John Speraw named coach of U.S. men’s volleyball team

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UCLA Men’s volleyball coach John Speraw added U.S. Olympic head coach to an already impressive resume Monday, taking the reins after serving as an assistant during the last two Olympics.

“I am honored to have been selected to coach this elite group of talented U.S. players,” Speraw said. “And I appreciate UCLA’s support in allowing me to pursue this tremendous opportunity.”

USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal told the AP he feels Speraw, who led little known UC Irvine to three national championships before being selected to coach his Alma Mater in Westwood, has plenty of international experience as well as the full support of the team after helping them to gold back in Beijing:

“He’s a terrifically talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level. He knows the current U.S. men’s player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads.”

Speraw will officially be introduced Tuesday at the American Sports Centers down in Anaheim, where he’ll train the team for a shot at reclaiming gold in Rio.

Diggins, Randall win historic gold medal for U.S. in cross-country

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The long, long wait is over.

Team USA ended their 42-year Olympic medal drought in cross-country skiing Wednesday and they made American cross-country history in the process.

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women’s team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. Sweden captured silver and Norway took home bronze.

Diggins and Randall are the first American women to win an Olympic medal and join Bill Koch as the only American cross-country skiers to earn an Olympic medal.

The Americans advanced to the finals courtesy of their first place finish in the semifinals, beating Sweden and OAR in the process.

Diggins out-sprinted both the gold and silver medalists of the individual sprint (Stina Nilsson and Maiken Falla, respectively) in the final stretch to take the gold.

Results

Gold: Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (USA)

Silver: Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson (SWE)

Bronze: Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Falla (NOR)

Click here for a full recap of Team USA’s historic run

Czech Republic advance to medal round with shootout win vs. United States

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Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.

Jan Kolar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation, while Pavel Francouz made 18 saves and stopped all five shootout attempts.

Ryan Donato scored his tournament-leading fifth goal, and Jim Slater added a shorthanded goal as the Olympics come to an end for the United States.