Michael Phelps adjusts to new Olympic Trials role: spectator


Michael Phelps felt chills run up his body and the hair stick up on his arm on the pool deck at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha. He took a deep breath. This time, though, he wore a T-shirt rather than a waist-to-knee swimsuit.

Phelps, who retired in 2016 after upping his record Olympic medal count to 28, is at Trials as a spectator rather than a competitor for the first time since 1996 (when, at age 10, he watched sister Whitney race.)

“Body-wise, I feel like I’m almost ready. I’m ready to go,” Phelps joked Monday. “Maybe put me in there. Let me do a time trial or something. It’s something weird. It’s like I know something about this time of year. My body, my mind knows something.”

Phelps is taking it all in.

He was seen hugging former training partner Chase Kalisz after Kalisz won the 400m individual medley on Sunday to clinch the first of some 50 spots on the team. Over the last two days, he also conversed with longtime teammates Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian, both vying for one more Olympic team in their 30s (Lochte is actually 11 months older than Phelps).

And fellow retired swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, a teammate at the Sydney Games, when Phelps finished fifth in the 200m butterfly at age 15.

SWIM TRIALS: Results | TV Schedule | Women’s Event Previews | Men’s Event Previews

“Going from 2000 to where we are today, being able to see how far we’ve come, that to me is so impressive,” said Phelps, who swam his first Olympic Trials in 2000 at a 4,400-seat natatorium in Indianapolis. The CHI Health Center capacity is four times that. 

“I think we can go so much farther,” Phelps said. “We have a lot of amazing people that can help us do that.”

One of them is surely Katie Ledecky.

Phelps continues to follow the sport so closely that he is aware of Ledecky’s rival, Ariarne Titmus, swimming incredible times at the Australian Olympic Trials taking place in Adelaide (and finals happening before dawn for those staying in Nebraska hotels). And so closely that he wrote predictions (that he won’t disclose) for Ledecky’s times at Olympic Trials and/or this summer.

Phelps, now a father of three, said he felt tears and was overwhelmed, “but in a very positive way,” seeing Trials from the other side for the first time as an adult.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a ton of emotions, more than I can understand,” Phelps said, speaking before Monday’s finals session. “Just because this is all I know and all I’ve really understood.”

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Shoma Uno leads Ilia Malinin at figure skating worlds; Japan wins first pairs’ title


Defending champion Shoma Uno of Japan bettered American Ilia Malinin in the world figure skating championships short program.

Malinin, 18, plans one of, if not the most difficult free skate in history on Saturday in a bid to overtake Uno to become the youngest world champion in 25 years.

Uno, who has reportedly dealt with an ankle injury, skated clean Thursday save doubling the back end of a planned quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination. He totaled 104.63 points, overtaking Malinin by 4.25 on home ice in Saitama.

“I was able to do better jumps compared to my practice in my short program today, and even if I am not in my best condition, I want to focus on other details other than my jumps as well,” Uno said, according to the International Skating Union.

Malinin, who this season landed the first quadruple Axel in competition, had a clean short after struggling with the program all autumn. He landed a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combo, a quad toe and a triple Axel. Uno beat him on artistic component scores.

“I was really in the moment,” said Malinin, who plans a record-tying six quads in Saturday’s free skate after attempting five at previous competitions this season. “I was really feeling my performance out there.”

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

The quad Axel is not allowed in the short program, but expect Malinin to include it in the free, and he likely needs it to beat Uno.

Malinin has been a force in skating, starting with his breakout silver-medal finish at the January 2022 U.S. Championships. He was left off last year’s Olympic team due to his inexperience, then won the world junior title last spring.

He entered these senior worlds ranked second in the field behind Uno, yet outside the top 15 in the world in the short program this season. After a comfortable win at January’s national championships, he can become the youngest men’s world champion since Russian Alexei Yagudin in 1998.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Jason Brown placed sixth with a clean short in his first full international competition since last year’s Olympics.

The third American, Andrew Torgashev, fell on his opening quad toe loop and ended up 22nd in his worlds debut.

Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen has not skated this season, going back to Yale, and is not expected to return to competition. Silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan has been out with left leg and ankle bone injuries. Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu retired.

Earlier Thursday, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won Japan’s first pairs’ world title, dethroning Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who last year became the first Americans to win a pairs’ world title since 1979.

More on the pairs’ event here.

Worlds continue Thursday night (U.S. time) with the rhythm dance, followed Friday morning with the women’s free skate, live on Peacock and USA Network.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships results


2023 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, top 10 and notable results …

Women (Short Program)
1. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) — 79.24
2. Lee Hae-In (KOR) — 73.62
3. Mai Mihara (JPN) — 73.46
4. Isabeau Levito (USA) — 73.03
5. Loena Hendrickx (BEL) — 71.94
6. Niina Petrokina (EST) — 68.00
7. Nicole Schott (GER) — 67.29
8. Bradie Tennell (USA) — 66.45
9. Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) — 65.69
10. Amber Glenn (USA) — 65.52


Men (Short Program)
1. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 104.63
2. Ilia Malinin (USA) — 100.38
3. Cha Jun-Hwan (KOR) — 99.64
4. Keegan Messing (CAN) — 98.75
5. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 95.56
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 94.17
7. Kazuki Tomono (JPN) — 92.68
8. Daniel Grassl (ITA) — 86.50
9. Lukas Britschgi (SUI) — 86.18
10. Vladimir Litvintsev (AZE) — 82.71
17. Sota Yamamoto (JPN) — 75.48
22. Andrew Torgashev (USA) — 71.41

Gold: Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) — 222.16
Silver: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 217.48
Bronze: Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii (ITA) — 208.08
4. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps (CAN) — 199.97
5. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe (USA) — 194.73
6. Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud (CAN) — 193.00
7. Maria Pavlova/Alexei Sviatchenko (HUN) — 190.67
8. Anastasia Golubova/Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) — 189.47
9. Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel (GER) — 184.60
10. Alisa Efimova/Ruben Blommaert (GER) — 184.46
12. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea (USA) — 175.59

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