Rio Olympic, Paralympic ceremonies to be low-budget

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Opening and Closing Ceremonies for Rio Olympics and Paralympics will be low-budget productions compared to three years ago in London, or in Beijing in 2008.

The austerity reflects the reality of Rio’s Olympics, which open in just over 101/2 months and are caught up in the economic and political upheaval besetting Brazil.

The country is mired in a recession, inflation has reached 10 per cent and there are calls to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

Fernando Meirelles, the Brazilian filmmaker and part of the creative team, estimated Tuesday that Rio will spend one-tenth what London did on four major ceremonies.

“I would be ashamed to waste what London spent in a country where we need sanitation; where education needs money,” Meirelles told reporters. “So I’m very glad we’re not spending money like crazy.”

London is reported to have spent about 80 million pounds ($104 million at 2012 exchange rates) on the four ceremonies.

Meirelles, who directed the film “City of God,” said the budget for the ceremonies had always been tight, although Rio organizers have clearly been cutting in the last year.

Rio is spending about 39 billion reals ($10 billion) in public and private money to prepare the games.

In a letter obtained last week by The Associated Press, the governing body of swimming FINA complained to organizers and Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes about reduced seating in the swimming arena from 17,000 to 13,000. The water polo venue was also moved to cut costs.

In the letter, former Olympic gold-medal swimmer Alexander Popov said Rio’s swimming preparations were “a step back in relation to previous editions of the Games.” He added that the cuts may have “its repercussion on the athletes.”

Meirelles said “high-tech” was being eliminated from the ceremonies. He listed drones, complex aerial equipment and disappearing stages as items that Rio would do without. The emphasis will be on the basics.

“We don’t have high culture,” Meirelles said. “Of course we have some pianists, some maestros and some orchestras, but that’s not us. We come from the roots. The beauty of Brazil comes from the roots.”

Faced with other needs, Meirelles also questioned the value of Rio’s Games.

“I’m not sure if I would approve an Olympics in Brazil, if this is a priority for us,” he said. “But we’re there, and this is a great opportunity for the country, and we’re going to do the best we can.”

Meirelles divulged little about the ceremonies. He talked about showing a vision of the country “and what I hope it will become.”

VIDEO: Rio Olympic Park progress

Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final