Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin: I don’t like to hear what people say about Russia

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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

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
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Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened

Watch NBC’s lookahead to 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

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The PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the first Winter Games in South Korea, are a little more than one year away.

A number of U.S. stars are establishing themselves in this winter sports season as medal contenders.

NBC Sports takes a look at some of those names to watch, as the U.S. looks to return to the top of the medal standings.

Russia earned the most medals at home in Sochi in 2014 with 33 medals, with the U.S. coming in second with 28. Those standings could change if Russian results are stripped due to its ongoing doping scandal.

The U.S. has never topped the total medal standings at a Winter Olympics outside of North America. It led the way at Lake Placid 1932 and Vancouver 2010.

VIDEO: PyeongChang 2018 Olympic venue tour