VANCOUVER — Maelle Ricker is confident shell be able to defend her womens snowboard cross gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The 35-year-old from West Vancouver, B.C., broke her wrist in training Jan. 28 and required surgery to repair the compound fracture. “Ive been training everyday, Ive been doing physio everyday. My arm is getting better and better, its getting more range and getting the swelling out,” Ricker said during a conference call Wednesday. “Everybodys done such an amazing job just as a team, as a whole support network to get me out the door and get me on the plane Saturday to get me over to Russia.” Snowboard cross involves four athletes racing down a course at the same time, often jockeying for position. Rickers accident happened when she lost her balance during a training run on the X Games course in Vail, Colo. “It was in a section that Ive ridden dozens of times previous to that run. It was nothing new or surprising. I didnt control my speed as I should have,” said Ricker, who won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. “I did the exact opposite of what youre supposed to do — I put my arm out to break the fall and unfortunately it broke me.” Despite having a bone sticking of the side of her arm that “was crazy looking” less than three weeks before she was scheduled to compete in Sochi, Ricker said she was never concerned about her ability to participate. “I wasnt worried about that because I had so much support and reassurance right away that I was getting the absolute best medical care on the planet,” she said. “I definitely felt that support and reassurance right away.” Ricker said she wont get back on her snowboard until she reaches Sochi. She expects there to be some pain when she competes, mainly at the top of the course when she pulls herself out of the start gate. She said some of the exercises shes been doing since the injury involve simulating a snowboard cross start using bungee cords and pulleys. “I think its going to be better than maybe what I think, based just on my progress the last few days,” said Ricker. “Everything is moving so much better than what I would ever imagine a week (post-operation) from breaking an arm. “I think its going to go quite well. Im really positive about this.” Ricker and her fellow womens snowboard cross competitors will get their first look at the Sochi course Feb. 12, with the initial training session scheduled for two days later. The race is scheduled to go Feb. 16. Ricker has fought through injuries before — including a crash right before the Vancouver Games as well as a concussion this past December — and expects to be able to do the same in Sochi. “Id be lying if I said it wouldnt be in the back of my mind,” she said. “Im hoping everything will go as a usual competition and thats where I spend a lot of time visualizing and thinking about the race and technically what Im doing on the board. Usually that overpowers any pain or anything else thats going on.” Ricker made her Olympic debut in 1998 on Canadas halfpipe team at Nagano, Japan. She returned to the Games in 2006 at Turin, Italy, with the snowboard cross team but crashed and had to be airlifted to hospital. She returned in 2010 to win gold and it sounds like shes equally motivated this time around. “It sounds crazy, but its helped me,” said Ricker of the injury. “This is almost like there was this burning fire, desire. Its almost like somebody doused a bunch of gasoline on the fire so Im pretty ready to go. I can feel the adrenaline and I can feel the excitement of going over to Russia. “Im actually just going to use that as a positive and use that for motivation to just get me through these couple of weeks and hopefully have the race of my life.” Jari Kurri Jersey. – The New Orleans Saints have re-signed receiver Joseph Morgan for one year and have agreed to a four-year deal with free agent fullback Erik Lorig. Matt Benning Jersey. Though the 26-year-old said he was able to participate, coach Dwane Casey kept Johnson out as a precaution. Szabados joined the Southern Professional Hockey League team last week. The 27-year-old goaltender from Edmonton backstopped the Canadian womens hockey team to Olympic gold Feb. Cam Talbot Jersey.Y. – The New York Yankees made it official Saturday, announcing the completion of a seven-year deal with free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and a one-year contract for returning starter Hiroki Kuroda. Mark Letestu Jersey. Jones, from Winnipeg, built a 3-0 advantage after three ends by scoring two in the second and one in the third. Chinas skip Bingyu Wang cut that lead to 3-1 in the fourth before Canada added another three in the fifth for a 6-1 lead. PARIS — Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen will replace Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus in the final two Formula One races of the season. Raikkonen will miss the United States Grand Prix and Brazilian GP to undergo back surgery. He is joining Ferrari next season. The 32-year-old Kovalainen has raced in 109 GPs for Renault, McLaren and Caterham, securing one win at the Hungarian GP in 2008 and three other podium finishes. He has been a test driver for Caterham this year. “Jumping into a car so late in the year when you have not been competing in the races all season will be a challenge, but I know the team at Enstone well so I have no concerns about getting up to speed,” Kovalainen said. “This is a great opportunity for me, so I would like to thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 team for allowing me to take advantage of it.” His appointment comes after seven-time champion Michael Schumacher turned down Lotus offer to drive in the final two races. “We had to move quickly following the news of Kimiis non-participation in the final two races of this season, and we found ourselves facing a difficult decision,” Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said.dddddddddddd “On the one hand we had our reserve driver Davide Valsecchi — who is a talented young driver that has shown a great deal of promise — and on the other we had the opportunity to bring in a seasoned Formula 1 competitor.” Before making his decision to have surgery, the 34-year-old Raikkonen had criticized the team for not paying his salary this season and threatened to pull out of the final two races in protest. He had to be persuaded to race in Abu Dhabi but skipped his media obligations on the Thursday before the race. He pulled out of the race on the first lap because of suspension damage after a minor collision. Before that, tensions had surfaced within the team at the Indian GP. Raikkonen was upset when he was ordered by the teams trackside operations director, Alan Permane, not to hold up teammate Romain Grosjean. Wholesale Jerseys  Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Authentic Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys ‘ ‘ ‘