MOSCOW, January 16 (R-Sport) - NHL star Alex Ovechkin will be one of the torchbearers for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi despite no decision on whether the league will release its players, the organizing committee chief for the Games said Wednesday.
Ovechkin’s participation may court controversy because NHL participation was a key issue left unresolved in the new collective bargaining agreement that ended the lockout Saturday.
“Coca-Cola has put out a film with Ovechkin in it. That means Ovechkin will be one of the torch-bearers,” organizing committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko said.
Ovechkin will carry the torch on part of the 123-day, 65,000-kilometer relay, Chernyshenko said.
The Washington Capitals center was confirmed hours after a video of him with the torch was posted online as an commercial for Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola.
“Fill in an application and maybe you too will become an Olympic torchbearer on the streets of your city,” he says in the ad, speaking Russian.
The torch relay starts October 7, with the Games to take place from February 7 to 23 next year.