Rio Olympic torch relay logo

Rio 2016 Olympic torch relay details announced

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The Rio 2016 torch relay will begin with a ceremonial start in Olympia, Greece, in May 2016, spanning 90 to 100 days and including 10,000 torch bearers.

The flame will traverse 12,000 miles across Brazil for 90 to 100 days before the Olympic cauldron will be lit at the Maracana Stadium on Aug. 5, 2016.

Organizers announced torch relay details in Rio on Thursday, 554 days out from the first South American-hosted Olympics.

The Olympic flame will visit all 26 Brazilian state capitals (and the federal district capital of Brasilia) among 250 cities and towns. Torch bearers’ legs will be 300 meters, and the flame will visit 90 percent of the nation’s population.

The flame will also travel 10,000 miles by airplane.

The torch design has not been revealed yet, but the torch relay logo (upper right) hints at the design, organizers said.

This torch relay appears to be a bit simpler than Sochi’s, which took the Olympic flame into the world’s deepest freshwater lake, the North Pole and outer space.

It won’t be the first time the Olympic flame visits South America. It also came to Rio de Janeiro for a seven-hour tour as part of the Athens Olympic torch relay on June 13, 2004.

Soccer legend Pele, though not an Olympian, was the first person to run with the Olympic flame in South America that day, according to The Associated Press.

“Today, I have the privilege of being the first Brazilian to carry the torch in our country and that is something for which there is no comparison,” said Pele, then 63, after running 400 meters, according to the AP.

Here are images from the 2004 Olympic torch relay’s visit to Rio, via Getty:

source: Getty Images
Pele carries the Olympic flame at the Maracana Stadium. Will he do so again in 2016?
source: Getty Images
Soccer legend Ronaldo.
source: Getty Images
Three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten, who played in three Olympics but never made it past the quarterfinals.
source: Getty Images
Oscar Schmidt, a five-time Olympic basketball player who once scored 55 points in an Olympic game.
source: Getty Images
Brazilian-born skateboarder Bob Burnquist, an X Games champion

source: Getty Images

Video: Animation of what Rio Olympic Park will look like

World silver medalist opts out of figure skating Grand Prix

Elizabet Tursynbaeva
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Elizabet Tursynbayeva, the 2019 World silver medalist, said she will not compete in figure skating’s upcoming Grand Prix Series, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee.

Tursynbayeva noted in stating her decision that world ranking points will not be awarded in the series, which starts with Skate America from Oct. 23-25.

Fields for the six Grand Prix events, held on consecutive weekends through November, have not been released.

Skaters will be restricted to one Grand Prix start — halved from the usual two — and to the event in their home nations or closest to their training locations.

Tursynbayeva trains in Russia, one of six nations to host Grand Prix events.

Previously, Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu announced he would not compete on the Grand Prix due to coronavirus pandemic-related travel risks.

Russian Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova, who announced an indefinite break from competition last December, is also not expected to compete. She is hosting a Russian skating-themed TV show but has not announced her future competition plans.

Tursynbayeva took silver behind Zagitova at the most recent world championships in 2019, a surprise given her 12th-place finish at the PyeongChang Olympics. Tursynbayeva withdrew before her 2019 Grand Prix events, reportedly after suffering an injury.

Last season’s top skaters were all first-year seniors — Russians Alena Kostornaya, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova. The world championships were not held due to the pandemic.

Two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu will not be old enough for the Grand Prix until the 2021-22 Olympic season.

MORE: Orser reacts to Medvedeva’s coaching switch

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Serena Williams battles, then rolls into French Open second round

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Serena Williams overcame early struggles, sweeping past countrywoman Kristie Ahn 7-6 (2), 6-0 to reach the French Open second round.

Williams, again eyeing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, started out like somebody who went 16 months between clay-court matches. She needed 74 minutes to take the first set from the 102nd-ranked Ahn, recovering twice after having her serve broken.

She dominated the second set in 27 minutes, advancing to play Bulgarian and fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova, a rematch of their three-set U.S. Open quarterfinal three weeks ago.

Williams, in long sleeves and tights, had 15 winners to 28 unforced errors in the first set in cloudy, sub-60-degree weather on Monday.

“I hate the cold. I’m from L.A. and I live in Florida,” Williams said before the tournament, which was postponed from its usual May/June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic. “For half my life I’ve never seen snow. Cold weather and me do not mix.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Williams also noted before the tournament that she was “not at 100 percent physically” and spent most of her time in France “rehabbing” without giving specifics. She took a medical timeout with a left Achilles injury in her last match, a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka,

“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could perform,” Williams said Saturday. “I don’t know any athlete that ever plays physically when they’re feeling perfect. That’s just something I think as athletes we have to play with.”

Earlier Monday, newly crowned U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem rolled 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up, next gets American Jack Sock, a former top-10 player now ranked No. 310. Sock took out countryman Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 for his first main draw win at the French Open in four years.

Rafael Nadal begins his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title and male record-tying 20th Grand Slam singles title later Monday.

The French Open first round concludes Tuesday with top-ranked Novak Djokovic in action.

MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship

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