ISU GRAND PRIX FINAL COVERAGE AND BIRDS OF PREY DOWNHILL ON NBC SPORTS AND UNIVERSAL SPORTS THIS WEEKEND
Skating From Tokyo and The Birds of Prey Downhill From Beaver Creek, Colo.
NEW YORK – Dec. 3, 2009- NBC Sports and Universal Sports present 10 hours of coverage this weekend of the ISU Grand Prix Final, the final stop of the 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series this weekend from Tokyo, Japan. Skaters from Team USA will compete against athletes from 10 other countries, all vying for prize money and ultimately spots representing their country at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. Coverage on NBC Sports begins Sunday at 12 p.m. ET and coverage on Universal Sports begins Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
Following the ISU Grand Prix Final, NBC Sports will present an hour of taped coverage of the Birds of Prey Men’s Downhill from Beaver Creek, Colo. Team USA’s Ted Ligety, a reigning Olympic combined gold medalist, and Bode Miller, a two-time World Cup overall champion, will compete against the World’s best men on skis. Coverage on NBC Sports begins on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, with additional live coverage to be featured on UniversalSports.com.
For the Grand Prix Final, NBC Sports will broadcast two hours of coverage featuring the Men’s and Ladies Free Skate. Universal Sports will carry coverage of the Men’s, Pairs and Dance finals and the Men’s, Ladies and Pairs and Dance short programs.
See details below on each event.
ISU GRAND PRIX FINAL, TOKYO, JAPAN:
COMMENTATORS: Scott Hamilton and Andrea Joyce of NBC Sports Olympic figure skating broadcast team will call the action.
LADIES: Reigning World Champion Yu-Na Kim (KOR) advances to the Final with two gold medals from the Grand Prix event in Paris and Skate America. Kim joins 2007 World Champion Miki Ando (JPN) who also comes with two victories on the Grand Prix circuit, in Moscow and Nagano. Reigning World silver medalist Joannie Rochette (CAN) booked her ticket to the Final with a win at Skate Canada and a bronze medal in China. While these three skaters have competed at the Final several times before, the following three are newcomers: Alena Leonova (RUS) and Ashley Wagner (USA) both qualified with a silver and a bronze medal for their first Final, and Akiko Suzuki (JPN) made it to Tokyo after winning the Cup of China and finishing fifth at Skate Canada.
MEN: Nobunari Oda (JPN) is the only competitor to arrive with two gold medals from this season’s Grand Prix in the Final. Joining Oda is reigning World Champion Evan Lysacek (USA) who claimed victory at Skate America and finished second in China. Defending Grand Prix Final Champion Jeremy Abbott (USA) returns to the event after winning at Skate Canada and placing fifth in Nagano. 2008 Four Continents Champion Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) comes back to the Final after missing the past season completely due to injury. Joining him is reigning Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Johnny Weir (USA) who advanced to Tokyo with a second and fourth place from the Grand Prix series. Tomas Verner (CZE) replaced Brian Joubert (FRA) who had to withdraw as he cut his foot in a practice accident last week. Verner was the first substitute after taking the silver in Paris and ranking fifth in Lake Placid.
PAIRS: The top qualifiers in the Pairs category are Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao (CHN) and Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN) who won their respective two Grand Prix competitions. Shen/Zhao came out of retirement to strike gold in Beijing and in Lake Placid, while defending Grand Prix Champions Pang/Tong took the title in Moscow and in Nagano. Maria Mukhortova/ Maxim Trankov (RUS) come to Tokyo with a gold medal from France and a silver medal from Canada under their belts. Joining the competition are reigning World Champions Aliona Savchenko/ Robin Szolkowy (GER) who won Skate Canada and earned the bronze medal at Trophée Bompard. Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) qualified for the Final with two silver medals, along with Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang (CHN) who earned their spot with a silver and a bronze medal from the circuit.
ICE DANCING: Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) and Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) made it to Tokyo by claiming two gold medals on the Grand Prix. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) advanced to the Final with two silver medals. The following couples are newcomers in the Grand Prix Final: Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) booked their ticket with two silver medals on the circuit, Sinead Kerr/John Kerr (GBR) come with a silver and a bronze medal, and Vanessa Crone/Paul Poirier (CAN) made it with a bronze medal and a fourth-place finish. Crone/Poirier replace Tanith Belbin/Benjamin Agosto (USA) who had to withdraw as Belbin suffered from an infected wisdom tooth that required surgery.
