Olympic Channel announces ‘The Nagano Tapes’ film

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The Czech Republic’s historic upset in the 1998 Olympic hockey tournament — the first with NHL players — is the subject of the first film of the Olympic Channel Five Rings Films series.

“The Nagano Tapes” will premiere worldwide on Feb. 28 on Olympicchannel.com and its mobile apps, plus on NBCSN.

Directed by Czech Sundance award winner Ondřej Hudeček, it includes never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with Olympians Dominik Hašek, Jaromir JagrEric Lindros and Brett Hull.

The Czechs, behind Hašek’s dominant goaltending, upset Canada in the semifinals and Russia in the final.

“Many people in the Czech Republic treasure this story like a scripture,” Hudeček said in a press release. “To me personally, it brings back the memories of a 10-year-old kid inspired to see the world around him as a much smaller place, and I wanted to weave all of these threads into a film that could be relevant and fun to watch for everyone — not just hockey fans.”

Future Five Rings Films subjects include iconic Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, a three-time Olympic gold medallist who famously turned down $5 million to fight Muhammad Ali. “La Lucha” is directed by Peter Berg of “Friday Night Lights” fame.

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World No. 2 biathlete to miss Olympics

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Gabriela Koukalova, the Czech Republic’s Sportsperson of the Year and second-ranked biathlete in the world last season, will miss the PyeongChang Olympics due to a calf injury, according to the Czech Biathlon Union.

Koukalova, 28, has not competed this season after placing second in last season’s World Cup standings behind German Laura Dahlmeier.

Koukalova won an individual medal of every color at last season’s worlds. She also took the 2015-16 World Cup season title.

She competed at two previous Olympics as Gabriela Soukalova — before her marriage — and won two silvers in Sochi.

This season’s World Cup leader is Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia.

The top American, world silver medalist Susan Dunklee, has a best finish this season of sixth.

Biathlon is the only Winter Olympic sport where the U.S. has never earned a medal.

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Lindsey Jacobellis essentially wraps up Olympic berth; Sochi champ hurt

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Lindsey Jacobellis all but clinched her fourth Olympic berth with a record-extending 28th career World Cup snowboard cross win in France on Wednesday.

Jacobellis, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist, five-time world champion and 10-time X Games champion, now has second- and first-place finishes from the first two of five U.S. Olympic qualifying events.

She will officially clinch a place on the Pyeongchang team after the next World Cup in Austria ends Saturday, so long as two other U.S. women don’t finish one-two in that event.

Pencil her in. Only twice in the last 10 years has another U.S. woman made a World Cup podium.

Jacobellis has won either a World Cup, a world title or the X Games in 15 of the last 16 seasons (the outlier was when she missed the 2012-13 season due to a torn ACL and meniscus).

Jacobellis now has eight more World Cup snowboard cross wins than the next rider on the all-time list — France’s Pierre Vaultier. She also has a World Cup halfpipe victory from 2004.

Of course, she is missing Olympic gold.

The 32-year-old infamously lost gold on a celebratory board grab on the penultimate jump at the 2006 Torino Winter Games, settling for silver. She then washed out in the semifinals in both 2010 and 2014.

Pyeongchang will bring another round of expectations, and one more opportunity to claim that elusive gold. It may be her last chance, but Jacobellis refused to put a timeline on the rest of her career after winning her fifth world title on March 12.

“Still just taking one week at a time, one month at a time, just living the dream,” she said then. “I don’t like to look too far in the future because you’re missing what’s going on right now. I’ve made that mistake before in the past, where you’re too worried about what’s coming, and you’re not seeing what’s right in front of you.”

Also Wednesday, two-time U.S. Olympian Faye Gulini finished fourth, her best World Cup result ever, matching her Sochi Olympic finish. Gulini is a strong bet to join Jacobellis on the Olympic team.

Meanwhile, Sochi gold medalist and 2017 World Cup champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic injured her shoulder in training in France and did not start.

The injury is not believed to be serious enough to impact her Olympic preparations, according to the Czech snowboard federation.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Lindsey Jacobellis
20th — 2001 X Games
21st — 2002 X Games
Gold — 2003 X Games
Gold — 2004 X Games
Gold — 2005 Worlds
Gold — 2005 X Games
*** Skipped 2006 X Games
Silver — 2006 Olympics
Silver — 2007 X Games
Gold — 2007 Worlds
Gold — 2008 X Games
Gold — 2009 X Games
*** Skipped 2009 Worlds
Gold — 2010 X Games
Fifth — 2010 Olympics
Gold — 2011 Worlds
Gold — 2011 X Games
*** Tore ACL/meniscus in 2012 X Games training run
Gold — 2014 X Games
Seventh — 2014 Olympics
Gold — 2015 Worlds
Gold — 2015 X Games
Gold — 2016 X Games
Gold — 2017 Worlds