Alex Ovechkin: I’m still going to PyeongChang Olympics, NHL may be bluffing

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Alex Ovechkin still plans to go to the PyeongChang Olympics and believes the NHL may be bluffing with its announcement that it will not participate in the Winter Games next year.

“I didn’t change my mind, and I won’t,” Ovechkin said Tuesday before a game in Toronto. “It’s [playing for] my country. I think everybody wants to play there, and it’s biggest opportunity in your life to play in Olympic Games, so I don’t know, somebody going to tell me like don’t go, I don’t care. I just go.”

Ovechkin believes the NHL will go back on its announcement and participate in a sixth straight Olympics. He noted that the NHL has not announced its 2017-18 season schedule. It usually does not make that announcement until June.

“If the schedule is going on [during] the Olympic Games, then yeah, you can see they don’t bluff,” Ovechkin said. “But again, still long time. Everything can change. But in my mind, like I said already, I’m going and it doesn’t matter what.”

Ovechkin repeated that Capitals owner Ted Leonsis understands his view. Leonsis has been on the record as being supportive of allowing Ovechkin and other Capitals players to go to PyeongChang without the NHL’s consent.

“I just say my mind what I think,” Ovechkin said. “After the season, we’re going to talk. I’m going to talk to Ted.”

Ovechkin has been saying since 2015 that he will play in PyeongChang regardless of the NHL’s stance. He and Capitals teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov, also a Russian, are the biggest league stars who have been outspoken in this way.

Both Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson were asked after the NHL’s decision if they would push for an Olympic spot like Ovechkin. Crosby said he had not thought about it yet. Karlsson reportedly declined to answer.

Ovechkin compared this year’s situation to four years ago, when the NHL didn’t announce Sochi Olympic participation until seven months before those Winter Games. However, the NHL reportedly had a handshake agreement for Sochi in February 2013.

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MORE: As NHL stars react to Olympics, who will follow Ovechkin’s lead?

U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
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Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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