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Phelps, Felix named top American athletes

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While Shaun White was doing his best to undermine the ideals of Olympism Monday, top flight athletes Michael Phelps and Allyson Felix were honored by the USOC for their achievements in London. Both were named the best U.S. athletes of the Games for their respective genders.

“Through their commitment to excellence on and off the field, these athletes represent our country with incredible grace and composure,” chief executive Tom Blackmun said in a statement he presumably dusted off from 2008. “Their outstanding achievements are an inspiration to all Americans.”

Phelps won four gold medals in London to bring his career total to 18, twice that of any other athlete in history, and Felix finally broke through to win gold in the 200m after finishing second in the event in back-to-back Olympics, then threw in gold in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays for good measure.

The women’s eight rowing crew, which hasn’t lost in six years and led wire-to-wire in London, was awarded best team, and athletes Raymond Martin and Jessica Long were also recognized for their achievements during the Paralympics. None have since tried to kick anyone while fleeing a hotel. It can be done.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

Fenway Big Air
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Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.

Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.

Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.

Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice

Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympics open with homages to 1994

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In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.

The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.

The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.

The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.

Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi