Women’s hockey at risk of being dropped from the Olympics?


The U.S. and Canada will face off in the IIHF women’s hockey world championships for the fifteenth time in fifteen tournaments. Yes, that’s all of them, prompting some to wonder if the sport might get tossed from future Olympic Games for a lack of competition from other nations.

One of those people was current IOC president Jacques Rogge, who said after the 2010 gold medal game in Vancouver (not surprisingly between the U.S. and Canada) that “we cannot continue without improvement.” But IIHF President Rene Fasel said he doesn’t think the sport is at risk:

“I don’t think there will be a problem there,” Fasel told reporters at the women’s world championship. “I cannot imagine that an IOC president would kick women’s hockey out of the program. I can’t imagine that. But you never know. They kicked wrestling out, so…”

The U.S. and Canada have also gone toe-to-toe at all but one Olympic gold medal final, which has obviously created an exciting rivalry for the bordering nations, but ruined the interest of countries like Switzerland, which lost by a combined 18-0 in their preliminary games against the two teams.

“Our goal is to be more competitive in [South] Korea in 2018,” Fasel added. “We need that time to go there.”

Katie Ledecky wins by 28 seconds on 21st birthday to close NCAAs

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Katie Ledecky capped her second NCAA Championships with a win by 28 seconds in the 1,650-yard freestyle on her 21st birthday Saturday.

Last year, Ledecky lapped all but one swimmer through 1,000 yards of the 1650 final and won by 21.19 seconds.

Earlier this week, Ledecky anchored Stanford to an 800 freestyle relay title and won the 500 free by a record margin of more than eight seconds.

Then on Friday, teammate Ella Eastin beat Ledecky by 3.69 seconds in the 400 individual medley, an event that Ledecky never swims on the major international level. Eastin broke Ledecky’s NCAA record by 1.93 seconds.

Ledecky hasn’t discussed with Stanford whether she will return for her junior season or turn pro, according to the school.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins final slalom for best career season (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin won her 12th World Cup race this season and seventh slalom, both personal bests, at the World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden, on Saturday.

Shiffrin, who clinched her second World Cup overall title and fifth slalom season title before the last races of the campaign this weekend, prevailed by 1.58 seconds over Swiss Wendy Holdener. PyeongChang gold medalist Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was third.

“The slalom has always been really close to my heart,” said Shiffrin, who won the last two slaloms this season after a shocking fourth-place finish in PyeongChang. “To finish with a run like that was super special.”

Full results are here.

Shiffrin matched Lindsey Vonn‘s American record for World Cup wins in one season — 12 — with one more race Sunday. Only Swiss Vreni Schneider has more women’s World Cup wins in a single campaign with 14.

Shiffrin, who turned 23 on Tuesday, also moved into solo fifth place on the women’s World Cup wins list with 43, including 23 victories in the last two seasons.

If Shiffrin keeps it up, she can move into the top three next season, though Lindsey Vonn‘s record 82 is a ways off.

“I’m not thinking about that so much,” Shiffrin said. “It’s way too soon to set that as my goal.”

Shiffrin is also three World Cup slalom wins shy of the record 35 held by retired Austrian Marlies Schild, whom Shiffrin supplanted as the world’s top slalom skier in 2013.

The World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with the women’s giant slalom. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will air live coverage of the second run at 7:30 a.m. ET.

“After today I’m really looking forward to going to the start one more time this season and hammering down,” Shiffrin said.

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