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

Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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Dmitriy Balandin, surprise Olympic swimming champion, retires

Dmitriy Balandin
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Dmitriy Balandin, the Kazakh swimmer who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Rio Olympics, retired at age 27.

“Today I would like to announce the end of my sports career,” Balandin said last week, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee. “I am still inspired. A new phase of my life begins. I have a lot of cool projects in my head that will soon be implemented.”

Balandin reportedly has coaching aspirations.

In 2016, he won the Olympic men’s 200m breaststroke out of lane eight as the last qualifier into the final. He edged American Josh Prenot by seven hundredths of a second and became Kazakhstan’s first Olympic swimming medalist.

He followed that up with 11th- and 17th-place finishes in the breaststrokes in Tokyo last year.

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