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

Dawn Harper-Nelson makes tearful plea about banned medication

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States after winning the Women's 100m Hurdles during the Diamond League at Alexander Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In a tearful social media video, Olympic 100m hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson said Thursday that she was “afraid for my life” because she’s not allowed to take prescribed blood-pressure medication that is banned by anti-doping authorities.

“I just want to say that this is not fair, that I’m afraid for my life,” she said. “I’m about to go into urgent care, because my blood pressure’s really high again. And USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] said I can’t take the medicine the doctors giving me. And they’re giving me a new medicine. This is just not OK. My head’s bothering me, my vision’s kind of blurry, and they said my blood pressure is high. I’m scared. People need to be aware, this is not cool.”

Harper-Nelson is serving a three-month ban after previously taking a prescribed medication and failing to learn that it contained a banned substance. She said she was prescribed the medication after being rushed to an emergency room and diagnosed with high blood pressure. The ban ends March 1.

Athletes can request therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) through USADA if they have an illness or condition that requires the use of medication listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. It’s not clear if Harper-Nelson has requested a TUE for medication containing a banned substance.

Harper-Nelson tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is on the prohibited list, and related metabolites on Dec. 1, according to USADA:

Harper-Nelson’s explanation that her positive test was caused by a blood pressure medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension. Harper-Nelson further explained that she made efforts to determine if the medication contained prohibited substances; however, due to using partial search terms, those efforts were unsuccessful.

On Thursday, A USADA official reached out to Harper-Nelson on Twitter. USADA has not commented on the situation.

Harper-Nelson won the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles title and took silver behind Sally Pearson in 2012. She failed to make the Rio Olympic team, getting eliminated in the Olympic Trials semifinals.

The U.S. trio in Rio swept the medals — Brianna RollinsNia Ali and Kristi Castlin.

MORE: Devon Allen: Football on hold to pursue Olympic gold medal, world record

A 766-shot table-tennis rally takes 10 minutes (video)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13:  A general view during the Table Tennis Men's Team Round One Match between Japan and Poland during Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro - Pavilion 3 on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A 766-shot table-tennis rally, believed to be the longest ever, was a highlight of a tournament in Qatar this week.

Rio Olympian Li Jie of the Netherlands and Hitomi Sato of Japan played for 10 minutes, 13 seconds, neither wanting to attack, before the point was cut short (mercifully) by another ball bouncing near the table.

An expedite rule, forcing a point to end within 13 shots by the player returning serve, was then enforced to speed up play. Li ended up winning in the maximum seven games.

Li and Sato were playing at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour’s Qatar Open.

MORE: Egypt’s armless table tennis player ‘a legend’