Ed Belfour auctions Olympic gold medal

Ed Belfour
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Ed Belfour is preparing to give up his Olympic gold medal for an opportunity to go into business with his son.

The medal the Hockey Hall of Fame goalie won representing Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games is one of 66 pieces of personal NHL memorabilia Belfour has put up for auction. The objective is to raise enough seed money for Belfour and his 26-year-old son, Dayn, to go forward with their plan to open Belfour Distilleries.

“It’s definitely hard to part ways with some of this stuff I’ve kept since high school,” Belfour said by phone from his home outside of Dallas this week.

“But I have the memories and I’ll never forget them,” he added. “This is a chance to get together with my son and start a business, the next chapter of our lives, and hopefully turn it into a world-class distillery where our bourbon is known all over the world.”

The Belfours have spent the past two years researching bourbons and whiskeys and establishing a business plan. They hope to have the distillery open within the next year.

The auction is being held online and conducted by Quebec-based Classic Auctions, which specializes in selling hockey memorabilia. Bids can be submitted through Tuesday night.

Belfour’s items include a jersey he wore in helping the Dallas Stars beat Buffalo in six games to win the 1999 Stanley Cup title. There are also game-worn masks, autographed jerseys and sticks, and the 13-inch replica of the Vezina Trophy Belfour won in 1993.

The prize of the lot is the Olympic medal, touted by Classic Auctions as being the first 2002 men’s hockey gold medal to be placed up for auction. As of Friday, the medal has attracted a high bid of $25,901.

The medal comes in a box that includes the signatures of IOC President Jacques Rogge and former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was President of the Salt Lake City Olympic committee.

The medal means plenty to Belfour even though he never saw game action as Canada’s third-stringer behind Martin Brodeur and Curtis Joseph. It was a team that beat the United States 5-2 and win Canada its first men’s hockey gold medal in 50 years.

The trouble for Belfour is that he accumulated so much memorabilia that it no longer fit his trophy cases.

“It was collecting dust in the attic,” said Belfour, who consulted with former Stars teammate Brett Hull and his father Bobby, who also sold items through Classic Auctions. “It makes me feel good that my stuff will end up in some very good collectors’ hands.”

Classic Auctions President Marc Juteau said Belfour’s items have generated interest because of the gold medal and also because goalies of Belfour’s caliber don’t often place items up for auction.

“There’s only a few goalies who have parted with their memorabilia so far,” Juteau said. “And that includes nice goalie masks that were used in the NHL. Those are quite scarce and sought-after.”

Belfour was a two-time Vezina winner and the NHL’s 1991 rookie of the year during a 16-plus season NHL career that ended with the Florida Panthers in 2006-07. His 484 career wins rank third on the NHL list, and he led the NHL in fewest goals allowed four times.

Belfour played the 2007-08 season in Sweden before retiring.

At 50, Belfour plays hockey — defense, not goalie he said — in a men’s league in Texas.

And he still thinks he can defend the goal if some NHL team gave him a shot.

“Oh, I can play tomorrow,” Belfour said, breaking into a laugh before correcting himself. “No, I might need a couple of days to get back in shape a little bit.”

MORE: Miracle on Ice player, father auction Olympic gold medals

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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