Dominik Hasek

Dominik Hasek’s favorite Buffalo memory — Olympic homecoming

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Of Dominik Hasek‘s decorated hockey career in Buffalo, he remembers one moment above the rest.

“There is one situation I will never forget in my life, when we won in the Olympics in 1998 with the Czech national team [in Nagano],” Hasek told media in Buffalo on Tuesday, hours before his No. 39 jersey number would be retired. “We came here back to Buffalo. I knew that people were maybe cheering for us, but this was something I would never, ever expect, to come to the airport and there were thousands of people waiting for me and [Czech and Buffalo Sabres teammate] Richard Smehlik. There were people in our neighborhood when I was coming home. Then the special evening the next day with Toronto Maple Leafs when they sang the Czech national anthem.”

Hasek’s memory is spot on. The reception in Buffalo following the 1998 gold medal was surpassed perhaps only in Prague, where Hasek estimated between 100,000 and 300,000 people celebrated in the streets.

“It probably was the biggest event since 1989 during the Revolution,” Hasek told the Buffalo News in 1998.

The Czech national anthem joined the traditional Canadian and U.S. anthems before the Sabres’ first home game after the Olympics against the Maple Leafs.

Hasek deserved all the praise. He put up one of the most dominating goalie performances in hockey history in Nagano. He reportedly stopped 149 of 155 shots in six games for a .961 save percentage. The best save percentage for any goalie over an NHL season is .941.

Hasek held the U.S. to one goal in the quarterfinals, Canada to one goal in the semifinals and blanked Russia in the final. In the semis, he stopped all five Canadian shootout attempts, from All-Stars Theoren Fleury, Ray Bourque, Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros and Brendan Shanahan.

Hasek made his Olympic debut for Czechoslovakia in 1988 and also played in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics for the Czechs, winning bronze in 2006 despite barely playing due to injury.

Peter Forsberg and the Olympics

No medal for David Boudia as China extends perfect run at diving worlds

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David Boudia is very much a work in progress in his first year as a springboard diver. That much was evident in his dive list for Thursday’s final at the world championships, where Boudia had the lowest total degree of difficulty.

Boudia, a four-time Olympic platform medalist who earned individual platform silver at his last three world championships, took fifth in the springboard final in Gwangju, South Korea while performing easier dives than the other 11 men.

It marked Boudia’s first major international meet since Rio. He took 2017 off from diving to sell homes. In February 2018, he suffered a concussion on a badly missed dive in training off the 10-meter platform, sparking the switch to springboard, a common move for divers late in their careers.

Boudia will spend the next year — the next six months in particular — trying to close the gap on the medalists. China’s Xie Siyi and Cao Yuan went one-two.

Great Britain’s Jack Laugher was in position to become the first non-Chinese diver to take gold in 10 events this week before failing his last dive for 30.6 points, the lowest-scoring dive of the 72 in the final. Laugher scored at least 9.0s on his first five dives, including a 10, before recording between 2s and 3s from the seven judges in the last round and squandering a 31.1-point lead.

Laugher had 21.6 points in difficulty in Thursday’s final. Xie had 21.3 and Cao 21.2. Boudia had 19.9, arguably putting him out of the running for the podium before he stepped on the springboard.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, accomplished his goal for worlds simply by making the final.

Boudia and Rio Olympian Michael Hixon reached the top 12 to ensure the U.S. gets two men’s springboard spots at Tokyo 2020, to be filled at June’s Olympic trials in Indianapolis. Hixon, who was 10th in Rio and 20th at the 2017 Worlds, finished seventh in Gwangju.

Diving worlds continue with the women’s springboard final, featuring Chinese Olympic champion Shi Tingmao but no Americans, on Friday. The men’s platform final is Saturday.

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Chris Froome wins 2011 Vuelta a Espana

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) — Chris Froome has become the 2011 Spanish Vuelta winner because of Juan Jose Cobo’s disqualification for blood doping.

The International Cycling Union says Cobo did not meet a deadline to challenge his three-year ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The UCI says Cobo’s suspension announced last month is confirmed, and he is stripped of results at the 2009 world championships and Vuelta, and the 2011 Vuelta which he won.

Froome was runner-up eight years ago and becomes the winner of his first Grand Tour title, and seventh overall.

Froome also becomes the first British winner of any of the major stage races — the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, or Vuelta.

That honor was held by Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner who rises from third to be runner-up at the 2011 Vuelta.

The 38-year-old Cobo is retired from racing. His doping ban was announced days after Froome suffered season-ending injuries crashing at the Dauphine race in France.

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