AP

Teen has Olympic chance she thought would be 4 years away

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WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) — Getting cut is never easy. Luckily for Cayla Barnes, she had plenty to take her mind off her disappointment at being dropped from the U.S. hockey team.

First, she graduated from high school. Then, she headed to Boston College, where she played five games with the Eagles earlier this fall.

A call in late October changed everything.

Days after watching the U.S. women lose 5-1 to Canada in Boston on Oct. 25 , Barnes learned she was moving from the bleachers to the bench as a call-up to the national team with the chance to earn an Olympic roster spot.

The defender, who turns 19 on Jan. 7, quickly withdrew from college to become the team’s youngest player, chasing an opportunity that had seemed four years away.

“Once I got cut, they said be ready, keep training, so that was always in the back of my mind,” Barnes said. “I wasn’t expecting the call at all. … This was completely out of the blue.”

The 5-foot-1, 145-pound native of Eastvale, Calif., alerted her parents, notified Boston College coaches and left school to join the national team training in Florida.

“My coaches are really supportive, and I was so excited to come and join this team,” Barnes said. “Though they’ve been hectic, the past … weeks, they’ve been really exciting.”

Barnes helped the U.S. win the last three under-18 world championships, and she also played with the senior national team for two games against Canada last December.

A strong skater with good vision, Barnes wasted no time showing why USA Hockey wanted her on the national team.

She debuted at the Four Nations Cup and scored a power-play goal in the first period of her first game, an 8-2 win over Finland on Nov. 7 .

“For somebody that’s young and just joined the team to show that kind of patience … that’s why she’s here,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said.

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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

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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MORE: Shalane Flanagan looks to future after last Boston Marathon

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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