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Female ski jumpers file complaint
Canadian Press
2/5/2007 6:14:04 PM

CALGARY (CP) - Canada's female ski jumpers are demanding the federal government help them get into 2010 Winter Olympics.

The mother of Katie Willis, a 15-year-old from Calgary ranked among the top six in the world in women's ski jumping, has filed a complaint with Canada's Human Rights Commission on behalf of her daughter and her teammates.

Jan Willis is challenging the Canadian government to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee to reverse its decision denying entry of women's ski jumping into the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

She says the Department of Canadian Heritage is obligated to take up the women's cause because its money is helping build the Whistler Nordic Venue in the Callahan Valley.

''The bottom line is it is discrimination,'' Jan Willis said Monday. ''They are contributing to these facilities and women are not allowed to compete on them. I think that goes against the grain of most people's values in Canada.''

Ski Jump Canada is backing the complaint, said chairman Brent Morrice.

''I have totally supported the girls and continue to support them in their quest for equality,'' he said. ''There are a lot of irons in the fire and the girls are taking a big step here by filing this complaint.

''There are a lot of people who want them to go away, but I don't believe they are going to go away.''

Ski jumping and nordic combined are the last male-only events at the Winter Games. Nordic combined incorporates ski jumping and cross-country skiing.

The IOC wants gender equality in the Games, but its executive committee denied entry of women's ski jumping into the Games, saying the sport did not have enough world-wide participation and depth of talent to be part of the Olympic program.

The IOC instead voted in November to allow skiercross into the Games. The Vancouver organizing committee (VANOC) has yet to approve its inclusion in the 2010 Games, which open three years from Monday.

The committee is not making contingency plans for the inclusion of women's ski jumping, according to its vice-president of sport.
''With respect, we're not going to speculate on a `what if' scenario for women's ski jumping,'' Tim Gayda said in a statement. ''The IOC has made their decision on women's ski jumping and we are planning our sport program accordingly.''

Nina Reid, a Calgary lawyer who has a 13-year-old daughter in the sport, is serving as counsel to Willis.

''I think there still is time to approach the IOC and try to have the decision revisited,'' Reid said. ''The main purpose of filing it is to get the federal government's attention.

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China will have relay with or without Taiwan

Associated Press
4/27/2007 10:45:14 AM

BEIJING (AP) - China is ready to hold the Olympic torch relay without Taiwan, meaning the 135,000-kilometre route - billed as the largest on record - may bypass the breakaway island with which China has disputed sovereignty for almost 60 years.

Taiwan suddenly backed out of the ballyhooed relay on Thursday, embarrassing Beijing officials who had announced the route just two hours before in a lavish TV ceremony. The 130-day journey will cross five continents and attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Next year's high-profile prelude to the 2008 Olympics was an opportunity for an upbeat public-relations event, a chance for China to showcase its diverse regions to the world. Instead, the relay could uncover sharp political divisions, particularly in areas like Taiwan and Tibet.

Overshadowing Olympic values like friendship and fairness, Beijing organizers on Friday accused Taipei Olympic officials of breaking their word and promised to hold the relay - with or without the breakaway island.

"For any large scale event there will be two or three backup plans," said Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice-president of the Beijing organizing committee. "The torch relay is a very large event, and we have several contingency plans."

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Logo for London 2012 Games unveiled

Logo for London 2012 Games unveiled
Canadian Press
6/4/2007 10:45:48 AM

LONDON (AP) - London Olympic organizers unveiled a jigsaw-style logo Monday for the 2012 Summer Games that is designed to appeal to young people.

The four block-style jagged pieces combine to form the numbers 2012 in a variety of pink, blue, green and orange colours.

In a stark departure from logos at previous Games, there is no visual imagery of the host city or country.

The logo has the word "london" spelled out in lower case letters in the top left half, with the Olympic rings in white in the top right half.

"It's vital that we reach out to those young people in a language that they understand and in technology that's familiar to them," London organizing chief Sebastian Coe said. "This brand is absolutely the world they live in."

Coe said the logo, designed by international branding firm Wolff Olins, should not disfranchise older Olympic fans.

