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Women's National and Olympic Teams

National teams, including Olympic teams, are selected by the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of each sport. The NGBs are organizations officially recognized by the Olympic Committee to sanction national teams to represent their country at the Olympics and major international competitions like the World Cups. All Olympic sports are governed by a NGB. Some NGBs cover multiple sports -- US Skiing covers both skiing and snowboarding.

Some sports draw from colleges. Some, especially the ones in which the Olympic-level athletes are not yet in college, such as Gymnastics, draw from clubs as determined by performances at national and major regional meets. Some, which draw athletes of all ages, such as tennis and track, find them at major Open competitions.

Athletes on National Teams are exceptional performers, often recognized nationally in their sport prior to selection. Competition is fierce simply to get the attention of a national team coach. Most NGBs have age-group teams -- for instance, US Soccer has Under-16, Under-17, Under 19, Under 21 and Under 23 National Teams in addition to the full team, and a well-developed heirarchy to identify world-class players. However, that does not offer as much opportunity as it might appear. These age-group teams often stay relatively intact as the players inch up the age brackets.


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