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Olympics Tag

In the past few weeks, concerns about the Zika virus have caused Today host Savannah Guthrie and U.S. cyclist Tejay van Garderen to cancel their plans to go to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A new study may cause other athletes to reconsider their sports ambitions.
Scientists have found dangerous drug-resistant "super bacteria" off beaches in Rio de Janeiro that will host Olympic swimming events and in a lagoon where rowing and canoe athletes will compete when the Games start on Aug. 5. The findings from two unpublished academic studies seen by Reuters concern Rio's most popular spots for tourists and greatly increase the areas known to be infected by the microbes normally found only in hospitals. They also heighten concerns that Rio's sewage-infested waterways are unsafe.

Today host Savannah Guthrie announced her pregnancy this morning, but also said she won't travel to Rio due to Zika concerns. She said:
“I’m not going to be able to go to Rio ... The doctors say that we shouldn’t because of the CDC, because of the Zika virus, so I’ll miss it,” she said. “You’re going to have to go to female beach volleyball without me, Matt (Lauer). Try to carry on,” she joked. “You guys will have a great time, and I’ll hold down the fort.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended pregnant women not travel to Zika hot spots. Experts have linked the virus to microcephaly, a birth defect that occurs when the brain does not form properly during pregnancy snd results in a small head.

U.S. cyclist Tejay van Garderen has decided not to attend the 2016 Rio Olympics this summer due to the Zika virus. Van Garderen has concerns he could contract the disease and give it to his pregnant wife and unborn daughter:
“If Jessica were not pregnant right now, assuming I was selected, I would go,” van Garderen told CyclingTips. “But the fact is, she is pregnant. If we were just going to start trying, I’d say we could start trying six months after the Olympics. But when she has a baby in her belly, I don’t want to take any chances.”
His statement comes a week after 150 of the world's top doctors demanded the Olympic Committee either move or postpone the games.

The Department of Justice has decided to investigate the massive Russia doping scandal. U.S. courts ruled that prosecutors may charge foreigners abroad if they have connections to the U.S. The New York Times reported that the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York. The officials have targeted "Russian government officials, athletes, coaches, antidoping authorities and anyone who might have benefited unfairly from a doping regime, according to the people, who did not have authorization to speak about the inquiry publicly." Possible charges include conspiracy and fraud. The Times did not elaborate on which connections qualify. They only mentioned "the connection can be limited, such as the use of an American bank."

An expert's report in the Harvard Public Health Review asserts that the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could cause a "full-blown public health disaster” because of the Zika virus unless the event is postponed, relocated or canceled. The author of this analysis is Amir Attaran, Associate Professor of Law and Population Health and the holder of the Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy at the University of Ottawa. His education includes a D.Phil in immunology from the University of Oxford. Interestingly, Attran has been a fighter for for renewed use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa to combat malaria. His full piece in the Harvard publication makes 5 key points, which are as follows:

Brazil soccer star Rivaldo used his Instagram to encourage tourists to skip the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio due to violence and corruption. Translation via Google Translate:
Bandits in Rio de Janeiro killed this 17-year-old girl. Things are getting uglier in Brazil. I advise everyone who wants to visit Brazil or come to the Olympics in Rio to remain in their country of origin. Your life will be in danger here. Not to mention the fact that the public hospitals are useless and the mess in Brazilian politics. Only God can change the situation in our Brazil.
Rivaldo used a picture of 17-year-old Ana Beatriz Pereira Frade. Armed robbers surrounded Frade and her stepfather on their way to the airport. One of the men shot her in the head after her stepfather attempted to run into the gang to escape. A baby in the back of the car did not receive any injuries.

Because yesterday was mostly a travel day for me, I missed the 36th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the 1980 U.S. defeat of the Soviet Union in Olympic ice hockey. Most people think it was the finals, but it actually was the semi-finals. The U.S. went on to defeat Finland for the gold. For me it holds a very special memory, even though I didn't watch the game live. I was a student in Moscow at the time, living in a large dorm just inside the city limits, on the last Metro stop before the ring road. I studied at the Pushkin Russian Language Institute, which trained foreigners to become Russian language teachers, the theory being that the adoption of English as the international language was harmful to Soviet interests. I had no intention of becoming a Russian language teacher, but the experience was unique.

This is one of those things that just leave you shaking your head. And it's an important lesson of why Israel can't lose any war -- there would be no mercy shown on the Jews. In early September we covered the anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre, in which 11 Israelis were murdered by PLO terrorists who took them hostage in the Olympic Village. Mahmoud Abbas, current President of the Palestinian Authority, reportedly financed the operation. Here are the images of the Israelis who died:

Today Boston city officials announced that they have reached a mutual understanding with the United States Olympic Committee, and will be withdrawing Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The contract fell through after city officials refused to commit taxpayer dollars to cover any shortfalls encountered by local Olympic organizers. More from the Boston Globe:
The Boston bid has been in peril for months, due to a string of controversies and low poll numbers. “Notwithstanding the promise of the original vision for the bid, and the soundness of the plan developed under Steve Pagliuca, we have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of Boston to support hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” [USOC Chairman Scott] Blackmun said. “Therefore, the USOC does not think that the level of support enjoyed by Boston’s bid would allow it to prevail over great bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest or Toronto.” James E. Rooney, chief executive of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that “while hosting the Olympic Games could have been an exciting opportunity for Boston, I believe Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker were right to be cautious about assuming too much taxpayer risk.” USOC members chose Boston in January as the US bid city for the 2024 Games, over Washington, D.C., San Francisco and LA.
Boston Mayor Randy Walsh took to Facebook to offer an explanation for why the city's bid fell apart:

The Economist published a list of discontinued Olympic sports since the games of 1896. While this year we can count on such sports as Synchronized Diving, Beach Volleyball, and Water Polo, other events have come and gone. What many of these discontinued events have in common,...

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