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Rio course designer worried about looming deadlines

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Six months after designer Gil Hanse was set to break ground on the new Olympics golf course for the Rio Games, not a mound of dirt has been moved nor a blade of grass planted. Now he feels time may be running short to get it all done.

“We’re right up against the deadline,” Hanse, more annoyed by the day, told the Golf Channel. “We’ve lost six months of my undivided attention.”

The Brazilian courts are still trying to figure out who even owns the land the course will sit on after construction was blocked in October by entrepreneur Pasquale Mauro. He claims rights to the property, apparently with documentation.

After however long that takes to get settled, Hanse – who admitted to being naive about how easily it would be to push the dispute through court with the Olympics looming – will still need to finalize permits, clear the land, shape the dirt, grow the grass, and host test events on his links style course.

And while the International Golf Federation was pretty confident this would all move quickly when the dispute was first raised last year, Executive Director Anthony Scanlon is starting to change his tune.

“There is now very little time available to construct and condition a championship standard golf course.” he told AroundtheRings.com last month. “The IOC is aware of our concerns and the IGF is hopeful that the upcoming IOC Coordination Commission visit to Rio de Janeiro will address these.”


Tokyo 2020 Olympic venues approved for new sports

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Tokyo 2020 venues for the new Olympic sports of baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.

That brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 venues to 39, with the potential for more.

The venues for new sports:

Baseball/softball — Yokohama Stadium (20 miles south of Tokyo)
Karate — Nippon Budokan
Skateboarding and Sport Climbing — Aomi Urban Sports Venue
Surfing — Tsurigasaki Beach

All of the new sports do not currently have a spot on the Olympic program beyond 2020 (baseball and softball were previously on the Olympic program before being taken off after Beijing 2008).

Agenda 2020 reforms allowed Olympic host cities to propose the addition of sports for their Games only, which is what Tokyo 2020 did to get them on the program.

The Tokyo Olympic venues are split between two zones — the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone — that are separated by the Olympic Village.

Tokyo 2020 and FIFA are still discussing the finalization of soccer venues. There are currently six, including two in Tokyo and one as far away as Sapporo (650 miles north).

Tokyo 2020 and the World Baseball Softball Confederation are still discussing the potential of adding a second baseball-softball venue in Fukushima prefecture, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo.

The Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants and several MLB and World Baseball Classic games, is not a 2020 Olympic venue.

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic volleyball venue could be moved

Tokyo Olympic venues

Comcast, U.S. Olympic Committee sign partnership through 2020 Olympics

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Comcast and the U.S. Olympic Committee signed an agreement making Comcast an official partner of the USOC through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The deal allows Comcast and its brands to use Team USA marks in advertising and marketing, including the Olympic Rings.

More information is in this Comcast press release.

Comcast NBC Universal holds the U.S. media rights for the Olympics through 2032.

MORE: NBC Sports to air USA Track and Field events through 2024