"You have a lot of attention on a foolish sport like American football, and you waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, on a sport that is meant to kill each other, to injure each other. ... You're so narrow-minded, and then you want to compete against the world (in other sports) when you waste a lot of time, good talent on a sport that (stinks)."
Netherlands long-track speed skating coach Jillert Anema - who has coached his team to 21 medals in Sochi, the most in one sport at any Winter Games - saying in a CNBC interview that the overall American sports system is to blame for U.S. skaters not getting a medal so far. He also says the Dutch have done so well because they treat speed skating like the United States treats football.
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Trivia of the day
- Thursday's women's hockey gold-medal game between the United States and Canada was the most-streamed event in the history of NBC Sports Digital excluding the 2012 Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots.
- Canadian women's hockey captain Caroline Ouellette became the first Winter Olympian to enter at least four career events and win them all.
- The gold medal of freestyle skier Maddie Bowman (above) in the halfpipe Thursday assured the United States of 25 medals, matching its best at a Winter Games not held in North America.
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Ukrainian skier heads home to protest
A Ukrainian Alpine skier has withdrawn from the Olympics in response to the deaths of antigovernment protesters in her country. "I don't want to participate when in my country people die," Bogdana Matsotska, 24, said Thursday.
She'll miss today's women's slalom, which was to be her third and best event at the Olympics. Matsotska wanted to leave immediately to join protesters in the camp known as Maidan in Kiev's Independence Square, but said she had been unable to book a flight home.
"I am in Maidan but just with my soul," she said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine officials said the International Olympic Committee denied them permission to wear arm bands to honor those killed. The IOC usually bans all such efforts to commemorate a tragedy, personal or otherwise, because "we try to concentrate on the sport," spokesman Mark Adams said. In this case, he said, the IOC never made a firm denial to the Ukrainians, who decided on their own to make a different gesture before it got to that point.
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Beer or Bieber?
President Barack Obama is 0-for-1 in hockey bets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In not the most original of wagers, the heads of state each bet a case of beer on the outcomes of the women's and men's hockey semifinals. No word on what kind of beer is on the line.
A much better bet is one proposed on a billboard in Chicago promoting today's men's semi: "Loser keeps Bieber."
Compiled from Times wires, NBC, nbcolympics.com, cnbc.com.