WATCH LIVE: U.S. Figure Skating Championships men’s short, pairs’ free, free dance

Nathan Chen
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The U.S. Figure Skating Championships continue Saturday with the men’s short program, pairs’ free skate and the free dance, live on NBC Sports and Peacock Premium.

In the men’s short program, Nathan Chen begins his bid to become the first man to win five straight national titles since Dick Button in the 1940s and ’50s.

Peacock Premium begins live streaming at 3:05 p.m. ET, with NBC broadcast coverage stating at 4.

Chen is undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics. Among those also looking to make the three-man team for March’s world championships include Olympians Jason Brown and Vincent Zhou.

WATCH LIVE: Men’s Short Program — Peacock (3:05 p.m. ET) | NBC (4 p.m.) | Skate Order

Key Skate Times
4:14 p.m. ET — Vincent Zhou
4:40 — Aleksei Krasnozhon
5:24 — Tomoki Hiwatashi
5:31 — Nathan Chen
5:37 — Camden Pulkinen
5:44 — Jason Brown

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full TV Schedule | Results

In pairs, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, both prior national champions with different partners, take a 6.16-point lead from Thursday’s short program into the free skate.

Knierim, an Olympian with now-retired husband Chris, can become the first U.S. pairs’ skater to win four national titles since Kyoko Ina took her fifth in 2002.

The top challengers are training partners, 2020 U.S. silver medalists Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson, who are in the driver’s seat for the second of two pairs’ spots on the world team.

WATCH LIVE: Pairs’ Free Skate — Peacock (8:15 p.m. ET) | NBCSN (9 p.m.) | Skate Order

Key Skate Times
9:39 p.m. ET — Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy LeDuc
9:47 — Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov
9:55 — Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier
10:03 — Jessica Calalang/Brian Johnson

In ice dance, two of the world’s top couples are separated by .44 of a point going into the free dance.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, in their first competition in 11 months, hold that slim edge over fellow two-time national champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. The U.S. can send three couples to worlds in Stockholm.

WATCH LIVE: Free Dance — Peacock (7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET) | NBCSN (9 p.m.) | Skate Order

Key Skate Times
11:15 p.m. ET — Caroline Green/Michael Parsons
11:23 — Madison Chock/Evan Bates
11:30 — Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker
11:38 — Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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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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