Olympic torch relay

Sochi Olympic torch relay reaches North Pole

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Cross off one of the most ambitious goals of the record-setting Sochi Olympic torch relay.

The Olympic flame made it to the North Pole, according to Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko‘s Twitter account.

“In spite of everything the flame burned excellently,” Chernyshenko said on his Russian Twitter account, according to an R-Sport translation. “The weather’s warm, just -15 [degrees].”

The flame departed for the North Pole aboard the icebreaker ship “50 Years of Victory” from Murmansk, Russia, on Tuesday.

Coming up, the torch relay will visit outer space (International Space Station, blast off Nov. 7), the bottom of the world’s largest freshwater lake (November) and the top of Europe’s highest mountain (February) before the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7.

Meanwhile, the main part of the torch relay continued through Russia.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, was a torchbearer Saturday.

She added that she would have liked to take the Olympic flame into space “but unfortunately that’s not up to me.”

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Christie Rampone not at fitness level to compete for Olympic spot

Christie Rampone
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Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.

Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.

The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.

“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”

Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.

The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).

The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.

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Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Matt Grevers star in Fandango’s ‘I Love Movies: Rio Olympic Edition’

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NBC Olympics and Fandango partnered for Fandango’s “I Love Movies: Rio Olympic Edition,” featuring swimming gold medalists Ryan LochteMissy Franklin and Matt Grevers, among other Olympians and Paralympians.

Leading up to the Rio Games, NBC Olympics and Fandango plan to release episodes with dozens of athletes from gymnastics, track and field, diving, basketball rugby and Paralympic events.

Watch Lochte’s short film above and Franklin and Grevers reveal their favorite movies below.

Lochte, Franklin and Grevers will look to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3, with broadcast coverage on NBC Sports.

MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule