Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin says Yevgeny Plushenko should be flag bearer

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If Alex Ovechkin got to pick Russia’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, it would not be a hockey player.

Ovechkin would tap three-time Olympic medalist figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko, he told Sovetsky Sport in an interview published Sunday.

“If Plushenko goes, then him,” Ovechkin told the newspaper. “That man is a living legend. But if [Plushenko] doesn’t go, there’s only one candidate: Ilya Kovalchuk.”

Ovechkin is up on his Russian Olympic news, knowing Plushenko has not yet been named to the Olympic Team. The official announcement on Russia’s lone men’s singles figure skating entry is expected after Plushenko skates in front of Russian officials this week.

At the 2010 Olympics, Ovechkin sent a message to Plushenko through the skater’s agent before he performed in the short program.

”It said the whole team is holding hands for you and watching you,” it read, according to The New York Times.

Plushenko, the 2006 Closing Ceremony flag bearer, won the short program and finished second to Evan Lysacek after the free skate in 2010.

Kovalchuk would also be a strong choice, as Vladislav Tretiak would attest. The former NHL All-Star, now in the KHL, is one of two Russians on their fourth Olympic hockey team. The other is team captain Pavel Datsyuk.

Ovechkin also said his fiancee, Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko, and his mom and dad would attend the Olympics, and that he will try to watch figure skating if time permits.

Kirilenko hasn’t played this season due to a knee injury.

Russian men’s ski jump coach against women ski jumping

Man arrested after trying to steal Olympic torch

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - MAY 24: The Olympic flame in the Bonfim Church, on May 24, 2016 in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira/Getty Images)
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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — A man was wrestled to the ground and detained after he tried to steal the Olympic torch as it passed through the Brazilian town of Guarulhos.

In the video, which can be seen here, the unidentified man is seen trying to break through the line of security guards accompanying the torch bearer at the 40 kilometer mark of the parade in Sao Paulo state. The man was taken away and the torch bearer continued the run on Saturday.

The torch will be in Sao Paulo for the next days and will arrive in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 4, one day ahead of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Rio’s Aug. 5-21 games have been hit by Brazil’s economic recession, security concerns and fears about the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

MORE: Man takes selfie in front of crash during Olympic torch relay

It’s official: U.S. sending 555 athletes to Rio Olympics

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Mariel Zagunis of the United States Olympic fencing team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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With a ceremony on Venice Beach, just outside Los Angeles, which is bidding for the 2024 Olympics Games, the 2016 U.S. Olympic team was officially confirmed Saturday for the Rio Games.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans, who is on the LA 2024 Olympic bid committee, hosted the event and was joined on stage by women’s basketball player Tamika Catchings, who will make her fourth Olympic appearance, as well as water polo player Tony Azevedo and beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, both of whom are set for their fifth Olympics.

Evans confirmed a roster 555 U.S. athletes, which will be the largest athlete delegation of any nation, the first time since 2004 that the U.S. held that distinction at a Summer Olympics.

Among the interesting numbers released by Team USA:

– The most women (292) to ever compete for one nation in Olympic history; 263 U.S. men will compete.

– Americans will participate in 244 of the 306 medal events in Rio.

– The U.S. will be represented in 27 sports (40 disciplines).

– 191 returning Olympians.

– Three six-time Olympians – equestrian Phillip Dutton, and shooters Emil Milev and Kim Rhode – giving the U.S. 11 athletes in history, summer or winter, to make six Games.

– Seven five-time Olympians – Tony Azevedo (water polo), Glenn Eller (shooting), Bernard Lagat (track and field), Steven Lopez (taekwondo), Michael Phelps (swimming), Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball) and Venus Williams (tennis). Only 35 U.S. athletes in addition to these have appeared in at least five Olympics.

– 19 four-time Olympians, 50 three-time Olympians, 112 two-time Olympians and 363 Olympic rookies.

– 108 returning Olympic medalists, 68 returning Olympic gold medalists, and 45 Olympians owning multiple medals.

– 53 U.S. athletes will attempt to defend titles from London; 19 in individual events.

– 54 of the athletes are parents.

– 17 athletes have military ties.

– 46 states are represented.

MORE: U.S. Olympic team of 550-plus athletes most of any nation in Rio