Miracle on Ice
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Miracle on Ice reunion to include all but 2 players from 1980 Olympic hockey team

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All but two players from the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team will gather for a 40th anniversary weekend in Las Vegas, an event organizer said.

“Relive the Miracle,”, reminiscent of a 35th anniversary celebration in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 2015, will be Feb. 21-22 in Las Vegas.

“Back then [in 2015], we had talked about doing it again,” said Jeff Holbrook, who helped organize the 35th and 40th anniversary events. “We’ve been sort of talking about it on and off since that time. Getting the [players] to be on board, I certainly don’t want to say it was easy because it’s never easy when you’re dealing with that many different people, but I think everybody knew when you pack a place like Like Placid with 10,000 people, you know the concept is there. So I think getting them behind it wasn’t hard to do.”

Eighteen of the 20 players on the Miracle on Ice roster committed, including captain Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig, Holbrook said.

The weekend will be missing defenseman Bob Suter, who died in 2014, and forward Mark Pavelich, who was jailed last year on assault charges and ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The 35th anniversary included all living team members gathering for the first time since coach Herb Brooks‘ death in 2003. The only other full reunion since 1980 was for an NHL All-Star weekend event in Los Angeles in 2002. When the team lit the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic cauldron, it was missing Mike Ramsey and Pavelich.

The 40th anniversary weekend kicks off with a two-hour Vegas Golden Knights season-ticket holder event at Brooklyn Bowl on Feb. 21, a Friday night. Holbrook said it sold out in 16 minutes.

Then on Saturday, Holbrook said the goal is for 12,000 people to attend an event at the Thomas & Mack Center on the exact 40th anniversary of the 4-3 win over the Soviet Union.

That “will feature the team on stage with an interactive display of video, audio, memorabilia and never-before-seen components from their Olympic triumphs. A celebrity emcee will moderate conversations between the players, celebrities, and NHL stars as the team takes you through the Miracle on Ice with behind-the-scenes information and stories that chronicle ‘what really happened,'” according to a press release.

Differences from 2015 include the addition of 1980 U.S. Olympic assistant coach Craig Patrick and plans for an element from the Soviet perspective. Holbrook also said there will be celebrity involvement from both the hockey and non-hockey realms. Holbrook, a managing partner for Potentia Athletic Partners whose clients have included Wayne Gretzky, would not reveal specifics but said “the names are substantial.”

Finally, the 1980 team members will be honored during the Golden Knights game versus the Florida Panthers at T-Mobile Arena that Saturday night.

“The tentacles of the Miracle on Ice are so vast,” Holbrook said. “People from different walks of life, whether it’s rock bands or movie stars or politicians, whatever it is, have all been affected by it.”

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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