Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, which will host track and field event for the 2016 Rio Games, was forced closed back in March, and will now stay closed for another 18 months while workers fix dangerous structural issues with the venue’s roof.
The stadium, nicknamed the Engenhao, has been shuttered since March 26, when Mayor Eduardo Paes deemed it a “threat to fans” after a study showing that wind velocity and temperature change could cause the the roof to collapse.
The city then presented its own study Friday, which offered the same conclusion, and set a timeline for when the stadium might open for test events.
“There is a need to reinforce the roof’s structure so the stadium can be used, taking into consideration the proper requirements of safety,” contributing engineer Sebastiao Andrade told the Associated Press.
The stadium, built in 2007 for the Pan American Games, was hosting the Rio state football championship and the Copa Libertadores when it was closed, but thankfully wasn’t scheduled to host any of next summer’s World Cup matches. The construction also isn’t likely to affect the lead up to the 2016 Games, which are still more than three years away. But still…
“To close a stadium so soon after it was opened is a tragedy, is a shame,” Alexandre Pinto, the city’s official in charge of public constructions, said. “There were several mistakes in this project.”
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters whose raised-fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics are an ageless sign of race-inspired protest, will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House next week for its meeting with President Barack Obama.
Smith and Carlos were sent home from the Olympics after raising their black-gloved fists in a symbolic protest during the U.S. national anthem. They called it a “human rights salute.”
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun asked them to serve as ambassadors as the federation tries to bring more diversity to its own ranks. They will join the team at the White House next Wednesday, then later that evening at an awards celebration in Washington.
The sprinters have been referenced frequently in the recent protests, spurred by Colin Kaepernick, during national anthems at NFL games. One player, Marcus Peters of the Chiefs, raised his own black-gloved fist before Kansas City’s season opener.
“I think Tommie and John have played an important and positive role in the evolution of our attitudes about diversity and inclusion, not only in the United States but around the world,” Blackmun said Friday night at a dinner to celebrate the U.S. performance in Brazil this summer.
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The men’s marathon world record has been broken five of the last nine years at the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, believes that he can do it again on Sunday, when the race will stream live on the NBC Sports app beginning at 2:30 a.m. ET.
“I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more,” he said at today’s press conference, according to the IAAF. “Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”
Kipsang clocked 2 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds when he broke the world record in 2013. A year later, fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto lowered it to 2:02:57 on the same course. Kimetto will not race in Berlin this year.
Kipsang will be challenged by Kenyan compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, who has the fastest time (2:03:13) in the field, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.
Bekele is a three-time Olympic track champion and the 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder, but acknowledged that his marathon personal best of 2:05:04 places him a distant fourth in the field.
“I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners,” he said. “I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”
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