Cheryl Reeve is next U.S. women’s basketball head coach

2020 Tokyo Olympics: USA v Japan
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USA Basketball didn’t have to look far for its next women’s coach, turning to Cheryl Reeve.

The Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager has been an assistant on the last two Olympic teams. Now she’s taking over the U.S. women’s national team.

“What I’ve learned with working with Cheryl and getting to know her over several years is that when you get Cheryl involved, you get all of her,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said. “She’s engaged. She’s committed, and her passion and enthusiasm are contagious.”

She will be the first professional women’s basketball coach to lead the team since Anne Donovan was courtside for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. UConn’s Geno Auriemma was the coach for the 2012 and 2016 Games. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley led the Americans to a seventh consecutive gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer.

“I am incredibly humbled and excited to be named head coach of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, one of the greatest dynasties in sports,” Reeve said. “I have enjoyed an incredible journey with USA Basketball since joining in 2014 and look forward to what lies ahead as we seek more gold for the USA. I am indebted to the USA Basketball Board of Directors, Dawn Staley, Geno Auriemma, and of course, my Lynx family who have positioned me for this prestigious opportunity.”

Reeve has won four WNBA championships with Minnesota.

“I think what we’ve done for many years has been really successful. It will serve me well to listen to what has worked,” Reeve said. “From a coaching stand point, what I witnessed is that coaches have to come in and be themselves. I’ve had good fortune to be around that and see what does and doesn’t work.”

The U.S. is in a bit of transition with five-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird retiring from international play. Her backcourt partner for all those gold medals, Diana Taurasi, hasn’t decided whether she will keep playing for USA Basketball or retire as well.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles, who plays for Reeve in Minnesota, also said she is retiring from USA Basketball. The Americans still will have a dominant interior presence with Brittney Griner, A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart.

Reeve knows there’s a wealth of talent in the U.S. team pool.

“I think with the start of a new quad it means a fresh look at the pool for the committee,” Reeve said. “I’ll have a list of people from my experiences with USAB and the WNBA. Each time you do this, the pool starts over. That will be interesting. There are a lot of good players in the WNBA regardless of position.”

Reeve’s first major international event will be the World Cup next fall in Australia. The Americans earned an automatic berth by winning the Olympics.

The U.S. will host a four-team qualifying tournament for the World Cup in February that includes Russia, Belgium and Puerto Rico.

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Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko
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Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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Freestyle skiers in World Cup action on NBC Sports, Peacock

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Olympic gold medalists David Wise and Alex Hall headline World Cup freestyle skiing and snowboarding stops in the U.S. this weekend, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Wise, who last Sunday won his fifth X Games Aspen ski halfpipe title, led the qualifiers into the final at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in California.

He’s joined in the 10-man final by U.S. Olympic teammates Aaron Blunck and Birk Irving. The women’s ski halfpipe final includes the top three from last week’s X Games — Brit Zoe Atkin, Canadian Rachael Karker and American Svea Irving. Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China is out after suffering a knee injury in an X Games training crash.

The ski slopestyle finals include the reigning men’s and women’s Olympic gold medalists — Hall, plus Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

The marquee snowboarders in Mammoth finals are Olympic big air silver medalist Julia Marino (slopestyle) and X Games silver medalist Maddie Mastro (halfpipe). Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim is taking the season off, and another double Olympic champion, Jamie Anderson, is pregnant.

Aerials and moguls skiers are competing in their lone U.S. World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The moguls fields including Olympic gold medalists Walter Wallberg of Sweden, Mikael Kingsbury of the U.S., Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia. Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf is the standout American.

The aerials include every member of the U.S. team that took gold at last year’s Olympics — Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld.

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Saturday Moguls 11 a.m. CNBC, Peacock
Ski Halfpipe 3 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Sunday Ski Slopestyle 12 p.m. CNBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Aerials, Dual Moguls 2 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Snowboard Halfpipe 2 p.m. CNBC, Peacock

All NBC and CNBC coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

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