First-time Olympians lead Canada curling teams for Pyeongchang

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The next challenge for Rachel Homan and Kevin Koe is to extend Canadian Olympic curling dominance by succeeding gold-medal teams that they helped dethrone at the Olympic Trials.

Team Homan and Team Koe emerged from one of the most difficult Olympic selection processes for any sport in any nation, winning the Roar of the Rings in Ottawa on Sunday.

Homan, whose team last season became the first to go undefeated at a world championship, beat Chelsea Carey‘s team 6-5 in the women’s final. Carey had gone unbeaten in round-robin play, including an 8-4 win over Homan in the opener.

But Homan won her last nine games, including back-to-back victories over Sochi Olympic champion Jennifer Jones‘ team, eliminating Jones and Co. in Saturday’s semifinal.

Homan, 28 and ranked No. 3 in the world, can become the youngest female skip to win an Olympic title since women’s curling debut at the Winter Games in 1998.

Canada has earned a medal in every Olympic women’s tournament, and Homan is now the youngest Olympic female skip in history.

Koe will make his Olympic debut at age 43 after beating Mike McEwen‘s team 7-6 in Sunday night’s final.

Koe’s team won their first seven games in round-robin play, including beating Sochi gold medalist Brad Jacobs, to earn a bye into the final.

Koe lost to 2017 World champion Brad Gushue in the round-robin finale, but McEwen then knocked out Gushue in the semifinal.

Koe is seasoned, having won the 2010 and 2016 World titles, and is ranked fifth in the world (he outlasted three teams at trials that are ranked ahead of him). He was fourth and sixth at the previous two Olympic Trials.

Two members of Koe’s team — lead Ben Hebert and third Marc Kennedy — will try to become the first men to win two Olympic curling gold medals. Hebert and Kennedy took the 2010 Olympic title with Kevin Martin.

Canada’s Olympic curling team is not yet set.

The mixed doubles trials are Jan. 2-7 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The curlers who won Sunday cannot compete in the mixed doubles trials.

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WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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