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How to watch 2019 Skate America

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Nathan Chen competes this weekend in an attempt to win his third straight Skate America title, the first stop on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating for the 2019-20 season.

Skate America will stream live for NBC Sports Gold “Figure Skating Pass” subscribers.

There will also be a free trial of the subscription service during Skate America, taking place in Las Vegas. The free trial includes exclusive live coverage of practices and warm-ups starting Thursday, Oct. 17 through Saturday, Oct. 19. NBC Sports Gold’s “Practice Cam” presents live coverage of practice beginning Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Gold will stream coverage live and on-demand, to desktops, mobile, tablets, and connected TV devices.

Chen hasn’t lost a Grand Prix event since his silver medal finish at the 2016 Grand Prix Final. And he’s undefeated since his fifth place finish in PyeongChang. Now a sophomore at Yale University, Chen will face challenges from countryman Jason Brown, South Korea’s Cha Junhwan, and China’s Jin Boyang.

MORE: No burnout for ‘Rocket Man’ Nathan Chen

The ladies’ field features Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, who captured silver at Skate America in 2018, as well as 2017 and 2018 U.S. national champions Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell. Chen, who began her freshman year at Cornell this fall, returns to major international competition after missing last season with an injury.

Plus, Russian junior Anna Shcherbakova makes her senior-level Grand Prix debut after she won the 2019 Russian national championships (at the senior level, despite her junior status at the time) and silver at the world junior championships. Shcherbakova has landed quad Lutz in competition.

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue can lead the U.S. to its 11th straight Skate America ice dance title. Russia’s Aleksandra Stepanova (returning from an injury) and Ivan Bukin, fourth at last year’s world championships behind Hubbell and Donohue’s bronze by a slim 1.88 points, are also in the field.

Reigning U.S. national champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc will compete in pairs after winning bronze at last year’s Skate America. The biggest threats in the pairs competition will likely come from Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China and Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin of Russia.

Skate America entries: Men | Ladies | Pairs | Dance

Also at Skate America, the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone Ice Desk will stream live on the U.S. Figure Skating Facebook and Youtube accounts as well as the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone. Analysts Michael Weiss (three-time U.S. men’s champion), Brooke Castile (2007 U.S. pairs champion) and Sinead Kerr (seven-time British ice dance champion) join Nick McCarvel for commentary.

Skate America TV/Stream schedule (all times ET)

Thursday
1 p.m. – Practice camera – STREAM LINK

Friday
10:15 a.m. – Practice camera – STREAM LINK
4 p.m. – Pairs short program – STREAM LINK
5:30 p.m. – Men’s short program – STREAM LINK
10 p.m. – Rhythm dance – STREAM LINK

Saturday
12 a.m. – Ladies’ short program – STREAM LINK, Live on NBCSN
4:15 p.m. – Pairs free skate – STREAM LINK
6 p.m. – Men’s free skate – STREAM LINK, Live on NBCSN
10 p.m. – Free dance – STREAM LINK

Sunday
12 a.m. – Ladies’ free skate – STREAM LINK, Live on NBCSN (beginning at 1 a.m.)

MORE: Nathan Chen calls 3 quads at Skate America ‘a given’

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. Check out a free trial of the Figure Skating Pass during Skate America from Oct. 18-20. 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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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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MORE: Japanese athlete’s bid to become oldest Olympian in history still alive

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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