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Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 15

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 15

Images from events at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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Canadian women's hockey player apologizes for taking off silver medal

Canadian women’s hockey player Jocelyn Larocque apologized after taking off her silver medal during Thursday’s ceremonies at the Pyeongchang Olympics, saying she meant no disrespect and was caught up in the emotion of a bitter loss.

>> Read more trending news

The United States edged Canada 3-2 Thursday in a shootout victory in the gold medal game. During the postgame medal ceremony, Larocque took off her silver medal almost immediately after it was put around her neck. Her action sparked criticism from media and fans in Canada.

Later Friday, Larocque issued an apology through Team Canada, the National Post reported. Larocque expressed regrets to the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation, the Pyeongchang Olympic Organizing Committee, the Canadian Olympic Committee, Hockey Canada, her teammates and fans.

>> Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: US women’s hockey team wins gold

“I take seriously being a role model to young girls and representing our country,” Larocque wrote. “My actions did not demonstrate the values our team, myself and my family and for that I am truly sorry.

“In the moment, I was disappointed with the outcome of the game, and my emotions got the better of me.”

Larocque said the action was something she wished she “could take back,” the National Post reported.

“I meant no disrespect — it has been an honor to represent my country and win a medal for Canada,” she wrote. “I’m proud of our team, and proud to be counted among the Canadian athletes who have won medals at these Games.

“Being on the podium at the world’s biggest sporting event is a great achievement and one that I’m thankful I was able to experience with my teammates.”

U.S. women's hockey team wins Olympic gold

The United States has defeated Canada 3-2 to win the gold medal in women’s hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. women's hockey team wins gold

>> Read more trending news 

How did 'average' skier Elizabeth Swaney make it to the 2018 Winter Olympics?

One skier who competed in the women's halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics really stood out – but not for her skills.

>> Watch her halfpipe run here

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

American Elizabeth Swaney, a member of Hungary's team who finished in last place Monday after a qualifying run that Deadspin described as "thoroughly average," apparently was able to game the Olympics' quota system to get to Pyeongchang. She also met another requirement – cracking the top 30 at a World Cup event – because many of those events featured fewer than 30 competitors.

>> All the curling stones used in every Olympics have come from the same small island

“The field is not that deep in the women’s pipe, and she went to every World Cup, where there were only 24, 25 or 28 women,” International Ski Federation judge Steele Spence told the Denver Post. “She would compete in them consistently over the last couple years, and sometimes girls would crash so she would not end up dead last."

>> Read more trending news 

The 33-year-old from California was able to snag a spot on Hungary's team instead of the more competitive U.S. team because her grandparents are Hungarian, Deadspin reported. She also skied for Venezuela, where her mother is from, in World Cup events.

>> Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA wins Olympic gold medal in women's giant slalom

In Pyeongchang, Swaney didn't attempt any fancy tricks and finished last – but she didn't fall.

"It is an honor to compete at the Olympics, and I am really excited to compete among other amazing women from across the world," Swaney said, according to Reuters.

She added: "I hope this can be a platform to inspire others."

 

VP Mike Pence ready for secret meeting with North Korea, but North backs out

Vice President Mike Pence was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets.

>> Read more trending news 

Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation.

The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill.

>> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony

News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group.

“We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death."

>> Related: Olympic gold medalist, skater Meagan Duhamel, uses platform to spotlight dog meat trade

Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.

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