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Canada names Olympic women’s hockey roster

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Marie-Philip Poulin and Shannon Szabados, stars of Canada’s last two Olympic gold-medal teams, lead the nation’s 23-player PyeongChang roster announced Friday.

The Canadians will go for their fifth straight Olympic hockey title, which would break the consecutive golds record shared by men’s teams from Canada (1920-32) and the Soviet Union (1964-76).

The U.S. roster is scheduled to be announced New Year’s Day at the NHL Winter Classic on NBC.

Poulin, a 26-year-old often called the female Sidney Crosby, scored both goals in a 2-0 Olympic final at Vancouver 2010 and the final-minute-tying and overtime-winning goals in the 3-2 stunner in Sochi in 2014.

Szabados, also going to her third Olympics after playing in men’s minor leagues in the U.S. in 2014, 2015 and 2016, was in net for both of those Olympic finals.

For the first time, Canada will go to the Olympics without legend Hayley Wickenheiser, who retired in January after winning her fourth Olympic gold medal in Sochi.

Other four-time Olympic champions Caroline Ouellette and Jayna Hefford also retired in this Olympic cycle.

Though Canada lost all three world championship finals to the U.S. since Sochi, it won the last four games of their eight-game pre-Olympic series that wrapped up Sunday.

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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

Canada Olympic women’s hockey roster
Goaltenders
Shannon Szabados
Ann-Renée Desbiens
Geneviève Lacasse

Defense
Jocelyne Larocque
Brigette Lacquette
Lauriane Rougeau
Laura Fortino
Meaghan Mikkelson
Renata Fast

Forwards
Meghan Agosta
Rebecca Johnston
Laura Stacey
Jennifer Wakefield
Jillian Saulnier
Melodie Daoust
Bailey Bram
Brianne Jenner
Sarah Nurse
Haley Irwin
Natalie Spooner
Emily Clark
Marie-Philip Poulin
Blayre Turnbull

IOC: ‘More exciting initiatives’ for Korean unity in PyeongChang

AP
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic organizers on Friday welcomed an agreement between North and South Korea to unite athletes at the PyeongChang Winter Games and promised that “much more exciting initiatives” promoting Korean unity will emerge this weekend.

“Watch this space,” International Olympic Committee presidential spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press in an interview, a day before a crucial meeting of Korean delegations at Olympics headquarters in Lausanne.

He declined to elaborate, saying the decisions would come Saturday.

Referring to a detailed peace-making agreement between the rival countries announced Thursday by South Korea’s Unification Ministry, including a joint team in the women’s hockey tournament, Adams said it was “great … but these are discussions” — meaning the IOC had not yet given the deal the final green light.

“I can tell you that there will also be some much more exciting initiatives coming through as well tomorrow,” he added.

Provided that the IOC finalizes the deal, it would mark the first time the two National Olympic Committees would be competing together in a single team.

Some have questioned the fine print of the agreement announced by the two Koreas, saying it gives the combined hockey squad a far larger roster than any other national team.

Asked how the IOC planned to maintain the integrity of the sport, Adams said: “People would say that these are exceptional circumstances, and we need exceptional measures.”

“This is about the Olympic spirit,” Adams added. “And the Olympic spirit is about nations competing, athletes competing, and we will do our best make sure that it sends a signal that sport can improve the world.”

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Julia Mancuso skis final race dressed as Wonder Woman (video)

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Julia Mancuso bid farewell like only she could — with a tiara, cape and Wonder Woman suit.

The most decorated female U.S. Olympic skier with four medals announced Friday morning that today’s World Cup downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo would be the last race of her career.

More on Mancuso’s retirement, career and immediate future here.

She raced Friday as her nickname — “Super Jules” — and coasted to the bottom 18 seconds slower than winner Sofia Goggia.

Afterward, U.S. Ski Team members sprayed her with champagne and lifted her up in the finish corral.

Mancuso chose an appropriate venue for her last race.

She notched her first World Cup podium in Cortina in January 2006, then won the Olympic giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy, four weeks later.

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