Short Track Speed Skating - Winter Olympics Day 3

J.R. Celski finishes 4th in short track 1500m; Canada’s Charles Hamelin wins

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J.R. Celski has opened his Sochi Olympics with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500m final this morning at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Celski, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist in this distance, advanced into the medal final with a win in his semifinal heat.

But in the main event, he fell back after dueling in mid-race for the lead with Canada’s Charles Hamelin and China’s Tianyu Han.

In the end, it was Hamelin who won out over Han to claim the third Olympic gold of his career. He won two golds on home ice in Vancouver four years ago (500m, 5000m relay).

MORE: NBCOlympics.com – Slideshow of Charles Hamelin’s 1500m victory

Taking the bronze was Viktor Ahn, who earned Russia’s first-ever Olympic medal in short track.

It’s the second career Olympic bronze for Ahn, who won three gold medals and his first bronze for South Korea at Torino in 2006 under his birth name, Ahn Hyun-soo.

The Seoul native became a Russian citizen in late 2011.

Meanwhile, Celski still has several events ahead of him in Sochi. So while he was unable to hit the 1500m podium today, he still has a few chances to make an impact.

SHORT TRACK – MEN’S 1500m
1. Charles Hamelin (CAN), 2:14.985
2. Tianyu Han (CHN), 2:15.055
3. Viktor Ahn (RUS), 2:15.062
4. J.R. Celski (USA), 2:15.624

19. Eddy Alvarez (USA), eliminated in semifinals
21. Chris Creveling (USA), eliminated in heats

Marc Leishman will miss Olympics due to wife’s health, Zika

Marc Leishman
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Australian golfer Marc Leishman will miss the Rio Olympics due to his wife’s health.

“Many of you may know that last April my children and I almost lost my wife, Audrey, to toxic shock syndrome,” Leishman said in a statement. “Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system.

“We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery from toxic shock and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus, it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate.

“I missed playing in the 2015 Masters tournament to be at her side when she was originally stricken and I cannot risk placing her health in jeopardy.

“The Masters and the Olympics are the two biggest tournaments to which a golfer can be invited; however, my family will always come before golf.”

Leishman, 32 with one PGA Tour win, joined the projected Olympic field when countryman Adam Scott said last month that he would skip Rio.

World No. 1 Jason Day is assured one of two Olympic spots for Australian men when the 60-man field is determined based on July 11 world rankings.

With No. 7 Scott and No. 35 Leishman out, the next-best Aussie is No. 63 Marcus Fraser.

Three more major champions — Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel — also said in April they would not compete in Rio.

Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

MORE: Australia Olympic legend blasts Adam Scott

Rory McIlroy worried Olympic golf may be done after 2020

Rory McIlroy
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Rory McIlroy believes golf may not remain in the Olympics after 2020 following a string of major champions announcing they will skip the sport’s return at the Rio Games.

“Because of how [Olympic golf is] being approached in golf circles … I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after [Tokyo 2020],” McIlroy said ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.

In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-add golf and rugby to the Olympic program for the 2016 Olympics, with a review in 2017 if they would remain for the 2020 Olympics.

In 2013, Tokyo was elected host city for the 2020 Olympics with a plan that includes golf.

Beyond 2020, golf does not yet have a place in the Olympics. Its chances for the 2024 Olympics could come into focus when that host city is chosen in September 2017.

McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, has repeated he will play for Ireland in the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 in Rio in August.

Fellow major champions Adam ScottLouis OosthuizenCharl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh said last month they will not play in the Rio Olympics.

MORE: Golf Channel’s Olympic broadcast schedule