U.S. Olympic hockey teams to be announced New Year’s Day

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The U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s hockey rosters, plus the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey roster, will be announced on New Year’s Day, USA Hockey said Thursday.

It’s the second straight time both Olympic rosters will be announced on New Year’s Day.

NBC will have coverage during the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at the New York Mets’ Citi Field (NBC, 1 p.m. ET).

In 2014, the Olympic team announcement was done in conjunction with the Winter Classic at the University of Michigan’s Big House between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

This time, however, none of the Team USA men’s players will be taking part in the NHL’s annual outdoor game.

The U.S. Olympic roster of 25 will be made up of professionals in European leagues, the AHL and colleges. The NHL is not sending players to the Olympics for the first time since 1994.

Two skaters with Olympic experience are in the running for PyeongChang — 2006 Olympian Brian Gionta and 2010 Olympian Ryan Malone — who headline the U.S. roster for its only pre-Olympic tournament. That’s the Deutschland Cup in Germany this weekend.

The U.S. women’s team is expected to include 23 of the 24 players on its current national-team roster.

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The secret messages Lindsey Vonn wrote on her Olympic race suit

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SCHEDULE UPDATE: Vonn will will return for the final women’s downhill training run on Monday at 9 p.m. ET. LIVE STREAM

Look closely at Lindsey Vonn.

When NBC cameras zoom in on the two-time Olympic medalist, viewers will notice that she wrote a couple of messages on her uniform in permanent marker.

On the thumb of her right glove, Vonn has the word “believe” in Greek. It mirrors a tattoo she has on the inside of a finger.

“Signifying my last Olympics [in 2018] and just need to believe in myself,” Vonn said to NBC’s Nick Zaccardi.

On her helmet, Vonn has the initials “D.K.” and a heart. It is meant to honor her late grandfather, Don Kildow.

Kildow, who served in the Korean War from 1952-54, died on Nov. 1. Watch to learn more about Vonn’s special relationship with her grandparents:

Hard falls at Olympics, but no hard rules about concussions

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — At the bottom of the Olympic aerials landing hill, where crashes are common and the term “slap back” is part of the everyday lingo, skiers spend almost as much time figuring out how to protect their heads as they do working on all those flips and spins.

“We learn how to fall,” U.S. jumper Jon Lillis said.

Elsewhere around the action-sports venue, that’s not so much the case.

Concussion dangers lurk everywhere — from the iced-over deck of the halfpipe, to the steeply pitched landings on the slopestyle course, to the careening twists and turns of the snowboard cross track, to the aerials course, where “slap back” is the term for when a skier’s head slaps backward against the snow. But at the Olympics, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding who diagnoses head injuries, and no hard-and-fast protocol that athletes must clear to be allowed back on the slopes after a concussion.

“A bit concerning,” says neurologist Kevin Weber of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Because you worry that athletes in other sports that may not be as popular as football are getting, I wouldn’t say ignored, but the concussions they’re getting are under-scrutinized.”

Read the full story at NBCOlympics.com