American twins will have some sisterly company at Olympics

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Just call it a sister thing. Whenever another hockey team has sisters on the rosters, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando take notice.

Well, the U.S. Olympians are twins themselves. Combine that with how few sisters play hockey or reach national teams playing internationally, it’s easy enough to notice whenever sisters are dressing up for another country.

“It’s just cool to see,” Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said.

The Lamoureux sisters will have some sisterly company at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Teammate Hannah Brandt’s sister, Marissa, plays for the unified Korean women’s team, and Switzerland has two sets of sisters on the roster with Nina, Isabel and Monika Waidacher, plus twins Laura and Sara Benz. Canada nearly had its own sister act with Sarah and Amy Potomak, though neither made the Olympic team.

Being sisters definitely can provide an edge in hockey.

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“When we get the opportunity to be on the ice together, there’s a chemistry that just never goes away,” Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said. “It’s always there. So whenever we have an opportunity to have a couple shifts together or if we’re ever put on a unit or line together, it’s always there. And we’ve pushed each other every day whether it’s workouts, during on-ice training, it’s just that accountability that we’ve always had growing up.”

Even though women’s hockey didn’t debut at the Olympics until 1998 in Nagano, playing hockey simply was something the Lamoureux sisters were bound to do. They were born in Fargo, North Dakota, their father, Pierre, played for the University of North Dakota, and all four of their brothers played hockey in college, with Jacque a Hobey Baker finalist in 2009 with Air Force.

The Lamoureux sisters played a year in college at Minnesota before switching to North Dakota for their final three seasons, the last in 2012-13. They have played internationally for the United States since 2006. Both play forward, though Monique also plays defense. Now 28, the sisters credit each other for their long success, which now includes a third Olympic berth.

“That’s part of the reason we’ve pushed ourselves to this level and been competing at this level for quite a long time is that built-in accountability day-in, day-out even if we’re not with the team,” Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said.

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Monique Lamoureux-Davidson calls it the benefit of having grown up together playing every sport together on the same team, even though they haven’t played together on the ice as much as people might think. Coaches have often spread the skill by playing them on separate lines.

“It’s just that thing when we’re on the ice together, we have that undeniable chemistry,” she said.

And the American sisters definitely have an Olympic edge having won silver medals in both 2010 and 2014. Jocelyne has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 10 Olympic games, while Monique has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in the same span. The U.S. women’s team leaves Wednesday for South Korea chasing the gold medal that eluded the Americans in Sochi, where the United States blew a 2-0 lead to Canada in the final.

For Monique, she’s chasing simple fulfillment.

“The last four years we’ve been kind of chasing down this dream of being Olympic champions, and nearly every single day your day is scheduled around being the best athlete you can be,” she said, “and you change up your plans, you do everything you can to be the best athlete, best leader, best team you can be.”

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Jocelyne can’t wait for the opportunity to represent the United States once again in the Olympics with pride the emotion that bubbles up whenever she thinks of the Winter Games. It’s what the sisters have been working for most of their lives. And there’s one ultimate goal.

“It’s gold,” Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We’ve come up short the last two Olympics and our ultimate goal is just to play our best. If we can do that, we truly believe we can come out on top.”

Noah Lyles runs personal best and is coming for Usain Bolt’s world record

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Noah Lyles ran a personal-best time in the 60m on Saturday, then reaffirmed record-breaking intentions for the 100m and, especially, the 200m, where Usain Bolt holds the fastest times in history.

Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 60m sprint in 6.51 seconds at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, clipping Trayvon Bromell by two thousandths in his first top-level meet of the year. Bromell, the world 100m bronze medalist, is a past world indoor 60m champion and has a better start than Lyles, which is crucial in a six-second race.

But on Saturday, Lyles ran down Bromell and shaved four hundredths off his personal best. It bodes well for Lyles’ prospects come the spring and summer outdoor season in his better distances — the 100m and 200m.

