Pantsir-S short-range air defense system

Sochi Olympics’ security will include gun-missile vehicles

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First, there were warships. Now, the Sochi Olympics are adding six Pantsir-S short-range air defense systems (see photo) for extra security.

They were delivered to the Russian military ahead of schedule to ensure security during the Winter Games beginning Feb. 7, a senior defense ministry official said, according to RIA Novosti.

“We will do everything possible to accomplish the task of protecting the Russian airspace along the southern borders and to ensure security during the Winter Olympics,” said Maj. Gen. Viktor Gumenny, the commander of air defense troops of the Russian Air Force, according to RIA Novosti.

Here’s how Xinhua News Agency describes the Pantsir-S short-range air defense system:

The Pantsir-S is a combined gun-missile system featuring a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range surface-to-air missiles.

The system is designed to take on various targets flying at low level, including cruise missiles and aircraft, and can effectively engage targets at up to 20 km.

Photo: Icebreaker ship that will transport Olympic flame to North Pole

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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