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Figure skating viewers will have to wait for worlds

All TV coverage of this week's world championships at Staples Center will be tape-delayed in Southern California.

March 23, 2009|Helene Elliott

For TV viewers in Los Angeles, the key word while watching the World Figure Skating Championships will be patience.

For starters, viewers will have to wait for Tuesday's pairs short program to be shown Wednesday. Everything else aired on the Oxygen cable network will be seen here on a three-hour delay.

The only event that will air on NBC, the women's long program Saturday, will be live in the East but delayed here.

That's how low figure skating has sunk on the TV/sports totem pole.

The schedule, as confirmed Sunday, with all times Pacific:

Wednesday -- 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Pairs short program, tape delayed from Tuesday.

6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.: Men's short program (three-hour delay).

Thursday -- Midnight-2 a.m.: Pairs free skate (three-hour delay).

11 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday: Men's free skate (three-hour delay).

Friday -- 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Original dance (taped from Thursday).

6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.: Women's short program (three-hour delay).

Saturday -- Midnight-2 a.m.: Free dance (three-hour delay).

9 p.m.-11 p.m. on Channel 4: Women's long program (three-hour delay)

Taking attendance

Sunday was the first day of official practices at Staples Center and on the temporary rink at the Convention Center.

Among the women, Rachael Flatt of Del Mar practiced but U.S. champion Alissa Czisny did not. Defending world champion Mao Asada of Japan is scheduled to arrive and practice today.

Flatt had an especially good session, hitting all her jumps during her "Moon River" short program. However, her coach, Tom Zakrajsek, shielded her from reporters. "It's all about focus," he said.

All three U.S. men -- Jeremy Abbott, Brandon Mroz and Evan Lysacek -- used their practice time. Zakrajsek, who coaches Abbott and Mroz, didn't let them talk to reporters. But Lysacek's coach, Frank Carroll, stopped long enough to say he was happy with Lysacek's short-program practice except for a flawed triple axel.

Lysacek's triple axel was downgraded at the Four Continents competition and got a negative grade of execution at the U.S. championships, where he finished third.

"I lit into him because he didn't do it the way he can," Carroll said. "He can do it absolutely beautifully and perfectly and so I won't accept less. Overall, the program was absolutely wonderful."

Carroll also said Lysacek considered staying at his El Segundo practice rink to maintain a familiar routine but decided to skate at Staples Center on Sunday and today to get a better feel for the ice. Once skaters register for the competition they can't practice anywhere else but the official site or they could be disqualified.


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