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Archive for December, 2009

Olympic Games: Slovakian ice hockey squad for Vancouver – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 29th, 2009

BRATISLAVA (AFP) – Slovakian ice-hockey squad for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, announced by head coach Jan Filc on Tuesday:

Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak (Canadians), Peter Budaj (Colorado Avalanche), Rastislav Stana (Severstal Cherepovets/RUS).

Defenders: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Lubomir Visnovsky (Edmonton Oilers), Andrej Sekera (Buffalo Sabres), Andrej Meszaros (Tampa Bay Lightning), Milan Jurcina (Columbus Blue Jackets), Martin Strbak (HC MVD Balashikha/RUS), Richard Lintner (Dinamo Minsk/UKR).

Forwards: Marian Hossa (Chicago Blackhawks), Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers), Pavol Demitra (Vancouver Canucks), Michal Handzus (Los Angeles Kings), Lubomir Bartecko (SC Berne/SWI), Marcel Hossa (Dinamo Riga/LAT), Martin Cibak (Spartak Moscou/RUS), Tomas Kopecky (Chicago Blackhawks), Zigmund Palffy (HK 36 Skalica/SVK), Branko Radivojevic (Spartak Moscow/RUS), Jozef Stumpel (Barys Astana/KAZ), Miroslav Satan (free agent), Richard Zednik (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl/RUS).

Coach: Jan Filc

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Vancouver 2010

Olympic Games: Latvia ice hockey squad for Vancouver – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 29th, 2009

RIGA (AFP) – Latvia ice-hockey squad for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, announced by head coach Olegs Znaroks on Tuesday:

Goaltenders: Edgars Masalskis (Dinamo Riga), Ervins Mustukovs (Dinamo Riga), Sergejs Naumovs (Dinamo Riga)

Defenders: Georgijs Pujacs (Sibir Novosibirsk), Kristaps Sotnieks (Dinamo Riga), Arvids Rekis (Wolfsburg), Krisjanis Redlihs (Dinamo Riga), Guntis Galvins (Dinamo Riga), Rodrigo Lavins (Dinamo Riga), Karlis Skrastins (Dallas Stars), Oskars Bartulis (Philadelphia Flyers)

Forwards: Lauris Darzins (Dinamo Riga), Herberts Vasiljevs (Krefeld Pinguine), Mikelis Redlihs (Dinamo Riga), Girts Ankipans (Dinamo Riga), Martins Cipulis (Dinamo Riga), Janis Sprukts (Dinamo Riga), Aleksejs Sirokovs (Amur Khabarovsk), Martins Karsums (Norfolk Admirals), Aleksandrs Nizivijs (Dimano Riga), Armands Berzins (Dinamo Riga), Kaspars Daugavins (Binghamton Senators), Gints Meija (Dinamo Riga)

Coach: Olegs Znaroks

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Vancouver 2010

Figure skating: Japan’s Asada back into gold-medal rivalry – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 28th, 2009

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s former world champion Mao Asada, returning to form with a fourth straight national title, is rekindling a hot rivalry with South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na ahead of their Olympic debut.

Asada nailed her trademark triple axel in the free skate to triumph at the Japanese championships on Sunday, prompting a nationwide sigh of relief for one of the country’s few gold medal hopefuls at February’s Vancouver Winter Games.

“It is important to aim high. I want the gold medal,” the 19-year-old said on television on Monday. “I will aim to perfect all of my programmes.”

It was the first time that the 2008 world champion has stood on the top of the podium in any event this season, which has been fraught with her failures in landing the highly demanding 3.5-revolution jump.

Asada is the only woman who regularly attempts the triple axel in international competitions.

“Freed from the spell of the jump,” read a headline in the daily Asahi Shimbun, which put a picture of Asada waving to the crowd with a big smile and holding a bouquet in one hand on its front page.

The victory made her one of three Japanese women in the Olympic figure skating competition, in which South Korea’s reigning world champion Kim is the top favourite. World silver medalist Joannie Rochette of Canada and bronze medalist Miki Ando of Japan are among other contenders.

