U.S. women’s gymnastics team wins record-breaking world championship

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A U.S. women’s gymnastics team mixing veterans and new stars won the program’s record-breaking sixth consecutive world championship in Liverpool, England, on Tuesday.

Shilese Jones, the U.S.’ new top all-arounder, plus Tokyo Olympic medalists Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles, Olympic alternate and 2021 World all-around silver medalist Leanne Wong and 17-year-old rookie Skye Blakely combined to crush the field.

The U.S. totaled 166.564 points with 11 of 12 hit routines, distancing silver medalist Great Britain by 3.201 to break its tie for the most consecutive world team titles with Romania (1994-2001).

It was the closest of its team titles since the start of its dynasty in 2011, though it wasn’t very close.

“It was fantastic,” said 2008 Olympian Chellsie Memmel, one of three leaders of the U.S. women’s program. “They all went out there and did their job.”

GYMNASTICS WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | Results

The Americans went three for three on vault and uneven bars to open up a 2.1-point lead at the halfway point. That allowed them to absorb Blakely’s fall off the balance beam and still cruise through the last rotation on floor to beat the host Brits, who earned their best-ever team finish at an Olympics or worlds.

Canada earned bronze, its first Olympic or world team medal for men or women.

Russian gymnasts who won last year’s Olympic title were banned due to the war in Ukraine.

Brazil, which hoped to become the first Western Hemisphere nation other than the U.S. to win an Olympic or world team medal, finished fourth. Its hopes deflated minutes before the competition when co-star Flavia Saraiva was replaced on three of the four events, likely due to an ankle injury from Sunday’s qualifying.

Italy (fifth) and China (sixth) entered as medal contenders but dropped off in the first rotation with two gymnasts each falling.

Last year, the U.S. was relegated to silver at the Olympics, snapping a streak of six consecutive global titles (Olympics and worlds).

Olympic all-around gold medalists Simone Biles and Suni Lee haven’t competed in elite gymnastics since the Tokyo Games, and haven’t committed either way for a 2024 Olympic run. Konnor McClain, who won the U.S. all-around title in August, withdrew from world team consideration with a back injury last month.

So this U.S. team leaned on a recent trend of NCAA gymnasts returning to elite competition: Carey, Chiles and Wong all went last year from Tokyo into freshman years of college, where the gymnastics system is so different from elite that it mostly requires different routines. They returned to elite after April’s NCAA Championships.

Historically, before the name, image and likeness era, most top U.S. female gymnasts either went professional, becoming ineligible for the NCAA, or signaled a retirement from elite competition by taking an NCAA scholarship.

“This is a comeback season for a lot of us,” said Chiles, who earned her first global gold medal. “We’re going to continue it all the way to ’24.”

The U.S. women, competing in a team event without Biles for the first time since 2012, had the best score in Sunday’s qualifying by a significant 2.668 points over Great Britain.

The men’s team final is Wednesday (1:45 p.m. ET, Peacock). The U.S. can win its first medal since 2014 after placing third in qualifying behind Japan and Great Britain.

Jones and Carey are medal contenders in Thursday’s women’s all-around final. Jones, Carey, Chiles and Blakely also qualified for individual apparatus finals on Saturday and Sunday.

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
Getty
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The Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive figure skating competition of the season and a preview of March’s world championships, airs live on Peacock and E! this week.

The top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series gather in Turin, Italy, at the Palavela, the 2006 Olympic venue. It’s the first Grand Prix Final in three years after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. qualified skaters in all four disciplines for the first time since 2007, led by the world’s top-ranked man. Ilia Malinin, who turned 18 last Friday, has been the story of the season, becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

Malinin, the reigning world junior champion, won both of his Grand Prix starts and posted the best total score among all fall events, edging world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin and Uno will go head-to-head for the first time this season at the Final.

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old world junior champion, is the youngest American at a Final since Caroline Zhang in 2007. She qualified in fifth place. The favorites are Japan’s Mai Mihara and Kaori Sakamoto and Belgian Loena Hendrickx.

The U.S. also qualified two pairs’ teams — world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe — and two ice dance couples — three-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

For the first time, the Final has no Russian skaters. They are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. For the first time in 25 years, there are no Chinese skaters. China’s top pairs’ teams did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

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

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 1:20-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Short Program 2:35-3:20 p.m. Peacock
Friday Pairs’ Free Skate 11:35 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance 1:50-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Short Program 3:05-3:50 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Men’s Short Program* 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!
Men’s Free Skate 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!, Peacock
Women’s Short Program* 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!
Free Dance 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Free Skate 3-3:55 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Highlights* 4-6 p.m. NBC

*Delayed broadcast.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

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Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

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