Talks about pro players participating in Sochi among the NHL, IIHF, and IOC are slow and going as the sides try to negotiate a way for the NHL to be compensated for the disruption that a two-week break causes in their season, not to mention the risk of injury to its players.
The NHL is asking for additional video rights and other considerations, but the IOC is trying to avoid setting a precedent that they might possibly have to extend to other leagues, most notably the NBA, which has begrudgingly allowed its players to participate in the Summer Games since 1992.
Basically the NHL is asking for the right to show Olympic video across all its platforms, including the NHL Network, NHL.com, and even arena Jumbotrons. It seems like a small concession, but use of video, like Sidney Crosby winning his gold in Vancouver, typically comes at a high premium for all involved leagues and the IOC doesn’t want to forfeit that.
Of course, the NHL might also be asking for additional financial compensation or increased prerequisites for participating, according to the New York Times, but IIHF President Rene Fasel said those requests are basically null and void because “We do not have the money, and it is very easy.” Well then.
Former IOC Vice President Dick Pound previously said it would be “cosmically stupid for the NHL not to participate” since the Olympics exposure for the NHL was so monumental during the last four Winter Olympics due to great games between historic rivals like the U.S and Canada. And even though it may take time, TSN’s Bob McKenzie called it “all but a forgone conclusion.” Let’s just hope he’s right.
Puma has introduced the “BeatBot,” a self-driving, line-following robot that runners can program to move at a specific pace around a track.
That means one could race against a robot-version of Usain Bolt‘s 100m world record of 9.58 seconds, with BeatBot’s top speed at just over 27 miles per hour.
The BeatBot can also navigate track curves, as shown in the video above.
Puma plans to roll out BeatBot to various track programs around the world over the year.
MORE: Bolt, Ashton Eaton set for showdown
Several U.S. Olympic champions highlight the Penn Relays and Drake Relays fields, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday.
At the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, the U.S. 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m pools include:
Justin Gatlin: 2004 Olympic 100m champ
Tyson Gay: Olympic 100m, fourth place
Carmelita Jeter: Olympic 100m silver medalist
Jeremy Wariner: 2004 Olympic 400m champ
Sanya Richards-Ross: Olympic 400m champ
Also competing will be two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist Kerron Stewart and 2015 World 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson for Team Jamaica.
STREAM: Penn Relays: 12:30-3 p.m. ET
Next is the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, including:
- 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt versus 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James in the 400m
- World Indoor champion Vashti Cunningham in the high jump. Cunningham, 18, is the daughter of retired NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham.
- 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson versus 2013 World champion Brianna Rollins in the 100m hurdles.
STREAM: Drake Relays: 3-5 p.m. ET
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule