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

2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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At the French Open, a Ukrainian mom makes her comeback

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, once the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is into the French Open third round in her first major tournament since childbirth.

Svitolina, 28, swept 2022 French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, then beat Australian qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. She next plays 56th-ranked Russian Anna Blinkova, who took out the top French player, fifth seed Caroline Garcia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on her ninth match point.

Svitolina’s husband, French player Gael Monfils, finished his first-round five-set win after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She watched that match on a computer before going to sleep ahead of her 11 a.m. start Wednesday.

“This morning, he told me, ‘I’m coming to your match, so make it worth it,'” she joked on Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, no pressure.

“I don’t know what he’s doing here now. He should be resting.”

Also Wednesday, 108th-ranked Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis ousted three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in four and a half hours. Wawrinka’s exit leaves Novak Djokovic as the lone man in the draw who has won the French Open and Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz as the lone men left who have won any major.

The top seed Alcaraz beat 112th-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The Spaniard gets 26th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the third round. Djokovic, the No. 3 seed, swept 83rd-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (2), 6-0, 6-3 to reach a third-round date with 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Svitolina made at least one major quarterfinal every year from 2017 through 2021, including the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019. She married Monfils one week before the Tokyo Olympics, then won a singles bronze medal.

Svitolina played her last match before maternity leave on March 24, 2022, one month after Russia invaded her country. She gave birth to daughter Skai on Oct. 15.

Svitolina returned to competition in April. Last week, she won the tournament preceding the French Open, sweeping Blinkova to improve to 17-3 in her career in finals. She’s playing on a protected ranking of 27th after her year absence and, now, on a seven-match win streak.

“It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go,” she said. “I’m as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger, because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I’m getting better. Also mentally, because mental can influence your physicality, as well.”

Svitolina said she’s motivated by goals to attain before she retires from the sport and to help Ukraine, such as donating her prize money from last week’s title in Strasbourg.

“These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war, and now maybe they don’t have the opportunity,” she said. “But these moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themselves as much as they can in this horrible situation.”

Svitolina was born in Odesa and has lived in Kharkiv, two cities that have been attacked by Russia.

“I talk a lot with my friends, with my family back in Ukraine, and it’s a horrible thing, but they are used to it now,” she said. “They are used to the alarms that are on. As soon as they hear something, they go to the bomb shelters. Sleepless nights. You know, it’s a terrible thing, but they tell me that now it’s a part of their life, which is very, very sad.”

Svitolina noted that she plays with a flag next to her name — unlike the Russians and Belarusians, who are allowed to play as neutral athletes.

“When I step on the court, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that all of us Ukrainians have and how Ukrainians are fighting for their values, for their freedom in Ukraine,” she said, “and me, I’m fighting here on my own front line.”

Svitolina said that she’s noticed “a lot of rubbish” concerning how tennis is reacting to the war.

“We have to focus on what the main point of what is going on,” she said. “Ukrainian people need help and need support. We are focusing on so many things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything.

“I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That’s the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war, and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“You can donate. Couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people.”

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