New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon’s staging area affected by government shutdown

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The site where 45,000 runners are scheduled to congregate to start the New York City Marathon is closed due to the federal government shutdown.

Organizers for the Nov. 3 race are aware of this and are developing a contingency plan should Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island remain unavailable in three weeks’ time, according to reports. The plan would involve an alternate staging site but not a different starting line.

New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg said a plan for an alternate Staten Island staging site was 70 percent complete Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A decision on a separate staging plan is expected to be made next week, according to the report.

The 2012 New York City Marathon was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy. This year’s event will also have extra security after the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a New York Road Runners spokesperson have expressed confidence the New York City Marathon will proceed.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that as many as 3,000 charity spots remain open for entrants. A minimum of $2,500 must be raised for a charity spot.

Elite fields announced for NYC Marathon

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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