2022 Winter Olympics hit one year out date with star athletes emerging

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The Beijing Winter Olympics open in exactly one year — on Feb. 4, 2022 — and will be the largest Winter Games ever with 109 medal events. A sport-by-sport look at where things stand …

Alpine Skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin, after winning the slalom in 2014 and the giant slalom in 2018, goes into her third Olympic year challenged like never before. This season, after Shiffrin went 300 days between races following her father’s death, she ranks third in slalom and fifth in GS going into next week’s world championships.

After Lindsey Vonn retired in 2019, Shiffrin carried the U.S. program. But this season, others emerged. Breezy Johnson is the best downhill prospect since Vonn and Julia Mancuso‘s heyday. Ryan Cochran-Siegle ended U.S. men’s podium and victory droughts in the downhill and super-G, respectively.

Internationally, veteran Olympic medalists like Sofia Goggia of Italy, Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland, Petra Vlhova of Slovakia and Alexis Pinturault of France continue to rack up podiums and victories on the World Cup.

Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping
Jessie Diggins
, who teamed with now-retired Kikkan Randall to win the U.S.’ first Olympic cross-country skiing title in PyeongChang, is having her best individual performances ever this season. She became the first American to win the Tour de Ski, a Tour de France-like stage race. Then she notched her most impressive individual victory in at least three years (perhaps ever) last Friday, beating a field that included the dominant Norwegians who skipped the Tour de Ski.

The top male and female biathletes in PyeongChang have since retired, and Norway has capitalized this season. Norway also has the world’s top-ranked men in Nordic combined and ski jumping and the reigning Olympic women’s ski jumping champion, portending another possible medal standings rout like it had in PyeongChang (eight more medals than any other nation).

The U.S. could go one-two in a bobsled event for the first time in 90 years. Kaillie Humphries, a two-time gold medalist for Canada, married an American and switched to the U.S. program after saying she was verbally and emotionally abused by a Canadian program coach. Humphries, while in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship and Olympic eligibility, is allowed to compete on the World Cup and world championships level. Elana Meyers Taylor, a medalist at the last three Olympics, eyes her first gold after returning from childbirth last year. They’ll get two chances for medals with the addition of women’s monobob.

Germany still dominates men’s bobsled. Driver Francesco Friedrich is one of the world’s dominant athletes, following his double gold in PyeongChang with two- and four-man world titles in 2019 and 2020.

Germany also continues to rack up luge titles, led by two-time Olympic champions Natalie Geisenberger (back from childbirth) and Felix Loch (having his best season in several years) and Julia Taubitz, who just won the women’s world title. Though Germany swept the 2020 World titles in skeleton, veterans Martins Dukurs of Latvia and Janine Flock of Austria are having the best World Cup seasons.

The U.S. men’s team skipped by John Shuster that took surprise and storybook gold in 2018 remains largely intact and among the medal contenders after placing fifth at the most recent world championships in 2019. Still, Shuster’s group must qualify for the one and only U.S. Olympic spot at trials this fall.

Canada, after earning a medal in all 10 Olympic men’s and women’s curling events since the sport returned to the medal program in 1998, missed both podiums in PyeongChang. While the Canadian men took silver at 2019 Worlds, the women dropped all the way to eighth.

Figure Skating
One of the most anticipated head-to-heads in 2022 is lining up to be Hanyu Yuzuru of Japan against American Nathan Chen. Hanyu is trying to become the first man to win three Olympic singles titles in 94 years. But Chen is undefeated since entering PyeongChang as the favorite and placing fifth, including two wins over Hanyu.

It’s likely that a Russian takes a third consecutive women’s title. The 2018 Olympic gold and silver medalists, Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva, struggled since PyeongChang and have recently been absent from competition. A new group of teens ascended, led by three-time national champion Anna Shcherbakova and 14-year-old Kamila ValiyevaBradie Tennell, the top U.S. woman in PyeongChang in eighth place, regained her national title in January. Alysa Liu, who won the previous U.S. titles at ages 13 and 14, has shown the jumping arsenal to contend for a medal but is navigating a growth spurt and coaching changes.

The U.S. again has multiple medal contenders in ice dance, but French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron assumed favorite status after the retirement of Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. In pairs, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong could deliver for the host nation, but 2018 gold medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot have been skating together recently, fueling hope of a possible return after three years off.

Freestyle Skiing
The U.S. has a bevy of medal threats, but the most striking story this season has been the emergence of its women’s aerials program. Winter Vinecki, bidding to become the first Winter Olympian with that first name, and Megan Nick each earned their first World Cup wins, and two more U.S. women made a podium among the last four events.

The recent Winter X Games saw the star turn of Chinese Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old Stanford enrollee who won both halfpipe and slopestyle in her Aspen debut. The U.S. returns 2018 Olympic medalists in men’s slopestyle (Nick Goepper) and men’s and women’s halfpipe (Brita Sigourney, David Wise and Alex Ferreira). Another freeskiing event, big air, makes its Olympic debut in Beijing.

In moguls, the skiers to beat remain 2018 gold medalists Mikaël Kingsbury of Canada and Perrine Laffont of France.

The U.S. women followed their first Olympic title in 20 years by winning the 2019 World title in a shootout with Finland, the first time ever that it didn’t play Canada in a world championship gold-medal game. Canada missed its chance to rebound in 2020 when worlds were canceled due to the pandemic, but is due to host the 2021 tournament in April. Meanwhile, the U.S. program saw changes at head coach — Robb Stauber moved to coach club hockey and was replaced by Bob Corkum — and captain — Meghan Duggan retired.

NHL players are in line to return to the Olympics after not participating in 2018. That means the U.S. roster could include Patrick KaneAuston Matthews and Jack Eichel. Canada, which won the last two Olympics with NHL players, could get one more Olympics with Sidney Crosby, flanked by would-be Olympic rookies Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon.

Kim, who in 2018 became the youngest halfpipe gold medalist at 17, just won in her first two snowboard contests in 22 months, after taking a season off for freshman classes at Princeton. Shaun White hasn’t competed outside of skateboarding since his third Olympic title in PyeongChang, but was planning to return at X Games before withdrawing with a minor knee injury.

The U.S. also has the reigning Olympic slopestyle champions. Jamie Anderson, the only female snowboarder with multiple Olympic golds, won the last two X Games titles and just won her first X Games crown in big air. Red Gerard, the surprise 17-year-old champ in 2018, faces a greater challenge from Canadians and rising American Dusty Henricksen, who just won X Games at 17.

The U.S. has a rich history in snowboard cross, but with only two World Cups so far this season and no place in the X Games anymore, it’s hard to predict medal challengers until after next week’s world championships. American Mick Dierdorff won the last world title in 2019. Lindsey Jacobellis, a five-time world champion and 10-time X Games champ, last made a top-level podium in March 2019.

Speed Skating
The U.S. turnover has been striking — Olympic medalists Shani DavisJ.R. Celski and Heather Bergsma all retired after PyeongChang. Brittany Bowe is again dominating the World Cup, hoping to become the first U.S. woman to win an individual Olympic long-track medal since 2002. Otherwise, the Dutch still rule the oval.

In short track, the U.S.’ lone medalist in 2018, John-Henry Krueger, is now skating for Hungary. The March 2020 World Championships and the entire 2020-21 World Cup season were canceled amid the pandemic. Another worlds is scheduled for March.

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Fred Kerley flies into Florence via Grenada; Diamond League broadcast schedule

Fred Kerley

American Fred Kerley is about to race on a fourth different continent this year, but the seeds for this season — and all of his medal-winning seasons — were planted on the sand, grass and pavement of Grenada.

Kerley, the world 100m champion, headlines Friday’s Diamond League meet in Florence, Italy. Peacock streams it live from 2-4 p.m. ET. CNBC airs coverage Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.

It was to be a showdown between Kerley and the Olympic 100m champion, Marcell Jacobs of Italy. But Jacobs withdrew on Tuesday due to the nerve pain that has pushed back the start of his outdoor season. Jacobs withdrew from six scheduled races with Kerley dating to May 2022 due to a series of health issues since winning that surprise gold in Tokyo.

Kerley, who traded social media barbs with Jacobs earlier this spring, indicated a detente in a press conference Thursday.

“I’m not upset that he’s not competing, just wish him health and that he gets back to competing at 100 percent,” he said.

When speaking of himself, Kerley kept his trademark confidence. He wore a hat with a goat on it on Thursday and repeated that his focus is on two numbers: 9.69 (Tyson Gay‘s American record in the 100m) and 9.58 (Usain Bolt‘s world record). Kerley’s personal best, in two-plus years since dropping down from the 400m, is 9.76.

He resides in South Florida, a place that allows an outdoor athlete to train year-round. Kerley eschews that. He annually flies to Grenada for up to six-week stays.

“[I] work on a lot of specific stuff in Grenada to get me to the level I need to be when Budapest comes around,” Kerley said, referring to August’s world championships in the Hungarian capital, where he will bid to become the first man to repeat as world 100m champion since Bolt in 2013 and 2015.

Why Grenada? His Texas-based coach, Alleyne Francique, competed at three Olympics for the Spice Island, including placing fourth in the 400m at the 2004 Athens Games. That was the best Olympic finish for any Grenada athlete until Kirani James won a 400m medal of every color at the last three Games.

Francique recruited Kerley to Texas A&M out of junior college in 2015. When Kerley turned pro in 2017, he moved to the ALTIS training facility in Arizona. After a year, he went back to Francique at College Station — “It didn’t work out for me. I won’t say anything bad about the program,” he said in 2019, according to Track and Field News. Kerley has since moved to Florida, but Francique still coaches him remotely from Texas.

Kerley has trained in Grenada’s national stadium in St. George’s, which in 2017 was named after James. But a more unique venue for Kerley is a paved hill near the home of one of Francique’s friends.

“There’s no traffic, so it’s a good area to train,” Francique said.

There are few distractions there, aside from chickens, ducks and cattle. Francique noted that in the three seasons that Kerley trained in Grenada, he won bronze (2019 Worlds 400m), silver (Tokyo Olympic 100m) and gold (2022 Worlds 100m).

“So next year, maybe, he breaks a world record,” Francique said.

Here are the Florence entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

12:30 p.m. — Women’s Discus
12:45 — Men’s Triple Jump
1:15 — Men’s Shot Put
1:43 — Women’s Pole Vault
2:04 — Women’s 400m Hurdles
2:15 — Men’s 200m
2:20 — Men’s High Jump
2:25 — Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
2:42 — Women’s Long Jump
2:44 — Women’s 100m
2:56 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
3:06 — Men’s 5000m
3:28 — Women’s 400m
3:39 — Men’s 100m
3:49 — Women’s 1500m

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s Pole Vault — 1:43 p.m. ET
Just like the Diamond League season opener in Doha, the field has the top five from the last year’s worlds, led by Americans Katie Moon and Sandi Morris, the gold and silver medalists. Moon is the world leader this year indoors and outdoors, though she no-heighted at last Saturday’s Los Angeles Grand Prix. Come August’s worlds, she will look to become the first woman to repeat as world champ in the pole vault in 16 years. Morris, who was third in Doha, eyes her first global outdoor title after four silvers between the Olympics and worlds.

Women’s Long Jump — 2:42 p.m. ET
A gathering of the world’s most accomplishes active jumpers — Olympic and world champion Malaika Mihambo of Germany, Olympic and world medalist Ese Brume of Nigeria — and the top Americans — Quanesha Burks and Tara Davis-Woodhall. They’re all chasing 7.08 meters, the world’s best leap this year recorded by Jamaican Ackelia Smith, a University of Texas sophomore.

Men’s 5000m — 3:06 p.m. ET
Field includes Olympic 5000m champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega of Ethiopia and world silver medalist Jacob Krop of Kenya as well as reigning U.S. 5000m and 10,000m champions Grant Fisher and Joe Klecker. Cheptegei, the world record holder, was ninth at last July’s worlds and since has strictly raced on the roads and in cross country.

Men’s 100m — 3:39 p.m. ET
The entire podium from last year’s worlds meets here: Kerley and countrymen Marvin Bracy-Williams and Trayvon Bromell. It’s a similar field to last Sunday, when Kerley prevailed by five hundredths over South African Akani Simbine. Simbine is back, as is Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, who is the world’s fastest man this year (9.84) but was third in Rabat.

Women’s 1500m — 3:49 p.m. ET
Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, a double Olympic and double world champion, ran the world’s fastest time of 2023 at the Diamond League opener in Doha on May 5. Then last weekend, four different Ethiopians ran faster. Kipyegon figures to be faster in Florence than she was in Doha given the addition of Brit Laura Muir, the Olympic silver medalist and world bronze medalist, in her outdoor season debut.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw