Michael Phelps rewatched his Beijing Olympic races. He remembers everything.

0 Comments

Earlier this month, the Phelps family gathered around the TV. Michael stood behind the sofa. Wife Nicole was there. Their boys — Boomer, 3, and Beckett, 2, and perhaps 7-month-old Maverick, if he wasn’t sleeping. So was Michael’s father-in-law, who lives with the family. Even longtime coach Bob Bowman, or grandpa, as the boys call him.

“It was surreal,” Bowman said. “He even called Debbie on Skype or whatever.”

Debbie, Phelps’ mom, was conferenced in on a laptop, sitting atop the coffee table.

The occasion: to watch Phelps’ races from the Olympics that reaired as part of NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week. In particular, it was the first time he and Bowman watched his eight Beijing Olympic gold-medal finals in full together. (They previously watched some of the highlights hours after the eighth gold medal in a sitdown with Bob Costas for NBC primetime.)

“The two of us, our minds together, talking about breakouts and technique and all of it,” Phelps said in a phone interview Tuesday while promoting his new association with Silk Soymilk.

Bowman was Phelps’ career-long coach, through the 28 Olympic medals (23 golds), the well-documented lows and his newer roles as husband and father. On that night earlier this month, nothing on the screen could have surprised him.

Bowman watched. He paused every two minutes to raise a pillow, take Boomer’s toll money and let the boy push his truck through the living space. And he was reminded of Phelps’ encyclopedic memory.

“It wasn’t just Beijing. It was London. It was all of them,” Bowman said. “Like in the 200m IM in Beijing. I felt like his turn from back to breast, he really slowed down going into that wall, even though he was in the lead. He was like, yeah, I did that so I could touch on my right hand so I could look over and see where [eventual silver medalist] Laszlo [Cseh] was going into that wall.”

Q&A: Phelps on Peloton, Michael Jordan, story behind Maverick

Watching another race, Phelps forecast that he would come off a turn and, about halfway down, peer around to make sure the other swimmers were where he wanted them to be.

“Then you see him look over,” Bowman said.

Phelps wasn’t particularly excited to watch the races he lost in London — fourth in the 400m individual medley and silver to Chad le Clos in the 200m butterfly.

“I’m happy they didn’t show all of the races from London,” he joked of the Games for which he didn’t train properly, skipping out on practices and butting heads with Bowman (more than usual). “Or maybe I missed the 200m fly because I was putting the kids down. It’s still painful for me to watch that because I know I’ve seen it enough that if I would have hit any of the turns right, then I win the race. And that’s still frustrating to me to watch.

“It brought back a lot of raw emotions that probably hadn’t been addressed or really thought about in-depth. That made it a little bit more challenging being in quarantine.”

Oh, the 200m butterfly in 2012.

“It’s hard to believe he doesn’t win, right?” Bowman said. “He just misjudges the last wall, which messes up his kicks, which messes up his stroke count, which messes up the finish. Basically, that’s it. It’s not like he gets demolished, right? He didn’t get beat by a body length. It was he just mistimed the touch. It was the opposite of the 100m fly from Beijing.”

The one race from Beijing that Bowman watches frequently is the 200m butterfly. He uses it in talks. That’s where Phelps won despite his goggles filling with water, but he only broke his world record by .06.

“My favorite thing is he’ll touch, and it’s a gold medal, it’s a world record, and he looks like the most unhappy guy,” Bowman said. “It looks like he got eighth. He throws his goggles off. I remember, after that race, he actually came over to the side of the pool. I was standing there on his way to the mixed zone, and he just looks over and just kind of goes off in this tirade. My goggles filled up. I couldn’t see. I just remember saying, gold medal, world record, let’s just smile and move on to the next one.”

Boomer and Beckett have grown immune to their dad being on TV, Bowman said. They did get together on the coffee table at one point to do the trademark Phelps back slaps. All the while, dad was taking a trip down memory lane.

“It was kind of cool because I could almost just really put myself back into that exact moment,” Phelps said. “I can go back through history and really put myself in that pool, in that race again, pretty much know exactly what I was thinking every stroke.”

MORE: Why Michael Phelps unretired in 2013

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier win U.S. figure skating pairs’ title in possible final nationals

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier
Getty
0 Comments

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier haven’t decided if they’ll compete beyond this season, so Saturday may have been their farewell to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

If so, they went out as dominant winners, the first pair in their 30s to win nationals in more than 50 years.

Knierim, 31, and Frazier, 30, took their second U.S. title together, totaling 227.97 points to prevail by 31.11 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe. They led by a gaping 15.1 points after Thursday’s short.

Knierim and Frazier were solid after errors on their opening jumping combination in Saturday’s free skate. They broke their own pairs’ margin of victory record from the 2021 U.S. Championships under a scoring system implemented in 2006. Knierim appeared to wipe away tears backstage.

“As I get older, the longer I’m in this sport, the more gratitude I have for it,” Knierim, the oldest woman to win a U.S. figure skating title since 1995 (Renée Roca), said on USA Network. “After that music ended, I’m just thankful that Brandon’s by my side and I’m able to do what I love.”

Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea bagged bronze to likely round out the three-pair team for March’s world championships.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Knierim and Frazier considered retiring after last season, after they missed nationals due to Frazier’s COVID-19, petitioned onto the Olympic team and posted the best Olympic finish for a U.S. pair (sixth) in 20 years.

They then became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, beating a field that didn’t include any of the top five from the Olympics.

They returned in part to compete as world champions and rank second in the world this season (during which the top Olympic pairs also haven’t competed). They will likely go into March’s worlds in Japan as underdogs to Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who won their lone head-to-head this past fall at the Grand Prix Final.

Back in October, Knierim said this will probably be their last season competing together, though the pair also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after a Stars on Ice tour this spring.

“This U.S. Championships for us was extra special because you’re just reflecting on the journey, and you know that there’s a good chance that this will be your last one,” Frazier said.

Knierim won her fifth U.S. title, tying the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka InaTai BabiloniaRandy GardnerKarol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Silver medalists Chan and Howe continued their recent surge. After placing fourth at last season’s nationals, they rank sixth in the world this season. That’s despite summer injuries that left them unable to practice lifts (his shoulder) and throws (her foot) for a while.

Kam, 18, and O’Shea, 31, made the podium four months after becoming a pair and less than two months after a car Kim was riding in was hit by a drunk driver while crossing an intersection. The car was totaled, but Kim and O’Shea still competed days later in Croatia.

O’Shea won the 2016 U.S. title with Tarah Kayne, retired after they split in late 2020, then came back in 2021 with Chelsea Liu. They ranked sixth in the U.S. going into 2022 Nationals, but withdrew beforehand due to concussions both suffered in a November competition fall, according to Figure Skaters Online.

NBC Sports’ Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

2 Comments

Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Women
Gold: Isabeau Levito — 223.33
Silver: Bradie Tennell — 213.12
Bronze: Amber Glenn — 207.44
4. Starr Andrews — 188.24
5. Josephine Lee — 187.68
6. Lindsay Thorngren — 187.19
7. Clare Seo — 175.60
8. Gracie Gold — 173.98
9. Ava Ziegler — 167.70
10. Sonja Hilmer — 166.49
11. Gabriella Izzo — 166.40
12. Ting Cui — 161.27
13. Audrey Shin — 161.12
14. Lindsay Wang — 154.91
15. Michelle Lee — 145.28
16. Elsa Cheng — 138.13
17. Alexa Gasparotto — 129.41
WD. Hanna Harrell

Men’s Short Program
1. Ilia Malinin — 110.36
2. Jason Brown — 100.25
3. Tomoki Hiwatashi — 85.43
4. Liam Kapeikis — 82.27
5. Andrew Torgashev — 78.78
6. Maxim Naumov — 77.71
7. Jimmy Ma — 73.88
8. Goku Endo — 73.45
9. Samuel Mindra — 71.36
10. Yaroslav Paniot — 70.87
11. Camden Pulkinen — 69.47
12. Matthew Nielsen — 67.98
13. Joonsoo Kim — 67.45
14. Daniel Martynov — 64.04
15. Will Annis — 63.46
16. Dinh Tran — 60.63
17. Mitchell Friess — 59.14
18. Joseph Klein — 58.38

Pairs
Gold: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 227.97
Silver: Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 196.86

Bronze: Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea — 184.01
4. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 179.08
5. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 176.34
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 172.74
7. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 148.84
8. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 137.98
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 135.30
10. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 132.07
11. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 129.80

Ice Dance
Gold: Madison Chock/Evan Bates — 229.75
Silver: Caroline Green/Michael Parsons — 207.46
Bronze: Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko — 198.45
4. Emilea Zingas/Vadym Kolesnik — 198.13
5. Emily Bratti/Ian Somerville — 189.84
6. Lorraine McNamara/Anton Spiridonov — 189.15
7. Katarina Wolfkostin/Jeffrey Chen — 183.05
8. Eva Pate/Logan Bye — 182.61
9. Oona Brown/Gage Brown — 181.89
10. Isabella Flores/Ivan Desyatov — 177.31
11. Angela Ling/Caleb Wein — 167.87
12. Leah Krauskopf/YuanShi Jin — 133.93
13. Cara Murphy/Joshua Levitt — 129.85
14. Caroline Depietri/TJ Carey — 123.40
WD. Raffaella Koncius/Alexey Shchepetov

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!