Olympic Swimmer’s Lost Medals Returned

February 13, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

John Davis, a three-time Gold Medalist in swimming, is getting his medals back after they were stolen in San Antonio while he was on his way back home from the airport after showing them to kids at a swim meet presentation in St. Louis last week. The three Gold and one Silver Medal were left outside of an area Boys and Girls Club and will be re-presented to Davis in a press conference over the weekend.

The 36-year-old Davis won three Golds in the 1996 Atlanta games and the silver in Sydney in 2000. All of his medals were in relay events.

Four Olympic Medalists to Compete in Gymnastic’s America Cup

January 14, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

It should be an exciting competition at the America Cup Gymnastics meet in Chicago next month. The line-up will include no fewer than 12 Olympians, four of them Medalists. Among those competing will be Bridget Sloan (pictured above) of the United States, a Silver Medalist in Beijing. Also scheduled to compete are Bronze Medalists, Joseph Haggerty of the United States, Benoit Caranobe of France, and Fabian Hambuechen of Germany.

The America Cup is one of gymnastics most prestigious events. Past winners include Mary Lou Retton, Paul Hamm, and Nastia Liukin.

(photo © Newscom)

Vancouver Olympic Village Faces Cost Challenges

January 13, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

One of the latest victims of the US financial mess seems to be the Olympic Athletes’ Village for the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. The original invester, a US hedge fund named Fortress stopped payments on the construction loan in September, saying that the developer might not be able to repay them in a less robust real estate market. Since then, the city of Vancouver has been picking up the tab–to the tune of $82 million.

Now that the designated city funds have been nearly exhausted, Vancouver is seeking a loan from the Province of British Columbia in a deal that will include Fortress and Millennium, the developer.

(photo courtesy of Vancouver 2010)

German Team Wins 2nd World Cup Bobsled Event

January 12, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

The four-man German bobsled team, led by Karl Angerer won the four-man event at the season’s second World Cup competition in Konigssee, Germany over the weekend. The Germans finished with a time of 1 minute, 37.84 seconds.

The Dutch team, led by Edwin van Calker finished nine seconds later for second place and another German team, led by Andre Lange and the Latvians, led by Janis Minins tied for third place. The best American finish was ninth place, led by Texan, Todd Hays.

(photo © Newscom)

Will the Bird’s Nest Be a Dinosaur?

January 9, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

Just five months after Beijing’s National Olympic Stadium dazzled spectators at the 2008 Olympic Games, is the “Bird’s Nest” at risk of becoming obsolete and an eyesore upon the Beijing skyline? Say it isn’t so.

The $450 million building currently welcomes tourists (at 50 yuan–about $7 per person) to walk the track, climb the stairs, and shop at the (some say overpriced) gift shop. To date, only one event has been planned for the venue–a performance of Puccini’s opera, “Turandot” directed by Zhang Yimou, the director of the Beijing opening ceremonies. CITIC, the government-owned consortium that owns the structure told the Associated Press recently that there are five other events in the planning stages.

Still, the stadium needs a major tenant, not just an occasional show and stream of tourist busses. The Chinese soccer team declined to use the venue because of the expense and the large number of seats–92,000. Let’s hope the unique stadium and icon of the Beijing Games doesn’t fall into disrepair and go the way of other Olympic Stadiums (such as those in Montreal and Mexico City).

(photo © Newscom)

The Mascots for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

January 7, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

Have you met the mascots for the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympic Games. There are two official mascots for the Olympic Games, one for the Paralympic Games, and a sidekick for the other three. They are:

  • Quatchi - a Sasquatch, the mythical creature from the forests of British Columbia. He and Miga are the official mascots of the Olympic Games.
  • Miga - a mythical sea beast that is part orca and part bear
  • Sumi - an animal guardian spirit that has the wings of a thunderbird and legs of a black bear. She is the official mascot of the Paralympic Games.
  • Mukmuk - the mascots’ sidekick is a Vancouver Island marmot.

Read more about the Vancouver Olympic mascots by viewing the above video or visiting their official Web site.

Olympic News to Look for in 2009

January 2, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

This year, 2009, may be an “off” year for the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be plenty of news in the next 12 months to interest Olympic fans. With the Vancouver Winter Games scheduled to begin February 12, 2010, much of 2009 will be filled with winter athletes perfecting their skills on the international stage and with various Olympic qualifying events toward the later part of the year. In addition, we’ll get to see the Olympic venues and preparations in Vancouver and Whistler take their final shape.

The Olympic Torch relay leading up to the Vancouver Games will also begin in 2009. The 100-day, 45,000-kilometer, trek throughout Canada will begin in mid-November.

Lastly, look for news from the October meeting of the International Olympic Committee. This year’s meeting will choose the site for the 2016 Summer Games (Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago, and Rio de Janeiro are in the running) as well as vote on what new sport should be allowed in the Games (golf, rugby, softball, baseball, karate, and squash have presented their cases).

It should be an exciting year.

(photo © Newscom)

Olympians Bolt, Isinbayeva Named International Athletes of the Year

January 2, 2009 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

The International Sports Press Association, which is made up of sports jounalists from 96 nations, chose their picks for International Athletes of the Year last week. The winners were sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica (who edged out swimming sensation, Michael Phelps by a narrow margin) and Olympic pole vault champion, Yelena Isinbayeva.

Bolt wowed Olympic viewers last summer in Beijing with his easy victories in the 100m and 200m events. He also helped the Jamaica relay team earn Gold in the 400m relay.

Isinbayeva, who is Russian, successfully defended her Gold Medal in the women’s pole vault event. She also set a slew of world records in 2008 and was undefeated for the year.

(photo © Newscom)

Merry Christmas to All

December 25, 2008 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

Here’s wishing all “Light the Torch” readers a happy, safe, and enjoyable Christmas.

(photo © Newscom)

Santa Visits Sochi

December 18, 2008 by Sandy Mitchell  
Filed under Sports Rumors

Santa made a brief stop in his busy schedule this week to check out Sochi, Russia, the site of the 2014 Winter Games. In the photo above, he gazes over the Black Sea at dusk.

(photo: Newscom)

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