Hockey qualification kicks off in Japan

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While we wait for the NHL pros to end their differences with management and lace up their skates on American soil once again, hockey fans everywhere will be glad to know that Olympic qualification kicked off in Japan Friday.

The Japanese squad started their journey off well, winning 2-0 against Romania as they seek their first Olympic berth since automatically qualifying as the host nation during the 1998 Nagano Games.

Yutaka Fukufuji, who played four games for the Los Angeles Kings during the 2006-07 campaign, stopped 22 shots in the shutout while teammate Tetsuya Saito scored in the first period and Takuro Yamashita added an insurance goal in the third.

South Korea earned a 5-4 OT victory against Great Britain in the second game after falling behind by two goals three different times. Won Jung Kim scored a hat trick to keep the South Koreans in the game, Geunho Kim scored the equalizer to force overtime, and goaltender Sungje Park shut out the Brits in a shootout.

“We expected to win, we didn’t think we were the underdogs,” Won Jung Kim told an IIHF reporter after the game. “We are a fast team and our coach told us that we could outskate them.”

The winner of this weekend’s four-team round robin will go on to the final stage of qualification in February, where teams from around the world will vie for the final three spots in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The other nine teams will earn automatic bids for Sochi based on the International Ice Hockey Federation world rankings. The United States team currently sits safely in seventh place.

Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocates shoulder in Poland (video)

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Five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder during the semifinals of a beach volleyball tournament in Poland and forfeited the bronze medal match.

Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh were tied in the third set of their match against Canada on Saturday when Walsh Jennings dove for the ball with her right arm and twisted her hand in the sand. After a four-minute delay, Canada went on to win the third set 16-14 and advance to the gold medal match.

“I just went for a short dig and the surface in Europe is so shallow and so hard and there’s no give for our bodies,” Walsh Jennings explained after the match in an interview with her shoulder wrapped in ice.

Walsh Jennings had surgery on the same shoulder during the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she and April Ross won the bronze medal. Walsh Jennings won three gold medals with Misty May Treanor.

Walsh Jennings said she is looking forward to returning to the FIVB World Tour in Vienna in one week.

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MORE: Kerri Walsh Jennings’ first choice for new partner said no

Tom Daley wins 10m platform gold at Worlds on final dive

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After missing out on the men’s 10m platform finals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Great Britain’s Tom Daley won gold at the 2017 FINA Diving World Championships. Daley, who won bronze in the same event at the 2012 London Olympics won his last world championship 10m platform gold back in 2009 when he was just 15 years old.

Daley was awarded four 10’s on his final dive in Budapest, Hungary, beating China’s Chen Aisen – the reining 2016 Olympic champion in men’s 10m platform. The two divers tied on their last dive, both earning 106.20 points, but Daley, who had been in command after each of his dives on Saturday, beat Chen out for the top spot by 5.7 points.

Daley’s struggles in Rio were inexplicable. In the preliminary round, he scored 571.85 points, a personal best, and a score which would have won him gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games. However, in semifinal dives, Daley could not execute, finishing 18th in an event where only the top 12 advance to the finals.

Earlier in the day in Budapest, Daley, along with teammate Grace Reid, won silver in the mixed 3m springboard event. On Monday, in the men’s synchronized 10m platform, Daley and teammate Danie Goodfellow finished fourth.

The sole U.S. diver in the men’s 10m platform event in Budapest, David Dinsmore, finished sixth. Dinsmore who narrowly missed out on making his first Olympic team at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, won bronze in Budapest with teammate Krysta Palmer in the mixed team event.

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MORE: U.S. men look to fill Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte void at swim worlds