Yuzuru Hanyu headlines Skate Canada; TV, live stream schedule

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Nathan Chen set the bar last week. Now it’s Yuzuru Hanyu‘s turn.

Hanyu makes his Grand Prix season debut at Skate Canada in Kelowna, B.C., streaming live on NBC Sports Gold on Friday and Saturday. NBC airs highlights Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Hanyu, the two-time Olympic champion and Japanese megastar, is a clear favorite against a field lacking any of the other top-10 skaters from last season. Hanyu’s competition these days is the world champion Chen, even though they won’t go head-to-head until December at the earliest.

Chen opened his campaign last week at Skate America, totaling 299.09 points, tops in the world this season. Hanyu had been No. 1, after tallying 279.05 at a lower-level event in Canada in September.

Hanyu has conquered rivals before — Patrick Chan and Javier Fernandez, most notably. But neither boasted the jumping arsenal of Chen, who has the ability to land six quads in a free skate.

Chen comfortably outscored Hanyu in their last three head-to-head programs, including at last season’s worlds. Granted, Hanyu entered that event having not competed in four months due to another right ankle injury and, after taking silver at worlds, was withdrawn from the World Team Trophy to recover from said injury.

“I have never seen [Hanyu] at this time of the year to be so focused,” coach Brian Orser said in September. “When we were trying to surpass Patrick Chan, [Chan] was the benchmark. … We had to play to Patrick’s strengths, which was components [artistry]. … We had to build a plan to catch them and exceed them [the components] to get where he wants to be. Now, to get where he wants to be, he has to use himself as the measure.”

The women’s competition at Skate Canada is more decorated.

It features the top-ranked skater on the young season — Russian 15-year-old Alexandra Trusova — who landed four quads in her most recent free skate.

In her senior Grand Prix debut, Trusova takes on Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva, who seeks her first top-level international win in nearly two years. Plus, Japanese Rika Kihira, the top skater from the 2018 Grand Prix season, and 2018 U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who earned silver at Skate America.

World medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue headline the pairs’ and ice dance fields, respectively.

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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Skate Canada Broadcast Schedule

Day Time (ET) Event Network
Friday 2 p.m. Rhythm Dance NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
3:30 p.m. Women’s Short NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
7 p.m. Pairs’ Short NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
8 p.m. Men’s Short NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
Saturday 2 p.m. Free Dance NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
4 p.m. Women’s Free NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
7:45 p.m. Pairs’ Free NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
9:30 p.m. Men’s Free NBC Sports Gold | STREAM LINK
Sunday 4:30-6 p.m. Highlights NBC | STREAM LINK

 

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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