Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi
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U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team announced

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Sue BirdDiana Taurasi and Brittney Griner will lead the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in Rio, seeking a sixth straight title for Team USA.

USA Basketball announced the 12-woman roster, chosen by a committee, featuring a men’s or women’s national record nine players with Olympic experience:

Seimone Augustus (2008, 2012)
Sue Bird (2004, 2008, 2012)
Tamika Catchings (2004, 2008, 2012)
Tina Charles (2012)
Elena Delle Donne
Sylvia Fowles (2008, 2012)
Brittney Griner
Angel McCoughtry (2012)
Maya Moore (2012)
Breanna Stewart
Diana Taurasi (2004, 2008, 2012)
Lindsay Whalen (2012)

Candace Parker, a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, was the only players with Olympic experience who didn’t make the team from the 25 overall finalists announced in January. Other 2012 Olympians Asjha Jones and Swin Cash were not finalists.

Skylar Diggins was also among the finalists who didn’t make the team after being one of the final four cuts from the 2014 World Championship team.

Catchings, 36, is the oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player of all time, according to sports-reference.com.

Stewart, 21, is the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988. She recently won her fourth NCAA title with Connecticut and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm.

“Well, first of all when I saw that [national team director Carol] Callan was calling, I had a mini heart attack,” Stewart said, according to the Associated Press. “Because I’m like, ‘What’s going to happen? I don’t know! I don’t know!’ And then I answered it, and obviously I knew who was calling, but when she congratulated me, it was . I was speechless. I did not know what to say.”

Stewart played at the 2014 World Championship just after turning 20, recording a total of 36 minutes over six games and scoring 11 points, fewest on the team.

Catchings, Bird and Taurasi can tie former teammates Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie for the most Olympic team sport gold medals for an American.

Griner is on her first Olympic team after withdrawing from 2012 Olympic consideration due to a family illness and her summer school schedule, three months before the London Games.

“When I got the call, I was speechless,” Griner said, according to the AP. “Just knowing that this will be my first Olympics that I’ll be able to go to and play in, I’ve always said that that’s the biggest stage you could play on. It doesn’t get any bigger than putting on that jersey and playing for gold.”

Bird, Taurasi, Moore, Charles and Griner started every game at the 2014 World Championship, which Catchings, Delle Donne and Fowles missed due to injuries.

The U.S. women’s basketball team has won 41 straight Olympic games since losing to the Unified Team in the Barcelona 1992 semifinals.

MORE: Olympic basketball groups announced

Without their siblings, Green and Parsons find success at figure skating nationals

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the first time, Caroline Green and Michael Parsons are competing at the U.S. Championships without their siblings.

Green formerly teamed with older brother Gordon, and Parsons formerly danced with younger sister Rachel. Both Green and Parsons have seen success in Greensboro. When the championships were here in 2011, the Parsons won the novice dance title. When the championships were here in 2015, the Greens won the novice dance title.

Green, 16, and Parsons, 24, finished a satisfying fifth in the rhythm dance on Friday, after performing to “Cry-Baby” and earning 77.42 points. But they believe that this new partnership, with each other, has even greater potential.

“We definitely have some goals that are long-term,” Parsons said. “We’ve made a lot of progress this year – obviously, starting from zero. Nationals has been the culmination of our work so far. We’ve got a lot more to do, for sure.”

How far do they want to take their partnership?

“As far as we possibly can,” Green said.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

They grew up in the same rink under the same coaches in Washington, D.C., which is part of why they were able to team and find success so seamlessly – they had the same foundation for their skills and development. When their siblings left the sport, Green and Parsons skated together while trying to figure out their next steps. Their coaches took notice, and suggested a formal partnership.

“It’s a huge advantage for us because we’ve learned to skate the same way from the same coaches,” Parsons said after Friday’s rhythm dance. “We’ve always been under the same coaches. Just a huge amount of shared experience we’ve gained throughout the years together, we can apply to our new partnership.”

“Coming into this competition is where it really started to gel,” Green said. “All of our hard work separately started to come together.”

Even 2014 Olympic ice dance champion Charlie White spoke to their ability to come together so quickly on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast of the rhythm dance (full replay here for subscribers).

“I would guess – if I didn’t know – that they had been together for a number of years,” White said. “There’s just a maturity and a talent that they both possess that happens to match up really well. … I think that they have a very, very bright future.”

They’ve had a long season so far, competing six times before nationals. As a comparison, the top couples competed as few as three times.

“Our goal this season was to compete as much as humanly possible,” Parsons said. Green added that she was thankful for the added experience.

Green competed as a junior ice dancer last season and said it was “a bit of a shock” seeing the difference between the levels of competition from junior to senior events. Just last year, she won the junior national title with her brother.

“It was [a challenge] I think I took in stride and I feel like I’ve adapted pretty well,” she said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her, the way she stepped up to senior. I’m a very happy partner,” Parsons said.

Green and Parsons trail fourth-place Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko by 0.6 points and sit 5.17 points out of bronze medal position. The U.S. has three spots to fill at March’s world championships, though it may not necessarily be the first, second and third place finishers.

The free dance is Saturday.

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MORE: ‘Nervous’ Gracie Gold stumbles in short program, but rebuilds herself to get this far

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

WATCH LIVE: U.S. Figure Skating Championships rhythm dance, women’s free skate

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Can Bradie Tennell hold off 14-year-old Alysa Liu? The U.S. Figure Skating Championships crowns its female medalists on Friday, live on NBC Sports.

Action starts with the rhythm dance at 4:30 p.m. ET for NBC Sports Gold subscribers, with NBCSN broadcast coverage joining in at 5. The women start at 7:25 on Gold, with NBC TV coverage starting at 8.

LIVE STREAM: Rhythm dance — Gold | NBCSN | Skate Order
LIVE STREAM: Women’s free skate — Gold | NBC | Skate Order

Tennell topped Thursday’s short program with a clean slate of jumps, plus the highest artistic score.

She bettered Liu in the short program last year, too, but fell in the free skate to take silver. Liu, meanwhile, landed two triple Axels to win by 3.92 points and become the youngest U.S. champion in history.

Another skater to watch is Gracie Gold, the two-time U.S. champion competing at nationals for the first time in three years. Gold, lauded for her return from an eating disorder, depression and anxiety, struggled with jumps in the short and is in 13th place of 18 skaters.

In the rhythm dance, past U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates are expected to begin a duel that should come down to Saturday’s free dance.

Key Skate Times
5:32 p.m. — Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue
5:38 — Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker
5:44 — Madison Chock/Evan Bates
8:07 — Gracie Gold
10:03 — Karen Chen
10:11 — Amber Glenn
10:27 — Bradie Tennell
10:35 — Mariah Bell
10:43 — Alysa Liu

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.