"People who understand the Games, who get the Games, have a historic feel for the Games, have an emotional attachment to the Games are probably not going to be moved, one way or another by a brand," he said.

The logo used during London's successful bid for the games featured a multicoloured ribbon creating an outline of the River Thames woven through the word "London." The Athens logo in 2004 featured an olive wreath, while Sydney's 2000 logo featured a runner created by boomerangs. Beijing's 2008 logo features Chinese calligraphy of a runner.

The 2012 Paralympics will share the same logo as the Olympic Games for the first time.

"The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible, reflecting a brand-savvy world where people, especially young people, no longer relate to static logos but respond to a dynamic brand that works with new technology and across traditional and new media networks," London 2012 organizers said in a statement.

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Slava Fetisov promotes Russian winter Olympic bid, revisits Stanley Cup finals

Published: Monday, June 4, 2007 | 10:37 PM ET
Canadian Press: BRUCE CHEADLE

OTTAWA (CP) - Slava Fetisov, once regarded as the Russian Bobby Orr, broke new ground in his storied Stanley Cup record on Wednesday night: he took in a game as a spectator.

Fetisov won back-to-back Cups as a towering defenceman with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 and a third as assistant coach with New Jersey in 2000, but had never enjoyed a game in the final as a disinterested participant.

In Ottawa to promote Russia's bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Fetisov couldn't pass up a chance to see Game 4 of the Ottawa Senators-Anaheim Ducks final.

"It's a lot different than being part of it, but I'm pretty excited," Fetisov, 49, said as he made his way unobtrusively to his seat in the upper bowl at Scotiabank Place.

"I've watched lots of games and competitions in the last five years to support Russian athletes and I'm telling you it's not easy being in the stands."

Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Fetisov, perhaps the greatest defenceman of the former powerhouse Soviet national teams, as the head of the Russian sports agency in 2002.

Now Russia hopes to follow Vancouver in 2010 by hosting its first Winter Games, "to showcase the new Russia, to showcase our hospitality," said Fetisov.

Their bid is for the Black Sea city of Sochi, which is actually in a tropical zone but has mountains within a 40-minute drive. The area was home to the summer dachas of the czars, and Putin currently has his summer residence there.

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VANOC to give IOC a 'positive report'

VANOC to give IOC a 'positive report'
The Canadian Press
6/28/2007 12:05:35 AM

Two project updates on the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are scheduled for Monday and Thursday as the IOC meets to choose the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Vancouver won the right to host the 2010 Games almost four years ago, beating out two of the three entrants in the latest bidding - Salzburg, Austria, and PyeongChang, South Korea.

Chief executive officer John Furlong says the VANOC report "outlines encouraging progress, particularly on venue construction."

He says it also looks ahead to the major milestones as Vancouver officials pass the four-year anniversary of being awarded the Olympics in Prague.

Furlong adds that VANOC plans to contribute to the IOC's transfer of knowledge program to support the winner of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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VANOC dips into contingency fund

VANOC dips into contingency fund
Canadian Press
6/28/2007 11:56:35 AM

VANCOUVER (CP) - Organizers of the 2010 Olympics will fulfil their promise to leave behind social housing as part of the Games legacy, the head of the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee said Thursday.

John Furlong said VANOC has committed $66.5 million towards social housing in Vancouver, Whistler and for aboriginals. These commitments will be reached even if other Games partners are unable to meet promised goals, said Furlong.

"Our commitment to make sure the housing legacy that we agreed to is there and those funds are committed and those legacies will be achieved," Furlong said during a conference call about VANOC's quarterly financial report. "We are very sure our commitments will be met completely."

The report, for the three-month period ending April 2007, said VANOC needed $2 million from its contingency fund for venue construction but building remains on time and on target.

Dan Doyle, executive vice-president of construction, said VANOC remains on track to complete most of its venues two full competition seasons before the February 2010 Games so facilities can be tested and athletes can use them for training.

"The timelines we are working under are aggressive," said Doyle. "An early finish will not only reduce inherit risk to our capital budget, but more importantly will afford Canadian athletes a crucial window of opportunity to train and become familiar with the venues and cultivate a real homefield advantage."

