLE SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Park City, Utah

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Wednesday 4:00 p.m. Freestyle Skiing: Aerials Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Freestyle Skiing: Slopestyle NBCSN
9:00 p.m. Freestyle Skiing: Aerials Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Thursday 12:00 a.m. Freestyle Skiing: Aerials* NBCSN
9:00 p.m. Freestyle Skiing: Team Aerials NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 1:00 p.m. Snowboarding: Halfpipe NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
9:00 p.m. Freestyle Skiing: Moguls NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 1:00 p.m. Freeski & Snowboarding: Halfpipe NBC NBC/NBC Sports Gold
9:00 p.m. Freestyle Skiing: Dual Moguls Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 2:00 a.m. Freestyle Skiing: Dual Moguls* NBCSN
1:00 p.m. Snowboarding: Slopestyle Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:30 p.m. Snowboarding: Slopestyle* NBC

*Same-day delay

LUGE WORLD CUP — Oberhof, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 3:35 a.m. Doubles (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
5:05 a.m. Doubles (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com
6:35 a.m. Men’s Singles (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
8:15 a.m. Men’s Singles (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com
1:00 p.m. Doubles* Olympic Channel
1:30 p.m. Men’s Singles* Olympic Channel
Sunday 3:00 a.m. Women’s Singles (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
4:25 a.m. Women’s Singles (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com
7:15 a.m. Team Relay OlympicChannel.com
7:00 p.m. Women’s Singles* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

PARA ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP — Kranjska Gora, Slovenia; Veysonnaz, Switzerland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 a.m. Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
7:00 a.m. Giant Slalom (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com
Sunday 4:00 a.m. Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
6:30 a.m. Giant Slalom (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com

SAILING WORLD CUP — Miami, Florida

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Sunday 6:00 p.m. From Miami, Florida* Olympic Channel

*Pre-recorded

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Feldberg, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 a.m. Snowboard Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 4:00 a.m. Team Snowboard Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP — Ljubno, Slovenia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
2:00 p.m. Women’s Individual* Olympic Channel
Saturday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Team OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Women’s Team* Olympic Channel
Sunday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Women’s Individual* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

WORLD SINGLE DISTANCES SPEED SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Inzell, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday TBA Day 1 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Friday TBA Day 2 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel
Saturday TBA Day 3 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 3* Olympic Channel
Sunday TBA Day 4 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 4* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SHORT TRACK WORLD CUP — Torino, Italy

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 9:00 a.m. World Cup Final Day 1 NBC Sports Gold
4:30 p.m. World Cup Final Day 1* Olympic Channel
Sunday 9:00 a.m. World Cup Final Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. World Cup Final Day 2* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

ISA SURFING

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Wednesday 8:00 p.m. Season Review* Olympic Channel

*Pre-recorded

IAAF WORLD INDOOR TOUR & MILLROSE GAMES — Madrid, Spain; New York City, New York

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday TBA IAAF from Madrid, Spain NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. IAAF from Madrid, Spain* Olympic Channel
Saturday 4:30 p.m. Millrose Games NBC NBC/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Olympic marathon and race walk move from Tokyo to Sapporo draws some pushback

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In the wake of a dropout-plagued set of world championship endurance races in Qatar, moving the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks from Tokyo to the cooler venue of Sapporo is a quick fix for one problem, pending the potential for untimely heat waves.

But the move has drawn some opposition for a variety of reasons.

First, many organizers and politicians appear to have been caught by surprise. Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, was “taken aback” and Sapporo’s mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto, learned about the move from the media, Kyodo News reported. Koike even sarcastically suggested that the races could move all the way northward to islands disputed by Russia and Japan.

South African sports scientist Ross Tucker suggested that running in heat and humidity poses an interesting challenge for athletes, some of whom may be able to catch up with faster runners by preparing for the conditions.

British marathoner Mara Yamauchi made a similar point, saying the move was unfair to those who already were preparing for the heat, humidity and other conditions.

Belgian marathoner Koen Naert said he will make the best of the change but complained that some of his preparation and every runner’s logistical planning would no longer apply.

The angriest athlete may be Canadian walker Evan Dunfee, who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic 50km race and nearly claimed bronze as a Canadian appeal was upheld but then rejected. He says runners and walkers can beat the conditions if they prepare, which many athletes did not do for the world championships in Qatar.

“So why do we cater to the ill prepared?” Dunfee asked on Twitter.

The move also takes athletes out of the main Olympic city and takes away the traditional, tough less frequent in modern years, finish in the Olympic stadium.

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