Chen tops Hanyu in short program; Russia leads at World Team Trophy

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Russia leads six of the top figure skating nations with a total of 49 points after the first day of competition at the ISU World Team Trophy in Osaka, Japan.

In a three-country battle for podium positions between the powerhouses who took the medals at each of the past three World Team Trophy competitions – though always in varying order – the United States trails by only two points (47), followed by Japan with 42.

Nathan Chen topped the men’s field Thursday (109.65, less than a point from his IJS personal best), redemption after finishing an unexpected third in the short program at last month’s world championships with a score 10 points lower, with his best performance to date of his short program to “Asturias” by Frida Lopez and “Cancion del Mariachi” by Los Lobos. Helping move the U.S. from third to second, Chen was followed by two-time Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan (107.12), who had an error on his triple axel, and U.S. team captain Jason Brown (94.86).

“World Team Trophy for me is always a very enjoyable and very fun event, something that I feel more relaxed going into,” Chen, a three-time World Team Trophy participant, noted. “Training between worlds and now was very relaxed because I just need to make sure I stayed healthy and kept my energy going.

“I’m friends with all my fellow U.S. skaters and we have a good sense of camaraderie and team spirit, so to be able to have your best friends at a competition that you’re competing at together as a group is just really special, so just trying to enjoy myself as much as I can and still get my job done.”

Russia earned most of its points by having the top two women – reigning world gold and silver medalists Anna Shcherbakova (81.07) and Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva (80.35) – and top ice dance team in reigning world champions Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (76.79).

The rhythm dance kicked off the event, with Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri following the Russians (82.93) and Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker placing third in their World Team Trophy debut (76.79).

The women were next, with Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto (77.78) and Rika Kihira (69.74) sitting behind the Russians, followed by Team USA’s Bradie Tennell (67.40) and Karen Chen (62.48), who both had under-rotated jumps plus a fall by Chen on her opening combination.

World Team Trophy features an audience of fans – a first for many skaters this season – all at least one seat away from each other.

“It felt great to be able to skate for people; I felt a lot more energy than I did at worlds,” Nathan Chen said. “Having an audience for the first time in a while brought a completely different sense of energy and sense of fun with skating. I personally enjoyed that a lot. I was happy people were there. That being said, I know safety is the No. 1 concern. Everyone was obviously wearing masks and distancing, so hopefully that was enough to keep everyone safe.”

France, which replaced China after the fifth-ranked nation withdrew, is well back from podium position in fourth (26), followed by Italy (25) and Canada (23), which opted not to send any of its athletes who competed at worlds in late March due to the country’s mandatory two-week quarantine. Competition continues Friday with the pairs’ short program, free dance and men’s free skate, followed by the pairs’ and women’s free skates on Saturday. The biennial event is streamed live on Peacock with highlights airing on NBCSN.

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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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
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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