U.S. hockey coach Dan Bylsma: I cried watching ‘Miracle’

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Yes, there is crying in Olympic hockey. New U.S. Olympic coach Dan Bylsma told reporters at his introductory press conference on Saturday that he cried watching the movie “Miracle” after he found out he would be leading the American team in Sochi.

“A few days ago, I was back in Michigan at the cottage, and my son (Bryan) and his cousin were watching ‘Miracle,’ and they did not know yet that I was going to be named the head coach of the team,” Bylsma told reporters in New York on Saturday. “The scene where (1980 U.S. Olympic coach) Herb (Brooks) is in the kitchen, and he’s having a conversation with his wife, I’m like, ‘That’s me. That’s my wife, Mary Beth.’ I watched half of that movie with just really freshly knowing that I was going to be the head coach of the team. That’s kind of a surreal little moment there.”

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Bylsma, 42, won the Stanley Cup in 2009 and the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2011. He led the Penguins to the Eastern Conference finals this season and hopes to bring USA Hockey its first men’s Olympic gold since that 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. The U.S. won silver medals in two of the last three Olympics, falling to Canada in the gold-medal game both times.

The U.S. and Russia are guaranteed to face off in Sochi. They’re both in Group A, along with Slovakia and Slovenia, the only of the three groups that includes three quarterfinalists from the Vancouver Olympics.

ProHockeyTalk: Bylsma named U.S. Olympic coach

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan
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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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