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Ski jumping: All U.S. men advance in normal hill qualifiers

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Ski jumping got underway Thursday at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre with the qualifying round of the men’s individual normal hill competition and Team USA’s Kevin Bickner was up for the challenge.

Bickner, one of four Olympic rookies for the U.S. men ski jumpers, finished 25th to advance to the next round with a distance of 98 meters and a total score of 114.0 points. A jumper is judged on a combination of distance and style.

As for the other U.S. men, all three — Michael Glasder, William Rhoads and Casey Larson — advanced, as well. In the field of 57, Glasder placed 40th, with Rhoads and Larson not far behind in 45th and 46th, respectively.

But it was Germany that made the biggest statement of the day. Andreas Wellinger took the top spot with a distance of 103.0 meters and a high score of 133.5. Wellinger was flanked by fellow countryment Richard Freitag, Markus Eisenbichler and Karl Geiger as Germany took four of the top seven spots.

NBCOlympics.com: Understanding ski jumping scoring

​However, sandwiched between the Germans were a few big names. Poland’s Kamil Stoch, the defending Olympic medalist was not far behind Wellinger to grab the second spot with a total of 131.7, and a meter further jump than Wellinger.

​Austria’s Stefon Kraft, a two-time world championship gold medal winner and world record holder, placed fifth.

Forty spots in Saturday’s first round were up for grabs, while the top 10 jumpers from this season’s World Cup standings automatically advanced and had the option to not participate in the qualifying round.

In the qualifying round, each skier was given two jumps; one practice and one scored jump.

Saturday’s first round (7:35 a.m. ET) will be immediately followed by the final round (8:30 a.m. ET). Stream both rounds live on NBCOlympics.com.

How to watch Closing Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympics

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Another Olympics is in the books.

The PyeongChang Closing Ceremony will cap off the 2018 Winter Games Sunday morning, beginning at 6 a.m. ET / 3 a.m. PT with a live stream of the events.

Jessie Diggins has been named the U.S. flag bearer after an incredibly gutsy performance to take home the country’s first-ever gold medal in Cross-Country.

How, when and where to watch the Closing Ceremony

Stream LIVE on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app: Sunday at 6 a.m. ET / 3 a.m. PT (Stream here)

The live stream will feature all the sights and sounds of the Closing Ceremony without any commentary.

Watch on TV: Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC (Stream here)

The Olympic figure skating commentating trio of Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Terry Gannon will host the Closing Ceremony on NBC in primetime beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

“It’s a huge honor and privilege,” Lipinski said. “I’m so excited to embark on this new and exciting adventure and bring the Closing Ceremony to the U.S.”

“This is a glorious and unexpected experience that I can’t wait to get fancy for!” Weir said.

Mike Tirico – NBC’s primetime host throughout the PyeongChang Games – hosted the Closing Ceremony for Rio in 2016 alongside Ryan Seacrest and Mary Carillo.

Tirico and Katie Couric hosted the PyeongChang Opening Ceremony in South Korea two weeks ago.

Sunday night’s primetime edition of the Closing Ceremony will also feature simulstreams on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. (Stream here)

Team USA’s historic curling victory, in their own words

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There’s no one word to describe Team USA’s men’s curling victory in the gold medal game Saturday morning.

For a team in a sport that is known for yelling, the victory left John Shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner speechless.

Watch highlights from Team USA’s 10-7 gold medal win over Sweden

John Shuster:

On the morning of February 19, Matt’s (Hamilton) birthday, the day we played Canada, I woke up saw it and said ‘I have a choice. I have a choice to rewrite my story, to write the story of this team. That we put the work in and I wasn’t going to let any thought in my head or any of that stuff get the in way of the story of this team… they deserve to have the skip who helped them get here and I’m glad I showed up.

Matt Hamilton:

It’s unbelievable, this whole last four years. Just being on the cusp at the world championships. Getting bronze one year, coming fourth and fifth the other two years. We knew we were close, and to make the breakthrough here at the Olympics is just amazing.

Tyler George:

It’s too surreal to even think about right now… I think it’s going to hit harder tomorrow but I keep waiting to wake up. I’ve not been emotional because it’s just shock. To go from where we were a few days ago… the emotions, they’re bottled up and they’re building but it’s going to be a little bit before they come out.

NBCOlympics.com: PyeongChang a much different Olympics for Shuster, Team USA

John Landsteiner:

For me and John [Shuster]… This time around we were able to show them what we’re capable of and we’re really proud of that… And this team, I’m just proud of what we have all done. We’ve put in so much work together the last four years and we’ve been able to peak at the right time obviously. So I can’t imagine it means any more than the world to any of us.