Athletes To Watch Today

Winter Olympics

February 21, 2006|By RANDY HARVEY

Speed skating

SHANI DAVIS

TV: NBC, 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. -- Shani Davis, who won his specialty - the 1,000 meters - Saturday, returns in the 1,500 today. It's one of speed skating's most anticipated races because his teammate - and rival - Chad Hedrick is also among the contenders. Each has a gold medal here. Hedrick won the 5,000. The other men's individual gold medal that has been awarded, in the 500, also went to an American, Joey Cheek. He is in the 1,500 as well, but the distance might be a bit long for him. So that leaves Davis, of Chicago, and Hedrick, of Houston, to duel. They might do that literally before the Winter Games are over. They have made it clear here that they aren't fond of each other.

Men's hockey

ALEXANDER OVECHKIN

TV: USA, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. -- Washington Capitals fans might have their loyalties divided today. One of Russia's best players as it goes into today's game against the United States is sensational Capitals rookie Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin is only 20 but has extensive international experience, leading the Russian team in the world junior championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He also played in the world championships at the senior level in 2004 and 2005. His mother played basketball for the Soviet Union in two Olympics, 1976 and '80, and his father was a professional soccer player.

Bobsled

SHAUNA ROHBOCK

TV: NBC, 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. -- Brakeman Shauna Rohbock was shocked four years ago when one of her best friends, driver Jill Bakken, booted her from the bobsled before the Salt Lake City Winter Games. Bakken then recruited Vonetta Flowers to fill the empty seat, and they won a gold medal. Rohbock, who was a forerunner - someone who tests the track - in 2002, said she wasn't bitter, but she did decide after that to become a driver so that she could make decisions on who rode in the sled with her. She chose Valerie Fleming. Going into today's final two runs, they are in third place. The other U.S. team, Jean Prahm and Flowers, is ninth. Rohbock, 25, earned the command of USA1 with her aggressive driving. Some would call her reckless, and that could prevent her and Fleming from winning a medal. An all-around athlete, Rohbock played two years in the women's professional soccer league, the WUSA, before it folded and was a heptathlete at Brigham Young.

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