Gary Bettman: Assume NHL is not going to the Olympics

Leave a comment

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday to assume the league will not send players to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, according to Reuters.

“As things stand now people should assume we are not going,” Bettman said, according to the report.

That statement is in line with other comments from Bettman and other NHL officials over the last several months. If the status quo is unchanged, they have said they don’t plan to participate in a sixth straight Olympics in PyeongChang.

The NHL has not definitively said it will not participate, but Bettman has said there are no negotiations with Olympic or International Ice Hockey Federation officials planned. He repeated that Tuesday, according to Reuters. The last formal talks were in early February.

Bettman has cited “fatigue” among team owners about repeatedly taking a break during the season to send players to the Olympics.

Other issues named by Bettman and other league and team officials include injury risk, a lack of exposure and benefit for the NHL, the league’s inability to use the Olympics for marketing due to sponsorship rules and money.

“If they don’t value our participation why are we going,” Bettman said, according to Reuters. “From our standpoint there may not be any next steps.”

Four years ago, the NHL didn’t announce until seven months before the Sochi Olympics that it was participating in those Winter Games. But the NHL and Olympic officials had a handshake agreement one year before Sochi, according to Sportsnet.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: South Korea hockey team leans on naturalized Canadian goalie

Study shows which colleges produce most U.S. Olympians

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Want to be an Olympian? Go West, young athlete.

An OlympStats.com study found that Stanford, UCLA, USC and the University of California were the top colleges or universities attended by the 9,000-plus Americans to compete in Olympic history.

Olympic historians Bill Mallon and Hilary Evans spent the summer compiling the statistics.

They found that Stanford had at least 289 Olympians, followed by UCLA with 277, USC with 251 and Cal with 212.

Stanford and UCLA tied for the most Summer Olympians with 280.

The most Winter Olympians? The University of Minnesota with 93, more than two-thirds being hockey players.

Ivy League schools Harvard and Yale dominated the early editions of the Summer and Winter Olympics.

But USC topped the list at every Summer Games from 1928 through 1964 (tied with Cal in 1948). UCLA’s run went from 1968 through 2004. Stanford had the most in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

In Winter Olympics, the University of Utah topped the 2002 and 2006 teams, followed by Utah’s Westminster College in 2010 and 2014. Many skiers and snowboarders who train in Park City take classes at those two schools.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Daily events to watch at PyeongChang Olympics

Andre Ward, last U.S. man to win Olympic boxing gold, retires

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Andre Ward, the only U.S. male boxer to win Olympic gold in the last 20 years, is walking away from the sport at the top of his game.

Undefeated. A world champion. Arguably the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.

“All I want to be is an Olympic champion. All I want to be is a world champion. I did it,” a voice appearing to be Ward’s said in an online video.

Today is the first day since 1952 that there are zero active male U.S. Olympic champion boxers. Claressa Shields, gold medalist in London and Rio, is now a professional fighter.

Ward, 33, ended his career without a loss since the age of 13 but said the cumulative effect of boxing for 23 years started to wear on his body. He no longer had the desire to prepare the way he used to.

“My goal has always been to walk away from this sport and to retire from the sport and to not let the sport retire me,” Ward, nicknamed S.O.G. “Son of God,” said on ESPN. “I have that opportunity today.

“I know it’s time. I’ve studied retirements. … How they walked away, who came back and all these different things. I’ve talked to a lot of guys, and they’ve always told me, you’re just going to know when it’s time. Nobody else will know but you.”

At the Athens Olympics, Ward fought in memory of his father, who died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 45, two years before the Games. He blew a kiss to the roof on the medal podium.

“In the second round, I got thumbed in my eyes, and I saw a double [vision],” Ward said on NBC after the gold-medal bout. “I never experienced nothing like that before.”

Ward turned pro and went 32-0, winning eight world titles.

His last fight was a June 17 TKO of Russian Sergey Kovalev to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles.

“I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there,” Ward said in a statement on his website. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Klitschko recalls seeing Ali at Atlanta Olympics