- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports14 hrs ago
It was just another stop on just another recruiting sweep in talent-rich Florida. Robert Wimberly, assistant coach at Liberty University, visited Westwood High in Fort Pierce when the head coach there, Waides Ashmon, told him about a player who was injured during his junior year but playing again as a senior.
"I think he'll be a diamond in the rough," the coach said.
Was he ever.
Khalil Mack's recruitment, by a lone coach from an FCS school based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is hard to fathom in an era when Florida high school players are often well-known by colleges by the time they're old enough to get their drivers' permits. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Mack is now a potential top-five pick in May's NFL draft – at the scouting combine, he posted a 40-inch vertical and a 4.65 40-yard dash time – and if it wasn't for Wimberly, the linebacker might not have been recruited to a Division I school at all.
"USF and UCF were looking," Wimberly said Wednesday by phone, "but there were no other offers. He would have been a young man who got overlooked."
- Yahoo Sports8 days ago
It wasn't simply that she lost a shot at competing in the Sochi Olympics. It was the way she lost that shot.
In January, Katie Eberling sat in a room with all the other American bobsled hopefuls and listened as the names for Team USA were called. Hers wasn't among them.
"I was completely, absolutely gutted," Eberling said by phone on Tuesday from her home in suburban Chicago. "Indescribably emotional. A very low place to be in."
What made headlines was one of the names that was called: Lolo Jones, a selection many viewed as a publicity stunt – a ratings move. For Eberling, three times a World Cup medalist this season, hearing Jones' name and not hers was just a crushing reality.
20 years later, Corey Hirsch at peace with "Stamp Goal" and proud of his place in Olympic hockey historyEric Adelson at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
SOCHI, Russia — The phone rang only a little while after the game ended. Corey Hirsch knew it would.
Canada had just clinched a spot in the gold medal game by beating the Americans. Sweden had the other berth. Twenty years ago, the same two teams met in the same final round.
Hirsch played a role back then that would land him in hockey lore.
“It’s nice to remain relevant in history,” he said Friday night. “Any way you can.”
* * * * * *
Canada and Sweden are overflowing with NHL all-stars now. But back in 1994, there were no NHL players allowed on any Olympic team. Canada hadn’t won hockey gold in 42 years. Sweden had never done it.
Hirsch was, like nearly all of the players in that gold medal game, known only to serious hockey fans. He was 21 and had never played in front of so many people worldwide. “The first time you pull your jersey over your head and look down,” he said, “you realize, ‘I’m really doing this.’ ”
He loved being at the Olympics but he was so naive about the stakes and the stage that he didn’t even bring a camera.
Which is ironic, because many of the same people who didn’t know Hirsch’s name leading into the tournament can easily picture him now.
* * * * * *
- Yahoo Sports13 days ago
SOCHI, Russia — Another athlete has come out in support of Ukrainian protesters in Kiev. It happens to be one of the most beloved Olympians in that nation's history.
Oksana Baiul, who became the first skater to win Olympic gold for Ukraine 20 years ago this month, put a statement about the protests on her website on Friday morning.
"The people of the Ukraine are fighting a vicious battle against organized crime, corruption and the forces of evil," Baiul wrote. "While we shook the Soviet yoke in 1991, many of the corrupt, communist apparatchiks unfortunately managed to hold onto their positions. The crime and corruption continued but the Ukrainian people have finally had enough and are bravely making their stand."
- Yahoo Sports14 days ago
SOCHI, Russia – The Winter Olympic venues here popped up almost overnight, but what happens when the competition ends? In only three days, the Closing Ceremony will give way to the Paralympics. Then what?
There are actually clues to that answer in Olympic Park.
Along a path stretching from the Main Press Center toward the Olympic Flame, there are some raised stones. Those stones will soon serve as guides not for pedestrians, but for cars going 100-plus mph.
The auto racing circuit will visit Russia this fall for the first time in a century when the country's first Formula 1 Grand Prix is held along public roads as well as throughout the Olympic Park.
The course will be the third-longest on the racing tour, at a little more than 3.6 miles. A third and final layer of asphalt will be laid after the Paralympics. A paddock has already gone up on the fringe of the park.
A layout and animation of the race can be seen in the video below.
