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What to watch this week in Olympic sports: Shiffrin’s season finale

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Mikalea Shiffrin’s incredible 2018-19 season will come to a close this week at the World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra, where Shiffrin is expected to ski for two more crystal globes. The women’s super-G and giant slalom crystal globes are still up for grabs, with Shiffrin holding point leads in both disciplines.

On Wednesday the men’s and women’s downhill kicks off the event, but Thursday will be the draw for U.S. fans hoping to see Shiffrin clinch her first ever globe in a speed event. She came close at the end of the 2017-18 season when she finished fifth in the World cup downhill standings.

Shiffrin’s second chance at a globe this week comes on Sunday in the women’s giant slalom.

Watch the women’s super-G live on Thursday beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold, with an encore presentation airing on NBCSN on TV at 11:00 a.m. ET.

To see if Shiffrin can win the giant slalom crystal globe, watch the first run live on Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. and the second run at 7:00 a.m. Live first run action will be streaming on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold, with the second run airing live on TV and streaming with Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.

Another huge name in U.S. Olympic sports, gymnast Simone Biles, will make her season debut this week at the World Cup event in Stuttgart, Germany.

At the 2018 World Championships in Doha, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, helped the U.S. win its fourth-straight team title, then became the first woman to win four all-around world titles. Biles also won gold in Doha in the apparatus finals in the floor and vault and took home silver on the uneven bars and bronze on balance beam.

Check out the full schedule below for times, events and where to watch live on TV and streaming.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP FINAL — Soldeu, Andorra

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Wednesday 5:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. Men’s & Women’s Downhill* NBCSN
Thursday 5:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. Men’s & Women’s Super-G* NBCSN
Friday 7:00 a.m. Team Event Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 4:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 4:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
3:30 p.m. Women’s Giant Slalom* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

BIATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Oestersund, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Tuesday 10:30 a.m. Women’s 15km Individual Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Wednesday 12:30 a.m. Women’s 15km Individual* NBCSN
11:00 a.m. Men’s 20km Individual Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Men’s 20km Individual* NBCSN
Thursday 12:00 p.m. Single Mixed Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 1:00 a.m. Single Mixed Relay* NBCSN
Saturday 8:15 a.m. Women’s 4x6km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 a.m. Men’s 4×7.5km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. Women’s 4x6km Relay* Olympic Channel
1:30 p.m. Men’s 4×7.5km Relay* Olympic Channel
Sunday 8:15 a.m. Women’s 12.5km Mass Start OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. Women’s 12.5km Mass Start* Olympic Channel
11:00 a.m. Men’s 15km Mass Start Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day and next-day delay

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING WORLD CUP — Drammen, Norway; Falun, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Tuesday 8:15 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 p.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint* NBCSN
Saturday 9:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:30 a.m. Women’s 10km NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. Men’s 15km NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. Women’s 10km* Olympic Channel
1:00 p.m. Women’s 10km* Olympic Channel
2:00 p.m. Men’s 15km* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

CURLING WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP — Silkeborg, Denmark

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 9:00 a.m. Russia vs. Switzerland OlympicChannel.com
9:00 a.m. Japan vs. Scotland OlympicChannel.com
2:30 p.m. South Korea vs. Canada OlympicChannel.com
2:30 p.m. USA vs. Denmark Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
Sunday 4:00 a.m. Canada vs. Germany OlympicChannel.com
4:00 a.m. USA vs. Japan OlympicChannel.com
9:00 a.m. Germany vs. Japan OlympicChannel.com
9:00 a.m. Switzerland vs. Sweden OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. South Korea vs. USA OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. Latvia vs. Canada OlympicChannel.com
4:30 p.m. USA vs. Japan* Olympic Channel
7:30 p.m. South Korea vs. USA* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

FENCING GRAND PRIX — Anaheim, California

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Sunday 9:30 p.m. From Anaheim, California OlympicChannel.com

FREESTYLE SKIING WORLD CUP — Mammoth Lakes, California; Quebec City, Quebec; Veysonnaz, Switzerland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 12:30 a.m. Freeski: Slopestyle – Toyota U.S. Grand Prix* NBCSN
Saturday 4:00 p.m. Big Air OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:00 a.m. Ski Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

