Canada named a star hockey player as its Opening Ceremony flag bearer for the Sochi Olympics.
Six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser will lead the delegation on Feb. 7. Wickenheiser, regarded by many as the greatest women’s hockey player ever, has played at all four Olympic hockey tournaments and in softball at the 2000 Olympics.
Canada has won the last three Olympic hockey gold medals after losing to the U.S. in the first Olympic women’s hockey gold-medal game in 1998.
Wickenheiser took the Athletes’ Oath at the 2010 Opening Ceremony.
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby was thought to be a candidate after being named the men’s hockey team captain. Pens fans should be relieved he isn’t going to Sochi early, as the club has a game the day of Opening Ceremony before the NHL’s Olympic break.
Speed skater Clara Hughes carried the flag for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremony. Figure skater Joannie Rochette carried it in the Closing Ceremony.
Canada won the most gold medals in 2010 and is again expected to be among the overall and gold medal leaders in Sochi with the U.S., Germany and Norway.
The U.S. and Russia have not named Opening Ceremony flag bearers yet.
Late Georgian luger’s nephew will be trained in luge
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
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