WATCH LIVE: U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials finals

Olympic Wrestling Trials
Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers Are Warriors

The U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials finals determine spots on the team for Tokyo, live on NBC Sports in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday night.

Best-of-three finals series in all 18 divisions (six each for men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman) start at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app.

Fifteen winners qualify for the Olympics. Three others, in divisions where the U.S. has yet to qualify a quota spot, can earn their places in Tokyo by finishing in the top two at a global qualification tournament in May.

NBCSN: Mat 2 focus — STREAM LINK, NBC Sports app: Mat 3 — STREAM LINK, NBC Sports app: Mat 4 — STREAM LINK

MORE: Olympic Wrestling Trials finals series matchups

Jordan Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, faces two-time world champion Kyle Dake in the most anticipated finals series in men’s freestyle 74kg. Burroughs, at 32, bids for his 10th consecutive Olympic/world team and his third Olympics. Dake, 30, eyes his first Olympics and his first series victory over Burroughs after defeats in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Helen Maroulis, who in 2016 became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic wrestling title, continues her comeback from concussions and post-traumatic stress disorder that led to a brief retirement in 2019. Maroulis gets 2019 World team member Jenna Burkert in the women’s freestyle 57kg finals. Burkert is wrestling one week after her mom died following complications from open-heart surgery.

Kyle Snyder, who in 2016 became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion in history at 20, was expected to have a showdown with two-time world champion J’den Cox in men’s freestyle 97kg. But Cox shockingly missed weight on Friday morning and was removed from the bracket. Instead, Snyder gets former Ohio State teammate Kollin Moore.

Other world champions in action include Adeline Gray (U.S. record five-time world champion) Tamyra Mensah-StockJacarra Winchester and David Taylor. Gray and Mensah-Stock each face a 17-year-old high schooler in their finals who would not have been old enough for the Olympics had they been held in 2020.

No woman younger than 18 has ever wrestled at the Olympics (women’s events debuted in 2004), and no woman younger than 21 has wrestled for the U.S. at an Olympics.

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Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier top pairs’ short at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier

World champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier lead after the pairs’ short program in what may be their last U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Knierim and Frazier, who last March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, tallied 81.96 points to open the four-day nationals on Thursday.

They lead by 15.1 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe going into Saturday’s free skate in San Jose, California. The top three teams from last year’s event — which Knierim and Frazier missed due to him contracting COVID-19 — are no longer competing together.

After nationals, a committee selects three U.S. pairs for March’s world championships in Japan.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Before the fall Grand Prix Series, the 31-year-old 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.

“I don’t like to just put it out there and say it is the last or not going to be the last because life just has that way of throwing curveballs, and you just never know,” Frazier said this month. “But I would say that this is the first nationals where I’m going to go in really trying to soak up every second as if it is my last because you just don’t know.”

Knierim is going for a fifth U.S. title, which would tie the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka Ina, Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner, Karol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Knierim is also trying to become the first female pairs’ skater in her 30s to win a national title since 1993. Knierim and ice dancer Madison Chock are trying to become the first female skaters in their 30s to win a U.S. title in any discipline since 1995.

After being unable to defend their 2021 U.S. title last year, Knierim and Frazier reeled off a series of historic results in what had long been the country’s weakest discipline.

They successfully petitioned for an Olympic spot and placed sixth at the Games, best for a U.S. pair since 2002. They considered retirement after their world title, which was won without the top five teams from the Olympics in attendance. They returned in part to compete as world champions and to give back to U.S. skating, helping set up younger pairs for success.

They became the first U.S. pair to win two Grand Prix Series events, then in December became the first U.S. pair to make a Grand Prix Final podium (second place). The world’s top pairs were absent; Russians banned due to the war in Ukraine and Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong from China leaving competition ice (for now).

Knierim and Frazier’s real test isn’t nationals. It’s worlds, where they will likely be the underdog to home favorites Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who edged the Americans by 1.3 points in the closest Grand Prix Final pairs’ competition in 12 years.

Nationals continue with the rhythm dance and women’s short program later Thursday.

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

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2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

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

Pairs Short Program
1. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 81.96
2. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 66.86
3. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea —- 65.75
4. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 63.45
5. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 63.12
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 56.96
7. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 50.72
8. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 46.96
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 46.81
10. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 45.27
11. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 43.99

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

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