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WATCH LIVE: Simone Biles, U.S. women in world gymnastics championships team final

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Simone Biles can break the women’s record most world championships medals, leadlng the U.S. in pursuit of a seventh straight Olympic or world team title at the world championships on Tuesday, live on NBCSN and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Biles, along with Jade CareyKara EakerSunisa Lee and Grace McCallum, are massive favorites for gold in Stuttgart, Germany.

They qualified in first place over the weekend, 5.044 points ahead of China.

For perspective on how great a margin that is, a fall off an apparatus deducts one point. Yet it’s the U.S.’ smallest margin over a second-place team in Olympic or world qualifying since the 2014 Worlds.

LIVE STREAM: World Gymnastics Championships women’s team final — 8:30 a.m. ET

The records at stake: Biles can break her tie with retired Russian Svetlana Khorkina for the most women’s medals in world championships history. They’re both on 20, though Biles already has the “most decorated” title because she has the tiebreaker of more golds than Khorkina (14 to nine).

Vitaly Scherbo holds the overall record of 23 medals, which Biles can break in apparatus finals on Saturday and Sunday.

The U.S. can tie Romania’s record from the 1990s and early 2000s of five straight world women’s team titles. The U.S. overall reign — winning every Olympic and world team title since 2011 — is the longest since Soviet teams of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

The team final format will change for the Tokyo Olympics, when rosters will be reduced from five gymnasts to four. What looks unlikely to change: the U.S. is in a class of its own.

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GYM WORLDS: TV Schedule | Women’s Finals Qualifiers | Men’s Finals Qualifiers

Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“It doesn’t beat doing it here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford, in his 86th World Cup start dating to 2009, said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “No secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native and former Dartmouth student had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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