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Alex Ovechkin: I’m still going to PyeongChang Olympics, NHL may be bluffing

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Alex Ovechkin still plans to go to the PyeongChang Olympics and believes the NHL may be bluffing with its announcement that it will not participate in the Winter Games next year.

“I didn’t change my mind, and I won’t,” Ovechkin said Tuesday before a game in Toronto. “It’s [playing for] my country. I think everybody wants to play there, and it’s biggest opportunity in your life to play in Olympic Games, so I don’t know, somebody going to tell me like don’t go, I don’t care. I just go.”

Ovechkin believes the NHL will go back on its announcement and participate in a sixth straight Olympics. He noted that the NHL has not announced its 2017-18 season schedule. It usually does not make that announcement until June.

“If the schedule is going on [during] the Olympic Games, then yeah, you can see they don’t bluff,” Ovechkin said. “But again, still long time. Everything can change. But in my mind, like I said already, I’m going and it doesn’t matter what.”

Ovechkin repeated that Capitals owner Ted Leonsis understands his view. Leonsis has been on the record as being supportive of allowing Ovechkin and other Capitals players to go to PyeongChang without the NHL’s consent.

“I just say my mind what I think,” Ovechkin said. “After the season, we’re going to talk. I’m going to talk to Ted.”

Ovechkin has been saying since 2015 that he will play in PyeongChang regardless of the NHL’s stance. He and Capitals teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov, also a Russian, are the biggest league stars who have been outspoken in this way.

Both Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson were asked after the NHL’s decision if they would push for an Olympic spot like Ovechkin. Crosby said he had not thought about it yet. Karlsson reportedly declined to answer.

Ovechkin compared this year’s situation to four years ago, when the NHL didn’t announce Sochi Olympic participation until seven months before those Winter Games. However, the NHL reportedly had a handshake agreement for Sochi in February 2013.

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MORE: As NHL stars react to Olympics, who will follow Ovechkin’s lead?

Christian Coleman breaks world indoor 60m record (video)

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Christian Coleman is the fastest man of all time — indoors.

The 21-year-old U.S. sprinter broke the world indoor 60m record by clocking 6.37 seconds at his first meet of 2018 in South Carolina on Friday night.

Maurice Greene, the 2000 Olympic 100m champion, held the previous record of 6.39, which he clocked in 1998 and 2001.

The record must still go through ratification procedures, which requires a drug test at the meet.

The 60m is the indoor equivalent of the outdoor 100m. They are the shortest sprints contested at their respective world championships.

Coleman, a 4x100m prelim relay runner at the Rio Olympics, has blossomed into arguably the early 2020 Olympic 100m favorite.

He most memorably clocked a 40-yard dash of 4.12 seconds last spring, which is one tenth faster than the NFL Combine record.

Then in August, Coleman took 100m silver behind Justin Gatlin at the world outdoor championships, beating Usain Bolt in the Jamaican’s final individual race.

There are no world outdoor championships this year, but Coleman could go for the world indoor 60m title in Birmingham, Great Britain, in March.

Coleman’s mark is the first men’s world record in an event contested at a world championships since Wayde van Niekerk broke Michael Johnson‘s 400m world record at the Rio Olympics.

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MORE: Bolt aims to train with soccer club in March

IOC creates pool of Russians eligible for PyeongChang Olympics

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has created a pool of 389 Russians who are eligible to compete under a neutral flag at next month’s Winter Olympics amid the country’s doping scandal.

An IOC panel whittled down an initial list of 500 to create what the IOC calls “a pool of clean athletes.”

That could potentially make it possible for Russia to meet its target of fielding around 200 athletes in PyeongChang — slightly fewer than in Sochi in 2014, but more than in Vancouver in 2010.

It wasn’t immediately clear why 111 other Russians were rejected by the IOC.

The IOC didn’t list the athletes who were accepted or rejected but said it hadn’t included any of the 46 the IOC previously banned for doping at the Sochi Olympics.

Valerie Fourneyron, the former French Sports Minister leading the invitation process, said the pool also left out any Russians who had been suspended in the past for doping offenses.

“This means that a number of Russian athletes will not be on the list,” she said. “Our work was not about numbers, but to ensure that only clean athletes would be on the list.”

That would appear to rule out potential Russian medal contenders like former NHL hockey player Anton Belov and world champion speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, both of whom served bans in the past but have since resumed competing.

“More than 80 percent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014,” the IOC said in a statement. “This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes.”

The IOC will use the pool list to issue invitations to Russian athletes to compete in PyeongChang, after checking their record of drug testing and retesting some samples they gave previously.

The IOC also said it recommended barring 51 coaches and 10 medical staff “associated with athletes who have been sanctioned” for Sochi doping.

The IOC has allowed the Russian Olympic Committee to select its preferred athletes despite being suspended by the IOC last month over drug use and an elaborate cover-up at the Sochi Olympics, including swapping dirty samples for clean urine.

Russian sports officials say they simply want to give the IOC recommendations to ensure that top athletes aren’t accidentally left out in favor of reserves.

The Russians will officially be known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” and they will wear gray and red uniforms that don’t feature any Russian logos.

If they win gold medals, the Olympic flag will be flown and the Olympic anthem played.

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