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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.”


WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

Fenway Big Air
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Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.

Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.

Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.

Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice

Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympics open with homages to 1994

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In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.

The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.

The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.

The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.

Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi