Alan Ashley

USOC has no specific medal goals for Sochi Olympics

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As is custom, the U.S. Olympic Committee is not announcing specific medal targets for the Sochi Olympics.

“I thought a lot about the medal count,” said Alan Ashley, U.S. chef de mission and USOC chief of sport performance. “The one thing I’ll tell you is I don’t have a specific number. … I think Team USA goes into this in a really good place and can do well like we did in Vancouver.”

The U.S. topped the overall standings at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics with 37 medals. That was the second time it led the Winter Games medal table after Lake Placid 1932.

It also marked the most medals ever won by a single nation at a Winter Olympics, an unsurprising statistic given more events are added to the Olympic program every four years.

The U.S. is expected to contend to win the most overall and gold medals with Germany, Norway, Canada and perhaps Russia. It will be boosted by the addition of new Olympic events snowboard slopestyle, ski slopestyle and ski halfpipe.

The USOC and national governing bodies have also worked together to match “needs with resources” since Vancouver, Ashley said. That’s why sports such as cross-country skiing and biathlon that aren’t traditionally American dominated could see medal breakthroughs in Sochi.

“We’ve been able to really customize and drill down where we can have the greatest impact,” Ashley said. “I’d like to try to get as many athletes opportunities as possible to become obviously Olympians, then become successful Olympians as well.”

U.S. Olympic Team roster with Twitter handles

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