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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PyeongChang Olympic hockey schedule announced

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The U.S. men’s hockey team will open Olympic play against Slovenia on Feb. 14.

The U.S. women start against Finland on Feb. 11, two days after the PyeongChang Winter Games Opening Ceremony.

The IIHF released the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey schedules Monday. The groups were previously announced.

The U.S. men — without NHL players for the first time since 1994 — are in the same group as in Sochi with Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Russia is seen as the favorite given it will pick its team from its domestic league, the KHL, widely viewed as the second-best league in the world behind the NHL.

All 12 teams in the men’s tournament will advance out of group play.

The three group winners, plus the best runner-up, advance automatically to the quarterfinals. The other eight nations play an extra playoff round before the quarterfinals.

The U.S. women are grouped with the other world powers — Canada, Finland and Russia — in the eight-team tournament.

Every team in the U.S.’ group automatically advances to bracket play. The top two advance to the semifinals. The bottom two are in the quarterfinals.

The top two teams from the other, lower-ranked group of Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and host South Korea also make the quarterfinals.

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Men’s Schedule

Day Time (ET) Matchup Group
Wednesday, Feb. 14 7:10 a.m. Russia-Slovakia B
7:10 a.m. USA-Slovenia B
10:10 p.m. Finland-Germany C
Thursday, Feb. 15 2:40 a.m. Sweden-Norway C
7:10 a.m. Czech Republic-South Korea A
7:10 a.m. Canada-Switzerland A
10:10 p.m. USA-Slovakia B
Friday, Feb. 16 2:40 a.m. Russia-Slovenia B
7:10 a.m. Finland-Norway C
7:10 a.m. Sweden-Germany C
10:10 p.m. Canada-Czech Republic A
Saturday, Feb. 17 2:40 a.m. Switzerland-South Korea A
7:10 a.m. USA-Russia B
7:10 a.m. Slovakia-Slovenia B
10:10 p.m. Germany-Norway C
Sunday, Feb. 18 2:40 a.m. Czech Republic-Switzerland A
7:10 a.m. Canada-South Korea A
7:10 a.m. Sweden-Finland C
Monday, Feb. 19 10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
Tuesday, Feb. 20 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
Wednesday, Feb. 21 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
Friday, Feb. 23 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
Saturday, Feb. 24 7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Bronze-Medal Game
11:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Gold-Medal Game

Women’s Schedule

Day Time (ET) Matchup Group
Saturday, Feb. 10 2:40 a.m. Sweden-Japan B
7:10 a.m. Switzerland-South Korea B
Sunday, Feb. 11 2:40 a.m. USA-Finland A
7:10 a.m. Canada-Russia A
Monday, Feb. 12 2:40 a.m. Switzerland-Japan B
7:10 a.m. Sweden-South Korea B
Tuesday, Feb. 13 2:40 a.m. Canada-Finland A
7:10 a.m. USA-Russia A
Wednesday, Feb. 14 2:40 a.m. Sweden-Switzerland B
7:10 a.m. Japan-South Korea B
Thursday, Feb. 15 2:40 a.m. USA-Canada A
7:10 a.m. Finland-Russia A
Friday, Feb. 16 10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
Saturday, Feb. 17 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Consolation Playoff
Sunday, Feb. 18 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Consolation Playoff
11:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
Monday, Feb. 19 7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Seventh-Place Game
Tuesday, Feb. 20 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Fifth-Place Game
Wednesday, Feb. 21 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Bronze-Medal Game
11:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Gold-Medal Game

Warsaw Marathon leader collapses with finish line in sight (video)

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Kenyan Recho Kosgei collapsed while leading the Warsaw Marathon, with a near-three-minute lead and about a half-mile to go on Sunday.

Kosgei wobbled from side to side on the Polish capital’s roads in the final mile, occasionally turning her head around. She saw nobody in the distance behind her.

She eventually, slowly, collapsed to the pavement about 2 hours, 30 minutes into the 26.2-mile race.

As she struggled to get up, two runners finally approached 2 1/2 minutes later.

The first was Slovakian Marek Hladik, in 10th place in the men’s race, who stopped and put his hand out in an attempt to lift Kosgei off the road. He appeared to try and communicate with her for a few seconds, but she remained on the ground.

As this was going on, Ethiopian Bekelu Beji strode past both of them and went on to win the women’s race in 2:35:08.

Kosgei did not finish and was eventually treated by medical personnel, according to Polish media.

(h/t @statman_jon)

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