Lily Zhang
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Lily Zhang makes second straight U.S. Olympic table tennis team

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MARKHAM, Ontario (AP) — Lily Zhang earned her second straight Olympic table tennis spot Friday, beating countrywoman Jiaqi Zheng 11-3, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in the North American Olympic trials.

“When the last point was over, it was a sense of disbelief and happiness all at the same time,” Zhang said. “It feels so amazing to go back to the Olympics to represent my country a second time. I am so humbled and happy.”

The top-ranked player in the field, the 19-year-old Zhang, from Palo Alto, Calif., will join Yue “Jennifer” Wu of Fort Lee, N.J., as the two U.S. singles players in Brazil. Wu had qualified by winning the Pan American Games last summer.

“The last time around, I had just turned 16, and I was kind of overwhelmed by the whole thing,” Zhang said. “This time around, I am much more prepared and know what to expect. I have a lot more experience and maturity.”

The third spot on the U.S women’s team for the team competition will be decided on the weekend at the qualification tournament.

Zhang opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over Yi Lu of Canada. In the semifinals, Zhang held off a tough challenge from 14-year-old Crystal Wang of Bellevue, Wash., 4-2. Wang had rallied by winning the last two games to beat Chen Wang of New York 4-2 in the first round. Wang was a 2008 Olympian.

Zheng, the 2015 U.S. champion, is from Milpitas, Calif.

The U.S. didn’t place a player in the men’s final.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Rio Olympics

OAR win hockey gold with 4-3 OT win over Germany

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The Olympic Athletes from Russia triumphed in the no-NHL tournament where they were favored, winning the men’s hockey gold medal at a Winter Olympics where they couldn’t even be called Team Russia, use their colors or celebrate while listening to their anthem.

Kirill Kaprizov scored the game-winner as “Team Olympic Athlete From Russia” came back to beat underdog Germany 4-3 in overtime Sunday in an instant classic that saved a men’s tournament lacking buzz not only in South Korea but back in North America, where the NHL season went on during the games for the first time since 1994.

It’s the first Russian gold medal in hockey since 1992 in Albertville when the team also played under a neutral flag as the Community of Independent States. Russian flags — the team barred from using them by IOC sanctions for state-sponsored doping — hung behind the bench as the team awaited their gold medals.

NBCOlympics.com: Canada defeat Czech Republic to win bronze in men’s hockey

Constantly saying it doesn’t matter that they had to wear nondescript red and white uniforms that lacked the Russian Coat of Arms, players gave the Russians their second gold and 17th total medal of the Olympics.

Russian goal song “Those Were The Days” blared over the Gangneung Hockey Centre speakers as fans clad in red, white and blue and holding flags celebrated. They later sang the national anthem as the medal ceremony got under way.

Exhibition gala closes out figure skating program in PyeongChang

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Without the pressure of racking up points to land on the medal podium, the figure skating exhibition gala is a chance for the athletes to express themselves. There aren’t rules about jumping sequences, and instead, skaters can use props and silly concepts, if they want.

Figure skaters who win medals at the Olympics are typically among the invite list, plus up-and-coming skaters from the host country and other fan favorites.

Here are some of the best performances of the evening:

Ice dance bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani reprised last season’s “That’s Life” short dance by Frank Sinatra featuring Jay-Z for this year’s exhibition.

Ladies’ gold medalist Alina Zagitova performed her “Priestess of Fire” exhibition, which included a fake candle prop glowing on the ice.

Watch performances from the figure skating gala by clicking here