Rio organizers began what they called the final step of work on the 2016 Olympic golf course Tuesday, planting grass on the first of 18 holes.
The predicted timeline of grass growth is 11 months.
“We have taken another important step in constructing the Olympic golf course today,” said Agberto Guimarães, Rio 2016 Director of Sport and Paralympic Integration. “The planting of grass is the last construction activity for each hole on the course, following the completion of the earthworks, irrigation and finishing.”
Work on the course has sped up in the last two months, the International Golf Federation president recently said. Still, holding a proposed test event one year before the Olympics is improbable. The Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony is Aug. 5, 2016.
Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, and the course construction has been the subject of much scrutiny. The International Olympic Committee recently sent its executive director to Rio de Janeiro to monitor day-to-day progress in delayed preparations across many areas, including golf.
“The start of the grassing phase for the Olympic golf course is an important event in the development of the course,” course designer Gil Hanse said. “We are excited to begin this phase and to focus on the detail and craftsmanship that will make this a special golf course.”
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Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won ice dance gold on Monday, making them the most decorated Olympic figure skaters in history. They won two golds in PyeongChang, including the team event, two silvers in Sochi four years ago, plus ice dance gold on home ice in Vancouver.
Virtue and Moir set a short dance record score on Sunday, and set another high score in free dance and overall points to earn back their Olympic crown. Their character-driven, passionate performance to “Moulin Rouge!” even has an endorsement from the film’s director, Baz Luhrmann.
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In their Olympic debut, two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France came away with a silver medal. (They actually won the free skate and set a new record score at 123.35 points.) Papadakis and Cizeron fought through a wardrobe malfunction in the short dance to hold onto their silver medal position. It’s the first Olympic ice dance medal for France since 2002. The French duo skated to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” to showcase their lyrical, flowing and contemporary style.
Canadian freeskier Cassie Sharpe dominated the women’s freeski halfpipe competition to win her first Olympic gold medal.
Sharpe’s first run of the final — which included cork 900s in both directions — didn’t even contain her biggest trick, but it still put her atop the leaderboard with a 94.4.
On her second run, Sharpe stepped it up with back-to-back 900s at the top of the halfpipe and a cork 1080 spun to her left on her last hit. Those progressive tricks, combined with Sharpe’s great amplitude, upped her score to a 95.8.
No one was able to match that, and Sharpe became the new Olympic champion.
Sharpe wasn’t the only skier to land a 1080 though. France’s Marie Martinod landed a left 1080 on her second run to help her score a 92.6. That gave Martinod her second straight Olympic silver medal in what will be the final contest of her career.
At 33, Martinod was the oldest skier in the field. She previously retired for five years (from 2006-2011) before reemerging to make a run at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics, but will now head back into retirement.
U.S. skier Brita Sigourney took the bronze medal after scoring a 91.6 on her final run and bumping teammate Annalisa Drew down to fourth place.
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