Mar 13, 2013, 11:29 AM EST
The Figure Skating World Championships kick off in London, Ontario Wednesday, with the pairs short program first thing in the morning, and the men’s short program later in the afternoon. Here’s a quick rundown of who and what you should be watching this weekend.
American upstarts: Taking a cue from The Cutting Edge, hockey player turned U.S. figure skating champ Max Aaron will highlight the men’s team with at least a few quad jumps in his repertoire. Ross Miner is also a contender after finishing second to Aaron in January for his third straight podium finish at nationals. The two will need to combine for thirteenth place or better to assure the U.S. team a third spot in Sochi.
U.S. Women’s rivalry: Ashley Wagner may have won nationals for the second straight year, but Gracie Gold might be the American to beat after she earned the second highest free skate score in U.S. Championship history, roaring back from ninth to second after a poor short program. She’ll need to be solid on both nights to prove she has what it takes to compete against the world’s best in Sochi next year.
America’s Hat: Speaking of rivalries, things are heating up between Ice Dancing teams Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and Meryl Davis and Charlie White from the U.S. The Canadians already have an Olympic gold, two world titles, and home ice advantage this weekend, but the five-time U.S. champs are constantly on their heels and would love to even things up with a second world title.
Sochi Stories: Russia’s chances at a medal aren’t looking good at next year’s hometown Games after Yevgeny Plushenko was sidelined with back surgery. He says he’ll return in time for the Olympics, but for now the country’s hopes rest on the skates of 17-year-old Maxim Kovtun, who only has a year at the senior level under his belt. Russia’s best chance at a Sochi medal is probably in pairs.
Vancouver Queen: Yuna Kim took a couple years off after winning gold at the 2010 Games, but she’s already won two events this season and has Australian star Hugh Jackman rooting for her, so she’s likely to be a favorite again this weekend. Aside from the American ladies, Kim’s best competition will come from Vancouver silver medalist Mao Asada and defending world champ Carolina Kostner of Italy.
Canadian King: Patrick Chan has already won back-to-back world titles, and plans to make it three-in-a-row on his home Canadian ice. If he can pull it off, he’ll be the first since Russian star Alexei Yagudin more than a decade ago, but Quad King Javier Fernandez of Spain (who also trains in Canada) and 2012 worlds silver medalist Daisuke Takahashi should have something to say about it.
Dec 4, 2013, 2:46 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn is one step closer to skiing competitively for the first time in 10 months. The Olympic downhill champion took an official downhill training run in near-zero-degree temperatures in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Wednesday afternoon, site of World Cup races this weekend. She completed the course in 1 minute, 59.53 seconds, the 22nd fastest of…
Dec 4, 2013, 12:57 PM EST
Burton revealed its patchwork designs for the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team on Tuesday. “We’re really proud that the 2014 uniform builds on Burton’s legacy of creating fun, unconventional designs that stray from the formal, traditional look of most uniforms,” said Greg Dacyshyn, Chief Creative Officer at Burton Snowboards, in a press release. “The vintage quilt and…
Dec 4, 2013, 12:26 PM EST
The biggest international event from now until the Olympics is missing three active Olympic champions, but it will still provide a strong look at Sochi medal prospects. The Grand Prix Final takes the top six from each discipline over six qualifying events, which began with Skate America in October. If the Olympics are the most…
Dec 4, 2013, 10:33 AM EST
NBC Olympics added Ato Boldon, Mary Carillo and Cris Collinsworth as correspondents for its Sochi 2014 coverage, joining Maria Sharapova. Boldon, a four-time Olympic medalist sprinter for Trinidad and Tobago, will make his Winter Olympic broadcast debut. Boldon, 39, covered track and field for NBC Olympics at the 2008 and 2012 Games. Carillo, working her 12th Olympics, will be the host and…
Dec 4, 2013, 9:45 AM EST
A likely U.S. bid for the 2024 Olympics might be rivaled north of the border, but a leading Canadian Olympic official believes a North American city would have a better chance in 2028. “The way IOC does it, the games go to Europe, the Americas and then somewhere else,” Paul Henderson, former International Olympic Committee…
Dec 3, 2013, 9:21 PM EST
The U.S. Bobsled team made one change to its three women’s bobsled pairings for the second World Cup of the season in Park City, Utah, this weekend. The top two sleds from last week’s opener in Calgary, Alberta, remain the same – Elana Meyers and Aja Evans and Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling. The third sled will again by driven by Jazmine Fenlator,…
