Canada

Montreal Olympic Stadium roof ripped 2,700 times in 7 months

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The roof of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, which housed 1976 gold-medal feats of Bruce Jenner and Edwin Moses, is continuing to deteriorate at an eye-opening rate.

Daily inspections from November to May found more than 2,700 rips in the roof, according to CBC. That averages out to about 12 rips per day. David Heurtel, the president and CEO of Montreal’s Olympic Park, said the rips are usually a few millimeters or centimeters long and patched up.

CBC reported that the roof ripped a total of 1,240 in all of 2012 and that it ripped about 30 t0 40 times per year in the first few decades of its existence.

“The degradation of the mechanical properties of the fabric are significant, and aging is more significant than anticipated,” a report by the Olympic Installations Board read in April, according to CBC.

The Olympic Stadium’s calendar isn’t as busy as it used to be.

It housed the MLB’s Montreal Expos up until the franchise moved to Washington, D.C. in 2004. The MLS’ Montreal Impact played temporarily at the Olympic Stadium while its primary home field, Stade Saputo, was expanded in its expansion year of 2012. The Impact played two games at the Olympic Stadium in March but don’t have any more game scheduled there this year.

The Montreal Alouettes had approached Heurtel about hosting the Grey Cup in 2017 at the stadium, but Heurtel says he doesn’t know if the stadium will be able to follow through.

“The CFL needs to have a guarantee of a 40,000 seats plus venue to even consider the candidacy. And right now we cannot give them any type of guarantee,“ he said.

In April, CBC reported that Quebec’s tourism minister said he expects the government to finalize plans for a new roof by the end of the year.

In Wednesday’s report, the president and CEO of Olympic Park said it could cost between $200 million and $500 million to replace the roof and that he’s in discussions with the province to raise the funds. Repairs in 2012 cost more than $300,000.

“This is an investment,” Heurtel told CBC. “We can have a lot more jobs generated by this, a lot more tourism.

“It’s our international symbol.”

Not everyone agrees.

“Enough is enough, I mean blow up the sucker,” Montreal Gazette columnist Bill Brownstein said, according to an April CBC story. “You can’t even use it in the winter, parking is a problem, inside structurally there are problems galore.

“The joke is on us after a while. How long do we have to continue paying for all of this?”

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What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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