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Katie Ledecky-Sarah Sjostrom rematch at worlds not in the cards

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Sarah Sjöström will not swim the 200m freestyle at the world championships next month, passing up a showdown with Katie Ledecky, her agent confirmed Wednesday.

Sjöström might have had the best shot to keep Ledecky from sweeping the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at a second straight worlds in July.

The Swede gave Ledecky her toughest test at the Olympics, finishing .35 behind the American for silver in the 200m free. She outsplit Ledecky in the final 50 meters.

But Sjöström is focusing on the 50m and 100m butterflies and freestyles at worlds, like she did two years ago. At the 2015 Worlds, Sjöström’s time leading off the 4x200m free relay was faster than Ledecky’s winning time in the individual 200m free.

Likewise, Sjöström was world No. 1 in the 200m free entering the Rio Olympics, by .09 over Ledecky.

This year, Sjöström has been on fire. She clocked personal bests in the 50m freestyle (No. 2 all time) and the 100m free in April, three months before most swimmers peak. She has not contested a single 200m freestyle this year.

Meanwhile, Ledecky came off a long NCAA season to post the fastest times in the world this year in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees this spring.

In the absence of Sjöström, Ledecky’s top rivals could be Swede Michelle Coleman (three tenths behind Ledecky in the 200m free this year) and Australian Emma McKeon (.34 behind Ledecky in the 200m free).

Then there’s Chinese 15-year-old Li Bingjie, who ranks second in the 400m and 800m frees this year, trailing Ledecky by 1.54 seconds and 5.45 seconds, respectively.

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Henrik Lundqvist joins Swedish throng in song at world title celebration

Henrik Lundqvist
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Singing Queen’s “We are the Champions,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist joined thousands of his closest Swedish friends to celebrate their world hockey title in a central Stockholm square Monday afternoon.

The event at Sergel Square attracted the country’s prime minister (who was partially booed), Swedish royals and a flyover by the Swedish Air Force, according to German press agency DPA. Even the pregnant 2015 Miss Sweden found a way to honor the team.

Sweden won its 10th world title Sunday, ousting two-time defending champion Canada 2-1 in a shootout and at least somewhat avenging its Sochi Olympic final defeat.

The Swedish roster included NHL players who, as of now, won’t be participating in the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Such as Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom, who scored one of Sweden’s two shootout goals, three years after being suspended from the Olympic final for testing positive for pseudoephedrine.

And Lundqvist, who flew to the worlds co-hosted by France and Germany to join the team mid-tournament after his New York Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Lundqvist stopped all four Canadian shots in the shootout, capping an exceptional stint with the team. He arrived to play the last five games and tallied a 1.31 goals-against average and .946 save percentage, the best among all goalies who played in more than two games at the tournament.

Lundqvist, 35, joined Sweden at worlds for the first time since 2008 after his identical twin brother, Joel, reached out, according to The New York Times. Joel, a former NHL forward, is the Swedish team captain but didn’t make the Olympics in 2006, 2010 or 2014, like Henrik did (winning gold in 2006).

The Lundqvist brothers had not played on the same team in 12 years. With Joel not playing in the NHL, it might be his turn to suit up at the Olympics next year, while Henrik stays in the U.S.

“Sitting in New York, 10 days ago or so, this is what I pictured myself, to be here with my brother, to hold this trophy,” Lundqvist said Sunday.

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Sweden crowned world champs after shootout

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COLOGNE, Germany – Sweden won the ice hockey world championship with a 2-1 victory on penalties over two-time defending champion Canada on Sunday.

Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped all four penalties as Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored shootout goals for the Swedes to win their first title since 2013.

The game ended 1-1 after overtime.

Lundqvist and Canada counterpart Calvin Pickard, who saved William Nylander’s first penalty for Sweden, were outstanding in a game in which the Canadians narrowly outshot their opponents by 43-42.

The breakthrough came against the odds, with Backstrom penalized for slashing, when Victor Hedman scored short-handed with 20.8 seconds left in the second period.

Ryan O’Reilly equalized when he scrambled the puck in off a rebound from Mitch Marner.

Nate MacKinnon missed a good chance to clinch the win for Canada on a power play before overtime.

The U.S. was eliminated by Finland in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

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