At Grand Prix France, a figure skating story for the ages

Deanna Stellato-Dudek, Maxime Deschamps
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Canadian Deanna Stellato-Dudek is older than Sarah Hughes, the 2002 Olympic figure skating champion who retired 19 years ago. Stellato-Dudek also left singles skating in the early 2000s, but she’s back after a 16-year competition break.

And she’s leading Grand Prix France, a stop on the sport’s top international level.

Stellato-Dudek and partner Maxime Deschamps topped the pairs’ short program, despite a fall, with 64.33 points on Friday. At 39 years old, Stellato-Dudek is already the oldest person to make a Grand Prix podium, taking Skate America runner-up with Deschamps two weeks ago.

GRAND PRIX FRANCE: Broadcast Schedule | Results

On Saturday, Stellato-Dudek can crush the record for oldest Grand Prix winner. Come the next Winter Games, Stellato-Dudek will be 42 and older than any Olympic figure skater since World War II, according to Olympedia.org.

That is far off. More pressing: A victory on Saturday will put Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps into December’s Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive event in the sport taking the top six per discipline from the six-event Grand Prix Series.

They are the story in pairs’ skating this season in the absence of the world’s top teams from Russia — banned due to the war in Ukraine — and China — none entered in the Grand Prix Series.

Stellato-Dudek took 2000 World Junior Championships silver and retired the following season due to hip injuries at age 17. She resurfaced in 2016 as a pairs’ skater with U.S. Olympian Nathan Bartholomay and placed third at nationals in 2018 and 2019.

The Illinois native decided to switch nationality to Canada and partnered with Deschamps. They were third at last season’s nationals.

Earlier Friday, world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx topped the women’s short with 72.75 points, 3.82 ahead of South Korean Kim Ye-Lim. Hendrickx, who landed a triple flip and triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination in a clean skate, can on her 23rd birthday become the oldest women’s Grand Prix winner since Finland’s Kiira Korpi in 2012 and the first Belgian in any discipline to win a Grand Prix.

Sota Yamamoto, who was eighth at last season’s Japan Championships, led the men’s short program with 92.42 points. He landed a quadruple toe-triple toe combination and a quad Salchow that was negatively graded. Yamamoto, 22, takes a 2.96-point lead over countryman Kazuki Tomono in a field that includes no Olympic or world medalists.

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri were the expected leaders in the rhythm dance with 83.52 points. The Italians can win their first Grand Prix ice dance title after second- or third-place finishes in their last seven Grand Prix starts, including the 2018 Grand Prix Final.

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
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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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