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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that event having not competed in four months due to another right ankle injury and, after taking silver at worlds, was withdrawn from the World Team Trophy to recover from said injury.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

 

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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