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IOC prez praises ‘dynamism’ of Rio’s progress but warns ‘there is still no time to lose’

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Following International Olympic Committee Executive Director Gilbert Felli’s comments that Brazil’s successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup predicts an excellent Games in two years, IOC President Thomas Bach added his own praise for Rio’s preparations.

“We can really see there is a great dynamism in their preparations,” Bach said at the conclusion of a three-day IOC executive board meeting, the AP reports. “You really feel the determination and the enthusiasm of the organizing committee and their partners.”

He pointed to the start of construction on the Deodoro cluster of venues, where 11 sports will be competed, and positive progress on the anti-doping lab and main media center.

However, Bach also warned against becoming complacent. “We have to stay vigilant and there is still no time to lose,” he said.

He also expressed his admiration for Rio’s citizens. “The sports-loving Brazilians with all their enthusiasm will be wonderful hosts,” he said. Even after Tuesday’s 7-1 loss against Germany in the World Cup semifinals? “I can fully understand that today maybe in Brazil there will be this day of mourning. But the Brazilians are very optimistic people and they know that after each defeat there is a new victory waiting for you. I’m sure they will grasp this opportunity.”

Bach, a native of Germany, watched yesterday’s game alongside Carlos Nuzman, the Brazilian head of the Rio 2016 organizing committee. Bach politely restrained himself from celebrating excessively as his team scored goal after goal.

After the match, he hugged Nuzman and diplomatically told the AP, “Such a result can only happen when you have these kind of circumstances. Brazil was missing its best player. Neymar cannot be replaced and the other team was playing an excellent match and scoring.

“I really have a lot of respect for the sports-loving fans and public and nation, and I keep my fingers crossed for them for the (third-place) match.”

Bach will fly to Rio tonight and be at the Maracanã on Sunday to watch the final match. In 2016 the Maracanã will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in addition to the gold-medal soccer games.

Ashley Wagner tops Skate America short program

ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 21: Ashley Wagner competes in the Ladies' Short Program at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championship on January 21, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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Ashley Wagner picked up from where she left off last season, topping the Skate America short program Friday night.

Wagner, the world championships silver medalist, tallied 69.50 points in the Grand Prix opener, landing all of her jumps in Hoffman Estates, Ill. She leads Japan’s Mai Mihara, who scored 65.75.

“There were a couple of things that weren’t quite perfect,” Wagner told media.

U.S. champion Gracie Gold fell on a triple flip. She’s in third place with 64.87. Full results are here.

“I had a hiccup on the triple flip,” Gold said. “Overall, it felt really good.”

Japan’s Mao Asada, a three-time world champion, was fifth after performing a triple-double jump combination rather than a triple-triple.

The free skate is Saturday, live on NBC and the NBC Sports app at 4:30 p.m. ET (full broadcast schedule here).

The last U.S. woman to win Skate America was Wagner in 2012.

Wagner and Gold are competing in their first full individual competitions since April’s world championships, when Gold fell from first after the short program to finish fourth.

Wagner climbed from fourth after the worlds short program to finish second and end a 10-year U.S. women’s podium drought at the Olympics and world championships.

MORE: Scott Hamilton diagnosed with brain tumor for third time

Scott Hamilton diagnosed with brain tumor for third time

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03:  Former figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton onstage during A Capitol Fourth - Rehearsals at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn, on July 3, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)
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Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton said he was diagnosed with a benign pituitary brain tumor for a third time.

Hamilton, who took gold in Sarajevo in 1984, underwent chemotherapy to treat testicular cancer in 1997 and was twice previously diagnosed with brain tumors and had surgery, in 2004 and 2010.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, I just went in for my normal check-up, and they found the beginnings of the brain tumor coming back,” the 58-year-old Hamilton said. “I have a unique hobby of collecting life-threatening illness. … It’s six years later, and it decided that it wanted an encore.”

From People magazine:

Hamilton learned of the tumor at a routine check-up and is currently exploring all his treatment options before symptoms begin presenting.

“I’ll tell anybody that will listen: If you’re ever facing anything, get as many diagnoses as you possibly can,” he says. “The more you truly understand what you’re up against, the better decision you’re going to make.”

Hamilton was in New York on Friday to promote U.S. Figure Skating’s “Get Up” campaign.

“It’s all about shrugging it off, whatever’s going on, whether it be bullying at school, whether it be a setback in health, you just get up,” Hamilton said. “Not only to bring the young people that love skating together, but to bring the broader population into the fold.”

Hamilton said that surviving cancer was the moment in his life that he most associated with the “Get Up” campaign.

“Chemotherapy for months was devastating, but it’s endurable,” Hamilton said. “I don’t want to scare anybody from being treated for cancer, because I’m here, 20 years later, but the surgery afterwards was 38 staples, and I’m a little person. Getting up, getting back on the ice and performing again, quickly, was kind of my ‘Get Up’ moment.”

MORE: 2016-17 figure skating season broadcast schedule