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Volume 26 No. 134
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Figure Skating At '18 Games To Take Place In Mornings To Help Accommodate NBC

All figure skating competitions during the '18 PyeongChang Games will start at 10:00am local time, which will "put the events in prime time in North America," according to longtime Olympics writer Philip Hersh. The "day-of-competition final practice will be earlier in the morning." There is a 13-hour time difference between PyeongChang and N.Y., and Int'l Skating Union President Ottavio Cinquanta said that "'the Americans' had requested morning starts." Hersh noted while the move means the competitions will air live on NBC, it "will not be as favorable for Japan, where the sport's popularity now is the highest in the world." This is "not the first time Olympic events in Asia have been moved to the morning primarily for the benefit" of NBC. All swimming finals during the '08 Beijing Games "began in the morning," as did "track and field final sessions and some swimming finals" during the '88 Seoul Games (GLOBETROTTINGBYPHILIPHERSH.com, 3/29). The time changes also involve the "final pre-competition practice, which could start as early" as 6:00am. Bronze Medal-winning U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner called the time switch "awful." Wagner: "Unless you have skated yourself, you don't realize how hard it is for your body to wake up at 4 a.m. to be ready to rotate triples jumps at 6." Wagner knows the "benefit of having a significantly larger audience" in the U.S., but she "still finds the scheduling to be disconcerting." She said, "I get the feeling it's all for TV. I understand you want to have the most people watching. But we want to be able to compete at our best. TV should have to work around that" (GLOBETROTTINGBYPHILIPHERSH.com, 3/30).