Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Flame Watch: Alex Ovechkin to carry the Sochi Torch

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If you’re wondering whether Russian NHL star Alex Ovechkin will be playing in the Olympics: don’t. He’s made up his mind regardless of what the NHL owners and players decide.

“To be honest I didn’t think about it right now,” Ovechkin told the Washington Post. “It doesn’t matter what they’re going to say to me. Of course it means a lot for everybody, for all the Russians. I’ve been in Olympic games and I know exactly how it feel to play there. It’s pretty big, biggest event in the world.”

Also no surprise is the fact that Ovechkin will be a Torchbearer at some point during the 123-day run up the Sochi Games. Whether he’ll light the cauldron is a different question, but the hockey star, whose season starts Saturday in Tampa Bay, said he’s proud to be able to carry the Torch for his hometown Games.

“I’m very happy and it means a lot to me.”

Check out this Coke commercial with him carrying the Torch (translation required):

‘Gold Map’ launched to promote youth Olympic sports participation

Gold Map
TODAY
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Olympic fans can visit NBCOlympics.com/GoldMap from now through the Rio Games in August for information on how youth can participate locally in the Olympic sport they are watching.

“Lots of kids are going to be inspired by the Olympics, and they’re going to want to do sports that they may not know about,” four-time Olympic track champion Allyson Felix said on TODAY. “This is a place where they can get information.”

NBC Olympics will integrate a series of short promotional features during NBC Sports’ coverage of the U.S. Olympic Trials with more information on “Gold Map.”

“Gold Map,” which debuted for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, was launched by NBC Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Summer Olympic sport national governing bodies.

VIDEO: P&G Olympic ‘Thank you, mom’ ad

Watch P&G’s Olympic ‘Thank you, mom’ ad

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You may remember the inspiring P&G “Thank you, mom” ads from the London 2012 Olympics and the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

Well, the brand published its Rio 2016 ad on Wednesday with more tear-jerking moving pictures.

Note the Romanian flag in the gymnastics arena.

Romania didn’t qualify a men’s or women’s team for Rio but can send gymnasts for individual events.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline leading into Rio