The venue budget for the Games remains at $580 million in taxpayers' money. That includes the additional $110 million the federal and provincial governments contributed to the project when VANOC realized it couldn't complete the venues for the original projected cost of $470 million.

Built into the construction budget was a $66.8-million contingency fund. Rising venue costs have reduced the fund to $53.3 million. Doyle said that amount is "highly appropriate for the remaining commitments and risks."

VANOC's revenue from marketing and sponsorship, the International Olympic Committee and other sources for the quarter ending April 30, 2007, was $75.8 million. Expenses were $22.1 million.

Overall, operating revenue, since VANOC was formed in 2003, totals $197.7 million, while operating expenses total $143.2 million.

VANOC's venue development expenditures for the quarter were $63 million and now total $306 million since venue construction began.

Furlong said the number of sponsors for the 2010 Games has grown to 23.

"Our financial program is in very good shape," he said.

Social housing has become an issue in Vancouver as the city battles homelessness and drug abuse in the downtown east side. There are fears the city and provincial government will not meet housing promises made during bidding for the Games.

Furlong said VANOC has committed $30 million towards building the athletes village along Vancouver's False Creek on the condition 250 units of social housing remain after the Games.

Another $30 million will be used in Whistler - site of the Games skiing and sliding events - so workers can find affordable housing after the Olympics.

VANOC has also committed $6.5 million toward aboriginal housing.

"That legacy will be realized in Vancouver and in Whistler and the aboriginal legacy as well," Furlong said. "The other programs that are going on are in the hands of other partners. We are very sure our commitments will be met completely."<

On the issue of security, Furlong isn't concerned organizers of the Beijing Summer Olympics have allotted around $300 million for security.

VANOC's security budget is set at $175 million but Furlong pointed out the bulk of the costs will be carried by the RCMP and federal government.

"We work closely with the RCMP and they are planning away," said Furlong. "At some point you will hear from them about their plans and what the costs of that plan will be.

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3 Cities Vying for 2014 Winter Olympics

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 4:53 PM EDT

GUATEMALA CITY - The three cities bidding for the 2014 Winter Games made their final pitches before Wednesday's vote with the backing of presidents, prime ministers and Olympic gold medalists.

The leaders of Russia, Austria and South Korea put their prestige on the line by personally leading their countries' final appeals to the International Olympic Committee, after a yearslong lobbying campaign that cost tens of millions of dollars.

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised vast public spending, plenty of snow and no traffic jams in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Austria, represented by Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and former Olympic downhill gold medalist Franz Klammer, promised to "rock the world" with a no-risk event in Salzburg in the heart of the Alps.

South Korea President Roh Moo-hyun said holding the Olympics in Pyeongchang would encourage peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

Ninety-seven IOC members were eligible to cast secret ballots in the first round. If no city gets an outright majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the top two go to a final round.

Members from bidding countries are ineligible to vote as long as their cities remain in contention.

The 45-minute final presentations to the IOC assembly could be crucial in swinging any undecided members ahead of the vote, which is particularly open because only about half have any connection with winter sports.

Wednesday was the first time in Olympic bidding history that each of the candidate cities was represented at the presentation by its head of government.

Putin led off the presentations by promising "a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience" in Sochi, a city better known abroad as a Black Sea beach resort at the foot of a mountain range.

He noted Russia has allocated $12 billion to beef up winter sports facilities ahead of the Olympics.

Putin, one of the world's most powerful figures, emphasized his commitment to Russia's first Winter Olympics by making a rare formal presentation in English, and by closing in French: "Millions of Russians await your decision with hope."

He praised Sochi's natural setting, saying, "On the seashore you can enjoy a fine spring day, but up in the mountains, it's winter ... a real snow is guaranteed."

Although the site would have to be built largely from scratch, Putin assured, "We guarantee the Olympic cluster in Sochi will be completed on time."

"No traffic jams, I promise," he said with a smile.

Noting that athletes would have a short walk to their venues, Putin said, "Five minutes' walking distance, not bad."

Putin left Guatemala after the presentation without waiting for the vote.

Also speaking for the Russians were Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov and Russian sports chief Vyacheslav Fetisov, the NHL great and Olympic ice hockey gold medalist.

The Austrians offered easy-to-reach, well-established and environmentally friendly venues in Salzburg, a ski resort in the heart of Europe, and said it would bring more fans _ and more long-term profits _ to the Olympic movement.

Gusenbauer, whose team followed the Russians, promised to "take the Olympic Games back to the fundamental core of the Olympic ideals. Winter sport is in our DNA."

Salzburg mayor Heinz Schaden promised "no risk, all return, and a boost to the Olympic movement," portraying Salzburg as a city that "will embrace the spirit of the Olympic movement and hand it back to you even stronger."

"If you combine the brand of the Winter Games with the brand of Salzburg, you create a momentum that will rock the world," Schaden said.

Mindful that the city's failed Mozart-themed bid for the 2010 games was considered confusing and stodgy, Austria presented a film of young locals celebrating to "We Will Rock You."

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Sochi, Russia wins 2014 Winter Games

Associated Press
7/4/2007 9:02:06 PM

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - Vladimir Putin pulled off for Russia what Tony Blair did for Britain in the latest Olympic vote.

Backed by the Russian president's personal lobbying, charisma and government support, the Black Sea resort of Sochi was elected Wednesday as the host city of the 2014 Winter Games.

Sochi defeated the South Korean city of Pyeongchang by four votes in the final round of a secret ballot by the International Olympic Committee, taking the Winter Games to Russia for the first time.

The result was a personal triumph for "the captain," who put his international prestige on the line by coming to Guatemala to lobby IOC members and lead Sochi's final formal presentation.

"Putin being here was very important," said French IOC member and former ski champion Jean-Claude Killy. "He worked very hard at it. He was nice. He spoke French - he never speaks French. He spoke English - he never speaks English.

"The Putin charisma can explain four votes."

The Austrian resort of Salzburg was eliminated in the first round, unable to compete with the political and economic might of its Russian and Korean rivals.

Pyeongchang led the first round with 36 votes, followed by Sochi with 34 and Salzburg with 25. Sochi picked up 17 votes in the second round to secure the victory.

"The captain of our team today raised our team to a completely different level," Russian sports chief Vyacheslav Fetisov said of Putin.

He had left Guatemala by the time the result was announced but called IOC president Jacques Rogge from his plane when he heard the news. Putin expressed his "deep gratitude" and confirmed Russia will complete all the Olympic projects "in due time and budget," Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said.

The Putin magic matched Blair's influence on London's victory in the race for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Blair was instrumental in wooing IOC members in Singapore in 2005, helping London defeat Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow. Putin did not travel to Singapore for Moscow's bid, which lost in the first round.

"If Putin is not here, I think it would be different results," said IOC executive board member Sergei Bubka, a Ukrainian who won a pole vault gold medal for the Soviet Union at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. "He did a fantastic presentation - his speeches, his communication with people these last few days. They were very impressed about his personality, his intelligence. I think this final touch made the difference."

U.S. member Jim Easton also said Putin might have swung the decisive votes - including by making his presentation in English, breaking with his practise of speaking in Russian.

"I think people were surprised; I was surprised he came out and spoke in English," Easton said. "It's those little things that sometimes switch some people who are on the line over. This reminds me of the Tony Blair scenario."

Rogge also spoke of the importance of Putin's backing.

"This is very reassuring for the International Olympic Committee," he said. "It guarantees us the support of the public authorities of the country. ... Today a successful bid is a bid that entails the whole country and population."

Sochi bid chief Dmitry Chernyshenko called the victory a "key moment in Russian history."

"You have decided to play a major role in Russia's future. The games will help Russia's transition as a young democracy," he said.

Zhukov said the decision was a reward for the "largest winter country in the world," where winter sports is "part of our soul and heritage."

"The whole of Russia will be celebrating these days," he said. "We understand lots of (work) is waiting for us once more."

Putin's government has pledged US$12 billion to develop Sochi into a world-class winter sports complex linking the palm-lined Black Sea coast - the so-called "Russian Riviera" - to the soaring Caucasus mountains nearby.

