Sidney Crosby

What to watch on Day 16 of Sochi Olympics

1 Comment

Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Sunday, Feb. 22. A complete list of every Sunday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Cross-country skiing, men’s 50km mass start, 2 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This grueling event is five miles longer than a marathon. It should be a Norway vs. Russia battle, which is interesting given the two nations enter the final day tied atop the gold medal count with 11 each.

Norway sends defending Olympic champion Petter Northug, among others, while Russia has Aleksander Legkov, who won the only World Cup 50km last season.

This event was skied in classical style four years ago and should take a little more than two hours for the elite men to complete.

Bobsled, four-man runs 3 and 4, 4:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Defending Olympic champion Steven Holcomb was in fourth place after the first two runs, .01 of a second out of bronze and .17 behind leader Aleksander Zubkov of Russia. Zubkov already won the two-man event.

Latvian Oskars Melbardis is in second, seeking his country’s first bobsled medal ever. German Max Arndt is in third, seeking his country’s first bobsled medal of these Games.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Men’s hockey gold-medal game, Canada-Sweden, 7 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is a rematch of one of the most memorable Olympic hockey finals ever, the epic 1994 shootout game in Lillehammer, Norway. The game 20 years ago was the final Olympic men’s hockey tilt before NHL players arrived in 1998. Could this year’s affair be the last of the NHL era?

Sweden is going for its third straight Olympic title on European ice. Canada is going for its first gold outside North America since 1952 in Oslo. And to be the first nation to repeat as Olympic champion since the Soviet Union/Unified Team won three straight golds from 1984 through 1992.

Canada has the talent advantage, but Sweden may be more comfortable on Russian ice and has a goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, with an ability to steal a game on his own. Canada, though, has had better goaltending this tournament.

There was one player at this Olympic hockey tournament who played in that 1994 gold-medal game, but he will not be suiting up for this rematch. 1994 Canadian forward Petr Nedved made his second Olympic appearance this year, but he played for his native Czech Republic.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Closing Ceremony, 11 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The Olympics will conclude at the place they opened, Fisht Stadium. The Closing Ceremony is shorter and more party-like than the Opening Ceremony.

There is no Parade of Nations, but there are flag bearers. Four-time Olympic medalist hockey player Julie Chu will carry the Stars and Stripes.

As for the ceremony itself, the full details have not been revealed. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister has said the Olympic rings malfunction from the Opening Ceremony will be corrected for Sunday night’s show.

The Olympic Flag will be handed over to Pyeongchang 2018 officials, but we will first look forward to the Paralympics beginning March 7 and then the Rio Summer Olympics beginning Aug. 5, 2016.

Follow @NZaccardi

Ida Keeling, 100 years old, sets world record at Penn Relays (video)

Leave a comment

Ida Keeling electrified the Penn Relays crowd with her 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon.

Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.

“I’ll be 101 in a couple of weeks,” Keeling pointed out to NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno after the race, a mixed-gender event for athletes 80 and older. “I’ve never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that’s what the excitement was.”

Keeling’s advice?

“Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do,” she said. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day.”

More on Keeling is here.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
8 Comments

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

VIDEO: Race against Usain Bolt’s world record with ‘BeatBot’