U.S. Olympic women’s hockey roster

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team is set after the final two skaters were cut — Sochi silver medalists Alex Carpenter and Megan Bozek.

The 23-player team:

Goalies
Nicole Hensley
Alex Rigsby
Maddie Rooney

Defensemen
Cayla Barnes
Kacey Bellamy — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kali Flanagan
Megan Keller
Sidney Morin
Emily Pfalzer
Lee Stecklein — Olympian (2014)

Forwards
Hannah Brandt
Dani Cameranesi
Kendall Coyne — Olympian (2014)
Brianna Decker — Olympian (2014)
Meghan Duggan — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Amanda Kessel — Olympian (2014)
Hilary Knight — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Monique Lamoureux-Morando — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Gigi Marvin — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kelly Pannek
Amanda Pelkey
Haley Skarupa

The leaders are Duggan, the captain, and Knight, the world championship MVP in 2015 and 2016 who scored the 2017 worlds golden goal in the final against Canada.

Kessel, the younger sister of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel, returns to the Olympics after nearly retiring due to a concussion.

Kessel suffered the head injury crashing head-first into boards bordering the ice in 2013. She recovered to play in Sochi, but the concussion effects returned afterward, and she sat out nearly two years.

The U.S. women won the last four world titles, but Canada took gold at the last four Olympics, including an unforgettable comeback and overtime victory in Sochi.

Canada also beat the U.S. in their last four meetings of their eight-game, pre-Olympic series that wrapped up two weeks ago.

MORE: Canada Olympic women’s hockey roster

Carpenter and Bozek joined forward Annie Pankowski as the three skaters who made the initial 23-player national team in May but were cut in the last month.

“It’s never easy to let veterans go who are just a big part of the program,” said U.S. head coach Robb Stauber, an NHL goalie in the 1990s. “We have to go to South Korea with what feel most comfortable with, and that’s a very difficult decision.”

Carpenter, the daughter of longtime NHL forward Bobby Carpenter, led the U.S. with four goals in Sochi and scored the 2016 World Championship final game-winning goal in overtime against Canada. She played in the last four world championships.

Bozek, who captained the University of Minnesota’s undefeated 2013 team, led U.S. defenders in points in Sochi (five). She played in four of the last five world championships.

“I might not agree with the decision made to exclude me from the team, but for the 23 that were named to the Olympic team, I only want to wish them the best to bring home the first gold since 1998,” was posted on Bozek’s social media.

Pankowski was one of the last two players cut from the 2014 team.

Three cuts needed to be made after three skaters were added to the national team this fall — defenders Cayla Barnes and Sidney Morin and forward Haley Skarupa.

Barnes, an 18-year-old Boston College freshman, will become the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player since 2006.

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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

Skylar Diggins-Smith has the opportunity to fill USA Basketball’s need

Skylar Diggins
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Skylar Diggins-Smith said making the U.S. Olympic team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is her second chance.

An ACL tear derailed her Rio 2016 hopes. That happened in a WNBA game on June 28, 2015.

Though Diggins-Smith was among 25 Olympic finalists named in January 2016, she didn’t return to game action until that May, four weeks after the 12-woman Olympic team was chosen.

The 27-year-old guard said she’s played for USA Basketball for 12 years, since before her standout Notre Dame career that led to her current stint with the Dallas Wings (formerly Tulsa Shock).

“This is the most clear my mind has been,” with USA Basketball, Diggins-Smith said from training camp in Seattle on Tuesday, ahead of a Thursday exhibition against China at Key Arena (10 p.m. ET, usab.com/live).

Signs point to Diggins-Smith making her major international tournament debut at September’s FIBA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship event.

Though Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi‘s surprising returns crowd the backcourt, the other Olympic gold medalist guard, Lindsay Whalen, retired from the national team.

Diggins-Smith’s play last season, her first full campaign back from the ACL tear, boosts her case. She made the All-WNBA First Team.

She also made the first team in 2014. That year, Diggins-Smith was among the final cuts for the world championship team less than a week before the tournament.

“Every time I come to USA Basketball, I think you have a tendency to kind of overthink,” Diggins-Smith said Tuesday. “You just want to do the right thing, don’t really want to make mistakes. … You want to do the right thing, and you press a little bit.”

USA Basketball has stressed finding its next stalwart point guard following five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, three-time Olympian Dawn Staley (now the U.S. head coach) and the 37-year-old Bird, eyeing her fifth Olympics in 2020.

“Give me three guards that have separated themselves from everyone else in the WNBA to put themselves at the same level as Sue, Diana, Lindsay Whalen,” then-U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said after the Olympic team was named in April 2016. “You really start to look around and, you go, that is a huge question that has to be answered.”

“Obviously, there’s a need,” Staley said in February, listing point guards other than Bird at that camp.

The first name Staley mentioned was Diggins-Smith, for what it’s worth.

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MORE: Candace Parker finished with USA Basketball

USA Track and Field to honor 1968 Olympic team on 50th anniversary

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USA Track and Field begins a campaign this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympic team.

Members of the Mexico City Games team, one of the greatest track and field teams in history, will be honored at high-profile events the remainder of the year.

The campaign, “1968-2018: Celebrating Athletic Achievement and Courage,” culminates with a “Night of Legends” reunion in December at the USATF Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, also attended by current U.S. stars.

The 1968 Olympic team is most remembered for Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who took gold and bronze in the 200m and were sent home after raising their black-gloved fists in a human rights salute during the national anthem.

The team also included gold medalists Bob Beamon (long jump), Dick Fosbury (high jump), Al Oerter (discus), Wyomia Tyus and Jim Hines (100m), Lee Evans (400m), Madeline Manning Mims (800m), Willie Davenport (110m hurdles), Bob Seagren (pole vault), Randy Matson (shot put), Bill Toomey (decathlon) and the men’s and women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m.

“The legacy of the greatest track & field team to ever be assembled is still felt 50 years later,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said in a press release. “These Olympians persevered through athletic challenges and social injustices, maintaining their composure and dignity when others may have fallen. It is USATF’s honor to pay homage to their achievements and bring the team together for an epic celebration at our Annual Meeting.”

U.S. track and field athletes will compete at two meets on NBC Sports and NBC Sports Gold this weekend — the Drake Relays and Penn Relays.

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WATCH: NBC Olympics documentary on 1968 Olympics