Jessie Vetter

Jessie Vetter’s goalie mask includes actual gold

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When I saw this tweet, I had to ask some questions:

Yes, it is true. U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter will have gold on her helmet in Sochi.

Vetter, 28, is a candidate to start for the U.S. She started the 2010 Olympic gold-medal game and the 2013 World Championships gold-medal game.

“Around the edge of the ‘USA’ gold I used 23 karat gold leafing,” designer Ron Slater of Slater Lettering and Graphics said in an email. “Similar to what you would see on old school firetrucks as the lettering.”

Slater has been painting for Vetter since she was a freshman at Wisconsin in 2005-06. They tossed ideas back and forth over the summer. Slater drew a sketch and got the thumbs-up in September.

Until now, Vetter has been wearing a mask that Slater designed for her two years ago. The new mask was shipping to Vetter on Monday.

You have to wonder what rival Canada, the three-time reigning Olympic champ, will make of this, given nobody on the U.S. team owns Olympic gold.

Here are more photos of the new mask design via Slater:

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Siberian man runs marathon in minus-36 degrees

Pau Gasol may skip Olympics due to Zika virus

Pau Gasol
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Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol is the latest athlete to announce publicly thoughts about skipping the Rio Olympics due to the Zika virus.

Gasol, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, held a press conference and wrote a column in Spanish newspaper El Pais titled “Olympic dream or medical nightmare?” on Monday.

“Returning to Spain after eight months in the United States, I am struck by how few people in Europe are talking about the Zika virus and its consequences,” Gasol wrote in the column. “From my conversations with both U.S. and Spanish experts, my conclusion is that Zika is a much bigger and more serious threat than we think.”

MORE: U.S. Olympic basketball game times announced

Nic Long, Alise Post make U.S. Olympic team after BMX Worlds medals

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London Olympians Nic Long and Alise Post became the first members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic BMX team by capturing bronze medals at the World Championships in Medellín, Colombia, on Sunday.

Long, eliminated in the London Olympic quarterfinals, earned his first World Championships medal.

He finished third in Medellín behind France’s Joris Daudet and the Netherlands’ Niek Kimmann, the latter just missing in a bid to become the first BMX rider to repeat as World champion since the sport was added to the Olympic program in 2008.

Post, tearfully eliminated in the London Olympic semifinals, earned her third World Championships medal.

She was second for most of the final behind eventual Colombian winner and 2012 Olympic champion Mariana Pajón and was passed by Australian Caroline Buchanan on the final straight.

The U.S. can send two women and three men to Rio in BMX.

Long and Post bring the entire list of U.S. athletes qualified to Rio to 147 members.

MORE: 100 Team USA athletes to watch on road to Rio