Chock/Bates lead Hubbell/Donohue as the longtime ice dance rivalry nears its end

2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 2
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As one of sport’s friendliest rivalries comes to a close, it’s Madison Chock and Evan Bates who hold an impressive lead over Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue at the halfway point of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The two ice dance teams, made up of Montreal training mates and childhood friends, have battled it out for podium spots at nearly every event the sport has to offer since both formed over a decade ago. When it comes to the U.S. Championships, they have been the sole contenders for the title each year this Olympic quad.

Chock and Bates, the 2020 national champions, entered as slight underdogs as Hubbell and Donohue won the title in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

But with an event record of 91.94 points for their Billie Eilish blues/hip-hop rhythm dance, Chock and Bates are 2.55 points ahead entering Saturday’s free dance.

“It is certainly not out first rodeo but it’s our favorite rodeo,” Chock told Andrea Joyce on the USA broadcast. “We love doing the U.S. Championships. The audience is incredible, we really felt their energy and their support out there. It was just such a pleasure to perform. I loved every second of it.”

The margin may not seem significant in an event that is expected to see a 220-plus point total, but it is the widest rhythm dance gap between the two at this competition since 2016.

Chock and Bates led by a mere 0.41 points after last year’s rhythm dance, but Hubbell and Donohue took the win by 1.63 points overall.

If they can hold on, Chock and Bates will win a third U.S. title, seven years after their first.

“We know that we just have to trust ourselves and stick to our process — we’ve got everything we need right here between the two of us,” Chock said as she looked at Bates, her partner off the ice as well.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

While Chock and Bates earned the best rhythm dance score of their careers, Hubbell and Donohue were less than pleased with their performance to a Janet Jackson medley that garnered 89.33 points.

“Zach and I are a little bit disappointed today,” Hubbell shared. “We’ve been practicing really well. … We’re a little bit confused — there were a lot of mistakes that don’t usually happen.”

A victory for Hubbell and Donohue would be especially meaningful as they have made clear this is their final season competing.

The U.S. will send three ice dance teams to next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, and while Chock/Bates and Hubbell/Donohue — with five world medals between the teams — are no-brainers to return to the Games, drama befell the race for that third spot on Friday.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker have been clear frontrunners, earning bronze the past three U.S. Championships, but for the first time this quad are in fourth going into the free dance.

They trail Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, in just their third season together, who scored 80.85 points — still 8.54 out from the top two but 1.46 ahead of Hawayek and Baker.

Hawayek, who suffered a concussion in July 2021, stumbled during their twizzle sequence at the start of the program. In their 10th season together, she and Baker are eager for what could be their Olympic debuts.

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Wimbledon reverses ban on Russia, Belarus tennis players

Wimbledon Russia

Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at Wimbledon as neutral athletes after the All England Club on Friday reversed its ban from last year.

The players must comply with “appropriate conditions,” including not expressing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They also must not receive funding “from the Russian and/or Belarusian states (including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the states) in relation to their participation in The Championships,” the All England Club said in a statement.

Other tennis tournaments have allowed Russian and Belarusian players to compete as neutral athletes.

“We also consider alignment between the Grand Slams to be increasingly important in the current tennis environment,” the club said. “There was a strong and very disappointing reaction from some governing bodies in tennis to the position taken by the All England Club and the LTA last year with consequences which, if continued, would be damaging to the interests of players, fans, The Championships and British tennis.”

This year’s Wimbledon tournament will start on July 3. The women’s final is scheduled for July 15 and the men’s final on July 16.

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2023 World Junior Gymnastics Championships live stream schedule

World Junior Gymnastics Championships

The world junior gymnastics championships individual finals stream live on the International Gymnastics Federation YouTube channel from Friday through Sunday.

Already this week, Japan swept the men’s and women’s team titles in Antalya, Turkey. The U.S. women took silver.

The U.S. women in Friday’s all-around final are Izzy Stassi (qualified fourth) and Jayla Hang (qualified 22nd). The U.S. men in Friday’s all-around final are Kai Uemura (qualified 11th) and David Shamah (qualified 14th).

Americans also advanced to four of this weekend’s apparatus finals: women’s vault (Stassi, Hang), uneven bars (Hezly Rivera) and floor exercise (Rivera, Hang) and men’s still rings (Uemura).

Gymnastics added a biennial junior worlds starting in 2019. The 2021 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Women ages 14 or 15 and men ages 15 through 18 compete.

The U.S. team in 2019 included future senior world team members Skye Blakely, Kayla DiCello and Konnor McClain.

2023 World Junior Gymnastics Championships Live Stream Schedule

Day Competition Time (ET) Platform
Friday Men’s All-Around 7:30 a.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK
Women’s All-Around 12 p.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK
Saturday Apparatus Finals 7 a.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK
Sunday Apparatus Finals 7 a.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK

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