Kim, also 19, dethroned Asada at the world championships in April and regained the Grand Prix Final title from her this month.

Kim “has been a good source of inspiration for me. I want to work hard (at the Olympics) together with her,” Asada told Japanese media on Saturday.

Asada and Kim both missed the 2006 Turin Olympics as they were a few months too young to be eligible to compete.

Asada failed to qualify for the Grand Prix Final after she finished runner-up to Kim in the season-opening Grand Prix in Paris and placed fifth at the second round in Moscow.

“I know Asada is going through a tough time, but I’m sure that she’ll come to the Olympics,” Kim told Korean media after winning the final.

After under-rotating a triple-axel in her short programme at the nationals, Asada avoided attempting the jump twice in her free skating as she had done earlier this season. She had succeeded in only one of her eight previous triple axel attempts as she otherwise popped, landed on two feet or fell.

“It is burdensome to try it twice,” she said. “I wanted to focus on other elements as well.”

With just a 0.22-point lead from the short programme, she scored 135.50 points in free skating to win with a total 204.62.

The total, while not scored by judges from the International Skating Union (ISU), was close to the official world record of 210.03 points Kim set at the Paris Grand Prix. Asada has earned even higher points at previous nationals.

Asada’s personal ISU record is 201.87 scored at the World Team Trophy last April.

“I want to make further adjustments going into the next competition,” said Asada, due to take part in the Four Continents championships January 25-31 in Jeonju, South Korea, which Toronto-based Kim is expected to skip.

“I am the kind of skater who gets better in the second half (of a season).”

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Vancouver 2010

Olympic Games: Veteran Forsberg picked for Swedes’ gold defence – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

Stockholm (AFP) – Peter Forsberg, the 36-year-old centre who has twice helped Sweden capture Olympic gold, was named Sunday to the 23-man provisional roster for Sweden’s reigning Winter Olympic ice hockey champions.

Forsberg, whose 12 National Hockey League seasons included two Stanley Cup titles with the Colorado Avalanche, has struggled with ankle and foot injuries in recent years. He now plays for Modo in his homeland’s elite league.

The 2003 NHL Most Valuable Player, set up the winning goal in Sweden’s 3-2 victory over Finland in the 2006 Turin Olympic final and scored the deciding goal in a shootout win over Canada for 1994 Olympic gold.

Sweden coach Bengt-Aake Gustafsson’s lineup was largely comprised of NHL stars. Final squads are not set until February 15, the eve of the Olympic openers.

Gustafsson included Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson despite the influential centre being ruled out for four to six weeks on Saturday with a separated left shoulder.

Nicklas Lidstrom, a six-time winner of the NHL’s Norris Trophy as top defenseman, was among four Detroit Red Wings named to Sweden’s team, joined by defenseman Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Holmstrom and Detroit scoring leader Henrik Zetterberg.

Goalkeepers: Jonas Gustavsson (Toronto Maple Leafs/NHL), Stefan Liv (HV 71), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers/NHL)

Defenders: Tobias Enstrom (Atlanta Thrashers/NHL), Magnus Johansson (Linkopings HC), Niklas Kronwall (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Douglas Murray (San Jose Sharks/NHL), Johnny Oduya (New Jersey Devils/NHL), Henrik Tallinder (Buffalo Sabres/NHL), Mattias Ohlund (Tampa Bay Lightning/NHL)

Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators/NHL), Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals/NHL), Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars/NHL), Peter Forsberg (Modo), Tomas Holmstrom (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators/NHL), Fredrik Modin (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL), Samuel Paahlsson (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver Canucks/NHL), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks/NHL), Mattias Weinhandl (Dynamo Moscow/RUS), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings/NHL)

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Vancouver 2010

Ice Hockey: NHL stars dominate Swedes’ champion Olympic squad – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

stockholm (AFP) – Sweden coach Bengt-Aake Gustafsson on Sunday announced a 23-man squad, made up largely of NHL stars, for the Vancouver Olympic Games.

Gustafsson included Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in his squad despite the influential centre being ruled out for four to six weeks on Saturday with a separated left shoulder.

