Yevgeny Plushenko

Yevgeny Plushenko changes mind, wants to compete in singles

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Yevgeny Plushenko thought better of his plans for the Sochi Olympics, saying he wants to compete in both the team and individual events in a Russian interview.

Plushenko, the three-time Olympic medalist, previously said after finishing second at the Russian Championships in December that he wanted to be part of the new Olympic figure skating team event and let Russian national champion Maksim Kovtun compete in the individual event.

Though Plushenko finished behind Kovtun at nationals, he is thought to be the preferred choice for Russia’s single men’s spot at the Olympics.

The problem with Plushenko’s original plan was that a country can’t sub out a skater after the team event with a new one for the individual event if it only has one qualified spot, like Russia does for men.

Plushenko could compete in the team event, become injured, and pull out of the individual event and potentially allow Kovtun to take his place.

But that does not appear to be his intention. Plushenko told ITAR-TASS he intends to honor the rules and compete in both events in Sochi. That is, if he is picked over Kovtun by Russia’s figure skating federation.

He stated his case to ITAR-TASS in comments translated by Agence France-Presse.

“I just want to remind those who question my right to compete at Sochi that last year Kovtun was fifth in the Russian Nationals, but nevertheless he performed both at the European and the World Championships,” Plushenko said. “After he finished 17th at the World Championships in London, Canada, Russia received only one place at the Olympics tournament.

“Kovtun performed well at last month’s nationals, but one needs to have solid experience of top international competitions to aspire to win Olympic medals.”

Russia is expected to choose between Plushenko and Kovtun after Kovtun competes at the European Championships next week.

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Canada crushes U.S. in World Hockey Championship opener

Tyler Motte, Mark Stone
AP
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Canada beat the U.S. for the 39th time in 43 games in World Hockey Championship history, 5-1 in the biggest rout between the two rivals since 1997 in their Worlds opener in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

NHL players Brad MarchandTaylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Brendan Gallagher and Boone Jenner scored for Canada, which came back from a 1-0 deficit.

The U.S. had New Jersey Devils backup Keith Kincaid in goal. Canada started Edmonton Oilers No. 1 Cam Talbot, who allowed a first-period goal to Patrick Maroon.

The U.S., bronze-medal winner in 2013 and 2015, and reigning World champion Canada are in the same eight-team group at Worlds.

The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals that begin May 19.

The U.S. next plays Belarus on Saturday. Full NBC Sports broadcast coverage information of Worlds is here.

MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups determined

Lindsey Vonn sails with America’s Cup champion (video)

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Lindsey Vonn continued her offseason tour by sailing with Oracle Team USA, winner of the last two America’s Cups, in the Hudson River in New York City on Thursday.

That came one day after Vonn joined Tom BradyJordan Spieth and Vanilla Ice at an Under Armour party in Baltimore.

Vonn is next expected to hit Louisville for this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

NBC Sports will present live coverage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series from New York at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBC Sports Live Extra) and Sunday (NBCSN, Live Extra).

MORE: Vonn details ‘excruciating pain’ from season-ending crash