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U.S. Olympic women’s curling team names final member

Curling - Winter Olympics Day 5

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 12: A general view as the stone is released during Curling Women’s Round Robin match between Japan and Russia during day five of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Ice Cube Curling Center on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

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Cory Christensen rounds out the U.S. Olympic women’s curling team.

Christensen, 22, was named the alternate on Tuesday on the five-woman team skipped by Nina Roth. She is the 13th U.S. athlete across all sports to qualify for the PyeongChang Winter Games (full list here).

Unlike other sports, alternates on Olympic curling teams can be subbed in before any game for any reason. An alternate can replace a healthy team member for one game, then go back to the bench for the next, like a substitute.

The U.S. Olympic men’s alternate was used in 2010 and 2014. The last U.S. women’s alternate to see action was in 2006.

Every athlete on Roth’s team is an Olympic rookie, including vice skip Tabitha Peterson, second Aileen Geving and lead Becca Hamilton.

They beat a team skipped by Jamie Sinclair in the U.S. Olympic Trials finals two weeks ago in Omaha despite a gaffe by Roth.

Christensen skipped the third team at trials, going 1-5 and being eliminated in round-robin play. She was also the alternate on Roth’s team that finished fifth at the world championships in March.

Roth’s team is an outside Olympic medal threat and certainly expected to improve on the U.S.’ 5-22 record over the last three Olympics.

They lost to Sinclair at last season’s nationals but earned the worlds berth over Sinclair via better season-long results.

Roth, Peterson, Hamilton and Christensen could also make the Olympic team in mixed doubles, a new event debuting in PyeongChang.

The U.S. Olympic Trials are in two weeks in Blaine, Minn., with only the winning duo going to the Olympics in that event.

The U.S. has earned one Olympic curling medal, a 2006 men’s bronze. The best U.S. women’s finish was fourth in 2002. Curling was part of the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and every Olympics since 1998.

Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Great Britain are the world powers in curling.

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