*Encore presentation

GYMNASTICS WORLD CUP — Baku, Azerbaijan; Stuttgart, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 a.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 1) OlympicChannel.com
7:15 a.m. Men’s Indiv. All-Around OlympicChannel.com
5:30 p.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 1)* Olympic Channel
7:30 p.m. Men’s Indiv. All-Around* Olympic Channel
Sunday 4:00 a.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 2) OlympicChannel.com
7:15 a.m. Women’s Indiv. All-Around OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. Women’s Indiv. All-Around* Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Women’s Indiv. All-Around* NBCSN
10:30 p.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 2)* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP — Schonach, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 6:00 a.m. HS106 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. 10km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:00 a.m. HS106 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. 15km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Mammoth Lakes, California; Veysonnaz, Switzerland; Quebec City, Quebec

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 9:15 a.m. Snowboard Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 8:00 p.m. Big Air OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Halfpipe – Toyota U.S. Grand Prix* NBC

*Encore presentation

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP — Nizhny Tagil, Russia; Raw Air Tournament Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 12:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. (Qualifying) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Tuesday 12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
8:00 p.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
Wednesday 12:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. (Qualifying) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
2:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv.* NBCSN
Thursday 9:00 a.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
Friday 12:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. Ski Flying (Qualifying) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Team Ski Flying OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Indiv. Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. Ski Flying OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Women’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SPEED SKATING WORLD CUP FINAL — Salt Lake City, Utah

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 11:30 p.m. Day 2* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

SHORT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Sofia, Bulgaria

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 1:00 a.m. From Sofia, Bulgaria NBCSN

MEN’S WRESTLING WORLD CUP — Yakutsk, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 10:00 p.m. Session 1 Olympic Channel
Saturday 3:30 a.m. Session 2 Olympic Channel
10:00 p.m. Session 3 Olympic Channel
Sunday 2:15 a.m. Bronze Medal Match Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
4:00 a.m. Gold Medal Match Olympic Channel Olympic Channel

 

Brian Orser reveals Hanyu’s, Medvedeva’s, and Brown’s Grand Prix plans

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Over the past decade, the Toronto club where Brian Orser coached South Korea’s Yuna Kim to the 2010 Olympic title has become such an attraction for top figure skaters from around the globe that it could add a word to a name that already is a mouthful.

You could call it the Toronto International Cricket Skating and Curling Club.

But its reach now is limited by the deadly virus pandemic that has effectively frozen out the elite athletes from Japan, Russia, South Korea and Poland who train at the Cricket Club.

That situation won’t change quickly, even with the International Skating Union having announced Monday its plans to proceed with a live format for the international Grand Prix Series. This fall, it will become a series of six essentially domestic competitions scheduled to begin with Skate America Oct. 23-25 in Las Vegas.

If they take place.

“As soon as the skaters can come back, it will be full steam ahead… to where, we don’t know,” Orser said via telephone Wednesday.

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu remains in Japan. Two-time world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva is in Russia, four-time national champion Cha Jun-Hwan in South Korea, and two-time national champion Yekaterina Kurakova in Poland.

“We would like for them all to come back, but with the Canadian travel restrictions in place until at least Aug. 21, we can’t guarantee approval to get them in, and they would have a 14-day quarantine here if they do get in,” Tracy Wilson, who coaches with Orser, said via telephone Wednesday. “Right now, they are all training at home, and that’s OK.

“The situation is different for each one. The Japanese federation may need Yuzu to do the Grand Prix in Japan, and at this point he would face quarantine entering Canada and returning to Japan.

“For Yevgenia, as soon as she does the Russian test skates (scheduled for early September), we will re-evaluate her situation.”

Orser said he has been doing three video coaching sessions a week with Medvedeva, with whom he is in his third season as coach. Medvedeva, who left Russia for Canada after winning a silver medal at the 2018 Olympics, also is currently getting help from coach Elena Buyanova at the CSKA rink in Moscow.

“She (Medvedeva) looks way ahead of where she was at this point last year,” Orser said.

MORE: Looking back at Yuna Kim’s 10-year gold medal anniversary

Orser also has been having live remote sessions with Cha and Kurakova, and they are also sending videos to him. The only skater he has not seen is Hanyu.

