How’s this for added pressure on Russia’s Olympic Hockey Team?
A group of 16 past Russian Olympic champions posted an open letter on the nation’s hockey federation website with a clear message.
“The whole country will cheering and fearing for you,” it read, according to an R-Sport translation. “In our time, we did everything for victory, we brought glory to the USSR, our people and our sport. Don’t let Russia down, guys! We are behind you and we are with you!”
Russia has not won an Olympic hockey medal since a bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, and it has never won Olympic gold. The Soviet Union won all but two Olympic hockey tournaments from 1956 through 1988, and the Unified Team won gold in 1992.
The men’s hockey gold might be the most coveted medal for the host nation come February, just as at the Vancouver Games. The home-ice advantage will certainly help Russia. Neither Canada nor the U.S. won medals at the last two Olympics held outside North America (1998 and 2006).
Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak, the legendary Soviet goalie who was one of the group of 16, made an interesting comment about the roster deadline.
This would give Hockey Canada more time to gauge Steven Stamkos‘ return from injury and for the U.S., Canada and Russia to sort out their goalie situations, too.
Brodeur plays way into Olympic conversation
British Paralympic champion Josef Craig was disqualified from a race because he didn’t cover up an Olympic rings tattoo on his chest at the IPC European Championships on Sunday.
Craig, 19, was disqualified because of an International Paralympic Committee swimming rule that states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”
Craig, who did not have the tattoo when he took gold at London 2012, has since competed at the European Championships with the Olympic rings tattoo covered.
If people attend the Paralympics, which are held weeks after the Olympics at the same venues, they will very often see the Paralympic Agitos logo where the Olympic logo once appeared.
It is visual proof that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate entities.
At the London Paralympics, American Rudy Garcia-Tolson earned silver in a 200m individual medley with an Olympic rings tattoo visible near his left shoulder-blade.
An IPC spokesperson said the rule pertaining to the Paralympics — which covers all sports — was new going into 2012 and will be fully enforced for the first time in Rio.
MORE: London gymnastics medalist gets elaborate Olympic tattoo
Missy Franklin broke into tears reading a letter to her parents in a mock press conference in a spot for Minute Maid, one of the four-time Olympic champion’s sponsors since turning professional a year ago.
It was filmed in April near her home in Denver.
Franklin has split time training and competing and working with companies including GoPro, Laureus, Minute Maid, Speedo, United Airlines, Visa and Wheaties.
Franklin has said the sponsor commitments will curtail in the middle of May, when she starts a blackout period to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha and air on NBC Sports.
VIDEO: Franklin revisits ‘biggest sacrifice’ in GoPro series finale