Top U.S. skaters return to competition ice for Las Vegas Invitational

Associated Press
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Twelve of the top U.S. singles figure skaters can be seen competing in a unique team format Sunday, Nov. 15, from 4-6 p.m. ET on NBC.

A lineup including two-time world champion Nathan Chen, 2020 Skate America winner Mariah Bell and two-time reigning U.S. champion Alysa Liu skate for either Team Tara or Team Johnny, representing NBC announcers and Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

“Any opportunity that we get to perform given this unprecedented time and season, it’s a great opportunity for us,” Chen said in a press release. “It’s a fun experience. I’m happy that HomeLight and U.S. Figure Skating did everything they could to put this together. It’s going to be a fun event.”

Terry Gannon will call the event and is joined by Lipinski and Weir, who coach their teams of three men and three women from the broadcast booth.

The Las Vegas Invitational was created by U.S. Figure Skating and HomeLight as an additional competition opportunity and a way to compensate for the lack of financial opportunities skaters have had during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prize money totals $50,000.

Ten of the skaters were invited based on a combination of their world ranking and 2019-2020 season’s best score, while Ilia Malinin and Audrey Shin were selected based on their performances at Skate America. The Las Vegas Invitational was taped two days after Skate America concluded. Each skater performed a free skate, and the scores were added together for a total team score.

Teams are as follows:

Team Tara
Starr Andrews
Nathan Chen
Alex Krasnozhon
Ilia Malinin
Audrey Shin
Bradie Tennell

Team Johnny
Mariah Bell
Karen Chen
Tomoki Hiwatashi
Alysa Liu
Camden Pulkinen
Vincent Zhou

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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