Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr, Petr Nedved headline Czech Republic Olympic hockey team

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The Czech Republic went back in time for its Olympic hockey team announcement.

1994 Canadian Olympic forward Petr Nedved was named on the 25-man team with the likes of Jaromir Jagr. Nedved, 42, was born in Czechoslavkia and defected to Canada in 1989.

So, Nedved will go 20 years between Olympics. That is a new record span for a Winter Olympian, via the experts at OlympStats.com.

If you remember 1994, Nedved was part of the gold-medal-game shootout with Sweden. He made one shot and missed his other on Tommy Salo. Sweden won in the seventh round as Peter Forsberg scored his legendary goal, and Tommy Salo stopped Paul Kariya

He played 15 NHL seasons, his last in 2006-07 and has spent his twilight playing years in the Czech domestic league. He played for the Czechs at the 2012 World Championships.

Jagr, 41, leads a squad announced Tuesday that has plenty of NHL depth but not nearly as much star power as other Olympic medal threats. He’s the last link to the 1998 Olympic gold medal squad.

The Czechs will be without NHL rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, who underwent knee surgery in December.

The nation was once reliant on goaltending during the Dominik Hasek era. The Dominator allowed two goals over the final four games en route to the 1998 Olympic gold. 

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | Russia | Sweden | Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

Goalie is a position of weakness now. The Czechs are missing 2006 and 2010 Olympic starter Tomas Vokoun, who is on blood thinners after his blood clot scare.

The Czech NHL goalies have goals-against averages in the 3.00 range. Michal Neuvirth, who hasn’t played since Nov. 22 and requested a trade from the Washington Capitals, was not chosen for the Olympic Team.

The Czech Republic won bronze in 2006 and lost in the quarterfinals in 2010.

Here’s the full Czech Republic roster:

Goalies
Ondrej Pavelec — Winnipeg Jets
Alexander Salak — former NHL goalie
Jakub Kovar

Defensemen
Radko Gudas — Tampa Bay Lightning
Zbynek Michalek — Phoenix Coyotes
Michal Rozsival — Chicago Blackhawks
Ladislav Smid — Calgary Flames
Marek Zidlicky — New Jersey Devils
Michal Barinka — former Chicago Blackhawks player
Tomas Kaberle — former NHL player
Lukas Krajicek — former NHL player

Forwards
Patrik Elias — New Jersey Devils
Michael Frolik — Winnipeg Jets
Martin Hanzal — Phoenix Coyotes
Ales Hemsky — Edmonton Oilers
Jaromir Jagr — New Jersey Devils
David Krejci — Boston Bruins
Milan Michalek — Ottawa Senators
Ondrej Palat — Tampa Bay Lightning
Tomas Plekanec — Montreal Canadiens
Vladimir Sobotka — St. Louis Blues
Jakub Voracek — Philadelphia Flyers
Roman Cervenka — former Calgary Flames player
Petr Nedved — former NHL player
Jiri Novotny — former NHL player

Simone Biles becomes honorary Houston Texans cheerleader

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The NFL’s Houston Texans may not be having the greatest season on the football field, but that hasn’t stopped one famous diehard fan from cheering them on.

On Sunday, Simone Biles took her fandom to the next level by debuting as an honorary Texans cheerleader before the team’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

game day feels ❤️ so excited to dance at the Houston Texans Game!

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officially ready for game day now that I got my legendary red boots 🏈

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As an added bonus, she also found time to take a few photos with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, a 7-foot center who once starred for the Houston Rockets.

This isn’t the first time that the Olympic gold medalist has teamed up with her hometown Texans. In 2016, Biles had the honor of announcing one of the team’s draft picks, and in 2015, she made this memorable entrance onto the field after a pre-game introduction.

Julia Marino, Jamie Anderson close in on Olympic snowboard team spots after second U.S. qualifier

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Julia Marino is within striking distance of qualifying for her first Olympic team. Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson is even closer.

Marino, who won four X Games medals in slopestyle and big air competitions last season, unleashed a frontside 720 and her signature cab double underflip to take second place in big air at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, the second of five qualifying events for the U.S. snowboard slopestyle and big air team.

Anderson, who received high marks for her cab 900 but lower scores for her frontside 720, finished off the podium in fourth. Because she and Marino were the only Americans to reach the final at Copper though, Anderson still received a valuable haul of Olympic selection points and maintains the lead in the overall rankings.

Although Marino’s cab double underflip received the highest score of the competition, riders in big air are scored on their two best tricks. That enabled Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi to take the win with a pair of solid jumps that included a backside 1080. Silje Norendal of Norway finished on the podium in third behind Iwabuchi and Marino.

In order to be named to the U.S. Olympic slopestyle and big air snowboarding team, riders must have a minimum of one podium finish at the selection events. If more than three riders attain podium finishes, then the tiebreaker will come down each rider’s two best results.

Marino and Anderson have both fulfilled the minimum criteria for automatic selection. Either of them could clinch spots on the Olympic team for both slopestyle and big air by finishing as the top U.S. rider at any of the remaining selection events. The next event will be a slopestyle contest next week in Breckenridge, Colo.

Meanwhile, the men’s big air competition had the potential to shake up the U.S. Olympic rankings, as none of the podium finishers from the first selection event reached the final at Copper.

After a disappointing result in that first qualifier, which was held at Mammoth Mountain last winter, Chris Corning bounced back to finish as the top American in this contest and second place overall. He landed a frontside 1440 and a massive backside triple cork 1440 on his two jumps, putting his own stylish twist on both tricks with melon grabs.

Corning, the 2015/16 World Cup champion in slopestyle, has emerged as perhaps the U.S. team’s top hope for an Olympic medal this year in both men’s slopestyle and big air, events typically dominated by riders from Canada and Norway. Now that he has his first selection event podium under his belt, he can clinch a spot on the Olympic team by finishing as the top American at any of the remaining contests.

Also earning a podium result with a third-place finish was 19-year-old Chandler Hunt, who has suddenly added his name to the U.S. Olympic discussion.

The victory in men’s big air went to Norway’s Mons Roisland, who stomped a switch backside 1620 and a frontside 1440 tail grab on his jumps.

Three more selection events for the slopestyle and big air team still remain, and all three will be slopestyle events. Dew Tour will host a selection event next week in Breckenridge, then there will be a break until Olympic qualifying resumes in January with competitions at Aspen and Mammoth.

U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Results

Men’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Mons Roisland (NOR), 182.75
2. Chris Corning (USA), 177.25
3. Chandler Hunt (USA), 159.00
4. Ryan Stassel (USA), 154.50
5. Max Parrot (CAN), 121.50

Women’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 169.25
2. Julia Marino (USA), 160.25
3. Silje Norendal (NOR), 156.75
4. Jamie Anderson (USA), 151.50
5. Sina Candrian (SUI), 135.50

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Red Gerard, 1400*
2. Chris Corning, 1200*
3. Chandler Hunt, 1160*
4. Kyle Mack, 1000*
5. Judd Henkes, 1000

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Jamie Anderson, 1800*
2. Julia Marino, 1600*
3. Hailey Langland, 1300*
4. Jessika Jenson, 1050
5. Nora Healey, 950

*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.