Fisht Stadium

Sochi Olympic organizers choose 3,000 school performers for opening, closing ceremonies

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Circus performers were among 3,000 “young artists from middle and higher art and drama schools” were tapped to participate in Sochi Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies.

Sochi 2014 recently held auditions in five Russian cities, the organizing committee announced Thursday. It was first reported last year that circus and dance students would be part of the Olympic opening ceremony Feb. 7.

Organizers said they will be used for “dance and acrobatic scenes” and that auditions for professional groups of “main performers” are also being held this month.

Vancouver called for 4,500 volunteer performers in its run-up to the 2010 Olympic opening ceremony. Beijing may have used the most performers, including 2,008 drummers, at the beginning of its opening ceremony.

Sochi Organizing Committee says it hasn’t talked with Cher

Chuck Wielgus, head of USA Swimming for 2 decades, dies at age 67

Chuck Wielgus
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus, who led a federation that brought home 156 Olympic medals during his 20 years at the helm, has died. He was 67.

USA Swimming says Wielgus died Sunday in Colorado Springs of complications from colon cancer. The cancer was first diagnosed in 2006 and Wielgus underwent regular chemotherapy while leading USA Swimming to record growth. He was scheduled to retire in August.

Wielgus was the longest-tenured leader among U.S. Olympic organizations. The 156 medals represent about one-third of America’s overall total from the last five Olympics.

During his two decades, USA Swimming’s revenue increased by about 600 percent, and its four-year, Olympic-cycle budget grew from $35 million to nearly $160 million.

Wielgus was criticized in later years for his handling of numerous sexual-abuse cases against the organization. He apologized to victims in 2014.

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2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson wins pro boxing debut

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson has won his professional debut, beating Edgar Brito by technical unanimous decision in the sixth round.

Stevenson largely controlled his debut bout Saturday night at the famed outdoor ring south of downtown Los Angeles. The fight was stopped moments after the sixth round began when the ringside doctor ruled Brito was cut too badly to continue after an earlier clash of heads.

Brito was docked a point for head-butting Stevenson in the third round, but the challenger otherwise did little to dampen the debut of the touted featherweight from Newark, New Jersey.

Stevenson won every full round on every judge’s scorecard, peppering Brito with the quick hands and agility that have made him one of the most hyped prospects in recent U.S. boxing history.

“Before the fight, they told me not to go for the knockout,” Stevenson said. “Getting rounds in was more important. I give myself an `A.”‘

Eight months ago in Rio de Janeiro, Stevenson became the first American man to win anything bigger than a bronze medal in the past three Olympics. Stevenson reached the bantamweight final before losing a close decision to Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez, a two-time Olympic champion.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. traveled to Brazil to watch, and he predicted Stevenson would become the next big name to challenge his legacy. Stevenson considered signing with Mayweather’s promotional company before choosing Top Rank and promoter Bob Arum.

“It was great work,” Arum said after Stevenson’s debut. “He worked hard. He came through. He got the win. He will only get better.”

Stevenson was accompanied to the ring in Carson by Olympic gold medal-winning Americans Andre Ward and Claressa Shields, and his ring-walk song was “Hail Mary,” by Tupac Shakur. Stevenson’s mother named him after the rapper, who died nine months before her son was born.

Stevenson started out on a Top Rank card featuring three world title fights. He will fight again May 20 in New York, and he plans to train with junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford in Colorado Springs in the interim.

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