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Shiffrin, seeking fourth straight world title, highlights Olympic action this week

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Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin has already claimed one title at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Are, Sweden (in the first race of the competition, super-G), but her two best events are still ahead: the 23-year-old is expected to compete for her first world title in giant slalom on Thursday after winning Olympic gold in the event last year. And on Saturday, she will go for a fourth straight slalom title, trying to become the first skier to win four consecutive world titles in the same event.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety is expected to highlight the U.S. men’s field in giant slalom. The second run of that event will air live on NBCSN Friday at 11 a.m. ET.

And a trio of Olympic medalists in freestyle skiing headline the U.S. contingent at the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup in Calgary, Alberta: two-time Olympic champion David Wise, Sochi gold medalist Maddie Bowman and 2014 Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy. Coverage of ski halfpipe will air live Saturday on Olympic Channel at 9 p.m.

 

WORLD ALPINE SKIING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Are, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1)* NBCSN
11:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 8:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN
11:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 5:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1)* NBCSN
8:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Women’s Slalom* NBC
Sunday 5:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1)* NBCSN
8:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

BIATHLON WORLD CUP — Salt Lake City, Utah (Soldier Hollow)

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 1:00 p.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 1:00 p.m. Men’s 10km Sprint NBCSN NBCSN/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 12:00 p.m. Women’s Pursuit Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Men’s Pursuit Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 1:00 a.m. Women’s Pursuit* NBCSN
12:00 p.m. Single Mixed Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. 2x6km + 2×7.5km Mixed Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
9:30 p.m. 2x6km + 2×7.5km Mixed Relay* NBCSN

*Next-day and same-day delay

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CUP — Lake Placid, New York

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 8:30 a.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
10:00 a.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN
1:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
3:15 p.m. Women’s Bobsled (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
4:15 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
9:00 p.m. From Lake Placid, New York* NBCSN
Saturday 9:00 a.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
10:45 a.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:30 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
3:00 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. From Lake Placid, New York* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING WORLD CUP — Cogne, Italy

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 6:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 3:45 a.m. Women’s 10km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. Men’s 15km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
2:00 p.m. Women’s 10km* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SHOW JUMPING WORLD CUP: NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUE — Wellington, Florida; Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 12:00 p.m. From Wellington, Florida* NBCSN
Sunday 11:00 a.m. From Valle de Bravo, Mexico* Olympic Channel

*Pre-recorded

U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 2:30 p.m. Exhibition* NBC

*Pre-recorded

FOUR CONTINENTS FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 p.m. Ladies’ & Men’s Free Skate* NBC

*Pre-recorded

FREESTYLE SKIING AND FREESKI WORLD CUP — Feldberg, Germany; Moscow, Russia; Calgary, Alberta

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 3:45 a.m. Ski Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 a.m. Aerials OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Aerials* Olympic Channel
9:00 p.m. Halfpipe Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 5:30 a.m. Ski Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP — Willingen, Germany; Oberstdorf, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 9:45 a.m. Men’s Team OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:30 p.m. Men’s Team* Olympic Channel
Saturday 7:00 a.m. Women’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. Men’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Women’s Individual* Olympic Channel
6:30 p.m. Men’s Individual* Olympic Channel
Sunday 7:00 a.m. Women’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
9:15 a.m. Men’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:30 p.m. Women’s Individual* Olympic Channel
7:00 p.m. Men’s Individual* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

WORLD SINGLE DISTANCE SPEED SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Inzell, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 10:30 p.m. Day 3* NBCSN
11:30 p.m. Day 4* NBCSN

*Pre-recorded

WORLD INDOOR TRACK & FIELD TOUR — Birmingham, England

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 8:30 a.m. Indoor Track & Field NBC Sports Gold
Midnight Indoor Track & Field NBCSN

40 years ago today: Jimmy Carter lays plan for Olympic boycott

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On Jan. 20, 1980, U.S. President Jimmy Carter said he would not support sending a U.S. team to the Moscow Olympics later that summer if the Soviet Union did not withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Carter detailed his stance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” airing that Sunday. A transcript:

Bill Monroe: Assuming the Soviets do not pull out of Afghanistan any time soon, do you favor the U.S. participating in the Moscow Olympics, and if not, what are the alternatives?

