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U.S. women’s hockey team adds college freshman

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To all the skaters who made the U.S. women’s hockey national team: your Olympic roster spot is not assured.

Cayla Barnes, a Boston College freshman defenseman, has been added to the national team and is joining the players training in Wesley Chapel, Fla., for the PyeongChang Winter Games.

USA Hockey confirmed that Barnes is in the running for the Olympic team that will be named in late December or January.

“You wouldn’t be making that move if she didn’t have the ability to play at that level,” U.S. GM Reagan Carey said. “Knowing what she can bring to our team is something that can help, and we’ll continue to evaluate what that looks like.”

Barnes makes 24 players in Wesley Chapel. The Olympic roster size is 23, so at least one player on the national team must be cut. It could be a defenseman or a forward.

Carey said it’s possible that another player could be added to the national team this fall. She added that Barnes’ inclusion was not due to an injury to any other player.

The national team had been 23 players since it was first named in May.

Barnes, an 18-year-old cut from the May national team selection camp, is now the youngest player on the national team by 18 months.

She is younger than any player on either the 2010 or 2014 Olympic teams.

“After camp in April, they basically said, you had a great camp, you’re right there with all the girls selected for this team, but be ready, we’re going to be watching you,” said Barnes, who is leaving BC after playing five games to open her freshman season. “Just be prepared to be called up at any time during this whole process leading up to the Olympics.”

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MORE: Hilary Knight’s trip to historic Olympic ice rekindles love for hockey

Men’s snowboard big air preview

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Now that Anna Gasser of Austria has successfully captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboard big air, it’s almost time to crown the first-ever Olympic champion on the men’s side.

Big air snowboarding has progressed tremendously in recent years, and there’s been a lot of build-up to these Olympics, so expect heavy tricks to come out quickly in the final.

Or as Mark McMorris put it: “There’s probably [going to be] some mind-boggling s—.”

Every time there’s a big air event, there’s always talk about “quads” — a type of trick that features four inverted flips. It’s such a progressive trick that only two riders have landed a quad in competition, only a few others have done it in training, and many are hesitant to even try.

Read the full preview at NBCOlympics.com

Karen Chen shares disappointment, thanks fans

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Karen Chen was the last U.S. figure skater to make her PyeongChang debut (and her Olympic debut for that matter). A mistake on her opening jump in the short program left her in 10th place going into the free program. Two days later, her free skate also had technical mistakes, and she finished 11th overall. While Team OAR won its first Olympic gold of the PyeongChang Games and got a silver to boot, the U.S. women were plagued with falls and technical errors, and Chen was no exception.

NBCOlympics.com: Alina Zagitova is Olympic Athletes from Russia’s first gold medalist of PyeongChang

Just hours after the ladies’ event concluded, Chen took to Instagram to share her frustration, disappointment and newfound perspective.

Chen, 18, is the youngest woman on the 2018 U.S. figure skating team. Chen was born and raised in Fremont, California, she cites gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who is also from Fremont, as a mentor. Unlike most in the world of figure skating, Chen makes her own costumes and choreographs her own programs. Last season, Chen won the U.S. national championship. She skated an inconsistent 2017-18 season, but her third place finish at nationals was enough to land her a spot on Team USA.