Kerri Walsh Jennings closer to 6th Olympics, but qualifying may come down to finale

Kerri Walsh Jennings
FIVB World Tour
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Kerri Walsh Jennings is in position to reach a sixth Olympics at age 42, but it will likely come down to the last qualifying tournament.

In back-to-back-to-back events in Cancun, Mexico, Walsh Jennings and new partner Brooke Sweat retained a lead in the race for the second and final U.S. Olympic women’s beach volleyball spot.

Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil cut into the advantage, from 240 points to 160 points (160 points is the equivalent of winning two matches in an event’s knockout rounds). The younger Americans would have at least tied Walsh Jennings and Sweat if they didn’t lose quarterfinals each of the last two weekends.

Walsh Jennings and Sweat didn’t get past the round of 16 in any of the three tournaments, which meant they didn’t add any points in Olympic qualifying.

Qualifying, which began in 2018, is more than 90 percent finished. Two events remain — in Sochi, Russia, and Ostrava, Czech Republic, in the last week of May and first week of June.

A team’s 12 best results count in qualifying. Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who have played 23 events, and Claes and Sponcil, who have played 19, can only add to their point totals by reaching the semifinals in the last two events.

The onus is on Claes and Sponcil, who are trying to become the youngest U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team in history. They must either make one final or finish fourth in one event and third in the other to overtake Walsh Jennings and Sweat, assuming the veterans don’t add to their point total.

Claes and Sponcil last made the semifinals of an international tournament in July 2019, 11 events ago.

Walsh Jennings can tie the U.S. female record of six Olympic appearances shared by fencer Jan York-Romary (1948-68) and shooter Kim Rhode (1996-2016, failed to qualify for Tokyo), according to Olympedia.org. Venus Williams is also going for a sixth Olympics in tennis.

April Ross and Alix Klineman previously clinched the first U.S. Olympic women’s spot. They finished third in each of the last two Cancun events, confirming their Olympic medal favorite status. Brazilians Ágatha and Duda performed best over the events with a first, a second and a third.

On the men’s side, 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena had the best performance of the American teams in Cancun. They finished third in the last event, drawing even with 45-year-old Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb atop U.S. men’s qualifying.

Gibb is in line to shatter the record for oldest Olympic volleyball player — beach or indoors.

Those two teams own a 440-point lead over the only other Americans in the qualifying race — Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, Taylor’s older brother. Bourne and Crabb must reach at least the quarterfinals in Sochi to remain in Olympic contention, and have to finish no worse than third in at least one of the two remaining events. They have one finish of third or better internationally in the last two years.

Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, the world’s top-ranked team, won the first two Cancun events. Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan made all three finals to cement themselves as Olympic medal contenders.

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Ukraine Olympic champion auctions gold medals to support his country

Yuriy Cheban
Getty
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Sprint canoeist Yuriy Cheban, Ukraine’s most decorated male Olympian, is auctioning his two gold medals and one bronze medal to support his country’s defense and recovery efforts amid the war with Russia.

“It was one of the best moments of my life that can be compared only with the birth of my child,” Cheban posted specifically about his repeat 200m gold at his last Olympics in Rio in 2016. “This Olympic finish left a great memory forever in the world history and in the hearts of Ukraine.

“Time to move on, I would like these medals to benefit Ukrainians once again.”

Cheban, a 36-year-old who coached Ukraine canoeists at the Tokyo Games, took 500m bronze in 2008 before his 200m golds in 2012 and 2016, all in individual races.

He and boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko are the only men to win two Olympic gold medals for Ukraine, which began competing independently in 1994. Cheban is the only man to win three total Olympic medals for Ukraine, according to Olympedia.org.

Swimmer Yana Klochkova won the most medals for Ukraine — four golds and five total.

All proceeds from the sales will go to Ukraine’s Olympic Circle charity, according to SCP Auctions.

Olympic Circle was created by sportsmen to help Mykolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine, fight Russian occupants, according to SCP.

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Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule for 2022-23 World Cup season

Mikaela Shiffrin, Marco Odermatt
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NBC Sports and Peacock combine to air live coverage of the 2022-23 Alpine skiing season, including races on the World Cup, which starts this weekend.

Coverage begins with the traditional season-opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria, this Saturday and Sunday, streaming live on Peacock.

The first of four stops in the U.S. — the most in 26 years — is Thanksgiving weekend with a women’s giant slalom and slalom in Killington, Vermont. The men’s tour visits Beaver Creek, Colorado the following week, as well as Palisades Tahoe, California, and Aspen, Colorado after worlds in Courchevel and Meribel, France.

NBC Sports platforms will broadcast all four U.S. stops in the Alpine World Cup season, plus four more World Cups in other ski and snowboard disciplines. All Alpine World Cups in Austria will stream live on Peacock.

Mikaela Shiffrin, who last year won her fourth World Cup overall title, is the headliner. Shiffrin, who has 74 career World Cup race victories, will try to close the gap on the only Alpine skiers with more: Lindsey Vonn (82) and Ingemar Stenmark (86). Shiffrin won an average of five times per season the last three years and is hopeful of racing more often this season.

On the men’s side, 25-year-old Swiss Marco Odermatt returns after becoming the youngest man to win the overall, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, since Marcel Hirscher won the second of his record eight in a row in 2013.

2022-23 Alpine Skiing World Cup Broadcast Schedule
Schedule will be added to as the season progresses. All NBC Sports TV coverage also streams live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Date Coverage Network/Platform Time (ET)
Sat., Oct. 22 Women’s GS (Run 1) – Soelden (PPD) Peacock 4 a.m.
Women’s GS (Run 2) – Soelden (PPD) Peacock 7:05 a.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 Men’s GS (Run 1) — Soelden Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s GS (Run 2) – Soelden Peacock 7 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 12 Women’s Parallel (Qualifying) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 6 a.m.
Women’s Parallel (Finals) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 12 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 13 Men’s Parallel (Qualifying) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s Parallel (Finals) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 10 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 19 Women’s SL (Run 1) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 4 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 7 a.m.
Sun., Nov. 20 Women’s SL (Run 1) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 4:15 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 7:15 a.m.
Fri., Nov. 25 Men’s DH — Lake Louise (PPD) Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 26 Women’s GS (Run 2) — Killington NBC, Peacock 12:30 p.m.
Men’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 27 Women’s SL (Run 2) — Killington NBC, Peacock 12:30 p.m.
Men’s SG — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:15 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 2 Women’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 3 Women’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Men’s DH — Beaver Creek CNBC, Peacock 4 p.m.*
Men’s DH — Beaver Creek NBC, Peacock 5 p.m.*
Sun., Dec. 4 Women’s SG — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 1 p.m.
Men’s SG — Beaver Creek NBC, Peacock 5 p.m.*

*Delayed broadcast.

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