Ronaldo
Getty Images

Ronaldo calls Neymar Olympic situation ‘cowardly’

Leave a comment

Brazil legend Ronaldo reportedly said it’s “cowardly” if Neymar is forced to choose between playing for the national team at Copa América Centenario in June and the Rio Olympics in August.

“This situation is very difficult for the player,” Ronaldo said, according to reports Thursday. “I think it’s cowardly that he has to choose what competition he wants to play in.”

Brazil’s soccer federation has Neymar’s rights for Copa América Centenario, a tournament among North and South American nations, but not the Olympics.

Neymar’s club team, FC Barcelona, controls whether Neymar is allowed to play for Brazil at the Olympics in August.

Neither the federation nor Barcelona has said whether Neymar will play in Copa América Centenario, the Olympics or both.

Spanish reports have said Barcelona will allow Neymar to play in one of Copa América Centenario and the Olympics, but not both, so that he’s better rested ahead of the Spanish league season that starts in late summer.

That would mean that if Brazil’s federation chooses Neymar for Copa América Centenario, Barcelona would block Neymar from being available for the Olympics. If Brazil’s federation declines to use Neymar at Copa América Centenario, Barcelona would allow Neymar to be available for Olympic selection.

The Olympics are important for Brazil and for Neymar, since the nation is hosting the Games for the first time and has never won Olympic soccer gold.

“I would opt to play in the Olympics,” Ronaldo said, according to reports. “It would be something unheard of if they could get a gold medal at the Games in Rio.

“I don’t know what the situation is like, but ideally, how wonderful it would be for Neymar to tell that story.”

Neymar led the 2012 Olympic silver-medal winning squad for Brazil.

Ronaldo also earned an Olympic medal, bronze in 1996 while wearing “Ronaldinho” on his jersey because the team had an older Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was the youngest player on that team at 19 years old, two years before his World Cup playing debut. Brazil was shocked in the 1996 Olympic semifinals by a Nigerian golden goal.

VIDEO: New Pelé biopic trailer

Lindsey Vonn and her dog to host Amazing Race-like series

Lindsey Vonn
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lindsey Vonn and one of her three dogs, Lucy, will host “The Pack,” an “Amazing Race”-like series where dogs and their humans compete in challenges across continents.

The Amazon Prime show filmed earlier this year and will premiere later in 2020. Production included a team of veterinarians and dog experts to ensure “a positive experience for everyone.”

Twelve teams vie for a prize of $500,000, plus $250,000 for the animal charity of their choice.

Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion and female record holder with 82 World Cup wins, retired after the February 2019 World Championships, four shy of the overall victories record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

She traveled the last few years of her career with Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she got in Italy in January 2016. Lucy required German, Italian and American passports to accompany Vonn on the ski circuit.

Vonn previously adopted rescue dogs Leo, a brindle boxer to help her through recovery from knee surgery that kept her out of the 2014 Olympics, and Bear.

Vonn’s previous broadcast credits included a 2010 appearance as a secretary on “Law & Order,” two judge spots on “Project Runway” and an episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in 2016.

MORE: Lindsey Vonn’s mom is tough as nails

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

London Marathon mass event canceled; Kipchoge, Bekele still to race

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The London Marathon will not hold a mass participation race of 40,000-plus runners, but will have an elites-only event featuring the fastest marathoners in history on a different course.

Organizers announced that the World Marathon Major, previously rescheduled for Oct. 4 from April 26, will be restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elite runners, including world-record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei and Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest man in history, will instead race but not on the usual route around London landmarks.

They will run on an enclosed looped in St. James’s Park in a “secure biosphere” without spectator access. Elite wheelchair racers, including past champions David Weir and Manuela Schar, will also compete.

Before canceling, London Marathon organizers planned to use Bluetooth and wideband ranging to monitor every participant’s distance from each other, though they did not specify if the event would have still included more than 40,000 runners.

If a participant spent more than 15 minutes within a specified distance of anyone else, and if somebody had informed organizers they contracted the virus within two weeks after the race, he or she would have been contacted.

“Despite all our efforts, the fantastic support from all of our partners and the progress that has been made on planning for the return of smaller mass participation events that are not on the roads, it has not been possible to go ahead with a mass socially distanced walk or run,” event director Hugh Brasher said in press release.

Four of the other five annual World Marathon Majors this year were canceled — Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City. The earliest major, Tokyo, was held March 1 with elite runners only.

Kipchoge, the Olympic marathon champion from Kenya, and Bekele, a three-time Olympic track champion from Ethiopia, were previously announced as headliners for London in the winter, before the pandemic.

Kipchoge lowered the world record to 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Bekele clocked 2:01:41 in Berlin last September. They are the only men to ever break 2:02 in a marathon. Kipchoge also clocked 1:59:40 at a non-record-eligible event in Vienna on Oct. 12 instead of racing a fall marathon.

Kipchoge has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

Bekele, the more accomplished track athlete with Olympic golds and world records at 5000m and 10,000m, has been a roller-coaster road runner.

Bekele owns two of the seven fastest marathons in history, recorded three years apart in Berlin. In between, he failed to finish two marathons and, in his last London start in 2018, clocked a pedestrian 2:08:53 for sixth place.

That was more than four minutes behind Kipchoge, who is undefeated in four London starts and has beaten by Bekele by at least 100 seconds in all four of their head-to-head marathons.

The Kenyan Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

The 2021 London Marathon will also be held in October to give a better chance of holding a mass race than in April.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results