Nathan Chen wins fifth U.S. figure skating title, joins Olympic legend

Nathan Chen
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Nathan Chen, in landing four clean quadruple jumps in Sunday’s free skate, won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for a fifth consecutive year. He became the first American man to accomplish the feat since two-time Olympic champion Dick Button more than 60 years ago.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, prevailed by a giant 30.9 points over Vincent Zhou.

“It’s incredible, something that I’ll truly cherish,” Chen said on NBC. “Dick has been an inspiration for all skaters since he won his seven in a row. It’s incredible to be able to try to follow in his footsteps.”

Jason Brown was third as the standings were unchanged from after Saturday’s short program at fan-less Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Chen totaled 322.28 points, down from the last two years after he erred on his first jumping pass Sunday. Chen stepped out of the landing of a quad Lutz and put two hands on the ice. It was his first negatively graded jumping pass at nationals since 2018.

“I was a little timid today,” said Chen, who attempted five quads in a program at nationals for the first time since 2018. “I didn’t really attack all my elements, just focused on trying to conserve energy. That’s not the right approach.”

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results | World Championships Team

While still a runaway, it was the smallest margin of victory of Chen’s five national titles. The other four margins (58.21, 55.44, 40.72 and 37.29) were the largest for any discipline since the 6.0 scoring system was thrown out in 2006.

Zhou and Brown also had jumping errors Sunday.

Zhou, who was within striking distance after the short program should Chen make significant errors, fell on a quad Lutz and singled a planned quad flip.

“I kind of had a moment of telling myself check yourself before you wreck yourself, but then I checked myself for too long,” Zhou, who landed two quads, said of the failed Lutz. “I’m not happy with myself for throwing away my first 300-point opportunity.”

Brown fell on his opening quad toe loop and singled a planned triple Axel. He has yet to land a clean, fully rotated quad in competition.

“Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the event went, a bit disappointed in today,” said Brown, who skated a clean short program with a higher artistic score than Chen and Zhou.

Chen, Zhou and Brown make up the U.S. team for March’s world championships in Stockholm, which are still on to cap an international season significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

At worlds, Chen is expected to face two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan for the first time since December 2019.

Chen outscored Hanyu in their last five head-to-head programs and can consolidate 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic favorite status with a third consecutive world title.

Chen entered the 2018 Olympics as arguably the favorite, then was shockingly 17th in the short program to take him out of the medal picture.

“I went to the Olympics, didn’t do well and had my worst fears sort of materialize,” Chen said. “If [a gold medal in 2022] doesn’t happen, it’s not like my legacy or who I am is ultimately diminished. … Whether or not I get that title at the Olympics is not going to define me.”

Zhou and Brown are both in the world championships medal mix, too.

Zhou, who considered quitting skating a year ago after failing to balance training with freshman classes at Brown University, joined Chen and Hanyu on the podium at the most recent world championships in 2019.

Brown, a 2014 Olympian, has outscored Chen artistically. Though Brown has never landed a clean, fully rotated quadruple jump in competition, he ranked fourth in the world last season by best total scores.

Since Button won seven consecutive national titles in the 1940s and ’50s, Scott HamiltonBrian Boitano and others won all four U.S. titles in an Olympic cycle, but Chen surpassed their streaks while bridging quadrennials.

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup

The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final