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Madison Chock, Evan Bates win dance title at Four Continents

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Madison Chock and Evan Bates took ice dance gold at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Anaheim, Calif. on Sunday.

The team, a couple both on and off the ice, was sidelined for 10 months with an injury and only returned to competition in January.

“We just feel so happy and want to share that with all of you,” Chock said to the audience after the free dance, where they earned 126.25 points for a total overall score of 207.42 points.

“If you had told us that we would win Four Continents when we pulled out of the Grand Prix four months ago, I think we would be very surprised,” Bates said post-performance through U.S. Figure Skating. “We’re so proud of our performances. We keep building.”

Two Canadian teams joined Chock and Bates on the podium. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, performing a free dance choreographed by the late Denis Ten, tallied 203.93 total points for silver. Weaver and Poje won Four Continents in 2010 and 2015.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished with 202.45 points and the bronze medal. They were the runners-up behind Weaver and Poje at Canadian nationals in January, as well.

Full results: Ice dance

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the reigning U.S. champions, fell from first after the rhythm dance to fourth overall, largely due to lost levels on lifts and spins. The team, the first American Grand Prix Final champions ice dance champions since 2013, scored 119.71 in the free dance for a total of 201.66.

“We would rather it happens here than Worlds, so maybe it’s a good wake-up call to make sure that everything is good for Worlds,” Hubbell said of the technical call. “We will go home and work in the next five weeks to do absolutely our best in Japan.”

The third American team in the field, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, won this event last year. The team scored 115.45 points in the free skate (a new season’s best) for a total score of 189.87 points and a fifth place finish.

“It was a season’s best score-wise and performance-wise and we both felt like it was our strongest showing yet,” Hawayek said. “We’re still working on little details and levels and making sure that we’re at the program’s fullest potential by March in Worlds. We’re really happy for this stepping stone.”

Coverage of the Four Continents Championships wraps up Sunday on NBCSN beginning at midnight.

Four Continents reporter’s notebook: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

As a reminder, you can watch Four Continents and the world championships 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.

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Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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