Vancouver celebrates 10 years as an official Olympic city

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Ten years ago, the Vancouver Olympics opened with a succession of spectacular sights and Canadian heroes.

While most Winter Olympic ceremonies are held in the crisp air with the threat of snow — or worse, freezing rain — the Vancouver Games opened indoors in BC Place. 

The ceremony’s producers had to deal with the aftermath of a tragic incident earlier in the day. Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luge slider from Georgia, died in a training accident in Whistler, prompting a scramble to acknowledge Kumaritashvili’s death while still giving a fitting welcome to athletes and supporters who had been waiting for this moment for so many years.

The first tricky part went without a hitch, with snowboarder Johnny Lyall flying through the Olympic rings and a set of explosions. The lighting of the cauldron did not go as smoothly, with one of the four arms not rising up and leaving speedskater Catriona Le May Doan stranded with a torch. Le May Doan would end up getting another chance in the closing ceremony.

Then the Games headed toward the slopes, sliding track and arenas.

Ten years later, here’s how the Olympic venues are in use:

BC Place (ceremonies): The home of the CFL’s BC Lions and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.

Rogers Arena (ice hockey): Known as Canada Hockey Place during the Games for sponsorship reasons, the arena is the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors, along with plenty of concerts and UFC events.

Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (ice hockey): The University of British Columbia’s home hockey arena.

Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre (curling): Converted into a community recreational facility called Hillcrest Centre.

Richmond Olympic Oval (speedskating): Also converted into a recreational facility but also used to host various spectator events, including hockey, basketball, fencing, volleyball, and indoor track and field.

Pacific Coliseum (figure skating, short-track speedskating): The former home of the Vancouver Canucks hosts a variety of events, including Olympic sports events such as the recent 2020 Olympic volleyball qualifiers.

Cypress Mountain (snowboarding, freestyle skiing): Plagued by warm weather that forced organizers to bring in snow by truck, the ski resort has a healthy 119-inch base as of Feb. 12.

Whistler Creekside (Alpine skiing): One of the top ski resorts in the world continues to host snowboard and Alpine competitions, often well into April.

Whistler Sliding Centre (bobsled, skeleton and luge): The track is a frequent stop on World Cup circuits and hosted the 2019 bobsled and skeleton world championships.

Whistler Olympic Park (Nordic events and biathlon): Open for cross-country skiing and offering biathlon lessons. The World Cup cross-country circuit stopped here in January. The ski jumping World Cup tends not to come to North America, but the ski jumping facility still hosts competitions such as last year’s North American championships, and Canadian jumpers train here as well as in fellow Olympic site Calgary.

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Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

Asher Hong
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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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