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U.S. sending world medalists Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou, ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue to World Team Trophy

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Team USA is among the six best international figure skating teams and qualified for the World Team Trophy, the International Skating Union announced on Sunday. The event takes place this year April 11-14 in Fukuoka, Japan.

The U.S. is sending Mariah Bell, Bradie Tennell, Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou, pair team Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc, and ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, U.S. Figure Skating announced Thursday.

Chen and Zhou shared the World Championships podium last week, earning gold and silver in the men’s discipline, respectively. Hubbell and Donohue won their second consecutive ice dance medal, a bronze this year.

The biennial event brings together eight skaters per team, consisting of two men, two ladies, one pair and one ice dance team for a competition similar to the Olympic team event. The U.S. has won two straight bronze medals at the Olympics in the team event, yet has won the World Team Trophy three times.

Russia leads the standings with 9,038 points, followed by the U.S. (7,752), Japan (6,991), France (5,541), Italy (4,344) and Canada (4,217).

Points are scored using a scale based on the ISU World Standing points accumulated throughout the season. The World Team Trophy is where skaters can let loose and cheer for their teammates in elaborately decorated team cheering boxes.

“It is always a great pleasure to be able to compete in Japan,” Chen said after winning his second consecutive world title there last week, on spring break during his second semester at Yale University. “It so, so cool and awesome to compete in front of such a loud crowd.

The World Team Trophy will stream on the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold.

Yuzuru Hanyu, who won silver at his home World Championships in Japan, won’t compete for Team Japan at the World Team Trophy. He announced Monday that he’ll instead continue to rehab his lingering ankle injury, which dates back to November.

The rest of Japan’s home team will include Kaori Sakamoto, Rika Kihira, Keiji Takana, Shoma Uno, plus pair Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto and ice dancers Riku Miura and Shoya Ichihashi.

Team Russia will include Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Sofia Samodurova, Mikhail Kolyada, Alexander Samarin, and pair Natalia Zabiyako and Alexander Enbert, plus ice dancers Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

MORE: By any measure, Nathan Chen’s performance at Worlds matches standard for transcendent greatness

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2018-19 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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IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

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IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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