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.

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No Zika cases from Olympics, WHO says

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 12:  An aerial view of the Christ The Redeemer statue (F) and the Maracana Stadium (B) on November 12, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
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There have been zero Zika virus cases stemming from the Rio Olympics, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

“From the reports WHO received from national health authorities, there have so far been no laboratory confirmed cases of Zika virus in anyone associated with the Olympics,” the organization said in an online update Thursday.

Earlier this summer, several athletes cited Zika concerns in skipping the Olympics.

The World Health Organization said before the Rio Games that the Olympics posed “a very low risk” of accelerating the Zika virus spread around the world.

Thousands of athletes will come to Rio for the Paralympics that run from Sept. 7-18, which is still during Brazil’s winter, lessening the Zika risk.

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Devon Allen weighs turning pro in track and field

Devon Allen
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University of Oregon hurdler and wide receiver Devon Allen said he “thinks” he’s turning pro in track, but also said he hasn’t really decided if his NCAA track career is finished Thursday.

“There’s not really much more I can do in college track other than break the collegiate record,” Allen said.

Allen, a University of Oregon junior, finished fifth in the Rio Olympic 110m hurdles on Aug. 16 after winning the Olympic Trials on July 9.

Allen can turn pro in track and field and still play football for the Ducks, so long as he keeps his track and field profits to prize money and not endorsement deals.

He’s definitely planning on playing for Oregon’s football team this season, perhaps even in the season opener Sept. 3.

As for track season next winter and spring, that’s looking unlikely. Allen noted that he has won NCAA individual and team titles.

The only missing piece is the NCAA record of 13.00 set by former world-record holder Renaldo Nehemiah. Allen’s personal best is 13.03.

It’s clear that Allen would like to be a professional in both track and football.

“The NFL is something I’ve been dreaming about doing, just like I dreamed about running in the Olympics,” said Allen, who caught nine passes for 94 yards last season, coming back from tearing knee ligaments in the Rose Bowl. “I kind of accomplished that Olympic dream, obviously, in four years, I want to win a gold medal, so that’s one more step to that dream. Now my next dream is to play in the NFL.”

VIDEO: Top track and field moments from Rio Olympics