Carter: No. Neither I nor the American people would support the sending of an American team to Moscow with Soviet invasion troops in Afghanistan. I’ve sent a message today to the United States Olympic Committee spelling out my own position that unless the Soviets withdraw their troops within a month from Afghanistan that the Olympic Games be moved from Moscow to alternate site or multiple sites or postponed or canceled. If the Soviets do not withdraw their troops immediately from Afghanistan — within a month — I would not support the sending of an American team to the Olympics. It’s very important for the world to realize how serious a threat the Soviets’ invasion of Afghanistan is. I do not want to inject politics into the Olympics, and I would personally favor the establishment of a permanent Olympic site for both the Summer and the Winter Games. In my opinion, the most appropriate permanent site for the Summer Games would be Greece. This will be my own position, and I have asked the U.S. Olympic Committee to take this position to the International Olympic Committee, and I would hope that as many nations as possible would support this basic position. One hundred and four nations voted against the Soviet invasion and called for their immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan in the United Nations, and I would hope as many of those as possible would support the position I’ve just outlined to you.

Monroe: Mr. President, if a substantial number of nations does not support the U.S. position, would not that just put the U.S. in an isolated position without doing much damage to the Soviet Union?

Carter: Regardless of what other nations might do, I would not favor the sending of an American Olympic team to Moscow while the Soviet invasion troops are in Afghanistan.

Three days later, Carter said in his State of the Union address, “I have notified the Olympic Committee that with Soviet invading forces in Afghanistan, neither the American people nor I will support sending an Olympic team to Moscow.”

The Soviets did not withdraw troops.

Though Carter did not have the authority to order a boycott, the U.S. Olympic Committee did decide on April 12 not to send a team.

The U.S. was among more than 60 nations that were invited to the Moscow Games and did not participate (for various reasons). Other notable absences included Canada, West Germany, Japan and China.

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With four former champions in the mix, who can claim U.S. Championships pairs’ title?

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There have been four different U.S. pairs’ champions in the past four years. All four of those teams are in the field at this week’s U.S. Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. With that in mind, who could get the nod to compete at the world championships in March?

The U.S. has two spots to fill, thanks to the efforts of Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, who finished ninth at last year’s worlds.

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier had the best fall of any U.S. pair, winning two bronze medals on the Grand Prix Series. Denney and Frazier finished with silver medals at last year’s national championships, too. The team has previous experience at the world championships (2015: 12th; 2017: 20th).

Cain-Gribble and LeDuc won the national title last year after a season that was nearly sidelined by Cain-Gribble’s concussion in December 2018. As the solo U.S. representatives at the world championships, they succeeded in earning back two world berths for 2020.

This season, they won two B-level competitions and finished fourth and fifth at their Grand Prix assignments. LeDuc said last week that despite their win at Golden Spin in December, “there was a little bit of room for improvement, which is exactly what we want from a competition going into nationals.”

“We feel like we’ve improved a lot as far as what we’re able to take on mentally because we know that this is going to be an intense week,” Cain-Gribble said. “We’re prepared for that. We’ve never had to do this before, where we’re coming in and we’re already the reigning champions. We’ve never come in with that title before. We’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about it and what that feeling is, but overall their main thing was, ‘Be prepared. Prepare yourself beyond what you can even imagine. When you get there, just go on autopilot and do your thing.’”

PyeongChang Olympic team event bronze medalists Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim haven’t been in top form since the Games. Later in 2018, they split from short-lived coach Aljona Savchenko in Germany and moved to California.

They finished an all-time low of seventh at last year’s nationals and were not assigned to any events later in the season. In their off-season, Chris underwent wrist surgery. The couple also added Rafael Arutunian to their coaching team to address their jumping abilities. Their season consisted of a silver medal at a B-level competition, followed by two Grand Prix assignments where they finished fourth and seventh.

“We feel that many people probably have kind of written us off, because we’re an old married couple and we’re kind of labeled ‘can’t get it together,’” Scimeca Knierim said after finishing fourth at Skate Canada this fall. “That’s almost an advantage, because I feel like for so long, we were considered the front-runners. I still believe we are. We’re trying to show we can get it together.”

The last time the Knierims competed at a nationals in Greensboro, in 2015, they won the first of their two titles. That year, they notched their highest placement (seventh) across five total trips to the world championships.

Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea won their national title in 2016 and were also sent on their only trip to the world championships where they finished 13th. In 2017, Kayne underwent knee surgery, but they returned to the national podium in 2018 and won silver. Last year, they finished fourth after a disastrous free skate.

This season, they collected a silver medals and a fourth place finish at two B-level competitions as well as a pair of sixth-place finishes on the Grand Prix.

MORE: 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships TV, live stream schedule

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.

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