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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U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

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Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics