Erik Karlsson unlikely to play Olympics as things stand

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San Jose Sharks and Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson, asked what he will do if “things stay as they are” concerning the coronavirus, said Wednesday that he would most likely not play at the Olympics.

“There’s just too many uncertainties crossing the waters and going into a different nation and different country where we can’t get a straight answer about anything,” Karlsson told reporters in audio provided by the Sharks Audio Network. “There’s going to be guys that are going to test positive, and there’s going to be people that are going to have to go through whatever it is that we’re going to have to go through if that happens, which we don’t really know what that is. So, for me, having a family, I can’t take that risk.”

Karlsson was asked about general nervousness about going to the Olympics given the pandemic.

“We’ve had some calls, and I think that most of the issues are public knowledge,” he said without detailing specific issues. “I think if that’s the way it’s going to be, I don’t see it being very feasible for guys to take that risk, but that’s my personal opinion. Everybody knows how much I love to play for the national team and how much I cherish the Olympic Games, but the way it is right now, it doesn’t seem like it’s very doable. I don’t understand why anyone would agree to take the risks of being in the position that we will be in once we board that plane and go to China.”

A reporter mentioned to Karlsson the reported timeline of up to five weeks for a possible quarantine in China for somebody who has a confirmed positive test at the Olympics. confirmed that the NHLPA has been told that’s a possible quarantine length, governed by Chinese law.

The latest athlete playbook for the Beijing Olympics, published earlier this month, does not mention a specific quarantine period for a confirmed positive test but does say athletes will be discharged in accordance with guidelines in China. If an athlete has a confirmed positive test in China, the playbook states that they would be discharged, if at a hospital, meeting this criteria:

– your body temperature returns to normal for three consecutive days
– respiratory symptoms improve significantly
– lung imaging shows significant improvement
– you have two consecutive negative COVID-19 (PCR) test results with a sample interval of at least 24 hours; and
– you display no other COVID-19 symptoms

And if at an isolation facility:

– Once you have two consecutive negative COVID-19 (PCR) test results with at least 24 hours between the two samples and no other COVID-19 symptoms

Those who are asymptomatic with consistent positive tests will be reviewed regularly by a medical expert panel that includes IOC and international federation reps.

Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2012 and 2015 and was the top defenseman in the 2014 Olympic tournament, where he led Sweden to silver, losing to Canada in the final.

Previously, Swedish goaltender Robin Lehner said he will not play the Olympics, citing mental health.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships results


2023 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, top 10 and notable results …

Women (Short Program)
1. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) — 79.24
2. Lee Hae-In (KOR) — 73.62
3. Mai Mihara (JPN) — 73.46
4. Isabeau Levito (USA) — 73.03
5. Loena Hendrickx (BEL) — 71.94
6. Niina Petrokina (EST) — 68.00
7. Nicole Schott (GER) — 67.29
8. Bradie Tennell (USA) — 66.45
9. Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) — 65.69
10. Amber Glenn (USA) — 65.52


Pairs (Short Program)
1. Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) — 80.72
2. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 74.64
3. Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii (ITA) — 73.24
4. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps (CAN) — 72.81
5. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe (USA) — 70.23
6. Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud (CAN) — 65.31
7. Alisa Efimova/Ruben Blommaert (GER) — 65.23
8. Maria Pavlova/Alexei Sviatchenko (HUN) — 64.43
9. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea (USA) — 63.40
10. Brooke McIntosh/Benjamin Mimar (CAN) — 63.33

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Kaori Sakamoto leads figure skating worlds; U.S. in medal mix in women’s, pairs’ events

Kaori Sakamoto

Defending champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan topped the women’s short program at the world figure skating championships, while Americans are in the medal mix in the women’s and pairs’ events going into the free skates.

Sakamoto, trying to become the first Japanese skater to win back-to-back world titles, tallied 79.24 points, taking a significant 5.62-point lead over South Korean Lee Hae-In going into Friday’s free skate in Saitama, Japan. It’s the largest lead after a women’s short program at worlds since 2015.

U.S. champion Isabeau Levito is in fourth, one year after winning the world junior title. Levito, 16, can become the youngest world medalist since 2014.

Fellow Americans Bradie Tennell and Amber Glenn are eighth and 10th, respectively.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the pairs’ short program, distancing defending champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S., who placed second despite Frazier’s fall on their side-by-side triple toe loops.

Miura and Kihara, the world’s top-ranked pair this season, can become the first Japanese pair to win a world title, a year after taking silver behind Knierim and Frazier.

Knierim and Frazier, who will likely retire after this season, are trying to become the first U.S. pair to win multiple world titles. They’re skating without their primary coaches, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, who didn’t travel after Sand had a heart attack three weeks ago.

“Todd’s condition is very serious, so it’s difficult to train when you feel broken inside, when your person is not there,” Knierim said, according to the International Skating Union. “However, that person is the one who instilled fight in us, so we’re able to work hard every day to make him proud, and I think we did a good job of that today.”

In fourth place are Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps. Stellato-Dudek, the 2000 World junior silver medalist in singles, came out of a 15-year retirement in 2016 and can become, at 39, the oldest world championships medalist in recent memory.

Worlds continue Wednesday night (U.S. time) with the pairs’ free skate, followed Thursday morning with the men’s short program, live on Peacock and USA Network.

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