Sochi medals

Some Sochi Olympic champions will receive meteorite medals

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Olympic gold-medal winners in Sochi on Feb. 15 will earn another prize: an extra medal with a piece of the meteorite that struck the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on the same date this year.

Chunks of the meteorite that hit the Ural Mountains region will be “chipped off and inserted into the medals,” according to Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Alexei Betekhtin in a statement.

“We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day, because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are the global events,” Betekhtin said, according to R-Sport.

Five months ago, a bus-sized meteor exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs across western Siberia, injuring more than 1,000 people around the city of one million, according to The Associated Press.

It also damaged many buildings, including a speedskating arena used during the World Cup season.

So, which athletes could receive these special medals?

Seven medal events will be contested on Feb. 15 among Alpine skiing (women’s super-G), cross-country skiing (women’s 4×5-kilometer relay), short-track speedskating (women’s 1,000 meters and men’s 1,500), skeleton (men), ski jumping (men’s large hill) and speedskating (men’s 1,500).

Two decorated Americans have a chance at meteorite medals. Lindsey Vonn is the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the women’s super-G. U.S. speedskater Shani Davis is the reigning Olympic silver medalist and world silver medalist in the 1,500.

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Study shows which colleges produce most U.S. Olympians

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Want to be an Olympian? Go West, young athlete.

An OlympStats.com study found that Stanford, UCLA, USC and the University of California were the top colleges or universities attended by the 9,000-plus Americans to compete in Olympic history.

Olympic historians Bill Mallon and Hilary Evans spent the summer compiling the statistics.

They found that Stanford had at least 289 Olympians, followed by UCLA with 277, USC with 251 and Cal with 212.

Stanford and UCLA tied for the most Summer Olympians with 280.

The most Winter Olympians? The University of Minnesota with 93, more than two-thirds being hockey players.

Ivy League schools Harvard and Yale dominated the early editions of the Summer and Winter Olympics.

But USC topped the list at every Summer Games from 1928 through 1964 (tied with Cal in 1948). UCLA’s run went from 1968 through 2004. Stanford had the most in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

In Winter Olympics, the University of Utah topped the 2002 and 2006 teams, followed by Utah’s Westminster College in 2010 and 2014. Many skiers and snowboarders who train in Park City take classes at those two schools.

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Andre Ward, last U.S. man to win Olympic boxing gold, retires

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Andre Ward, the only U.S. male boxer to win Olympic gold in the last 20 years, is walking away from the sport at the top of his game.

Undefeated. A world champion. Arguably the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.

“All I want to be is an Olympic champion. All I want to be is a world champion. I did it,” a voice appearing to be Ward’s said in an online video.

Today is the first day since 1952 that there are zero active male U.S. Olympic champion boxers. Claressa Shields, gold medalist in London and Rio, is now a professional fighter.

Ward, 33, ended his career without a loss since the age of 13 but said the cumulative effect of boxing for 23 years started to wear on his body. He no longer had the desire to prepare the way he used to.

“My goal has always been to walk away from this sport and to retire from the sport and to not let the sport retire me,” Ward, nicknamed S.O.G. “Son of God,” said on ESPN. “I have that opportunity today.

“I know it’s time. I’ve studied retirements. … How they walked away, who came back and all these different things. I’ve talked to a lot of guys, and they’ve always told me, you’re just going to know when it’s time. Nobody else will know but you.”

At the Athens Olympics, Ward fought in memory of his father, who died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 45, two years before the Games. He blew a kiss to the roof on the medal podium.

“In the second round, I got thumbed in my eyes, and I saw a double [vision],” Ward said on NBC after the gold-medal bout. “I never experienced nothing like that before.”

Ward turned pro and went 32-0, winning eight world titles.

His last fight was a June 17 TKO of Russian Sergey Kovalev to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles.

“I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there,” Ward said in a statement on his website. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”

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