Winter Games Athletes
Even before the National Hockey League agreed to allow its players to compete in Sochi, Ovechkin made it clear he would not miss the opportunity to play in an Olympic Games held in his home country. The Washington Capitals star and reigning NHL MVP has been representing Russia in international competition since he was 16 years old, when he helped lead the junior national team to the gold medal. Ovechkin at 17 became the youngest ever to play for Russia’s national team, though he has yet to win an Olympic medal. Ovechkin scored five goals in his first Games as Russia fell in the bronze-medal match in 2006 in Turin, then had two goals and two assists in four games in 2010 at the Vancouver Games. Russia was considered to be a favorite for the gold medal, but it lost to Canada in the quarterfinals. Most recently, Ovechkin had two goals and two assists playing in Russia’s final three games as it took gold at the 2012 World Championships. The dynamic forward then led the NHL with 32 goals and captured his third career Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP while leading Washington to the playoffs in the NHL’s lockout-shortened 2013 season. His 40 goals this season are his most since registering 50 in 2009-10. Ovechkin has been considered one of the best players in the world for quite some time, and he’ll look to guide a seemingly solid Russian squad to its first medal since it took the bronze in 2002.