After a 16-year drought, the Japanese women’s hockey team finally got back on the Olympic scoreboard today against Russia in round-robin play.
Just 33 seconds into the third period, Ayaka Toko launched a long-range shot through heavy traffic and past Russia goalie Anna Prugova to tie the contest at 1-1.
You can check out the long, or rather, very long-anticipated goal from Japan over on NBCOlympics.com.
Until Toko’s goal today, the most recent Japanese goal in an Olympics had come in a 6-1 loss to China on Feb. 11, 1998 during the Nagano Games (which they qualified for as the team from the host nation).
That was the last time the team – popularly known as “Smile Japan” – had been in Olympic competition prior to Sochi.
But it can be argued that Toko’s goal should have been more than an equalizer versus the Russians, who took the game, 2-1, and eliminated Japan from medal contention.
Earlier, toward the end of the first period, Japan appeared to have pulled even when Prugova mishandled the puck following a shot and it wound up crossing the goal line.
But the referees whistled the play dead, apparently believing that Prugova had covered the puck, and didn’t award Japan a goal. You can also visit NBCOlympics.com to see the controversial call.
British Paralympic champion Josef Craig was disqualified from a race because he didn’t cover up an Olympic rings tattoo on his chest at the IPC European Championships on Sunday.
Craig, 19, was disqualified because of an International Paralympic Committee swimming rule that states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”
Craig, who did not have the tattoo when he took gold at London 2012, has since competed at the European Championships with the Olympic rings tattoo covered.
If people attend the Paralympics, which are held weeks after the Olympics at the same venues, they will very often see the Paralympic Agitos logo where the Olympic logo once appeared.
It is visual proof that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate entities.
At the London Paralympics, American Rudy Garcia-Tolson earned silver in a 200m individual medley with an Olympic rings tattoo visible near his left shoulder-blade.
An IPC spokesperson said the rule pertaining to the Paralympics — which covers all sports — was new going into 2012 and will be fully enforced for the first time in Rio.
MORE: London gymnastics medalist gets elaborate Olympic tattoo
Missy Franklin broke into tears reading a letter to her parents in a mock press conference in a spot for Minute Maid, one of the four-time Olympic champion’s sponsors since turning professional a year ago.
It was filmed in April near her home in Denver.
Franklin has split time training and competing and working with companies including GoPro, Laureus, Minute Maid, Speedo, United Airlines, Visa and Wheaties.
Franklin has said the sponsor commitments will curtail in the middle of May, when she starts a blackout period to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha and air on NBC Sports.
VIDEO: Franklin revisits ‘biggest sacrifice’ in GoPro series finale