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Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk lead Russia Olympic men’s hockey roster

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Russia’s men’s hockey roster is easily the most decorated of the 12 nations in the Olympic tournament.

It’s headlined by Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, two NHL All-Stars now playing in the KHL and headed to their fifth Winter Games together. That’s a Russian/Soviet hockey record.

Russia’s team won’t be called “Russia” of course.

It is the Olympic Athlete from Russia team since the Russian flag and color scheme have been barred from PyeongChang as part of the nation’s doping sanctions.

The 25 players on the team announced Thursday all hail from Russia’s KHL, the world’s second-best league behind the NHL.

Fifteen players are from SKA Saint Petersburg, eight are from CSKA Moscow and two from Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

But several previously played in the NHL and are talented enough to be playing in that league if they wanted — Kovalchuk, Datsyuk and defenseman Slava Voynov, who left the NHL in 2015 after an indefinite suspension for a domestic violence charge for which he spent two months in jail.

Russia immediately became the favorite for gold in PyeongChang when the NHL announced April 3 that it would not send its players to the Olympics for the first time since 1994.

The full roster:

Goaltenders: Vasily Koshechkin, Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shestyorkin.

Defensemen: Slava Voynov, Vladislav Gavrikov, Artyom Zub, Andrei Zubarev, Bogdan Kiselevich, Alexei Marchenko, Nikita Nesterov, Dinar Khafizullin.

Forwards: Sergei Andronov, Alexander Barabanov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Gusev, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kablukov, Sergei Kalinin, Kirill Kaprizov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Mozyakin, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Ivan Telegin, Vadim Shipachyov, Sergei Shirokov.

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IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

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IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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