Rio Olympic cauldron may be moved during Games; medal design approved

Maracana Stadium
Getty Images

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The Rio Olympics will not have multiple cauldrons, but the single cauldron could be moved during the Games, Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said Tuesday.

The medal design has been approved by the International Olympic Committee but will not be unveiled until there are fewer than 100 days until the Aug. 5 Opening Ceremony, Andrada said at a U.S. Olympic Committee media summit.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held in the Maracanã Stadium, which will also host soccer matches during the Games but not track and field.

Traditionally, the ceremonies stadium also holds track and field, making the cauldron visible at competition for the Olympics’ marquee sport.

There will not be separate cauldrons for the Maracanã and the track and field stadium, Andrada said.

“Zero chances,” Andrada said. “One cauldron.”

The cauldron will definitely be lit at the Maracanã during the Opening Ceremony. Could the cauldron be moved after that?

“That’s a possibility,” Andrada said.

If the cauldron is not moved, it will remain at a stadium that will not be used for competition until the 11th day of the Games. The Maracanã will host one men’s and one women’s soccer semifinal and both gold-medal matches and no other competition.

In 2010, the Vancouver Winter Games had two cauldrons — one inside in the ceremonies arena and one outside in the city of Vancouver for the public to view.

In 2007, Rio de Janeiro hosted the Pan American Games with one sun-like cauldron inside the Maracanã (pictured), which also did not host track and field.

The Rio Olympic slogan is expected to be unveiled in the next two to three weeks, Andrada said.

After that, the ticket design may be unveiled around 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony on April 27.

Then will come the medal design, Andrada said.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch

Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine

Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”