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Gabriella Papadakis, Guillaume Cizeron sidelined by injury

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Olympic ice dance silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will miss this week’s NHK Trophy after Cizeron hurt his back in a practice fall on Wednesday, their agent said.

The injury is not serious, and the French couple is still confirmed to compete in its other Grand Prix in France in two weeks. They are expected to return to the ice as soon as later Tuesday for limited training.

NBC Sports Gold live streams every men’s, women’s, pairs’ and dance program at NHK Trophy in Japan this week.

Papadakis and Cizeron are now in line to miss December’s Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest international event of the season behind March’s world championships. The Final takes the top six couples from the Grand Prix season, but since the French are left with one Grand Prix event entry, they would be ineligible.

U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue will likely enter the Final as the favorites. Hubbell and Donohue took fourth in PyeongChang and the silver medal at last season’s worlds behind Papadakis and Cizeron, who earned their third world title.

Papadakis and Cizeron, who train with Hubbell and Donohue in Montreal, have not competed in a full event since worlds seven months ago.

The other top couples from PyeongChang — gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. — are taking indefinite breaks from competition. Papadakis and Cizeron haven’t lost to anybody other than Virtue and Moir in three and a half years.

Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker and Russians Tiffany Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro lead the NHK Trophy dance field.

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Correction: An earlier version of this post reported Papadakis and Cizeron had not competed since last season. They performed a rhythm dance in a small event in France in September. (h/t @paul_peret)

As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. GO HERE to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season…NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Kylian Mbappé eyes Olympics

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French World Cup star Kylian Mbappé said he wants to play at the Olympics, according to RMC Sport.

“With France, I still have the European Championship to win. I would also, why not, like to compete in the Olympics,” Mbappé said, according to reported translations.

Mbappé, the second-youngest player at the World Cup, has age working in his favor.

Tokyo Olympic men’s soccer teams are limited to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997, with three exceptions. Mbappé, who turns 20 on Dec. 20, easily makes the under-23 cutoff, so France would not have to use one of its over-age spots on him.

However, Olympic football qualifying is much more exclusive than for the World Cup. Only four European nations will qualify for Tokyo via the 2019 UEFA U-21 Championship, and France hasn’t put a men’s team into the Olympics since 1996.

Mbappé may need his club team, currently Paris Saint-Germain, to sign off on him playing at the Olympics, which start less than two weeks after the Euro 2020 final. Mbappé potentially playing in both Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics could create another Neymar situation.

France should receive automatic entry into the 2024 Olympics as the host nation. In that case, Mbappé would have to be one of the nation’s over-age exceptions.

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France World Cup star eyes 2024 Paris Olympics

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Antoine Griezmann, a star striker on France’s World Cup team, sounds like he wants an over-age spot on France’s 2024 Olympic soccer team.

“I would really like that, and that could be a dream. I experienced the Euros in France [in 2016] and it was the ultimate blast,” Griezmann replied to a question from five-time French Olympic biathlon champion Martin Fourcade, according to an ESPN translation of Le Figaro report. “To experience that in 2024 at the Paris Games, I’d sign up for that now. It would be magnificent. Honestly, it could be one of the objectives for the end of my career.”

France hasn’t qualified for an Olympic men’s soccer tournament since 1996, but it should receive automatic entry into Paris 2024 as the host nation.

Current Olympic men’s soccer rules would allow three players per nation born before Jan. 1, 2001.

Host nations recently used those spots on Neymar for Brazil in 2016 and Ryan Giggs for Great Britain in 2012.

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