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
NBC Sports will air coverage of 87 Alpine skiing races at 22 resorts across the globe this fall and winter, from October through March, in the final full season before the 2018 Olympics.
Highlights include fall and winter stops in the U.S. with races in Killington, Vt.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.
Lindsey Vonn‘s highlighted World Cup stop will be downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Canada, the first weekend of December.
The world championships in February will be in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend titles.
ALPINE SKIING SEASON PREVIEWS: Men | Women
Canadian skier Phil Brown was fortunate to walk away from an airborne crash at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.
Brown failed to finish his first run, losing contact with the snow early on and falling hard onto his side.
He tweeted a video of the crash, with slow-motion replays, with a soundtrack of Irish singer Enya‘s “Only Time.”
The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, in three weeks.
MORE: Ted Ligety recovers to finish fifth in first race in 9 months