Alex Ovechkin understands he is perhaps the biggest Russian star of the Sochi Olympics. He also knows that any statements he makes will be scrutinized.
So when asked about misconceptions about Russia, he stood up for his country but also kept an amount of secrecy.
“To be honest with you, I don’t like to hear what the people say about Russia,” Ovechkin told The Associated Press after a recent practice with the Washington Capitals. “Because lots of people say good things, lots of people say bad things.”
Russia gained attention after president Vladimir Putin passed a law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors in June plus with growing Olympic costs and safety issues.
What hurts him the most?
“Again,” he said with a deep sigh, according to the AP. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
He said that if he expresses an opinion “it’s going to be forever,” will get a lot of attention, and he won’t be able to take it back.
“I’m kind of the guy who supports my country,” he said. “Whatever happened has happened. And there’s nothing I can do, nothing you can do.”
PHT: Ovechkin: Russia’s ‘mission’ is Olympic gold
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters whose raised-fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics are an ageless sign of race-inspired protest, will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House next week for its meeting with President Barack Obama.
Smith and Carlos were sent home from the Olympics after raising their black-gloved fists in a symbolic protest during the U.S. national anthem. They called it a “human rights salute.”
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun asked them to serve as ambassadors as the federation tries to bring more diversity to its own ranks. They will join the team at the White House next Wednesday, then later that evening at an awards celebration in Washington.
The sprinters have been referenced frequently in the recent protests, spurred by Colin Kaepernick, during national anthems at NFL games. One player, Marcus Peters of the Chiefs, raised his own black-gloved fist before Kansas City’s season opener.
“I think Tommie and John have played an important and positive role in the evolution of our attitudes about diversity and inclusion, not only in the United States but around the world,” Blackmun said Friday night at a dinner to celebrate the U.S. performance in Brazil this summer.
MORE: Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)
The men’s marathon world record has been broken five of the last nine years at the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, believes that he can do it again on Sunday, when the race will stream live on the NBC Sports app beginning at 2:30 a.m. ET.
“I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more,” he said at today’s press conference, according to the IAAF. “Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”
Kipsang clocked 2 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds when he broke the world record in 2013. A year later, fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto lowered it to 2:02:57 on the same course. Kimetto will not race in Berlin this year.
Kipsang will be challenged by Kenyan compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, who has the fastest time (2:03:13) in the field, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.
Bekele is a three-time Olympic track champion and the 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder, but acknowledged that his marathon personal best of 2:05:04 places him a distant fourth in the field.
“I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners,” he said. “I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”
MORE: Berlin Marathon to live stream on NBC Sports app