Dec 3, 2013, 6:50 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn‘s status for this weekend’s races will be determined Thursday. The Olympic downhill champion is expected to take an official downhill training run Wednesday in Lake Louise, Alberta, two days before the first official World Cup race there. A decision on her participation in downhills Friday and Saturday and a super-G on Sunday will…
Dec 3, 2013, 6:38 PM EST
The U.S. Olympic Committee won’t narrow down its list of candidate cities for a 2024 Olympic bid until after the Sochi Games. A USOC group scheduled visits to potential bid cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, Around the Rings reported in November. City visits will continue into December and January, USOC CEO Scott…
Dec 3, 2013, 3:16 PM EST
NBC Olympics swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines earned plenty of attention for his wild Iron Bowl finish reaction on Saturday night, but he might get a little heat from his fellow Auburn alums now. First, Gaines’ recollection of that crazy Tigers victory. His wife, Judy, was filming Gaines watching Alabama kicker Adam Griffith line up to attempt a hail-mary, 57-yard, time-expiring,…
Dec 3, 2013, 1:58 PM EST
Showers of praise keep raining on U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, but perhaps comparisons to Lindsey Vonn are not the way to go. “When they say I’m the next Lindsey Vonn, they are shooing her out the door, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Shiffrin told TODAY.com. “Imagine being her, reading that someone is the next Lindsey Vonn…
Dec 3, 2013, 11:04 AM EST
Olympic weightlifter Holley Mangold was eliminated from “The Biggest Loser,” but not after she dropped 91 pounds in seven weeks. “It was a lot of hard work and not a lot of food,” Mangold, who went from 351 pounds to 260, said on “TODAY” on Tuesday. “It was extremely emotional [to be eliminated]. It’s hard. You bond…
Dec 3, 2013, 10:28 AM EST
The latest episode of WorldCurlingTV’s “Around the House” series caught up with the Norwegian men’s curling team at the European Championships in Stavanger, Norway. The rink, skipped by Thomas Ulsrud, won silver, just as it did at the 2010 Olympics. There was more talk about their eye-catching pants, too. (NBC Olympics researcher John Howe detailed the story behind…
Dec 3, 2013, 10:01 AM EST
Back comes Yuna Kim to figure skating this coming weekend. The reigning Olympic gold medalist will not be joining her peers at the Grand Prix Final in Japan, instead setting down her blades on competitive ice for the first time in nearly nine months at a lower-level Senior B event, Golden Spin, in Zagreb, Croatia.…
Dec 3, 2013, 9:56 AM EST
Thirteen members of the Miracle on Ice team, including captain Mike Eruzione, won’t be anywhere near Sochi during the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7. They’ll be in Glendale, Ariz., to see the Chicago Blackhawks faces the Phoenix Coyotes. Eruzione and his 1980 U.S. Olympic champion teammates will be honored in an Olympic send-off event and ceremonial…
Dec 2, 2013, 3:52 PM EST
Rowdy Gaines has made some memorable calls of close swimming finishes (Jason Lezak, anyone?). The Auburn alum added a college football nail-biter to his résumé Saturday. The video above is courtesy of his wife, Judy. Gaines, an NBC Olympics swimming analyst, paced back and forth and buried his head in his hands as Alabama kicker Adam Griffith lined…
Dec 2, 2013, 3:28 PM EST
As promised, Ron Burgundy rocked the curling world Sunday. The anchorman took a break from the KVWN Channel 4 News team to join TSN’s coverage of Roar of the Rings, which are Canada’s Olympic Curling Trials. Before taking the mic, he received a curling lesson from world champion Glenn Howard and held a news conference. “The limo ride from…
Dec 2, 2013, 2:40 PM EST
The U.S. Ski Team rookie haircut tradition took a stars-and-stripes turn last weekend. Bryce Bennett, 21, made his World Cup debut in Lake Louise, Alberta, finishing 64th in a super-G. He also showed off a brand-new haircut, courtesy of teammate Jared Goldberg. Compare Bennett’s new look to that of Kieffer Christianson and Nick Daniels in recent rookie trimmings. Perhaps…
Dec 2, 2013, 1:19 PM EST
The late sprinter Ronnie Ray Smith received a memorial service befitting his Olympic champion status. The service for Smith, a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. 4x100m relay team at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, will be featured on TLC’s “Best Funeral Ever” on Monday night Here’s why: A casket was rolled over a finish line and…
Dec 2, 2013, 12:18 PM EST
Usain Bolt has accomplished pretty much all there is in sprinting, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever beat a cheetah. As part of “Big Cat Week,” Nat Geo Wild studied what would have happened if a cheetah took part in the 2009 World Championships 100m final, where Bolt set the world record of 9.58 seconds. Bolt’s time…
Dec 2, 2013, 10:40 AM EST
Georgia’s participation in the Sochi Olympics has been in question for months due to tensions with Russia, but its new prime minister said it will send a delegation of athletes to the Games. “We held discussions on this issue, whether or not Georgia should participate in the Olympics,” said Irakli Garibashvili, 31, who became Georgia’s…
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