U.S. women’s soccer team qualifies for Rio Olympics

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The U.S. women’s soccer team will go for a fourth straight Olympic title in Rio.

The Americans reached their sixth straight Games (women’s soccer debuted at Atlanta 1996) in dominating fashion, blanking Trinidad and Tobago 5-0 in an Olympic qualifier at Houston, Texas, on Friday night.

Alex Morgan scored a hat trick. Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath added goals.

The romp capped a strong overall CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament for the U.S., which came into the night having beaten its first three opponents by a combined 16-0.

Olympic bronze medalist Canada also qualified for the Olympics earlier Friday. The U.S. and Canada will play in the tournament championship Sunday (5 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Live Extra), but the match is meaningless for Olympic qualifying purposes.

What’s next for the U.S.?

Well, deciding the Rio roster. The qualifying tournament roster was 20 players. It must be 18 for the Olympics, which is five fewer than the 2015 Women’s World Cup-winning squad.

One of the cuts figures to come at goalie behind starter Hope Solo. The U.S. had two backups at the World Cup and in the qualifying tournament.

Also consider Olympic and World Cup champions Megan Rapinoe and Christie Rampone, who weren’t on the qualifying tournament roster due to injuries but are still considered Olympic team contenders.

The Olympic women’s soccer field currently includes four of the five medalists from the last three Olympics (U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany), missing Japan, which can qualify in March.

MORE: Carli Lloyd ranks Olympic final-winning goals, World Cup hat trick

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Japan had already qualified for the Olympic women’s soccer tournament.

Canada names Olympic Opening Ceremony flag bearers

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Figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are Canada’s flag bearers for the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9.

It’s the first time Canada will have multiple flag bearers at an Opening Ceremony.

Virtue and Moir won ice dance gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and silver in Sochi in 2014.

After a two-year break, they went undefeated last season and won their third world championship.

They lost for the first time in their comeback at last month’s Grand Prix Final to French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Canada finished in the top three in the total medal standings at the last three Winter Olympics, including topping the gold-medal standings at the 2010 Vancouver Games with a record 14.

Recent Canadian Winter Olympic flag bearers
2014 Opening: Hayley Wickenheiser, Hockey
2014 Closing: Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, Bobsled
2010 Opening: Clara Hughes, Speed Skating
2010 Closing: Joannie Rochette, Figure Skating
2006 Opening: Danielle Goyette, Hockey
2006 Closing: Cindy Klassen, Speed Skating
2002 Opening: Catriona Le May Doan, Speed Skating
2002 Closing: Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, Figure Skating

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MORE: Canada’s Olympic figure skating team roster

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to cover Super Bowl LII, Olympics for NBC

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will cover Super Bowl LII and the PyeongChang Olympics as a contributor for NBC.

Earnhardt will spend the first weekend in February covering the outdoor activities in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl Pre-Game Show (NBC, Feb. 4).

Then he will travel to South Korea for the Winter Games.

From NBC Sports PR:

“Earnhardt will travel to PyeongChang, where he will explore the culture, people, and traditions in South Korea, and experience Olympic competitions first hand. Earnhardt will visit the speed skating venue at Gangneung Ice Arena, and through the lens of a racer will view the speed, close contact, and tight turns on the short track speed skating oval, which so closely mirror Earnhardt’s racing days and nights at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Following a recent invite on social media from his new friends on the U.S. bobsled team, including U.S. bobsled team pilot Nick Cunningham, Earnhardt will also travel to Alpensia Sliding Center, where he will test the true speed of the bobsled track and live out his post-retirement dream of riding in an Olympic bobsled.”

Earnhardt, 43, retired last year after 19 NASCAR seasons, which included Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014.

He is now a NASCAR on NBC analyst.

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MORE: Breakdown of NBC Olympics record 2,400 hours of programming