Putin praised Sochi's natural setting, saying, "On the seashore you can enjoy a fine spring day, but up in the mountains, it's winter ... a real snow is guaranteed."

Although most venues must be newly built, Putin assured: "We guarantee the Olympic cluster in Sochi will be completed on time."

"No traffic jams, I promise," he said with a smile.

Noting that athletes would have a short walk to their venues, Putin said, "Five minutes' walking distance, not bad."

Russia, an Olympic power which has won 293 Winter Games medals, has never hosted the Winter Games. That was a strong point in Sochi's favour with the IOC, which likes to spread the Olympics to new host countries. Moscow hosted the 1980 Summer Games, which were hit by the U.S.-led boycott following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Sochi bid won out over the appeals of its rivals - Salzburg, presenting itself as a safe, no-risk winter sports mecca at the heart of Europe with world-class venues already in place; and Pyeongchang, offering the potential for peace and reconciliation on the divided Korean peninsula and promoting winter sports in Asia.

It's the second time in a row that Pyeongchang has lost by a handful of votes after leading in the first round. The Koreans lost 56-53 to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics four years ago.

Austrian officials struggled to maintain a diplomatic tone but clearly felt they were bulldozed by richer rivals.

"I said from the very beginning, if it is a decision for the Olympic ideal, then we have a chance," Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer said. "If it is a decision on geopolitics and money, then we have no chance. We have no chance to participate in that type of power play."

This time, ninety-seven IOC members were eligible to vote in the first round, with 95 casting valid ballots. Members from bidding countries are ineligible to vote as long as their cities remain in contention. With Salzburg out, 100 delegates were eligible in the second round, with 98 casting valid votes.

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Pyeongchang disappointed again

Associated Press
7/5/2007 9:04:30 AM

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - The citizens of Pyeongchang reacted with quiet shock Thursday as their city failed in its bid to win the 2014 Winter Olympics, reliving the bitter memories of a disappointing defeat four years ago.

A crowd, which organizers estimated at about 1,900 people, had gathered from early morning in front of the city hall under cloudy skies to watch the much anticipated announcement from Guatemala on a big-screen television.

But when International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi would host the games, the crowd reacted with stunned silence.

One or two people threw flags, emblazoned with "Pyeongchang 2014," onto the ground, but there was little anger and tears came quietly. People just started walking away, dispersing quickly and quietly.

Crates of celebratory beer set up behind the stage were left untouched. Workmen began taking down banners with inscriptions such as "Dreams of 2014" and "Yes, Pyeongchang."

"It's worse than four years ago, because this time we really thought we would win," said local restaurant owner Son Chang-min.

With the Austrian city of Salzburg eliminated in the first round, it was a duel between Pyeongchang and Sochi in the IOC's vote Wednesday in Guatemala City. Sochi finished with 51 votes to Pyeongchang's 47.

Pyeongchang, located 175 kilometres northeast of Seoul, led the first round with 36 votes, followed by Sochi with 34 and Salzburg with 25. Sochi picked up 17 votes in the second round to secure the victory.

Virtually the same thing happened four years ago, when Pyeongchang won the initial vote but came up short at the end to Vancouver. Salzburg, which also bid for 2010, was eliminated in the first round.

Despite the disappointment, some in Pyeongchang were not ready to give up.

"I feel proud, because we did all that we could do," said housewife Song Ji-won. "We should try again, because how can they say no three times."

Pyeongchang's 2014 bid received a positive report from the IOC's evaluation commission in early June.

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Games will help develop southern Russia

Associated Press
7/5/2007 10:53:41 AM

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Russians exulted at the prospect of the country's first Olympics since 1980 while Vladimir Putin basked in what many called a major victory for the president at a time of growing criticism for his government.

Workers began cleaning up Thursday after a late-night party in which thousands danced and sang following the vote to award the 2014 Winter Games to the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Government officials and business leaders, meanwhile, began planning for the development of the region that has long been a playground for Russia's elite.

Putin's government has pledged US$12 billion to turn Sochi from a worn-out resort of traffic jams, ramshackle Soviet-era hotels and aging villas formerly owned by metallurgical factories and even Soviet dictator Josef Stalin into a world-class winter sports complex.

And in Russia - where the line between private and public money is often blurred - some of the country's largest corporations have been pouring money for some time into the areas around Krasnaya Polyana, the area's best known ski resort, and elsewhere.

Against the backdrop of growing tensions between the West and Russia, the International Olympic Committee's decision to award Sochi the Games was a clear victory for Putin, who is constitutionally barred from standing for a third term after next March.

"It's much more important for (Putin) from a political point of view because at the final stage of his second term it will be possible for him to show everybody including Russians, first of all, a kind of recognition of his and Russia's achievements during his rule," said Nikolai Petrov, an analyst with Moscow Carnegie Center.

Some Russian lawmakers imparted a political element to the decision.

"This fight among nations also has a political resonance. This is proof that the world is not unipolar. There are forces that support Russia. Russia will again become a world leader," said Boris Gryzlov, speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament.

Putin said the vote was recognition of Russia's long sports tradition as well as its growing economic and cultural clout.

"This is support from one of the most authoritative and independent international organizations - the International Olympic Committee," he said in televised comments upon arriving back in Russia from Guatemala, where the decision was announced.

He also said that developing Sochi for the Olympics would benefit all of southern Russia, a vast and impoverished region that includes the troubled North Caucasus where Chechnya is located.

"It will serve (as) a powerful stimulus to develop southern Russia," he said. "I am fully convinced that we will be able to conduct the Olympics at the very highest level."

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Tokyo unveils 2016 Olympic bid logo

Tokyo unveils 2016 Olympic bid logo
Canadian Press
7/10/2007 11:01:43 AM

TOKYO (AP) - Tokyo unveiled the official logo Tuesday for its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The logo features a knot traditionally used to decorate gifts in Japan.

Japan's capital _ which hosted the 1964 Olympics - is one of about half a dozen expected candidates for the 2016 Games, including Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara launched the logo Tuesday, according to a statement.

It looks like a traditional knot - used to decorate packets of gift money and other presents - tied from strings in the five Olympic colours: red, green, black, yellow and blue.

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Field hockey team earns trip to Beijing

Canadian Press
7/25/2007 7:41:23 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CP) - With one flick of his stick, Wayne Fernandes erased seven years of disappointment for the Canadian men's field hockey team.

The Mississauga, Ont., native scored the winner in penalty strokes to lead Canada to a victory over defending champion Argentina in a thrilling gold-medal match at the Pan American Games on Wednesday at the Deodoro Sports Complex.

The victory guarantees Canada a spot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The team hasn't been to the Summer Games since 2000 in Sydney after they failed to qualify for Athens in 2004.

''We've had seven terrible years,'' said 34-year-old Canadian captain Rob Short. ''This is the most important win of my career.''

After finishing regulation play tied 2-2, they were still deadlocked after 15 minutes of extra time. The two teams then each scored four times on their first five penalty strokes, sending the shootout to sudden death.

Canadian goalkeeper Mike Mahood of West Vancouver, B.C., made a key save on Jorge Lombi, one of the top snipers in the game who took Argentina's sixth shot, leaving Fernandes a chance to seal the win for Canada. He didn't let his team down, beating Argentine 'keeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi to clinch the gold.

''I had a dream a couple nights ago that something like that might happen,'' said Fernandes. ''You can only dream about stuff like that. When it actually happens, you're speechless. You don't know what to do. The emotions took over.''

Indeed they did. As soon as the ball hit the back of the net, most of the Canadian players ripped off their shirts and jumped on top of each other in celebration before running around the field waving Canadian flags.

Meanwhile, Argentina could only sit by and watch. One player was so dejected he lay facedown on the field for several minutes while his coaches attempted to console him.

''We didn't expect this result,'' said Argentina's Lucas Argento. ''We started winning but the match was too hard. We know we did our best.''

Canada was down 1-0 at halftime but Fernandes tied it in the 47th minute on a penalty corner. Lombi then converted a penalty corner to put the Argentines ahead in the 54th minute and it appeared as if they may be headed to victory. Canada battled back though, and Connor Grimes scored with less than four minutes to go to force extra time.

''That's Canada hockey,'' Short said of the team's comeback. ''That's the only way we know how and when we don't do that we perform poorly. So we kept going. We were relentless.''

Short is one of six Olympians from the 2000 Sydney Games still on the team. Others include Mahood, Ravi Kahlon of Victoria, Ken Pereira of Toronto, Bindi Kullar of Surrey, B.C., and Paul Wettlaufer of North Vancouver, B.C.

Short leads the team in international caps with a whopping 248 while 34-year-old Pereira isn't far behind at 242.

''They're probably our youngest guys at heart,'' said Fernandes. ''They're our leaders, they're our heart on the field. They carried this team today without a doubt. This team's almost nothing without those guys.''

It's the fourth Pan Am Games gold for Canada in men's field hockey. The team lost to Argentina in the final of the 2003 Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The Canadian team is ranked 15th in the world to No. 6 for Argentina. The two teams are familiar foes as they have faced off in the Pan Am Games gold-medal game nine straight times.

''We've been working hard and it couldn't have come together at a better moment,'' said Canadian coach Louis Mendonca. ''The guys played awesome.''

Canada won its pool with a 2-0-1 record then advanced to the final in Rio after a 4-3 overtime win over Trinidad and Tobago in the semifinals earlier in the week. The golden goal came off a short corner from Fernandes.

Argentina outscored its opponents 30-1 en route to a 3-0 record in pool play and then beat Chile 5-2 in the semifinals.

It's only the sixth time ever that Canada has qualified for the Olympics in men's field hockey. The team finished 10th in Sydney.

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Double-amputee agrees to testing by IIAF

Associated Press
7/26/2007 9:47:30 AM

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) - Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who wants to race in the 400 metres at the Olympics, will work with the IAAF to ensure his prosthetic racing legs do not give him an unfair advantage.

Pistorius will undergo a full biometrical analysis with independent experts at the German Sport University in Cologne, the International Association of Athletics Federations said Thursday.

Pistorius set world records in the 100, 200 and 400 in Paralympic events with curved, carbon-fibre prosthetic legs. To reach the 2008 Olympics, Pistorius would have to run the 400 in 46.3 seconds before the July 2008 qualifying deadline. His personal best is 46.56.

Pistorius, along with his scientific advisers, will work for several days in October with professor Peter Bruggemann in Cologne. The data analysis will take about three weeks.

Pistorius, who complained earlier this month he was not getting support from the IAAF, said he was pleased to help conduct research ''so that we can jointly come to a fair and educated conclusion.''

''There is much at stake personally and for the future of all amputee athletes, and I applaud the IAAF for recognizing that,'' Pistorius said. ''By aligning experts from prosthetics and biomechanics, I believe we will be able to put this issue to rest one way or the other.''

The 20-year-old Pistorius recently competed at two international-level able-bodied meets in the 400. He finished second in a ''B'' race in Rome on July 13 and, two days later, was last in Sheffield, England. He was then disqualified for running outside his lane.

The IAAF filmed the Rome race and the video analysis prompted the IAAF to fund more laboratory research to ''investigate and define the properties of Oscar's prosthetic blades.''

Early analysis showed Pistorius' racing legs provided less air resistance than able-bodied runners, and the way he distributed energy was virtually the opposite. Unlike able-bodied runners, Pistorius was faster at the end of the race than at the beginning.

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Pollution could be a concern in Beijing

Pollution could be a concern in Beijing
Associated Press
8/7/2007 11:02:12 PM

BEIJING (AP) - Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, acknowledged Wednesday that Beijing's air pollution could force outdoor events to be postponed during next year's Olympics.

"Yes, this is an option," Rogge told CNN in a brief interview. "It would not be necessary for all sports, sports with short durations would not be a problem. But definitely the endurance sports like the cycling race where you have to compete for six hours, these are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed to another day."

