Gary Bettman: No going back on NHL Olympic decision

Gary Bettman
AP
2 Comments

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly left no doubt Friday.

Bettman said the NHL will not participate in the PyeongChang Olympics, even if a new, sweetened deal is offered by the International Olympic Committee, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We’re not going,” Bettman told media Friday in New York, according to the newspaper. “That decision has been made.”

The NHL has taken a break in its season to send the world’s best players to the Olympics at every Winter Games since 1998.

The NHL said in an April 3 statement that streak is over and considered the Olympic matter “officially closed.”

The following day, Bettman didn’t rule out the possibility that the NHL could change its mind, if concessions were made, in his first public comments on the decision.

The NHL wanted a concession from the IOC, International Ice Hockey Federation or the NHL Players’ Association to entice owners and officials to take a break in its season to accommodate the Olympics for a sixth straight time.

The NHL made clear for months its stance — it would not break for the Olympics if the status quo didn’t change. The NHL said no meaningful dialogue materialized over a number of months.

Russian star Alex Ovechkin said two weeks ago that he planned to defy the NHL (and his contract) and go to PyeongChang anyway. Other Russian NHL stars also hope they can join Ovechkin.

Bettman challenged Ovechkin’s comments, saying Friday it was unlikely any NHL players will be in PyeongChang, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We’re confident our players will remain with their teams,” Bettman said, according to the newspaper.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Hilary Knight’s trip to historic Olympic ice rekindles love for hockey

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
Getty
0 Comments

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
Getty
0 Comments

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!