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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

Brigid Kosgei, Eliud Kipchoge herald new era of fast marathons

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Eliud Kipchoge‘s success in breaking the two-hour mark (final time: 1:59:40) for the marathon on Saturday was expected. He had come close before, and like Alex Honnold‘s unprecedented climb of El Capitan documented in the film Free Solo, the feat required meticulous planning — the ideal mix of pace-setters, course conditions and weather — to steer a once-in-a-lifetime talent to a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.

Brigid Kosgei‘s world record at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday was a far greater surprise. Kosgei had run fast times before, but her time of 2:14:04 took more than four minutes off her personal best earlier this year in London, which is typically a faster race than Chicago.

MORE: Chicago Marathon results

The two feats had some common threads. Both runners are Kenyan, no surprise in an event in which the top 100 men’s performances of all time are almost exclusively Kenyan and Ethiopian and the top of the women’s all-time list is similarly homogeneous aside from the presence of British runner Paula Radcliffe, whose time of 2:15:25 had stood as the world record for 16 1/2 years until Sunday. Radcliffe was present in Chicago to greet Kosgei when her record fell.

Kipchoge and Kosgei also wore the same shoes, Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, thanks to Kosgei’s last-minute decision to switch. Earlier versions of those shoes, like the high-tech swimsuits that were eventually banned from competition or golf equipment whose advertising revels in their alleged illegality,

Both marathoners also had pace-setters running with them. Kipchoge’s effort took the concept to an extreme, with an all-star cast running pieces of the course in front of him, and will not be considered an official world record because it didn’t happen under race conditions. (The Atlantic ran a piece on the Kipchoge run with the headline “The Greatest, Fakest World Record,” though the piece itself was more inquisitive than judgmental.)

MORE: Kipchoge shakes off nerves to break barrier

Kosgei was running in an actual race and has already had her time touted as a world record by the international organizer IAAF, but because she was running in a mixed-gender race, she was able to run behind two hired guns, Geoffrey Pyego and Daniel Limo. They were easily distinguished from men’s race contenders by the singlets with the word “PACE” written in the space where a number or name would usually go.

But in general, marathoners are simply getting faster and faster. Perhaps it’s scientific, with specifically engineered shoes, pace-setters and refined training methods, or perhaps all the tinkering and lab experiments are simply a sign of increased focus on the race that traces its history to the myth of the Greek soldier Pheidippides running such a great distance to herald a momentous military victory before falling over dead.

Of the top 20 women’s times on the IAAF list, only five were run before 2012 — one by Catherine Ndereba, four by Radcliffe. Three were run in 2017, then six in 2018 (three in Berlin) and four this year. All 20 of the fastest men’s times have been posted this decade, eight of them in 2019 alone. Kipchoge, in addition to his unofficial best from this weekend, has the official record of 2:01:39 from the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

The all-time list also reminds us that, for all the controversy over the context of Kipchoge’s run, marathons aren’t really standard, anyway. Some courses are more difficult than others. Some races, like the Boston Marathon, aren’t eligible for record consideration for a variety of technical reasons. (Boston’s hilly course doesn’t lend itself to fast times, anyway — the men’s course record of 2:03:02, set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011, would rank seventh all-time, but no other time would crack the top 100. The women’s course record is nowhere near the best ever.) London, Berlin and Dubai are the places to go for assaults on the record book.

No matter where the race takes place or how it was run, fast times in the marathon capture the imagination.

Purists may cling to romantic notions of long-haired, bearded runners pounding the Boston or New York pavement in shoes that didn’t even have a basic level of air cushioning. But the modern marathon era is built for speed.

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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

Danielle Perkins
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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA