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South Korea Olympic hockey rosters have North American flavor

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Of the 48 players on South Korea’s first Olympic men’s and women’s hockey rosters, 11 were born in the U.S. or Canada, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Another player, Marissa Brandt, was born in South Korea but adopted by a Minnesota family when she was 4 months old. Brandt’s younger sister, Hannah, is on the U.S. Olympic team.

Seven players on the men’s roster of 25 are naturalized South Korean citizens born in the U.S. or Canada who now play for South Korean club teams.

Perhaps the most notable is No. 1 goalie Matt Dalton, who spent several days with the Boston Bruins during the 2009-10 season but never saw game action.

Dalton was in goal for a pre-Olympic tournament game with Canada, where South Korea led 2-1 after the first period before losing 4-2. Canada outshot South Korea 57-10.

Dalton is joined on the Olympic team by forwards Alex Plante, Eric Regan and Bryan Young and defensemen Brock Radunske, Michael Swift and Mike Testwuide.

All but Testwuide were born in Canada. Testwuide was born in Vail, Colo.

The South Korean men are coached by two-time Stanley Cup winner Jim Paek, the first South Korean-born NHL player.

The women, coached by former University of Minnesota-Duluth player Sarah Murray, have four Canadian-born or U.S.-born forwards of South Korean descent: Randi Griffin, Danelle Im, Caroline Park and Grace Lee.

The South Korean women’s roster could add North Koreans pending a meeting between the two Koreas and the IOC on Saturday.

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Serena Williams battles, then rolls into French Open second round

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Serena Williams overcame early struggles, sweeping past countrywoman Kristie Ahn 7-6 (2), 6-0 to reach the French Open second round.

Williams, again eyeing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, started out like somebody who went 16 months between clay-court matches. She needed 74 minutes to take the first set from the 102nd-ranked Ahn, recovering twice after having her serve broken.

She dominated the second set in 27 minutes, advancing to play Bulgarian and fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova, a rematch of their three-set U.S. Open quarterfinal three weeks ago.

Williams, in long sleeves and tights, had 15 winners to 28 unforced errors in the first set in cloudy, sub-60-degree weather on Monday.

“I hate the cold. I’m from L.A. and I live in Florida,” Williams said before the tournament, which was postponed from its usual May/June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic. “For half my life I’ve never seen snow. Cold weather and me do not mix.”

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Williams also noted before the tournament that she was “not at 100 percent physically” and spent most of her time in France “rehabbing” without giving specifics. She took a medical timeout with a left Achilles injury in her last match, a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka,

“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could perform,” Williams said Saturday. “I don’t know any athlete that ever plays physically when they’re feeling perfect. That’s just something I think as athletes we have to play with.”

Earlier Monday, newly crowned U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem rolled 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up, next gets American Jack Sock, a former top-10 player now ranked No. 310. Sock took out countryman Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 for his first main draw win at the French Open in four years.

Rafael Nadal begins his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title and male record-tying 20th Grand Slam singles title later Monday.

The French Open first round concludes Tuesday with top-ranked Novak Djokovic in action.

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Tokyo Olympic torch relay sets date to resume

Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay
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The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will resume on March 25 and follow its originally planned route and schedule, starting in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Organizers are discussing torch relay modifications given the coronavirus pandemic. Possible changes include the number of officials and staff involved and reducing the size of vehicle convoys.

As it stands, the relay will visit all 47 prefectures of Japan with emphasis on the area affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

With the motto “Hope Lights Our Way,” it will visit the three prefectures most affected by the tsunami and earthquake (Fukushima (March 25-27), Iwate (June 16-18) and Miyagi (June 19-21)) for three days each.

The relay leads up to the Opening Ceremony on July 23.

The torch relay originally began last March 12 in Olympia. The Greek portion of the relay, originally scheduled for eight days, was called off on March 13 due to the pandemic after actor Gerard Butler was among the torch bearers in Sparta.

An unexpectedly large crowd gathered in Sparta despite recommendations to the public not to focus on the ceremony.

The flame remained in Greece until it was flown to Japan as scheduled on March 20.

On March 24, it was announced the Tokyo Games were postponed to 2021. The Japan portion of the torch relay was suspended, too, two days before it was to start.

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