Sidney Crosby

Canada names Olympic hockey roster, led by Sidney Crosby

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Canada will again look to Sidney Crosby to lead it to Olympic gold in men’s hockey.

Crosby was the star of the 25-man team announced Tuesday. In Sochi, Canada will attempt to become the first nation to win back-to-back Olympic men’s hockey gold medals since the Soviet Union era.

It has not won an Olympic title on non-North American ice since Oslo 1952, but there is no doubt Canada is the most talented nation in the 12-team field.

Goalie Roberto Luongo, who took over for Martin Brodeur at the Vancouver Games, suffered an ankle injury Saturday, but it does not appear serious.

Luongo or Olympic rookie Carey Price is expected to be Canada’s starter in Sochi. The third goalie is Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes.

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

Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos was named to the team despite his broken tibia. If he is unable to play, he can be replaced up to Jan. 12.

The notable omissions were forwards Claude Giroux and Martin St. Louis. St. Louis is the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose GM, Steve Yzerman, is Canada’s GM.

Canada was dealt another blow with forward Logan Couture set to undergo surgery Wednesday. He was also left off.

In their place, Canada went with the likes of Patrick MarleauJamie Benn and Chris Kunitz, who were seen as bubble players.

The defense is led by 2010 Olympians Shea WeberDuncan Keith and Drew DoughtyDan Hamhuis was selected over the likes of Brent Seabrook and Dan Boyle.

Here’s the full Canada roster:

Goalies
Roberto Luongo — Vancouver Canucks
Carey Price — Montreal Canadiens
Mike Smith — Phoenix Coyotes

Defensemen
Jay Bouwmeester — St. Louis Blues
Drew Doughty — Los Angeles Kings
Dan Hamhuis — Vancouver Canucks
Duncan Keith — Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Pietrangelo — St. Louis Blues
P.K. Subban — Montreal Canadiens
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — San Jose Sharks
Shea Weber — Nashville Predators

Forwards
Jamie Benn — Dallas Stars
Patrice Bergeron — Boston Bruins
Jeff Carter — Los Angeles Kings
Sidney Crosby — Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Duchene — Colorado Avalanche
Ryan Getzlaf — Anaheim Ducks
Chris Kunitz — Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrick Marleau — San Jose Sharks
Rick Nash — New York Rangers
Corey Perry — Detroit Red Wings
Patrick Sharp — Chicago Blackhawks
Steven Stamkos — Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares — New York Islanders
Jonathan Toews — Chicago Blackhawks

Simone Biles surprises world’s oldest gymnast on NBC

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The world’s greatest gymnast meets the world’s oldest gymnast on NBC’s “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” on Wednesday.

Simone Biles surprises German Johanna Quaas, the Guinness World Record holder for oldest gymnast at the age of 91.

More on Quaas here.

The oldest gymnast Biles has competed against was Oksana Chusovitina, the Uzbek who competed at her gymnastics record seventh Olympics in Rio at age 41.

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Olympic champions chasing world records face tests in Paris

Omar McLeod, Devon Allen
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Omar McLeod and Christian Taylor, both on world-record quests this season, face their top challengers at a Diamond League meet in Paris on Saturday.

McLeod, the 110m hurdles gold medalist, the triple jump champion Taylor and sprint queen Elaine Thompson headline the Paris meet, live on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold and 2 p.m. on NBCSN.

McLeod, who last Saturday ran the fastest 110m hurdles in five years, could take aim at the world record as part of a field including the five fastest men in the world this year.

Taylor faces Will Claye in the most anticipated head-to-head in Paris. Taylor relegated countryman Claye to silver at the last two Olympics, but Claye won the U.S. title last weekend with a personal-best leap.

Olympic 100m and 200m champion Thompson is coming off winning the Jamaican 100m title in 10.71 seconds last week, .01 off her shared national record.

Athletes are preparing for the world championships in London in August.

Paris start lists are available here. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

1:08 p.m. — Men’s high jump
1:25 p.m. — Women’s shot put
1:32 p.m. — Men’s pole vault
2:03 p.m. — Women’s 400m
2:14 p.m. — Men’s 3000m
2:29 p.m. — Women’s 100m
2:35 p.m. — Men’s javelin
2:38 p.m. — Men’s triple jump
2:40 p.m. — Men’s 800m
2:50 p.m. — Men’s 100m
3 p.m. — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
3:25 p.m. — Men’s 110m hurdles
3:40 p.m. — Women’s 1500m
3:52 p.m. — Men’s 200m

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s Pole Vault — 1:32 p.m. ET

World-record holder Renaud Lavillenie is the only French track and field athlete to take Olympic gold in the last 20 years (at the 2012 London Games), so he is certainly the crowd favorite across all events Saturday.

That said, Lavillenie is not the favorite. He was third in a domestic competition on Wednesday, failing to clear 5.71 meters, which wasn’t an Olympic medal height. Lavillenie, the Rio silver medalist, was beaten by Sam Kendricks, the Rio bronze medalist, at two previous Diamond League meets this season. Kendricks, who just cleared six meters for the first time at the U.S. Championships last week, is in the Paris field.

Women’s 100m — 2:29 p.m. ET

Thompson has won 14 straight 100m events that she’s finished, according to Tilastopaja.org, and the two-year streak should extend here. The question is whether she can break 10.7 for the first time to claim the Jamaican record outright and move into solo third on the all-time list.

The field does not include her biggest threat at the world championships — Rio silver medalist Tori Bowie — but present are Ivorians Murielle Ahoure (ranked No. 3 in the world this year) and Marie-Josee Ta Lou (fourth at the Olympics).

Men’s Triple Jump — 2:38 p.m. ET

Taylor’s three losses since July 2014 have come to either Claye or Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo. Here, he faces both of them in a final for the first time since 2013, but Claye is the clear challenger.

Taylor ranks No. 1 in the world this year with his 18.11-meter jump from the Prefontaine Classic on May 27, just 18 centimeters off the world record he covets.

Claye is on a roll, having gone at least 17 meters in all 12 of his competition jumps this year, including a personal-best 17.91 to win the U.S. title last week (Taylor didn’t have to compete at nationals as he had a world championships bye). Claye also jumped 18.05 with slightly too much tailwind at Pre. Claye has the second-through-sixth best triple jumps in the world this year.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — 3 p.m. ET

Fresh off another U.S. title, Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn takes aim at Olympic champion and world-record holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain and 18-year-old phenom Celliphine Chespol of Kenya.

Jebet, a Kenyan-born 20-year-old, has looked shaky this year, finishing third in two of three Diamond League starts. But the only women to beat her were Kenyans. Including Chespol, who won the Pre Classic in the second-fastest time ever despite stopping to fix her shoe.

Coburn was routinely finishing 10 seconds behind Jebet in 2016, but at Pre managed to close the gap to four seconds, running three tenths shy of her American record from Rio.

Men’s 110m Hurdles — 3:25 p.m. ET

There will be two early heats to qualify into this final, but expect McLeod to lead the field. The Olympic champion broke his national record in lowering his personal best by seven hundredths at the Jamaican Championships last week.

McLeod ran 12.90 seconds, but spoke confidently afterward, reportedly saying his target was actually 12.85. Nonetheless, it was the fastest time in the world since Aries Merritt set the current world record of 12.80 in 2012.

Merritt isn’t in this field, but McLeod is joined by the other four fastest men in the world this year — France’s Garfield Darien, Jamaican Ronald Levy, South African Antonio Alkana and the American Allen.

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