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. NBCSports.com 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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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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