London Olympic cauldron plagiarism dispute settled

London Olympic Cauldron
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London Olympic organizers acknowledged that a New York studio submitted designs between 2006 and 2008 that would go on to become features of the 2012 Olympic cauldron.

The 2012 Olympic cauldron was lit by seven young British athletes in the middle of the Olympic Stadium.

They ignited copper petals on the ground, which triggered more than 200 petals overall, one for each nation participating in the Olympics.

The petals were offered to each of the nations after the Paralympics.

The New York studio, Atopia, submitted five features for a design between four and six years before the Olympics, according to a statement:

The live-time construction of the pavilion in the opening ceremony for the Games;
The pavilion being made from 200+ flower shaped forms, one for each of the  participating nations;
The flower-shaped forms to be brought into the opening ceremony by ‘bearers’ in each participating nations team;
As part of the ceremony the ‘bearers’ to pass each flower shaped form to the ‘next generation’ to be ‘planted’ and ‘deployed’ as a pavilion;
After the Games the flower shaped forms to be returned to the participating nations.

Last spring, the Guardian reported Atopia said it presented “identical” cauldron ideas to London organizers in 2007 and never heard back.

“This has come completely out of the blue,” a spokesperson for the studio of the London organizers’ cauldron designer told the newspaper last year. “We have never seen this project before, nor were we made aware of it by LOCOG. The creative ideas for the cauldron were very much born from a conversation between Danny Boyle and Thomas Heatherwick.”

The Guardian followed up Wednesday, reporting an out-of-court financial settlement between London organizers and Atopia.

“We are very relieved that LOCOG has decided to settle with us and publicly acknowledge the work we produced,” an Atopia official told the newspaper. “We knew it would be time-consuming and painful, but we felt it was important to go through the process – and we’re pleased that our tag-line ‘anticipate the future’ has been borne out.”

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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