U.S. short trackers like new Under Armour suits

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SOCHI, Russia — U.S. short track speed skaters are wearing new Under Armour suits at the Olympics, but, unlike some of their long-track teammates, are pleased with them.

Suits don’t make much of a difference in short track compared to long track. Also, the short track suits were so similar to their World Cup season suits that some skaters couldn’t tell the difference when racing.

U.S. short trackers received their Olympic suits after the Olympic Trials in January. In 2010, the same thing happened with new Nike suits, said Jessica Smith, an alternate on the Vancouver Olympic Team.

But they also received prototypes last fall and gave feedback before the final suits were issued, two-time Olympian Alyson Dudek said.

“This is the first time we’re wearing these suits as well,” Dudek said. “However, our suits and the long-track suits are completely 100 percent different. Our suits are very similar to what we have been racing in [during the World Cup season].”

Short track races are much shorter than long track, between 40 seconds and two minutes, and are about beating opponents rather than the clock.

“The long track suits, wind resistance and having the fastest suit out there, it makes a huge difference for the long trackers,” Dudek said. “We don’t have a problem with our suits. In fact, they fit better than our other ones.”

Both U.S. men and women short track skaters said nobody on the team has raised issues about their Under Armour suits.

“We rely so much on drafting that you can’t tell the difference,” Alvarez said.

2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be in San Jose

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The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.

It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.

The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.

San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.

Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.

The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.

Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.

MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America

Fiji Olympic rugby coach given 3 acres of land, special name

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalists Ro Dakuwaqa of Fiji and Fiji head coach Ben Ryan celebrate after the medal ceremony for the Men's Rugby Sevens on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.

Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.

Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.

MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal