Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov sets expectations for Russia biathlon at Sochi Olympics

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Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov doubles as the president of Russia’s biathlon union. The billionaire was in Sochi for a biathlon meeting Wednesday, when he outlined his hopes for the Olympics.

“We’re hoping that our biathletes should win two or three gold medals,” Prokhorov said, according to R-Sport. “That minimal result would suit us.”

How realistic is that?

Russia’s gold-medal tallies in biathlon at the Olympics are as follows:

1994 — 3 (out of six events)
1998 — 1 (six events)
2002 — 1 (eight events)
2006 — 2 (10 events)
2010 — 2 (10 events)

One more biathlon event will be added for the 2014 Olympics, a mixed-gender relay.

Russia didn’t win any golds at February’s World Championships in the Czech Republic, only one silver and one bronze. In the 2012-13 World Cup season, it had one overall leader — its men’s relay. Its mixed relay ranked second, and Anton Shipulin was third in the sprint and pursuit standings.

Perhaps the best indicator of Olympic success, though, was the World Cup stop held at the Sochi Olympic course in March. There, the men’s relay won its only gold, while Russian biathletes picked up two more silver medals in six total events.

The Olympic medal predictor Infostrada tapped Russia to win one silver and two bronze medals in biathlon.

Any way you slice it, Russia must improve upon its results from last season to meet Prokhorov’s hope.

Prokhorov, in charge of Russia biathlon since 2008, has said he will step down if Russia wins fewer than two golds in biathlon in Sochi.

“A result that wouldn’t do for me is fewer than two gold medals,” he told R-Sport in February. “If there will be fewer than that, then I’m resigning. It means I’ll have failed.”

Keep in mind the Nets went 24-58 and 22-44 in their first two seasons under Prokhorov.

Russian weatherman predicts problems for Sochi Paralympics

Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

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In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

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Primoz Roglic, ex-ski jumper, wins Vuelta a Espana

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In a year of new talent in cycling, a former world junior champion ski jumper won the last Grand Tour.

Primoz Roglic, a 2007 World junior team ski jumping champion, won the Vuelta a Espana, becoming the first Slovenian to capture a Grand Tour. He prevailed by 2 minutes, 16 seconds over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde after Sunday’s final stage, a largely ceremonial ride into Madrid.

“Not much words to say about it,” Roglic said in a speech atop the podium. “See you next races.”

Roglic, 29, became the fifth straight first-time Grand Tour champion dating to Geraint Thomas‘ 2018 Tour de France title.

Roglic benefited from Thomas and other stars like Chris Froome skipping the Vuelta, but he also had the credentials, having finished fourth in the 2018 Tour and third in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Valverde deserves acclaim, too, having, at age 39, made his ninth Grand Tour podium and seventh at the Vuelta. Valverde, the reigning world road race champion, has gone 16 years between his first and most recent Vuelta podium. He also had a record-breaking 19th Grand Tour top 10, according to Gracenote.

Then there’s third-place finisher Tadej Pogacar, a 20-year-old Slovenian who became the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

Roglic, who suffered this scary crash before leaving ski jumping, joined Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and Colombian Egan Bernal as this year’s Grand Tour winners. All ride for different teams.

Roglic is with Jumbo-Visma, which also includes this year’s Tour de France third-place finisher Steven Kruijswijk and will include, starting in 2020, 2018 Tour de France runner-up Tom Dumoulin.

Kruijswijk abandoned the Vuelta with a knee injury in the fourth stage. Dumoulin did not start the Vuelta.

The road cycling season continues with the world championships in Yorkshire, Great Britain, later this month.

MORE: Chris Froome: Pre-Tour de France crash like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scene

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