BC-Sports Showcase Digest,ADVISORY

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.

All times are Eastern.

NOTE: The story that was slugged SOC–Brazil-Del Nero Survives and promised on the Showcase Digest for Dec. 21 will not move because the material was used for spot news on Friday, Dec. 15.

THURSDAY, Dec. 21

SKOREA-OLYMPICS-COLD GAMES

PYEONGCHANG – The cold is back for the Winter Games. After two straight balmy Olympics where some might have wondered if it was even winter, let alone the world’s pre-eminent freeze-dependent sporting event, athletes and visitors alike will finally experience a no-joke chill in their bones during the games. How cold? So cold that locals say windows sometimes break. So cold that tears well in the eyes within seconds. So cold that men have been known to flashback to being posted for hours in frozen silence on the frontline during mandatory military service in their youths. So cold the ink in a pen grows sluggish and dies as it scribbles over a page. ”We all hope it will be better in February, but if it’s like it is now, there will be big trouble. It’s just too cold for outsiders,” says Choi Jong Sik, 64, who smirks as a visiting reporter sheds layers of clothing like a snake sheds skins. By Foster Klug. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos, video by 1 a.m.

FRIDAY, Dec. 22

US HOCKEY RISING

In the first 20 years of the IIHF World Junior Championship tournament, Team USA managed two podium finishes – bronze medals in 1986 and 1992. The state of USA hockey has improved, and the results of the Junior Championship – the annual tournament for the world’s best players 20 and under – reflects the development work and higher profile of the sport in a nation where hockey is only the sixth most popular sport. The US has won gold medals three times since 2010, including last year when they beat Canada in a shootout in the riveting final game. But the Americans haven’t been able to successfully defend a title, nor have they been able to win a junior tournament on their own soil. That could change when the 10-nation tournament begins the day after Christmas in Buffalo, New York. By Mitch Stacy. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday.

FBN–THE CATCH RULE

It’s a catch. Wait, there’s a catch to the catch. While coaches, players, fans and broadcasters become puzzled or annoyed by the NFL’s ”catch rule,” the people in charge of developing and refining it through the years also have struggled. They simply couldn’t find language to simplify it, leading to the inconsistency and controversy seen for seasons. Especially this season. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 p.m. Friday.

SATURDAY, Dec. 23

LUG–SWEENEY’S QUEST

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Emily Sweeney almost went to the Olympics eight years ago, but lost a race-off – to her sister – for the final spot. She didn’t make it again four years later, and there were times when she wondered if it would ever happen. She wonders no more. Sweeney is one of three members of USA Luge’s women’s team that is headed to Pyeongchang, which means she can finally wear clothes bearing the Olympic rings. By Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos, video by 12 p.m. Saturday.

SUNDAY, Dec. 24

OLY–HKW-FAMILY BRANDT

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. – Marissa Brandt believed her hockey career was over, until the call came inquiring about her interest in playing for South Korea’s upstart team in the upcoming Winter Olympics. As a native Korean, adopted as an infant by parents in Minnesota, she’s eligible to play for the host country. The experience has given her a life-changing chance to discover her roots, but there’s yet another twist. Her sister, Hannah Brandt, will also be going for the gold in Pyeongchang as a member of the U.S. women’s team. They’re in opposite pools in the tournament, but the Koreans and Americans could meet in the quarterfinals. By Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, video by 10 a.m. Sunday.

MONDAY, Dec. 25

FBC–T25-OHIO STATE FUTURE

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Reloading is going to be a little more challenging than usual for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer next fall. Seven fifth-year seniors who were key contributors are departing, including quarterback J.T. Barrett, a four-year starter who holds nearly every Ohio State passing and scoring record. Another handful of this season’s starters could depart early to enter the NFL draft. First, though, Meyer will focus on beating Southern California in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 29. By Mitch Stacy. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday, Dec. 25.

THURSDAY, Dec. 28

OLY–SKI-THE SNOW MAN

PINEDALE, Wyo. – The cattle rancher and hay farmer from western Wyoming will have a big influence on who wins the speed events at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Tom Johnston’s other job just so happens to be as one of the world’s foremost experts on shaping a race course, most notably the downhill and super-G courses that Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Aksel Lund Svindal and the rest will zoom down come February. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos, video by 3 a.m. Thursday.

Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports