August 14, 2008
Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin flew in for a few days at the Beijing Games, spreading his particular brand of whimsy and pimping the 2014 Olympics in Sochi (which could use some good PR in light of this Georgian untidiness). While there, the man some consider the best hockey player in the world was asked about the man some are calling the best athlete of all-time: American swimmer Michael Phelps.
According to this translation by Tuvanhillbilly of an article by Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport, Ovechkin believes Phelps should receive an honor worthy of the Mall in D.C. should he take home eight gold medals:
"He's got the wind at his back. If he does this, they should make a monument for him in America. That would be cool!"
Is there any chance Ovie hasn't entertained thoughts about either a city in Russia or the District of Columbia building a statue in his honor? This is, after all, the guy who ceremoniously lifted speed limits in D.C. upon receiving the key to the city.
Ovechkin mingled with Russian athletes, and offered his assessments to Sov Sport (via Tuvanhillbilly):
"I came to Beijing for three days" Ovechkin tells me while hiding under an umbrella. "I was able to attend the boxing and women's basketball events. I watched our girls beat the Korean team 77- 72. I know everyone on our team. I believe that these girls will take the gold. I'm just sorry that I won't be able to see their game against the Croatian team. My flight leaves on Tuesday at two P.M."
And if our men's team makes it to the final against the Dream Team? Would that be the death knell for them? "We all know that the Americans are very strong, even more so because they have Kobe Bryant. Whatever, we just have to be meaner. If we win, this would go down in history like Munich in 1972 or our hockey victory in Quebec. So we have something to try for. By the way, I went to the Olympic village and met with Andrei Kirilenko and the boxers. They have it really nice there, much better than when we were in Turin."
Maybe that's why Sweden won gold back in 2006.
Coming up: Ovechkin has an awkward conversation with a Pittsburgh reporter.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Shelly Anderson bumped into Ovechkin, and had this delightful exchange:
"You all by yourself?" I asked.
"No, I'm with friends," he said, although they were nowhere in sight.
I told him I was from the Pittsburgh paper and had interviewed him several times.
"Pittsburgh?" Ovechkin said, lighting up a bit. "Tell [Sidney] Crosby hello."
"What about [Evgeni] Malkin?" I asked.
What, no birthday wishes? Obviously, Ovechkin had other things on his mind ... and his shoulder.
(Just an actress friend, people. An actress friend.)