- Yahoo Sports14 days ago
SOCHI, Russia — One crumpled to the ice. One tossed her stick into the air in frustration. One bent over at the waist, her stick propped on her knees. One sobbed. One gathered teammates together to tell them the importance of team. One stared straight ahead, eyes red and bloodshot.
All of them had to stand there, watching the hated rivals celebrate again. All of them had to see the Canadians get their red jerseys draped with gold medals again. All of them had to listen to the other side's anthem. Again.
All of them had to wonder: How did that just happen? How did a 2-0 third-period lead evaporate in less than 3½ minutes? How did a game-clinching shot at an empty net hit the left post and skitter away? How did a brave overtime flurry give way to a devastating overtime goal?
Less than four minutes to gold.
Less than four inches to gold.
Four more years of silver.
- Yahoo Sports14 days ago
SOCHI, Russia – The import of the deadly conflict in Kiev, only a two-hour flight from here along the Black Sea, was underscored Thursday when at least one of the 43 Ukrainian athletes reportedly withdrew from the Olympic Games.
"I believe some of them have decided to return home," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams, "and [Ukraine Olympic Committee president] Sergey Bubka has said he absolutely respects every individual's right to make their own decision."
Some of the Ukrainian athletes had already completed their events, but Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska withdrew before Friday's slalom – her best event – as a show of solidarity with protesters in Kiev. Matsotska and her father and coach, Oleg Matsotskyy, were trying to arrange for a flight to return home.
On his Facebook page, Matsotskyy announced: "As a protest against lawless actions made towards protesters, the lack of responsibility from the side of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games."
Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse carry consistency to a second straight Olympic bobsled gold medalYahoo Sports15 days ago
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - At first it was a little bit strange.
Fireworks started exploding in the cold sky over the mountain cluster of venues as the Canadian women’s bobsled team got ready to race down the track for the fourth and final time. A gold medal hung in the balance as bright colours hung in the air.
Was it a sign? The Americans looked flawless to that point, leading through three heats and leaving the favoured team of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse looking relatively sluggish. Comebacks in bobsled – especially Olympic bobsled – are quite rare.
Then Moyse started to shove and Humphries started to drive and in a moment it looked like those fireworks could be for them.
The Canadians saved their best for last, flying down the track in a breathless, near-impeccable run to overtake the Americans and win their second straight Olympic gold medal. They had literally a tenth of a second to spare, as the U.S. team of Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams nearly won despite a rocky run.
“I wouldn’t call it a comeback,” Humphries said in her always-even tone. “It was more about being consistent.”
- Yahoo Sports15 days ago
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — The words of praise came tumbling out of Lolo Jones, and the tears nearly followed.
"I feel like I'm in the presence of Jesse Owens," Jones said, her eyes beginning to glisten. "When I looked at Lauryn Williams coming out of that sled, I was so emotionally choked up."
Williams did not become the first woman ever to win a gold medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The Canadian team, with a flawless final run, won gold by a tenth of a second.
But what Williams did by winning silver along with partner Elana Meyers — becoming only the fifth Olympian ever to medal in both seasons — hit a nerve with Jones anyway. It hit a nerve with bronze medalist Jamie Greubel, who called Williams "one of the most incredible athletes ever." It also hit a nerve with former track star Ato Boldon, who came up the mountain from NBC headquarters just to watch Williams race. "I am inspired," he said.
- Yahoo Sports15 days ago
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – She missed a gold medal by a split-second, but what she achieved can be measured only in ages.
Lauryn Williams, the track star-turned-bobsledder from the University of Miami, has become only the fifth person ever to win a medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
Williams accomplished the feat with partner Elana Meyers in the two-man bobsled here Wednesday, winning silver after leading the first three of four heats. The 5-foot-3 30-year-old, who began running at age 9 in Detroit, won gold as part of the U.S. relay team at 2012 London Games.
"I feel like I'm in the presence of Jesse Owens," said teammate Lolo Jones, who did not medal. "When I looked at Lauryn Williams come out of that sled, I was so emotionally choked up."
The Americans also captured bronze, with Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans easily cruising into third position to win a place on the podium. It was the first time the U.S. has won two medals in the event.