U.S. women’s soccer team qualifies for Olympics; tough decisions ahead

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The U.S. women’s soccer team beat Mexico 4-0 to earn a place in the Tokyo Olympics on Friday night, keeping its record intact of qualifying for every major tournament.

Sam Mewis scored twice. Rose Lavelle and Christen Press added goals. Alyssa Naeher got the shutout in Carson, Calif.

The world champion U.S. was a heavy favorite against world No. 26 Mexico. The Americans are now 37-1-1 all-time against the neighbors to the south.

They’re 19-0 all-time in Olympic qualifying with a goal differential of 110-1 (not counting matches played after the U.S. already clinched Olympic berths).

The next tasks should be more difficult. First, forming an 18-player Olympic roster (versus 23 at the 2019 World Cup and 20 in Olympic qualifying). Second, becoming the first nation to follow a World Cup title with an Olympic title the next year.

Past U.S. teams faltered in 2000 and 2016.

In Rio, the U.S. was stunned by Sweden in a quarterfinal shootout. The Americans failed to reach an Olympic final for the first time. After, goalie Hope Solo (no longer with the national team) called the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive style.

“I remember not leaving the field for a long time,” Crystal Dunn said last fall. “The tears couldn’t come out of my eyes because I didn’t even want to believe that we were knocked out of the tournament. We had to bring it in for a huddle. And I can’t even remember the words that were said in the huddle because nobody was probably listening. Everybody was like, there’s nothing that could be said that’s going to make this moment feel any better than it is right now. We know the pain that we felt in that moment. And since then we have worked so hard to never have that feeling ever again.”

Julie Ertz, the U.S. Soccer Player of the Year after last summer’s World Cup triumph, agreed.

“If it wasn’t for 2016,” she said, “I don’t know if I’d be on the podium in 2019.”

At least five players from that 2019 World Cup podium will not be on the roster in Tokyo. New U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski and his staff left off the Olympic qualifying roster the two youngest World Cup players — Mallory Pugh and Tierna Davidson — though they could play their way back into Olympic selection.

The most intriguing name for the next few months is Alex Morgan. The star forward also wasn’t on the Olympic qualifying team because she’s due in April with her first child. Morgan said she wants to be considered for the Olympic roster.

Joy FawcettChristie RamponeCarla Overbeck and Kate Markgraf previously made Olympic teams as moms, all doing so at least one year after childbirths.

Carli Lloyd, who turns 38 a week before the Tokyo Games, is bidding to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player in history, breaking Rampone’s record. Lloyd and Tobin Heath are trying to tie Rampone’s U.S. record of playing in four Olympic tournaments.

Lloyd, a substitute in all four 2019 World Cup knockout-round matches, was captain in this week’s tournament and started at center forward against Mexico.

Come the Olympics, the U.S. may have to go through the host nation en route to the gold. Japan beat the U.S. in the 2011 World Cup final, then lost to the Americans in finals at the 2012 Olympics and 2015 World Cup.

Rio Olympic champion Germany failed to qualify to defend its title.

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MORE: Alex Morgan’s Olympic return from pregnancy supported by new U.S. coach

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships TV, live stream schedule

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships FIS
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Every race of the world Alpine skiing championships airs live on Peacock from Feb. 6-19.

France hosts the biennial worlds in Meribel and Courchevel — six women’s races, six men’s races and one mixed-gender team event.

Mikaela Shiffrin is the headliner, in the midst of her most successful season in four years with a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts. Shiffrin is up to 85 career World Cup victories, one shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record accumulated over the 1970s and ’80s.

World championships races do not count in the World Cup tally.

Shiffrin is expected to race at least four times at worlds, starting with Monday’s combined. She earned a medal in 11 of her 13 career world championships races, including each of the last 10 dating to 2015.

Shiffrin won at least one race at each of the last five world championships (nobody has gold from six different worlds). Her six total golds and 11 total medals are American records. At this edition, she can become the most decorated skier in modern world championships history from any nation.

She enters one medal shy of the record for most individual world championships medals since World War II (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt) and four medals shy of the all-time record. (Worlds were held annually in the 1930s, albeit with fewer races.)

She is also one gold medal shy of the post-World War II individual record shared by Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson.

The other favorites at these worlds include Italian Sofia Goggia, the world’s top female downhiller this season, and the two leading men: Swiss Marco Odermatt (No. 1 in super-G and giant slalom) and Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (No. 1 in downhill).

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships Broadcast Schedule

Date Event Time (ET) Platform
Mon., Feb. 6 Women’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Tues., Feb. 7 Men’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 8 Women’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 9 Men’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 11 Women’s Downhill 5 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Men’s Downhill 5 a.m Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Tue., Feb. 14 Team Parallel 6:15 a.m. Peacock
Men’s/Women’s Parallel Qualifying 11 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 15 Men’s/Women’s Parallel 6 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Fri., Feb. 17 Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 18 Women’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 19 Men’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock

*Delayed broadcast
*All NBC coverage streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here with redactions.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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