Becca Hamilton, Matt Hamilton
AP

U.S. Olympic mixed doubles curling trials preview, TV schedule

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Siblings Matt and Becca Hamilton already qualified for the Olympics, but this week they’re getting greedy.

The Hamiltons are among eight teams in the U.S. Olympic Trials for mixed doubles curling, a new Olympic event.

Competition runs Wednesday through Sunday, with live games on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app starting Thursday from Blaine, Minn.

Of the 16 athletes in the field, seven made the traditional U.S. Olympic curling men’s or women’s teams at trials three weeks ago.

That includes the Hamiltons, who are the reigning U.S. champions in doubles. They edged 2016 World bronze medalists Joe Polo and Tabitha Peterson for the national title in March.

Polo and Peterson also made the traditional U.S. Olympic curling teams last month.

If either the Hamiltons or Polo and Peterson win the title in Blaine, they could compete almost every day of the Pyeongchang Olympics if they advance to playoffs. Canada opted not to allow its traditional curling team members to double up in mixed.

Mixed doubles starts the day before the Opening Ceremony and finishes before the traditional curling tournaments begin in Pyeongchang.

The sentimental favorite this week has to be the team of Jamie Sinclair and Korey Dropkin.

Sinclair skipped a team that lost the Olympic Trials finals to Nina Roth three weeks ago. Dropkin was on the team that lost the men’s final to John Shuster‘s rink.

Shuster and Roth are also competing this week with separate partners.

All eight teams will play each other in round-robin with the top four advancing to Saturday’s playoffs.

The top two teams play each other with the winner going to Sunday afternoon’s final. The third and fourth teams play each other with the winner playing the loser of the Nos. 1-2 game in a Sunday morning semifinal.

The winner of Sunday afternoon’s final is the Olympic team.

Mixed doubles games are eight ends with five stones for each team. Traditional curling is 10 ends with eight stones per team. One player throws the first and last rock of the end with the other throwing the three in between.

The full NBCSN broadcast schedule of matches (all times Eastern):

Thursday, 7 p.m.: Monica Walker-Jason Smith vs. Cory Christensen-John Shuster
Thursday, 9:15 p.m.: Nina Roth-Kroy Nernberger vs. Alex Carlson-Derrick McLean
Friday, 4 p.m.: Tabitha Peterson-Joe Polo vs. Vicky Persinger-Jared Zezel
Friday, 6:15 p.m.: Jamie Sinclair-Korey Dropkin vs. Becca Hamilton-Matt Hamilton
Saturday, 10 p.m.: Playoffs
Sunday, 4 p.m.: Final

A full schedule of games is here.

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Lindsey Vonn wins 79th World Cup race as oldest downhill victor (video)

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Lindsey Vonn became the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill with three weeks until the Olympics, notching her 79th career victory in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday.

In PyeongChang, she can become the oldest female Alpine medalist in Olympic history.

Vonn prevailed by .92 of a second over Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather on Saturday, moving seven shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record of 86 World Cup victories.

“My focus right now is just so much on Olympics that I haven’t really thought about [the record] that much this season,” Vonn said. “After the Olympics, that will be my No. 1 priority again, and I’ll try to just rack up as many wins before I retire as possible.”

American Jackie Wiles was third to become the fifth U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for PyeongChang, joining Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, among others. (full U.S. Olympic roster here)

Shiffrin was seventh in Saturday’s race in her least comfortable discipline.

Full results are here.

Vonn, 33, broke Austrian Elisabeth Goergl‘s record as the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill. Goergl is still the oldest winner for any World Cup race, taking a super-G in 2014 at nearly 34 years old.

Vonn, already an Olympic medal favorite in downhill and super-G, won her first downhill since Jan. 21, 2017.

She had raced eight downhills in between with four podium finishes, including taking second to Italian Sofia Goggia on Friday in Cortina. Goggia failed to finish Saturday.

The World Cup continues with a super-G in Cortina on Sunday (5:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

“Mentally, I feel like it’s the first podium I ever got,” Vonn said. “Back in 2004, I feel the same. I have the same motivation, the same drive, the same excitement. I love going fast. That’s never changed. The only thing that’s changed is my body is not as good as it once was, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still win.

“I’ll keep going until my poor little knee gives out.”

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IOC approves unified Korea Olympic team, 22 North Korean athletes

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North and South Korean athletes will compete on the same team at the Olympics for the first time, while the IOC approved 22 North Koreans to compete overall in PyeongChang.

The IOC on Saturday approved the Koreas’ agreement to field a unified women’s hockey team and to march together in the Opening Ceremony behind the Korean Unification flag.

Twelve North Koreans have been added to the South Korean women’s hockey team. The other North Korean athletes will compete in figure skating, Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and short track speed skating.

Full details are here.

“Today marks a milestone on a long journey,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “Since 2014, the IOC has addressed the special situation of having the Olympic Winter Games 2018 on the Korean Peninsula. Until today, we met separately with the parties on a bilateral basis to address an often fast-changing political situation in a comprehensive way. Today is therefore a great day because the Olympic Spirit has brought all sides together. This was not an easy journey.”

At the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9, one North Korean and one South Korean will carry the flag in the Parade of Nations. The Koreas previously marched together at the Opening Ceremonies in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

The hockey team will compete as “Korea,” under the unification flag and using the song “Arirang” as its anthem. North Koreans will compete under their own flag in all other sports.

North Korea did not qualify any spots for the Olympics, but the IOC had power to offer special invitations.

“Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago,” Bach said. “The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula.”

The 22 North Korean athletes mark more North Koreans at a Winter Olympics than the last six Winter Games combined.

North Korea had zero athletes in 2014 and two in 2010.

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