Nathan Chen rebounds from Vegas mishaps to lead after Skate Canada short program


Twenty-eight seconds into his short program at Skate America in Las Vegas a week ago, Nathan Chen found himself with his rear end on the ice.

It wasn’t the first time Chen had fallen in a competition, of course. It actually had happened in his previous individual competition, the 2021 World Championships. And it was on the same opening short program jump, a quadruple lutz, putting him third going into a free skate he easily won to take a third straight world title.

Yet the fall at Skate America last week clearly affected him more. Chen botched his third jumping pass and wound up with his worst short program score since the 2018 Olympics. The desultory free skate (four clean quads notwithstanding) that followed left him third overall, with his lowest total score in 22 international events dating to autumn 2016 and also his first loss since those 2018 Olympics.

That is why Chen chose to go right back to the quad lutz rather than pick an easier jump to open Friday’s short program at Skate Canada in Vancouver.

“I definitely needed to get over that hurdle of the lutz,” Chen said.

It may not have been his best quad lutz ever, but it was clean and solid, and it released Chen to flow rather than struggle through the rest of the 2-minute, 50-second program, as had happened at Skate America. He followed Friday’s lutz with a strong triple axel and a quad toe-triple toe combination that earned his fourth highest score ever for that element.

With the jumps out of the way and the music switching to the pulsating “Nemesis,” Chen infused the final part of his program with the energy that had poured out of him when he skated to a longer version of that song in the last Olympic season.

He won the short program with 106.72 points, easily outdistancing a field in which Chen’s compatriot, Jason Brown, took second (94.0) with a scintillating performance to Nina Simone’s powerful “Sinnerman.” Without a quad, Brown finished almost 13 points behind Chen (two quads) in technical scores, a difference he could trim only slightly on components.

“There were points left on the table I am determined to grab as the season goes on,” Brown said. “So I’m pleased but hungry for more.”

Keegan Messing of Canada was third (93.28), and Makar Ignatov put up a personal best of 89.79 for fourth, piling up points with his strong quads but losing others with lackluster spins.

After his free skate at Skate America, Chen said he needed more time to reflect on what had gone wrong.

“At this point, all I can really try to do is keep moving forward, try to learn from this competition and go from there,” he said.

He didn’t have much time. And that turned out to be a good thing.

“I’m happy to have had an opportunity right off the bat to give myself another shot,” Chen said.

“From past experience, the first couple competitions I have had (every season) have never been perfect. That’s not to say I should not be. That’s on me. Every time I skate, I’m supposed to be skating well.”

In fact, even during the first two seasons of his unbeaten streak, Chen had made significant mistakes, large and small, in both his scheduled Grand Prix events. The difference at 2021 Skate America was for the first time in an individual event since the 2017 worlds, he had won neither the short program nor the free skate.

“I’m not really in a place where I’m like, ‘Things are definitely going to go downhill from here,’” Chen said of needing to rebuild confidence. “It’s a constant progression. There are going to be good days, there are going to be bad days.

“If I start thinking too far ahead or start worrying too much about what’s to come, I’m going to lose sight of what I currently have to do.”

The next thing is Saturday’s free skate. A strong performance would, for better or worse, put Chen right back in the position he held when the season began: solid favorite for the Olympic gold medal next February in Beijing.

That doesn’t mean Chen will let what happened in Vegas stay in Vegas.

“I still have to figure out what it is logistically that went wrong,” he said.

It may have been nothing that a good quadruple lutz couldn’t fix.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 11 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to

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Ryan Crouser breaks world record in shot put at Los Angeles Grand Prix


Two-time Olympic champion Ryan Crouser registered one of the greatest performances in track and field history, breaking his world record and throwing three of the six farthest shot puts of all time at the Los Angeles Grand Prix on Saturday.

Crouser unleashed throws of 23.56 meters, 23.31 and 23.23 at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. His previous world record from the Tokyo Olympic Trials was 23.37. He now owns the top four throws in history, and the 23.23 is tied for the fifth-best throw in history.

“The best thing is I’m still on high volume [training], heavy throws in the ring and heavy weights in the weight room, so we’re just starting to work in some speed,” the 6-foot-7 Crouser, who is perfecting a new technique coined the “Crouser slide,” told Lewis Johnson on NBC.

Sha’Carri Richardson won her 100m heat in 10.90 seconds into a slight headwind, then did not start the final about 90 minutes later due to cramping, Johnson said. Richardson is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100m in 2023 (10.76) and No. 2 in the 200m (22.07).

Jamaican Ackeem Blake won the men’s 100m in a personal best 9.89 seconds. He now ranks third in the world this year behind Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala and American Fred Kerley, who meet in the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday (2-4 p.m. ET, CNBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock).

The next major meet is the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in early July, when the top three in most individual events qualify for August’s world championships.

Richardson will bid to make her first global championships team, two years after having her Olympic Trials win stripped for testing positive for marijuana and one year after being eliminated in the first round of the 100m at USATF Outdoors.

LA GRAND PRIX: Full Results

Also Saturday, Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won the 100m hurdles in 12.31, the fastest time ever this early in a year. Nigerian Tobi Amusan, who at last July’s worlds lowered the world record to 12.12, was eighth in the eight-woman field in 12.69.

Maggie Ewen upset world champion Chase Ealey in the shot put by throwing 20.45 meters, upping her personal best by more than three feet. Ewen went from 12th-best in American history to third behind 2016 Olympic champion Michelle Carter and Ealey.

Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic ran the fastest women’s 400m since the Tokyo Olympics, clocking 48.98 seconds. Paulino is the Olympic and world silver medalist. Olympic and world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas is on a maternity break.

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy won the 800m in 1:44.75, beating a field that included most of the top Americans in the event. Notably absent was 2019 World champion Donovan Brazier, who hasn’t raced since July 20 of last year amid foot problems.

CJ Allen won the 400m hurdles in a personal best 47.91, consolidating his argument as the second-best American in the event behind Olympic and world silver medalist Rai Benjamin, who withdrew from the meet earlier this week.

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Primoz Roglic set to win Giro d’Italia over Geraint Thomas

106th Giro d'Italia 2023 - Stage 20
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Primož Roglič all but secured the Giro d’Italia title on Saturday by overtaking leader Geraint Thomas on the penultimate stage despite having a mechanical problem on the mountain time trial.

Roglič started the stage 26 seconds behind Thomas — who was trying to become the oldest Giro champion in history — but finished the route 40 seconds quicker than the British cyclist after the demanding climb of the Monte Lussari.

That saw Roglič move into the leader’s pink jersey, 14 seconds ahead of Thomas going into the race’s mainly ceremonial final stage.

Roglič was cheered on all the way by thousands of fans from just across the border to his native Slovenia. They packed the slopes of the brutal ascent up Monte Lussari, which had an elevation of more than 3,000 feet and gradients of up to 22%.

The 33-year-old Roglič celebrated at the end with his wife and son, who was wearing a replica of the pink jersey.

“Just something amazing, eh? It’s not at the end about the win itself, but about the people, and the energy here, so incredible, really moments to live and to remember,” said Roglič, who had tears in his eyes during the post-stage television interview, which he did with his son in his arms.

It will be a fourth Grand Tour victory for Roglič, who won the Spanish Vuelta three years in a row from 2019-2021

Roglič also almost won the Tour de France in 2020, when he was leading going into another mountain time trial on the penultimate stage. But that time it was Roglič who lost time and the race to compatriot Tadej Pogačar in one of the most memorable upsets in a Grand Tour in recent years.

It appeared as if the Jumbo-Visma cyclist’s hopes were evaporating again when he rode over a pothole about halfway through the brutal climb up Monte Lussari and his chain came off, meaning he had to quickly change bicycles.

His teammates and staff had their hands over their heads in disbelief.

Despite that setback, Roglič — who had been 16 seconds ahead of Thomas at the previous intermediate time check — went on to increase his advantage.

“I dropped the chain, I mean it’s part of it,” he said. “But I got started again and I just went … I had the legs, the people gave me extra (energy).”

The 33-year-old Roglič won the stage ahead of Thomas. Joao Almeida was third, 42 seconds slower.

For Thomas, his bad luck at the Giro continued. In 2017, he was involved in a crash caused by a police motorbike, and three years later he fractured his hip after a drinks bottle became lodged under his wheel – being forced to abandon both times.

Thomas turned 37 on Thursday. The Ineos Grenadiers cyclist had seemed poised to become the oldest Giro winner in history — beating the record of Fiorenzo Magni, who was 34 when he won in 1955.

“I could feel my legs going about a kilometer and a half from the top. I just didn’t feel I had that real grunt,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s nice to lose by that much rather than a second or two, because that would be worse I think.

“At least he smashed me and to be honest Primoz deserves that. He had a mechanical as well, still put 40 seconds into me so chapeau to him. If you’d told me this back in (February), March, I would have bit your hand off but now I’m devastated.”

Thomas and Roglič exchanged fist bumps as they waited their turn to ride down the ramp at the start of the 11.6-mile time trial.

The Giro will finish in Rome on Sunday, with 10 laps of a seven-mile circuit through the streets of the capital, taking in many of its historic sites.

“One more day to go, one more focus, because I think the lap is quite hard, technical. So it’s not over til it’s finished,” Roglič said. “But looks good, voila.”

The route will pass by places such as the Altare della Patria, the Capitoline Hill, the Circus Maximus and finish at the Imperial Forums, in the shadow of the Colosseum.

The Tour de France starts July 1, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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