Rio 2016 Olympic torch unveiled

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The Rio Olympic torch and torch relay route were unveiled on Friday, 399 days out from the opening of the 2016 Rio Games.

The unique design of the torch incorporates “Brazilian flair,” the Rio 2016 website explains. The open segments reveal “harmonious diversity, contagious energy and exuberant nature–with the ground, sea, mountains, sky and sun represented in the colors of the Brazilian flag.” The segments will open up at the “moment of the kiss, when the flame is passed from one bearer to another.”

The torch relay will begin with the traditional flame lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece, where the Ancient Olympic Games were born. Then the torch will begin its tour of Brazil in May 2016.

Starting in the capital city of Brasilia and passing through an expected 500 cities and towns, the Olympic torch route was designed to reach as much of the Brazilian population as possible–an estimated 90 per cent of the public. Carlos Arthur Nuzman, Rio 2016 President, said, “We want to show the world the chemistry that we believe will be born when the Olympic Flame meets the warmth of the Brazilian people.”

The torch relay will end on August 5th, when it will light the Olympic Cauldron at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. The relay will last between 90 and 100 days, allowing for technical breaks or special photo events.

The Olympic torch relay creates excitement for the upcoming Games and allows the citizens of the host country to participate in the festivities. Here are some photos of past Olympic torches and relays:

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The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games torch, held by Prince Albert II of Monaco (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) (Photo by SERGEI CHIRIKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
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The London 2012 Summer Olympics torch, held by LOCOG Chair and former Olympian Lord Sebastian Coe. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics torch, held by Jean Toussignant, one of the members of the assembly team from Bombardier. (Photo by ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics torch. (Photo by Osports/Getty Images)
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The Turin 2006 Winter Olympics torch, held by TOROC president Valentino Castellani. (Photo by ROBERTO BARRETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The 2004 Athens Summer Olympics torch relay on June 7, 2004 in Seoul, Korea. The Olympic Flame travels to 34 cities in 27 countries en route to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics torch, held by Lance Armstrong. (Photo by TODD WARSHAW/AFP/Getty Images)
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The 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics torch, carried by Olympic decathalete Rafer Johnson. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Allspo)

 

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Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“It doesn’t beat doing it here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford, in his 86th World Cup start dating to 2009, said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “No secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native and former Dartmouth student had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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