In a first, an Olympics with snowboarding will not include Jasey-Jay Anderson

Snowboard - Men's Parallel Giant Slalom - Day 15
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Canadian Jasey-Jay Anderson competed in the very first Olympic snowboarding event in 1998. He did so again in 2002, 2006, 2010 (winning gold), 2014 and 2018.

But, for the first time in Olympic history, snowboarding events will be held, and Anderson will not be one of the competitors in Beijing next month.

Anderson, now 46 years old, was not on the Canadian Olympic snowboarding roster announced Wednesday.

Though Canada had the option to send three men to the Olympics in parallel giant slalom, it named one: Arnaud Gaudet, its highest-ranked man in the event this season.

Anderson is the only Canadian other than Gaudet to earn World Cup points in the parallel events this season. His best finish was 27th, but he did not meet Canada’s minimum performance criteria for Olympic selection.

So Anderson’s bid to stay the solo leader in Olympic snowboarding appearances ends. Italian Roland Fischnaller and Japanese Tomoka Takeuchi are set to tie Anderson’s record six Olympics in the sport, according to Olympedia.org.

Anderson, though, should remain the oldest male Olympic snowboarder in history from his participation in 2018.

Meanwhile, it appears 48-year-old Austrian Claudia Riegler will not be going to the Olympics to break her own overall Olympic age record for a snowboarder.

Riegler, who also races parallel giant slalom, has the results to make Austria’s team, but the federation returned a quota spot that could have gone to her.

Riegler chose not to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, and Austria requires it for the Beijing Games, according to Krone.

Beijing organizers allow unvaccinated athletes to compete, should they first quarantine upon arrival in China for 21 days.

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Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”