“This is the moment I’ve been working, like, seven years for,” he said. “We’re not just coming for the 200m world record. We’re coming for all the world records.”

Last July, Lyles broke Michael Johnson‘s 26-year-old American record in the 200m, winning the world title in 19.31 seconds. Only Bolt (19.19) and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26) have run faster.

Lyles has since spoken openly about targeting Bolt’s world record from 2009.

How does an indoor 60m time play into that? Well, Lyles said that his success last year sprung from a strong indoor season, when he lowered his personal best in the 60m from 6.57 to 6.56 and then 6.55. He followed that by lowering his personal best in the 200m from 19.50 to 19.31.

He believes that slicing an even greater chunk off his 60m best on Saturday means special things are on the horizon come the major summer meets — the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in July (on the same Oregon track where he ran the American 200m record) and the world championships in Budapest in August.

After focusing on the 200m last year, Lyles plans to race both the 100m and the 200m this year. He has a bye into the 200m at world championships, so expect him to race the 100m at USATF Outdoors, where the top three are in line to join world champ Fred Kerley on the world team.

Lyles’ personal best in the 100m is 9.86, a tenth off the best times from Kerley, Bromell and 2019 World 100m champ Christian Coleman. Bolt is in his own tier at 9.58.

Also Saturday, Grant Holloway extended a near-nine-year, 50-plus-race win streak in the 60m hurdles, clocking 7.38 seconds, nine hundredths off his world record. Olympic teammate Daniel Roberts was second in 7.46. Trey Cunningham, who took silver behind Holloway in the 110m hurdles at last July’s world outdoor championships, was fifth in 7.67.

Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 60m in 7.02 seconds, one week after clocking a personal-best 6.98 to become the third-fastest American in history after Gail Devers and Marion Jones (both 6.95). Hobbs, 26, placed sixth in the 100m at last July’s world championships.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world 400m hurdles champion competing for the first time since August, and Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the world 200m champion, were ninth and 10th in the 60m heats, just missing the eight-woman final.

In the women’s pole vault, Bridget Williams, seventh at last year’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, upset the last two Olympic champions — American Katie Moon and Greek Katerina Stefanidi. Williams won with a 4.63-meter clearance (and then cleared 4.71 and a personal-best 4.77). Stefanidi missed three attempts at 4.63, while Moon went out at 4.55.

The indoor track and field season continues with the Millrose Games in New York City next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

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Birk Irving, last man on Olympic team, extends breakout season with Mammoth win

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One year ago, Birk Irving was the last man to make the four-man U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe team. Since, he continued to climb the ranks in arguably the nation’s strongest discipline across skiing and snowboarding.

Irving earned his second World Cup win this season, taking the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, on Friday.

Irving posted a 94-point final run, edging Canadian Brendan Mackay by one point. David Wise, the two-time Olympic champion who won his fifth X Games Aspen title last Sunday, was third.

A tribute was held to 2015 World champion Kyle Smaine, a U.S. halfpipe skier who died in an avalanche in Japan last Sunday.

“We’re all skiing the best we have because we’re all skiing with Kyle in our hearts,” Irving said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “We’re skiing for him, and we know he’s looking down on us. We miss you Kyle. We love you. Thank you for keeping us safe in the pipe today.”

Irving also won the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado, on Dec. 17. Plus, the 23-year-old from Colorado had his best career X Games Aspen finish last Sunday, taking second.

The next major event is the world championships in Georgia (the country, not the state) in early March. Irving was third at the last worlds in 2021, then fifth at the Olympics last February.

The U.S. has been the strongest nation in men’s ski halfpipe since it debuted at the Olympics in 2014. Wise won the first two gold medals. Alex Ferreira won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics. Aaron Blunck is a world champion and X Games champion.

Irving is younger than all of them and has beaten all of them at multiple competitions this season.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, hasn’t competed since the Games after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

In snowboarding events at Mammoth, Americans Julia Marino and Lyon Farrell earned slopestyle wins by posting the top qualification scores. The finals were canceled due to wind.

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