U.S. edges Canada in first meeting since Olympic hockey final

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A newcomer to the U.S.-Canada rivalry potted the winner Wednesday in the nations’ first meeting since the Olympic hockey final shootout.

Sydney Brodt, a University of Minnesota Duluth junior, beat three-time Canadian Olympic goalie Shannon Szabados with 1:38 left for a 2-1 win at the Four Nations Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The nations will likely meet again in the Four Nations Cup championship game Saturday. Finland and Sweden also take part in the annual tournament.

Brodt, 20, is playing her first games with the senior national team. The youngest captain in UMD history was not one of 24 forwards invited to USA Hockey’s spring 2017 camp that determined the bulk of the 13 forwards who went to PyeongChang.

PyeongChang Olympian Hannah Brandt tallied the other U.S. goal, 1:18 into the game. Canadian Loren Gabel tied it 3:30 into the third period.

Alex Rigsby, the No. 3 U.S. goalie at the Olympics, made 23 saves.

The U.S. made major changes since the Olympics, including a new head coach (Bob Corkum replacing Robb Stauber) and program director Reagan Carey stepping down after eight years at the helm.

The Four Nations Cup roster includes all of the stars from the Olympics save captain Meghan Duggan, who is sitting out with an injury but plans to return to the national team later in this Olympic cycle, and twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who are pregnant.

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Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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