London bottle-tosser claims he didn’t intend to disrupt race

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Ashley Gill-Webb, semi-infamous for tossing a bottle onto the London Olympic track mere seconds before the men’s 100m final, argued Thursday in court that he did not intend to disrupt the race.

Instead, Gill-Webb’s lawyer offered that her client was mentally-ill at the time of the race, and was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder after last summer’s incident. Gill-Webb admits to throwing the bottle, agrees he was disorderly, but doesn’t believe he’s responsible for his actions. Judge William Ashworth was less than taken by the defense:

“He looks perfectly normal to me but obviously on occasions he has manic behavior problems,” the judge said. “From the doctor’s preliminary discussion about Mr Gill-Webb’s behavior, it seems there is some evidence his behavior was outside the normal. It seems there’s a potential issue in there.”

Doesn’t sound too good for ol’ Ashley.

Gill-Webb, 34, was arrested from his seat after the incident, which actually saved him from getting pummeled by Dutch judo athlete Edith Bosch, who sitting behind him. The tosser pleaded not guilty  to the charges of using threatening words or behavior with intent to cause harassment, alarm, or distress, back in November.

Thankfully his actions likely had little to no effect on the race – Usain Bolt said he didn’t notice. Bronze medalist Justin Gatlin noted a brief distraction, but still ran a lifetime best.

Continuity carries Germany, Russians into Olympic final

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — They forged bonds from Riga to Cologne and in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

It’s all led Germany and the Russians to a David versus Goliath Olympic gold-medal game Sunday. Even though the Russians were favorites all along and expected to win gold in a tournament without NHL stars and Germany was a longshot to even reach the semifinals after not qualifying in Sochi, these two teams are more similar than they are different.

NBCOlympics.com: OAR to face surprising Germany in final

Their familiarity and continuity is the biggest reason they’re facing off in the final.

Germany’s core group has been together through the Olympic qualification tournament and world championships and has played the same system for the past three years under coach Marco Sturm. The Russians’ 25-man roster is made up of 15 players from SKA St. Petersburg and eight from CSKA Moscow, the two best teams in the Kontinental Hockey League.

“That’s a big key to our success,” Germany defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said Saturday. “We were very familiar with each other. … (The Russians also) should be really familiar because almost everybody plays on the same teams in Russia.”

Read the full story here 

OAR’s cross-country success led by doping-tainted coach

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — They are hailed as the vanguard of a new generation of clean Russian cross-country skiers, all are under the age of 23 and all are coached by a man who was once suspended for doping offenses.

The youthful quartet is trained by Yuri Borodavko and has combined for three silver and three bronze medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

NBCOlympics.com: Niskanen captures Finland’s first PyeongChang gold

Alexander Bolshunov, Alexei Chervotkin, Denis Spitsov and Natalia Nepryaeva have improved remarkably since working with Borodavko two years ago. Spitsov hadn’t even competed in a World Cup race until December but now has two Olympic silver medals and a bronze.

NBCOlympics.com: Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping

Last week, the head of the Russian delegation in Pyeongchang described the cross-country team’s results as one of Russia’s “main achievements” at the games.

Read the full story and watch highlights from all the action in PyeongChang by clicking here