Rogge's statement came just hours before Beijing was to celebrate the one-year mark in the countdown for next year's opening ceremony. A party in Tiananmen Square to celebrate the moment was to be attended by 10,000 people, including Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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Officials say car ban improved air quality

Officials say car ban improved air quality
Associated Press
8/21/2007 12:32:19 AM

BEIJING (AP) - A test run of traffic controls to clear Beijing's smoggy skies for next year's Olympic Games successfully improved air quality, state media reported Tuesday, saying conditions were ''fairly good'' despite a constant grey haze.

Air pollution has emerged as a key problem for Beijing as it gears up for the Olympics. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge warned during a visit earlier this month that some Olympic competitions might be postponed if the city did not clean up the pollution.

Air quality was ''fairly good'' during the four-day trial that ended Monday, the official Xinhua News Agency said, although the state-run Beijing Daily gushed that traffic control test ''brought Beijing four days of precious blue skies.''

The traffic ban removed 1.3 million private vehicles from Beijing's perpetually gridlocked streets each day. Additional buses and subways were added as residents turned to public transportation, car pools and taxis for their commutes.

Cars with even-numbered license plates were ordered off roads Friday and Sunday, and vehicles with odd-numbered plates were banned Saturday and Monday. Emergency vehicles, taxis, buses and other public-service vehicles were exempt.

Environmental officials said air quality improved even though Beijing seemed to be polluted as normal, with an unmoving grey haze shrouding the Chinese capital. The pollution normally rises thousands of metres above the city - leaving a distinct grey layer that can be seen from flights descending in Beijing, hovering about fluffy white clouds.

Beijing had an air pollution index of between 93 and 95 during the test days, the city's environmental protection bureau said on its website. By Tuesday morning, the index had climbed to between 90 and 120.

The air quality did not seem be visibly better because high humidity trapped the pollution and there were no strong winds to blow it away, the environmental bureau said.

However, ''It should be affirmed that the ban of vehicles has improved the city's air quality,'' Zhao Yue, a senior engineer with the Beijing Environment Protection Monitoring Center, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

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Dalembert leads Canada's Olympic dream

Dalembert leads Canada's Olympic dream
Canadian Press
8/21/2007 4:14:56 PM

LAS VEGAS (CP) - Philadelphia 76ers centre Samuel Dalembert will lead Canada's men's basketball team in its battle for a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Dalembert headlines the 12-man roster announced Tuesday for the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament, Aug. 22-Sept. 2 in Las Vegas.

''We had a number of tough decisions as our talent level is increasing this year. Some decisions came down to professional obligations for individual players with their clubs,'' Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said in a statement. ''We are very excited about this group and looking forward to a strong showing at the Olympic qualifier here in Las Vegas.''

The top two teams from the 10-country tournament earn berths in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Teams that finish third through fifth will get another shot at Beijing at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifier next July.

The six-foot-11 Dalembert, who was born in Haiti but played high school basketball in Montreal, received his Canadian citizenship earlier this month.

With Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash likely retired from national team duty, and New Jersey Nets centre Jamaal Magloire seemingly uninterested in suiting up for Canada, Dalembert is the only NBA player on the Canadian team.

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Doping offeders to be banned from Olympics

Associated Press
8/24/2007 1:43:20 AM

OSAKA, Japan (AP) - IOC President Jacques Rogge said serious doping offenders would be banned from the next Olympics even if their regular suspension had already ended.

Rogge told a news conference Friday that such a penalty could effectively amount to a four-year ban for athletes.

''Every athlete who is penalized for more than six months, which would automatically be the case for anabolic steroids, blood transfusions and EPO, could not participate in the next Games,'' he said after a meeting with the IAAF athletics federation.

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Shay dies at U.S. Olympic marathon trials

Shay dies at U.S. Olympic marathon trials
Associated Press
11/3/2007 10:22:12 PM

NEW YORK - Top distance runner Ryan Shay died during the U.S. men's Olympic marathon trials Saturday, and his father, Joe, said he was first diagnosed with a larger than normal heart at age 14.

Joe Shay told The Associated Press his son was cleared for running this spring by doctors but was told he might have need a pacemaker when he is older.

He had his life in his hands, at least he died doing something he loved!!!! :thumbsup:
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