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
The U.S. Olympic marathon trials will air live for the first time, on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. ET.
The top three finishers in each of the men’s and women’s races in Los Angeles will become the first members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic track and field team.
The men’s race (1:06 p.m. ET) includes 2012 Olympic trials winner Meb Keflezighi hoping to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner ever, Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Galen Rupp in his 26.2-mile debut and three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who was fourth at the 2012 trials in Houston.
The women’s race (1:22 p.m. ET) includes all three 2012 Olympic marathon team members — Shalane Flanagan, Desi Linden and Kara Goucher. Plus, Amy Hastings Cragg, who was fourth at trials four years ago.
Tom Hammond hosts coverage, joined by Craig Masback, Tim Hutchings, Lewis Johnson and Carrie Tollefson.
Olympic Marathon Trials Previews: Men | Women
Usain Bolt has not expressed much of a desire to go into coaching in retirement, but he plays the role in a commercial published Tuesday.
The six-time Olympic champion sprinter acted in a one-minute spot for the South African telecommunications company Telkom.
At one point in the commercial, Bolt wears headphones with the number “9.58” on one side, referencing his 100m world record.
It’s unknown when Bolt will compete for the first time in 2016, but when healthy he usually does smaller races in Jamaica in the late winter before ramping up in the spring and summer outdoor season.
VIDEO: Bolt beaten in race by boy YouTube sensation