UNIVERSAL SPORTS COVERAGE: Universal Sports, available in more than 56 million homes, will broadcast eight hours of same day coverage of the ISU Grand Prix Final from Tokyo, Japan. Details below (all times ET):
6-7:30 p.m. ET – Pairs Short and Original Dance
6-7:30 p.m. ET – Short Programs – Women’s and Men’s
6-7 p.m. ET – Dance Free
7-8 p.m. ET – Pairs Free
9-10 p.m. ET – Men’s Free
5-7 p.m. ET – Ladies Free – (Reair of NBC Show)
BIRDS OF PREY DOWNHILL, BEAVER CREEK, COLO.:
COMMENTATORS: Tim Ryan hosts NBC Sports coverage from Beaver Creek, Colo., and is joined by former Canadian Ski Team member Todd Brooker and former U.S. Ski Team members Christin Cooper and Steve Porino.
COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS: NBC will broadcast coverage of the Birds of Prey Men’s Downhill this Sunday, 2-3 p.m. ET.
COVERAGE ON UNIVERSALSPORTS.COM: UniversalSports.com will stream live the entire competition from Beaver Creek. Coverage follows (All times ET):
1-2:25 p.m. ET – Men’s Super Combined – Downhill
4:30-5:35 p.m. ET – Men’s Super Combined – Slalom
1-2:45 p.m. ET – Men’s Downhill
11:45 a.m. – 1:05 p.m. ET – Men’s Giant Slalom Run #1
2:45-3:55 p.m. ET – Men’s Giant Slalom Run #2
2009 WORLD CUP ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports, available in 56 million homes, will offer coverage of the entire alpine World Cup season on its 24-hour television network, with simulcast streaming available on UniversalSports.com. Key events in the schedule include stops in Beaver Creek, as well as Lake Louise, Val d’Isere, St. Moritz, Val Gardena, Adelboden, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Kitzbuhel, Schladming, Garmisch Partenkirchen, and Are. In addition, fans can visit the skiing channel on UniversalSports.com/skiing for updated schedules, news, video highlights, special features, photo galleries, sweepstakes and more.
UPCOMING ALPINE WORLD CUP PROGRAMMING ON NBC AND UNIVERSAL SPORTS:
(All times Eastern)
Dec. 4, Women’s Downhill – Lake Louise, Canada, 2:30 p.m. USTV
Dec. 5, Women’s Downhill – Lake Louise, Canada, 2:30 p.m. USTV
Dec. 6, Women’s Super G – Lake Louise, Canada, 1 p.m. USTV
Dec. 6, Men’s Downhill – Beaver Creek, Colo., 3 p.m. NBC
Dec. 6, Women’s Giant Slalom – Aspen, Colo., 7 p.m. USTV
Dec. 11, Men’s Super Combined – Val d’Isere, France, 10 a.m. USTV
Dec. 12, Men’s Super G – Val d’Isere, France, 10 a.m. USTV
Dec. 12, Women’s Giant Slalom – Are, Sweden, 12:30 p.m. USTV
Dec. 13, Men’s Giant Slalom – Val d’Isere, France, 10 a.m. USTV
Dec. 13, Women’s Slalom – Are, Sweden, 12:30 p.m. USTV
Dec. 13, Men’s Downhill – Beaver Creek, Colo., 5 p.m. USTV
Dec. 18, Women’s Combined – Val d’Isere, France, 10 a.m. USTV
Dec. 18, Men’s Super G – Val Gardena, Italy, 2:30 p.m. USTV
Dec. 19, Women’s Downhill – Val d’Isere, France, 10 a.m. USTV
Dec. 19, Men’s Downhill – Val Gardena, Italy, 12:30 p.m. USTV
Dec. 20, Women’s Super G – Val d’Isere, France, 10 a.m. USTV
Dec. 20, Men’s Giant Slalom – Alta Badia, Italy, 12:30 p.m. USTV
*Schedule subject to change. Visit UniversalSports.com for up-to-date television and online event schedules and availability of Universal Sports’ 24-hour network.
WORLD CUPS ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports is the home of the entire 2009-10 FIS Alpine World Cup season. In addition, FIS Cross Country, Ski Jumping, Freestyle, and Nordic Combined World Cup events are all available on the network. Universal Sports will be delivering coverage of many prestigious winter sporting events leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, including speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey, short track, luge, bobsled and skeleton.