“That’s normal when he is back in Japan,” Orser said. “I wasn’t expecting anything.”

How long Hanyu stays in Japan may depend on travel restrictions being loosened in both his homeland and Canada.

“I would like to get them all back, and they need to come back,” Orser said. “But facing a double quarantine is not in anyone’s best interest.”

Only two of the Cricket Club’s international skaters, 2014 Olympian Jason Brown of suburban Chicago and Yi Zhu of Los Angeles (who represents China), have come back to Toronto after leaving in late winter.

It took Brown two tries to get back across the border because of issues with the paperwork necessary for Canada to consider it essential he be allowed to enter. Orser and Wilson want to be sure any skaters coming from Asia and Europe are admitted on the first try.

From April to July, until skaters could get back on the ice in their various homelands, Brown led Thursday off-ice fitness classes via Zoom, with Medvedeva, Cha and Kurakova taking part.

“It was such a fun way to stay connected and still ‘train’ together while we were oceans apart,” Brown said in a Wednesday text message.

Orser and Wilson will recommend that all the foreign skaters training at the Cricket Club try to compete at Skate Canada, scheduled the last weekend of October at a 9,500-seat arena in Ottawa. Wilson thought if the event cannot have spectators, it might be moved to a smaller facility, possibly in a different city.

“All plans are in the early stages,” Skate Canada spokesperson Emma Bowie said in an email.

Grand Prix assignments have not yet been made.

Whether Brown picks Skate Canada over Skate America – if he gets a choice – could depend on when (and if) the Canadian government shortens quarantine periods for travelers from the United States.

“I know that we are in such unprecedented and uncertain times, so I love seeing the ISU being creative and trying to find a way to hold skating events this year,” Brown wrote. “While a lot can happen before October, if it’s safe to do so, I’ll be ready and eager to take part in any events that I can.”

The ISU said it wants to have the Grand Prix Final in Beijing, whether it takes place on its original dates (Dec. 10-13) or early in 2021. The competition is to be used as a test event of the skating venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

There are no details yet on qualification for the final, which usually is determined by points for placements at the six “regular season” events of the series, held in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan. The top six in each of the sport’s four disciplines make the Final.

In the past, the highest-ranked skaters could compete in up to two Grand Prix events, but ISU Vice-President Alexander Lakernik of Russia said in a Tuesday email that everyone would be limited to one event this year.

Because the Final presumably would have much more of an international field than the six other events, staging it is infinitely more problematic because of travel involved.

“We want what’s best for the sport,” Wilson said. “We have to get these kids out there doing programs, to get them on TV. [Note: An NBC spokesman said the network would, as planned, provide coverage of the Grand Prix, with details forthcoming.] In terms of competition, we’re up for anything.

“For me, though, with all the restrictions, there is no way they will be able to run a fair qualification for the Grand Prix Final. You’ve got to reinvent yourself and make it something else – if you are able to have it at all.”

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 11 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com/figure-skating.

MORE: Nathan Chen is surprised, grateful and posing questions about figure skating’s restart

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Steven Nyman, top U.S. downhiller, faces another obstacle

Steven Nyman
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Steven Nyman, the active U.S. leader in World Cup downhill wins, tore his right Achilles in a training crash and had surgery earlier this week in Mt. Hood, Ore.

“I am moving forward,” was posted on Nyman’s social media. “I’ve been through this before and have full intention to comeback [sic] and compete through the next Olympics.”

Nyman raced in three Olympics and owns three World Cup downhill victories.

He turns 40 during the next Winter Games in Beijing in 2022, when he will be three and a half years older than any previous U.S. Olympic Alpine skier.

Nyman missed the PyeongChang Olympics after a pair of major injuries: blowing out his left knee in a January 2017 downhill race crash and tearing his right ACL in downhill training in January 2018. He also tore his left Achilles in 2011.

He raced the last two seasons with a best World Cup finish of fifth in Val Gardena, Italy, site of all of his World Cup wins in 2006, 2012 and 2014.

The U.S. men’s program is in the midst of its longest World Cup downhill victory and podium droughts this millennium — none since Travis Ganong‘s win in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Jan. 27, 2017.

MORE: Alpine skiing World Cup plans earlier season start with fewer fans

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