Anze Kopitar

Slovenia names Olympic hockey roster

Leave a comment

Slovenia announced its first Olympic men’s hockey team Monday, becoming the second country to name its 25-man roster after the U.S.

It is led by Los Angeles Kings sniper Anze Kopitar, whose father, Matjaz, is the head coach. Younger brother Gasper, 21, did not make the team despite playing at the 2013 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Slovenia beat Belarus, Ukraine and Denmark to make it to Sochi as the lowest-ranked team (17th) in the 12-nation field.

Slovenia is not expected to have much success in its first Olympic hockey tournament.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | Russia | Sweden | Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

Its highest finish at the World Championships is 13th. It’s grouped with medal contenders Russia, the U.S. and Slovakia in Sochi.

“The guys did a tremendous job in qualifying, beating out some very good teams,” Anze Kopitar said, according to Reuters. “Our national team can only choose from maybe about 30 guys compared to some other hockey nations, they’ve got a lot more guys to choose from.

“But just the fact that we made it and the huge stage we are going to be on in Sochi, it’s going to be one hell of a feeling for sure — a career moment.”

The other 10 nations have until Tuesday to name their rosters. Canada is scheduled to announce its team at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Here’s the full Slovenia roster:

Goalies
Luka Gracnar
Andrej Hocevar
Robert Kristan

Defensemen
Blaz Gregorc
Sabahudin Kovacevic
Ales Kranjc
Ziga Pavlin
Klemen Pretnar
Mitja Robar
Matic Podlipnik
Andrej Tavzelj

Forwards
Anze Kopitar — Los Angeles Kings
Jan Mursak — former Detroit Red Wings player
Bostjan Golicic
Ziga Jeglic
Anze Kuralt
Ales Music
Ziga Pance
Tomaz Razingar
David Rodman
Marcel Rodman
Robert Sabolic
Rok Ticar
Jan Urbas
Miha Verlic

Siberian man runs marathon in minus-36 degrees

Michael Johnson took Olympic mindset in stroke recovery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michael Johnson‘s first walk, reportedly three days after suffering a stroke in the summer, was 200 meters down a hospital corridor.

“It took about 15 minutes,” Johnson said in a BBC video, detailing his full recovery in recent interviews.

Johnson, who at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics swept the 200m (in a world-record 19.32 seconds) and the 400m, suffered what he called “a mini stroke” after a home workout in late August.

Johnson felt not pain but tingling leaving his home gym and underwent a 20-minute MRI. The 50-year-old, who worked out regularly and was in otherwise great physical shape, almost fell rising out of the machine.

“Couldn’t put any weight on left side, no longer could really move my left leg,” Johnson said in the BBC interview. “The numbness of my left arm, which was sort of mild at the beginning and up to that point, was really intense at that point. I couldn’t feel a lot of my arm. You immediately start to think about, what’s my life going to be like going forward?”

There was no immediate answer.

“You start to think about loved ones — is my wife going to have to take care of me for the rest of my life?” Johnson said, according to the Telegraph. “Am I going to be able to walk again? Am I going to be in a wheelchair? Am I going to be able to stand in the shower or go to the restroom alone? You’re forced to think about what your life might be like if that worse-case scenario is reality.”

He began physical therapy early the next week. After that first walk, the distance equivalent of a half-lap of the track that he owned in the 1990s, he told his wife, “I will make a full recovery, and I will make a full recovery faster than anyone has ever done it before,” according to the Telegraph.

Within two weeks, Johnson was backing that up. He tweeted a photo of himself on Sept. 13, his 51st birthday, grimacing while lifting a square-shaped weight with each hand. “Almost back to normal. No days off! Even today. My birthday!” the caption read.

On Sept. 27, Johnson tweeted that it had been grueling, but he relearned to walk and made a full recovery.

“Once I knew that I will make a full recovery, and once I started to believe that, it’s very similar to the type of situation that I experienced as an athlete training for the Olympic Games, then all of a sudden suffering a pulled hamstring,” said Johnson, who fell to the track in the 2000 Olympic Trials 200m final with an upper left leg injury, then won the 400m at his last Games in Sydney. “The reward, in this particular situation, was going to be even greater, was going to be able to walk again, regaining my mobility, regaining my independence.”

MORE: Michael Johnson: My advice to Usain Bolt on retirement

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Tatjana Hüfner, 2010 Olympic luge champion, to retire after this season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tatjana Hüfner, a 2010 Olympic luge champion and five-time world champion in singles, said she will retire after this season, according to German newspaper Bild.

Hüfner, 35, cited recent health problems, including back and leg injuries leading into her last Olympics in PyeongChang, where she finished fourth, missing a fourth straight medal by .69 of a second (Hüfner dropped from second place going into the last run). Plus breaking a rib in a training crash this preseason, plus suffering food poisoning, according to the report.

Hüfner, who reportedly said before February’s Olympics that they would be her final Games, has been arguably the most integral luger in Germany’s recent dominance in female sliding.

Her Olympic career began as a spectator at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, watching Sylke Otto lead a German medal sweep. Later, Hüfner would break Otto’s record with five world singles titles, plus join Otto on the podium at Torino 2006, earning bronze. Hüfner took gold in Vancouver, then silver behind the new leading woman, Natalie Geisenberger, in Sochi.

Huefner spent offseasons scaling European peaks such as Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, the Matterhorn, and the Sella in northern Italy.

This season’s world championships are in Winterberg, Germany, in January.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Olympic luge medalist adds event