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Ice dance medalists, pair champions named to 2019 world championships team

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Grand Prix Final gold medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who successfully defended their national title on Saturday night, were named to the 2019 World Championship team, U.S. Figure Skating announced Sunday. Hubbell and Donohue won silver medals at 2018 Worlds.

Their training mates — and the two teams they shared the nationals podium with — will join them: two-time Worlds medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates as well as Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. The same three dance teams are slated to compete at the Four Continents Championships that begin Feb. 5 in Anaheim, Calif.

The U.S. has one spot for the pairs’ competition and will fill it with new national champions Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc. The pair won their first title together on Saturday.

Joining Cain and LeDuc at Four Continents are silver medalists Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier as well as fourth-place finishers, and last year’s Four Continents champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea.

Bradie Tennell and Mariah Bell were named to the world team on Saturday.

Worlds are March 18-24 in Saitama, Japan.

The men’s world team is scheduled to be named Sunday evening.

Nathan Chen has said his status regarding competing at Four Continents, should he be named to the team, is “TBD.” He won Four Continents in 2017.

MORE: Before the ice dance final, Hubbell, Bates’ families gather for Little Caesars Arena-style tailgate

As a reminder, you can watch the U.S., Four Continents and World Championships 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.

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Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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MORE: Finland hockey Hall of Famer retires at age 46

Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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