Sweden beat Finland in the 2006 Turin Olympic final to win the gold medal with the Czechs beating Russia for bronze. Olympic hosts Canada finished a disappointing seventh.

Goalkeepers: Jonas Gustavsson (Toronto Maple Leafs/NHL), Stefan Liv (HV 71), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers/NHL)

Defenders: Tobias Enstrom (Atlanta Thrashers/NHL), Magnus Johansson (Linkopings HC), Niklas Kronwall (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Douglas Murray (San Jose Sharks/NHL), Johnny Oduya (New Jersey Devils/NHL), Henrik Tallinder (Buffalo Sabres/NHL), Mattias Ohlund (Tampa Bay Lightning/NHL)

Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators/NHL), Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals/NHL), Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars/NHL), Peter Forsberg (MODO Hockey), Tomas Holmstrom (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators/NHL), Fredrik Modin (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL), Samuel Paahlsson (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver Canucks/NHL), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks/NHL), Mattias Weinhandl (Dynamo Moscow/RUS), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings/NHL)

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Vancouver 2010

Alpine skiing: Kostelic recovers, and sets sights on Vancouver – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

Zagreb (AFP) – Croatian ski champion Ivica Kostelic said his sights are set firmly on the Vancouver Olympic Games after returning to training this weekend following a recent knee injury scare.

Kostelic, a silver medal winner in the supercombined event at the Turin Games in 2006, injured his knee competing in the two-discipline event at the Val d’Isere leg of the World Cup two weeks ago.

Although he hopes to compete at the Sljeme slalom in Croatia on January 6, he said Sunday: “I have to be ready for the Olympic Games in Vancouver.”

He added: “My knee has recovered enough for me to ski gently and I think it will get better day by day. We’ll see if it’s good enough for me to compete at Sljeme.”

Kostelic, whose hugely successful sister Janica is now retired, will be one of the medal contenders for the supercombined at Whistler during the Vancouver Games being held February 12-28.

The 30-year-old from Zagreb finished an impressive fourth overall in the World Cup standings last season and also has a world slalom title, from 2003, to his name.

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Vancouver 2010

Figure skating: Asada books Olympic berth in comeback – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

KADOMA (AFP) – Former world champion Mao Asada booked a ticket to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games as she won a fourth straight Japanese national championship on Sunday in a comeback from poor form.

With a slim, 0.22-point lead from the short programme, she scored her personal best 135.50 points in free skating to win with a total 204.62, in a warning to longtime rival and reigning world champion Kim Yu-Na of South Korea.

Asada’s total was also her personal best and closed up on the world record of 210.03 points Kim set in beating Asada into second place at the season-opening Grand Prix in Paris in October.

“I feel happy and relieved,” said the 19-year-old Asada, who missed the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo earlier this month as she had struggled with her trademark 3.5-revolution triple axel earlier in the season.

“Every day has been fulfilling up to the nationals and it showed in my performance today,” the 2008 world champion said. “I will enjoy my first Olympics in a big way.”

Akiko Suzuki, who finished third behind Kim and compatriot Miki Ando at the elite final, finished second overall with 195.90 points with Yukari Nakano third with 195.73.

Ando, 2007 world champion, finished fourth. She has already secured one of three Olympic berths allotted to Japanese women by virtue of her second-place finish at the final.

The remaining berth went to 24-year-old Suzuki who won the Grand Prix Cup of China in early November.

Skating to the solemn and sombre music of Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Bells of Moscow,” Asada nailed a clean triple axel in her opening element.

“I was feeling calm and I went all out with a belief in myself,” she said.

Asada, the only women who has regularly attempted the triple axel in international competitions, went on without making another try as she has usually done.

She hit a double axel in a combination with a double toeloop which was downgraded. All told, she landed five triple jumps and marked level four in three spin elements.

She failed to qualify for the final despite being the defending champion as she finished a lowly fifth at the second round in Moscow after her runner-up performance in Paris.

Both Asada and Kim missed the 2006 Turin Olympics as they were a few months too young to be eligible to compete.

