U.S. figure skating may rule at Skate America; TV, live stream schedule

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U.S. figure skaters could win the majority of the gold medals at Skate America, the top annual international competition held in the States, for the first time since 2003.

NBC Sports and Peacock air live coverage Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Peacock also has a practice cam on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Emerging American talent, mixed with the absence of Olympic medalists from other nations and Russia’s ban, means the U.S. should be all over the podium at the first event of the Grand Prix Series signaling the start of the season.

Americans are medal contenders in all four disciplines and the headliners in the men’s, pairs’ and ice dance fields.

The last time the U.S. won at least three of the four events at a single Skate America was in 2003 (not counting 2020, when the event was overwhelmingly red, white and blue due to pandemic travel restrictions).

Skate America Broadcast Schedule
All TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Friday Pairs’ Short Program 7:20-8:45 p.m. Peacock
Pairs’/Men’s Short Programs 7:30-10:30 p.m. USA Network
Pairs’ Short Program 8:45-10:30 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Rhythm Dance 2:40-4:15 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance/Women’s Short Program 3-6 p.m. NBC
Women’s Short Program 4:15-6 p.m. Peacock
Pairs’ Free Skate 7:15-8:45 p.m. Peacock
Pairs’/Men’s Free Skates 8-11 p.m. USA Network
Men’s Free Skate 9-11 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Free Dance 1-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Free Dance/Women’s Free Skate 2-5 p.m. E!
Women’s Free Skate 3-5 p.m. Peacock

In ice dance, Madison Chock and Evan Bates are favored to extend the U.S.’ 13-year win streak at Skate America. Chock and Bates, who won Skate America in 2014 and 2015 (their last Grand Prix title), placed fourth at the Olympics in February and earned bronze at March’s world championships.

They are the world’s top returning dance couple.

Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are taking at least this season off. Olympic silver medalists Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov cannot compete as all Russians are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. Olympic bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who won the last four Skate Americas, retired.

“It’s true much has changed in the last eight months since the Olympics, but nothing really changed for us,” said Bates, who at 33 is trying to become the oldest ice dancer to win a Skate America title. “I think with that kind of turnover, there’s a certain amount of embracing that we’ve done.”

In March, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier delivered the U.S. its first world title in pairs since 1979. None of the top five finishers from the Olympics were in that field — the three Russian teams were banned due to the war and China didn’t send any skaters to worlds. None of them are at Skate America, either, clearing the way for Knierim and Frazier to possibly become the first American pair to win any Grand Prix since 2006 Skate America (again, not counting 2020).

The talk of the competition will likely be the reigning world junior champions from the U.S. who make their Grand Prix Series debuts.

Ilia Malinin, the 17-year-old son of Uzbek Olympic skaters, became the clear men’s favorite after Olympic and world silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan withdrew due to injury. Malinin, who last month became the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition, can become the youngest men’s champion in Skate America history.

Like Malinin, 15-year-old Isabeau Levito followed a podium finish at last January’s senior U.S. Championships by winning the world junior title in April. Levito can become the youngest U.S. woman to make a Skate America podium since 2007 (Caroline Zhang), but Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto is favored for the top step. She is the world’s top skater in the absence of the banned Russians after taking Olympic bronze and world championships gold last season.

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Jessie Diggins ties U.S. record for World Cup cross-country skiing wins

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Jessie Diggins tied Kikkan Randall‘s U.S. record with her 13th career individual cross-country skiing World Cup victory, taking a 10km freestyle in Lillehammer, Norway, on Friday.

Diggins, the most decorated U.S. Olympic cross-country skier with a medal of every color, prevailed by 3.8 seconds over German Katharina Hennig in the interval start event. Diggins trailed Hennig by one second at the 8.2-kilometer split, then made up 4.8 seconds over the final four minutes of the course.

“My fitness and brain were in a really good place,” Diggins said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “When I asked my body to go deep into the pain cave, it responded.”

Diggins tied the record of Randall, who in 2007 became the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup cross-country skiing race and ended her career by teaming with Diggins to win the first U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. (Another skier, Alison Owen-Spencer, won a race in 1978 that U.S. Ski and Snowboard counts as a World Cup, but the International Ski Federation does not.)

Diggins opened this World Cup season last weekend in Ruka, Finland, with a best finish of 10th among three races. She trended up each day, finishing that stop with the second-fastest time in last Sunday’s individual pursuit (where she started 19th).

Diggins, 31, has spread out her goals this season. One of the biggest is helping the U.S. win a relay medal for the first time at the world championships in three months. Diggins has been a part of relays that finished fourth at four different worlds.

She also eyes the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport that goes to the best all-around skier for the season. In 2020-21, Diggins became the second American — and first American woman — to win the overall in a season where Norway’s top skiers, including superstar Therese Johaug, skipped early season races and chances to gain points for the overall title.

Johaug retired after winning three individual golds at last February’s Olympics. Diggins is the top returning skier given the absence of reigning overall champ Natalya Nepryayeva, who cannot compete due to the ban on Russian athletes for the war in Ukraine.

The World Cup season continues with a freestyle sprint on Saturday and a classic 20km mass start on Sunday in Lillehammer.

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Katie Ledecky out-touches new rival at swimming’s U.S. Open, extends streak

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It was a rare sight: Katie Ledecky being matched stroke for stroke in a distance race in an American pool. She was up for the challenge.

Ledecky out-touched emerging 16-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh by eight hundredths of a second in the 400m freestyle at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday night.

Ledecky and McIntosh were tied at the 300-meter mark. Ledecky ended up clocking 3:59.71 to McIntosh’s 3:59.79 to extend a decade-long win streak in freestyle races of 400 meters or longer in U.S. pools.

“I know we’ll have a lot more races ahead of us,” Ledecky said on Peacock. “We bring the best out of each other.”

The U.S. Open continues Friday with live finals coverage on Peacock at 6 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

At the Tokyo Olympics, McIntosh placed fourth in the 400m free at age 14.

She accelerated this year, taking silver behind Ledecky at the world championships and silver behind Tokyo gold medalist Ariarne Titmus of Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Then in October, McIntosh outdueled Ledecky in a 400m free — also by eight hundredths — in a short-course, 25-meter pool at a FINA World Cup meet in Toronto. Long-course meets like the Olympics and the U.S. Open are held in 50-meter pools.

McIntosh also won world titles in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

A potential showdown among Ledecky, Titmus and McIntosh at the 2024 Paris Games is already being compared to the “Race of the Century,” the 2004 Olympic men’s 200m free where Australian Ian Thorpe edged Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

In other events Thursday, Regan Smith, an Olympic and world medalist in the backstroke and butterfly, won a 200m individual medley in a personal best 2:10.40, a time that would have placed fifth at June’s world championships. She beat 16-year-old Leah Hayes, who took bronze in the event at worlds.

Olympic 400m IM champ Chase Kalisz won the men’s 200m IM in 1:56.52, his best time ever outside of major summer meets. Frenchman Léon Marchand won the world title in 1:55.22 in June, when Kalisz was fourth.

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