Arnold Palmer says the future of golf lies in the Olympics

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Golf legend Arnold Palmer said Friday that he believes the future growth of the sport lies in how it’s embraced internationally by Olympics fans.

“As the Olympics cast their influence on the world with golf becoming an Olympic sport it is going to have a great affect on the game,” Palmer told Reuters during his tournament at Bay Hill.

“International golf is going to become a bigger factor as time goes on than it is now and I think that we as a nation and the [U.S.] are going to have to take a look at the international aspects of golf.”

To be fair, twelve nations are represented in the top forty spots in the World Golf Rankings, but to be just as fair, another 19 are from the States. Palmer added that he would have loved the opportunity to play in the Games (which haven’t been contested since St. Louis in 1904), but that he’s at least a little concerned with the recent delays in course construction down in Rio.

“I am still little nervous about the Olympics and how that will transpire in 2016 simply because they are a little behind the gun already and they are going to have to pick up pretty quickly. It takes a little time to build a golf course and takes a little more time for it to mature into a championship type golf course.”

The Gil Hanse-designed course broke ground earlier this week after a six month land dispute.

Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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Rafael Nadal recreates famous 1992 Olympic cauldron lighting

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Rafael Nadal, owner of two Olympic gold medals, recently parroted arguably the most famous moment in Spanish Olympic history.

Nadal and Marc Lopez, the 2016 Olympic doubles champions, took up bows and arrows and joined archer Antonio Rebollo on Monday at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium. It brought back memories of Rebollo’s unforgettable cauldron lighting from the only Olympics held in Spain.

Nadal is in Barcelona for an ATP Tour event as he prepares to vie for a 10th French Open title next month.

Rebollo, now 61 years old, was one of 200 hundred archers considered to light the cauldron in 1992. He learned that he was chosen for the role over four other finalists two hours ahead of time, according to an NBC Olympics profile in 1996.

The cauldron would be 195 feet away. Fearing Rebollo would miss the target, organizers instructed him to fire his arrow beyond the stadium walls. As the arrow soared, a technician lit the natural gas flame with a remote control.

The illusion worked. The true story wasn’t revealed for another 20 years.

“There were no fears,” Rebollo, a Barcelona native who contracted polio at age 8, told NBC two decades ago. “I was practically a robot. I focused on my positioning and reaching the target. That was all. … My feelings were taken from the people who described to me how they saw it. What they felt, their emotions, their cries. This is what made me realize what the moment actually meant.”

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