In ice dance, Cathy Reed and Chris Reed grabbed their third straight national title and Japan’s sole Olympic ticket for the category.

The siblings, whose mother is Japanese and father American, will make their Olympic debut in Vancouver.

At the national championships on Saturday, 2008 Four Continents champion Daisuke Takahashi won the men’s title to secure one of three Olympics berths for Japanese men.

Defending champion Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka, the 2006 world junior champion, finished second and third.

Oda has already punched another ticket by finishing second to American Evan Lysacek at the Grand Prix Final. Kozuka grabbed the remaining spot.

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Vancouver 2010

Figure skating: Japan national championships results – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

Kadoa (AFP) – Selected results from the Japanese national figure skating championships on Sunday, a qualifier for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games:

Women

Final standings

1. Mao Asada 204.62

2. Akiko Suzuki 195.90

3. Yukari Nakano 195.73

4. Miki Ando 185.44

5. Kanako Murakami 176.61

6. Haruka Imai 166.16

Free skating

1. Mao Asada 135.50

2. Akiko Suzuki 128.06

3. Yukari Nakano 126.83

4. Miki Ando 116.76

5. Kanako Murakami 116.33

6. Haruka Imai 110.18

Ice dance

Final standings

1. Cathy Reed/Chris Reed 163.37

2. Emi Hirai/Taiyo Mizutani 119.49

Free dance

1. Cathy Reed/Chris Reed 82.62

2. Emi Hirai/Taiyo Mizutani 56.81

(Two couples competed)

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Vancouver 2010

Figure skating: Russian championships results – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Results from the Russian figure skating championships, which ended here on Saturday:

Men

(final standings after free skating)

1. Yevgeny Plushenko 271.59pts

2. Sergey Voronov 240.01

3. Artem Borodulin 234.92

Women

(final standings after free skating)

1. Ksenya Makarova 178.90

2. Alena Leonova 175.89

3. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva 173.53

Pairs

(final standings after free skating)

1. Yuko Kavaguti/Aleksandr Smirnov 220.61

2. Maria Mukhortova/Maksim Trankov 208.78

3. Vera Bazarova/Yury Larionov 178.65

Dances

(final standings after free dance)

1. Oksana Domnina/Maxim Shabalin 214.77

2. Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Solovyev 189.29

3. Ekaterina Rubleva/Ivan Shefer 188.46

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Vancouver 2010

Figure Skating: Olympic champion Plushenko sets new world best mark – AFP News : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

December 27th, 2009

Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Olympic champion Yevgeny Plushenko set a new world best total mark of 271.59 points to win his eighth domestic title at the Russian championships.

The 27-year-old scored 171.50 points in for his free skating performance, skated to Tango Amore by Edwin Marton at his hometown Jubilee ice palace.

“I can mark my performance with three points of five – maximum,” Plushenko said as he geared up for the 2010 European Championships as well as another Olympics assault in Vancouver in February.

“I was practicing only one week before the Russian championships. Now I need to rehabilitate completely ahead of the European championships to gain my top form for the Olympics.”

On Friday, Plushenko enjoyed a great start with a personal best mark of 100.09 points for his short programme performed to Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, beating his previous best at the 2006 Turin Games.

But Plushenko was still far from satisfied with his short programme.

“To be honest it was not perfect skating,” Plushenko said. “I was just doing my work.”

“I would like to thank the judges for the bonus but it definitely was not the presentation of true Olympic level. But now I know what direction I shall move to reach it.”

Sergei Voronov performed well with his 95.64 points for his short programme also surpassing Plushenko’s mark from Turin. But on Saturday Voronov failed to stay in the race for the title receiving only the third best mark for his free routine.

He remained second overall, five points ahead of Artem Borodulin of Moscow, who won the bronze medal.

Ksenia Makarova won the women’s title, scoring 178.90 points to finish ahead of Alena Leonova (175.89pts). Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva was third with 173.53 points.

In ice dancing, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin came out on tops with 214.77 points. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Solovyev were second with 189.22pts, ahead of Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer (188.46pts).

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Vancouver 2010