Who makes the U.S. Olympic women’s figure skating team?

Mariah Bell
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Figure skating’s autumn season climaxes next week with the Grand Prix Final, but it will not include any U.S. women’s singles skaters.

The next major senior competition for the top Americans will be the national championships in six weeks. After that, the three-woman Olympic team will be named by a committee, based on results over the previous year starting with 2021 Nationals.

Now that the six-event Grand Prix Series is finished, it’s an opportune time to gauge where everyone stands. A look at the contenders for Beijing:

Alysa Liu leads the pack

Liu, who in 2019 became the youngest national champion in history at age 13, is the clear leading U.S. woman this season. She has competed five times and posted five of the six best total scores among U.S. Olympic hopefuls, including the highest score by 8.89 points, according to SkatingScores.com.

That consistency makes Liu’s recent coaching change, two months before the Olympic team is named, less of a concern. Every American woman has question marks at this point.

Liu, in addition to her second coaching change in two years, hasn’t attempted a quadruple jump since taking bronze at the March 2020 World Junior Championships. She has tried five triple Axels this season. All but one were under-rotated or downgraded.

She doesn’t need a quad or a triple Axel to make the Olympic team — no other U.S. Olympic hopeful has landed either in competition — but she will to vie for a medal in Beijing (unless a Russian collapses). Liu ranks fifth in the world this season if taking out all of the Russians who won’t be at the Olympics.

Mariah Bell’s resurgence

Bell, in her sixth year among the handful of top Americans, had not shown anything this season to establish herself as an Olympic team favorite until this past weekend.

At the last Grand Prix Series event, she tallied 210.35 points for fourth place at Rostelecom Cup. Bell upped her season’s best score by 19.56 points and jumped from fifth to second in the domestic standings this autumn.

She was able to do that without a triple-triple combination. Among three competitions this season, Bell has landed one triple-triple (that was negatively graded). Bell landed triple-triples at most of her competitions in recent seasons. If she can get it back for nationals, you have to like her podium chances.

Bell is entered in a lower-level event in Croatia next week. At 25, she’s trying to become the oldest U.S. Olympic rookie female singles skater since 1920 (when figure skating was part of the Summer Games), according to Olympedia.org. One of her coaches, Adam Rippon, became in 2018 the oldest U.S. Olympic rookie male singles skater since 1936.

Bradie Tennell’s absence

Four years ago, Tennell entered the Olympic season as a nobody, won the national title and was the highest-placing American at the Olympics and world championships.

This season, the reigning national champion Tennell hasn’t competed at all, withdrawing before six scheduled starts and citing a foot injury. Last week, she pulled out of a lower-level event in Croatia three weeks ahead of time. There are no other significant international competitions between now and nationals.

No singles skater in the last 30 years made the Olympic team by making their season debut at nationals (though Michelle Kwan made the 2006 team without competing at all that season).

Karen Chen, Amber Glenn in the mix

After Liu and Bell, the third-best American this season is 14-year-old Isabeau Levito, who is too young for the Olympics.

After that, veterans Chen and Glenn are neck and neck. Chen’s best score is 202.49. Glenn’s is 201.02.

Chen, a 2018 Olympian, also boasts a fourth-place finish from last March’s world championships, which is among the competitions that the selection committee is supposed to include. Glenn and Chen also finished second and third at last season’s nationals, which boosts each’s profile.

Lindsay Thorngren the dark horse

Correction: A U.S. woman will be at the Grand Prix Final in Osaka, Japan, next week. Two, actually. Levito (again, too young for the Olympics) and Lindsay Thorngren qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final.

Thorngren, who turns 16 on Sunday and is age-eligible, scored at least 180 points in all of her events this season. The only other U.S. Olympic hopeful who can say that is Liu. Like Liu, Thorngren has tried triple Axels this season, though all three were downgraded.

Thorngren, who made her senior international debut two weeks ago, will look to follow the path set by Polina Edmunds, who made the 2014 Olympic team with zero senior international experience and Tennell, who had one senior international event under her belt before the 2018 season.

Thorngren won the 2020 U.S. junior title, then placed sixth in her senior nationals debut last season.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz set French Open semifinal showdown

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Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play in the French Open semifinals on Friday in the most anticipated match of the tournament.

Each man advanced with a quarterfinal win on Tuesday.

Djokovic, eyeing a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam men’s singles title, rallied past 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4. The Serb reached his 45th career major semifinal, one shy of Roger Federer‘s men’s record.

Later Tuesday, top seed Alcaraz crushed fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (5) to consolidate his status as the favorite in Friday’s showdown.

Alcaraz, who at last year’s U.S. Open became the first male teen to win a major since Rafael Nadal in 2005, is at this event the youngest man to be the top seed at a major since Boris Becker at 1987 Wimbledon.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

The Djokovic-Alcaraz semifinal will produce the clear favorite for Sunday’s final given left-handed 14-time French Open champion Nadal is out this year with a hip injury and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev lost in the first round. Djokovic and Nadal share the record 22 men’s major titles.

Djokovic and Alcaraz met once, with Alcaraz winning last year on clay in Madrid 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).

“[Alcaraz] brings a lot of intensity on the court,” Djokovic said, before breaking into a smile. “Reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand.”

Alcaraz and Djokovic were set to be on opposite halves of the draw — and thus not able to meet until the final — until Medvedev won the last top-level clay event before the French Open to move ahead of Djokovic in the rankings. That meant Djokovic had a 50 percent chance to wind up in Alcaraz’s half, and that’s what the random draw spit out two weeks ago.

Earlier Tuesday in the first two women’s quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova advanced to face off in Thursday’s semifinals.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, swept Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 to complete her set of semifinals in all four Grand Slams. Sabalenka will take the No. 1 ranking from Iga Swiatek if Swiatek loses before the final, or if Sabalenka makes the final and Swiatek does not win the title.

Svitolina, a former world No. 3, returned to competition in April from childbirth.

Muchova took out 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-2, to make her second major semifinal after the 2021 Australian Open.

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