Stone Mountain Tennis Center
AP

Another 1996 Olympic venue to bite the dust

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The Atlanta Olympic tennis venue, where Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport famously won gold, will be demolished, possibly as soon as next month.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners awarded a $1 million contract Tuesday to tear down the Stone Mountain Tennis Center, according to Atlanta media.

“Moving for demolition is not something we take very lightly at all,” Gwinnet County Commissioner John Heard said, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. “The Olympic tennis center that was built for the ‘96 Olympics has been in place for 25 years now and has been running down the entire time. All of the copper has been stolen out of it. It is a health and safety hazard right now.”

Images from last year showed the Stone Mountain Tennis Center’s main stadium in disrepair. It was closed in 2007. Plants sprouted from cracks in the court surface. It is surrounded by a chain-link fence capped by barbed wire with a “no trespassing” sign.

“It’s a huge liability with people breaking in and going in and shooting videos of themselves doing all sorts of crazy things in there,” Commissioner Lynette Howard said, according to the newspaper. “Somebody is going to get hurt.”

The tennis center is the latest 1996 Olympic venue to fall out of favor.

Centennial Olympic Stadium, which housed Opening and Closing Ceremonies and track and field, was downsized from 85,000 seats to 50,000 when it was converted to Turner Field for the Atlanta Braves in 1997. Now that the Braves have left Turner Field, it will be further trimmed to 23,000 seats to host Georgia State football.

The Georgia Dome, home of gymnastics and basketball finals, hosted its last Atlanta Falcons game this past season. It is scheduled to be demolished.

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the home for Olympic baseball and the Braves from 1966-96, was imploded after the Atlanta Games to make room for a parking lot for Turner Field.

Perhaps the saddest legacy of the Games is Herndon Stadium, a 15,000-seat field hockey stadium used during the filming of the movie “We Are Marshall.” It was abandoned after Morris Brown College ran into financial difficulties. Gutted by vandals, it was covered in graffiti and piles of trash as of last summer.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week after suffering ankle and knee injuries this fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since a Nov. 9 practice fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.

Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.

He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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