Gary Bettman
AP

Gary Bettman: No going back on NHL Olympic decision

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly left no doubt Friday.

Bettman said the NHL will not participate in the PyeongChang Olympics, even if a new, sweetened deal is offered by the International Olympic Committee, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We’re not going,” Bettman told media Friday in New York, according to the newspaper. “That decision has been made.”

The NHL has taken a break in its season to send the world’s best players to the Olympics at every Winter Games since 1998.

The NHL said in an April 3 statement that streak is over and considered the Olympic matter “officially closed.”

The following day, Bettman didn’t rule out the possibility that the NHL could change its mind, if concessions were made, in his first public comments on the decision.

The NHL wanted a concession from the IOC, International Ice Hockey Federation or the NHL Players’ Association to entice owners and officials to take a break in its season to accommodate the Olympics for a sixth straight time.

The NHL made clear for months its stance — it would not break for the Olympics if the status quo didn’t change. The NHL said no meaningful dialogue materialized over a number of months.

Russian star Alex Ovechkin said two weeks ago that he planned to defy the NHL (and his contract) and go to PyeongChang anyway. Other Russian NHL stars also hope they can join Ovechkin.

Bettman challenged Ovechkin’s comments, saying Friday it was unlikely any NHL players will be in PyeongChang, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We’re confident our players will remain with their teams,” Bettman said, according to the newspaper.

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Usain Bolt wins Ostrava 100m, unhappy with time, then long jumps

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Usain Bolt won a 100m in 10.06 seconds, his slowest time in a 100m final this late into a season, and then cited a tight back in Ostrava on Wednesday.

Video of his race is here.

“I just need to go to my doctor and get everything checked out to make sure everything is smooth,” Bolt said, according to British media on site. “It’s just my back, as always. It is a bit tight. But I didn’t get injured, and that’s the key thing. It’s just about sorting it out, and I should be fine.”

Bolt, in his farewell season, has run 10.03 and 10.06 in two 100m races, his slowest final times in June or later of his career. He has one more meet scheduled — Monaco on July 21 — before the world championships in London in August.

Bolt moved into the lead — past a sprinter who has never broken 10 seconds — about 50 meters into Wednesday’s race in the Czech city. He slowed his final few strides once victory was assured, extending a four-year winning streak in individual races.

“I’m not happy with the time, but I’m just getting into my running,” said Bolt, who missed two or three weeks of training this spring following the death of friend and 2008 Olympic high jump silver medalist Germaine Mason. “I have some training to do.”

Bolt has until the world 100m final on Aug. 5 to round into form. He has done it before, but as mentioned never from this kind of time deficit at the start of a summer.

“His preparation is not normally where it used to be at this time, so he is certainly has ground to catch up,” Bolt’s coach, Glen Mills, said this week, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. “A number of factors have interfered with his preparation, but I thought he ran brilliantly at the Racers Grand Prix [the 10.03 on June 10]. His 10.03 in his first race in almost a year with the setbacks in place, if we can build on that over the next six to seven weeks, we should be able to be right where we can feel comfortable taking on the rest of the world.”

The fastest man in the world this year is American Christian Coleman, who ran 9.82 seconds at the NCAA Championships on June 7. Coleman clocked a best of 9.93 in three rounds at the USATF Outdoor Championships last week.

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Watch Michael Phelps Shark Week promo video

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It’s billed as “the battle for ocean supremacy.”

The much-talked-about Michael Phelps appearances on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week next month received more promotion via trailer published Wednesday.

“The Great White Shark meets the Greatest of All Time,” Discovery Channel teased in the video promoting Phelps’ first of two Shark Week appearances on July 23.

More details on Phelps’ Shark Week involvement are here.

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