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  • Olympic Newsdesk -- Olympic Flame in Athens; Lula Fears "Gringo" Medal Haul


    The Olympic Flame has been in a relay through Greece. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    Athens Ceremony for Vancouver Flame

    The flame for the Vancouver Olympics is hours away from its journey to Canada.
    Since Oct. 22 when the flame was lit in a ceremony in Olympia, the flame has traveled on a relay through Greece staged by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, a first for the Winter Olympics.

    Thursday the flame will be brought to the Panathenaic Stadium in the center of Athens for a handover ceremony. Nikki Georgiadis, a Greek Canadian figure skater who hopes to compete in ice dancing, will carry the flame into the stadium at sunset.

    Canadian Governor General Michaëlle Jean, VANOC CEO John Furlong and the mayors of Vancouver and Whistler are among the delegation from Canada who will receive the flame at the ceremony.

    They will take the flame to Canada aboard a Canadian Defense Forces charter flight, landing almost a day later in Victoria, B.C. for the launch of the domestic relay.

    Lula: Brazil Can’t Lose to Foreigners in 2016

    Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Brazilians can’t lose to foreigners in 2016.

    Lula was quoted by Reuters on Wednesday saying Rio didn’t win the "Olympics so gringos can come here to win our medals.” He made the comments after opening a gym for Olympic preparations.

    Brazilian President Lula says the country can’t lose to “gringos” at the 2016 Olympics. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    “Let's get ready as ever to win these medals," he said.
    Brazil has never won more than 15 medals at an Olympics.
    To achieve his vision, Lula demanded every sport that is part of the Brazilian Olympic Committee submit a strategic plan to win medals at the Rio Olympics.

    “We have to put on paper what we want to do for 2016," he said.

    Andrew Craig Joins FIA Commission

    Olympic bid and marketing consultant Andrew Craig is now a member of the FIA Touring Car Commission. Craig tells Around the Rings he is looking forward to helping maintain the rapid development of the World Touring Car Championship.

    While he says he will spend more time in Paris, where the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile is located, Craig says his consulting work for bids and other sports projects continues from his base in Detroit, Michigan. Craig’s background in motor sports includes a stint as head of the CART Champ Car World Series during the 1990s.

    IOC To Study Gender Guidelines

    Following the controversy surrounding the gender of South African runner Caster Semenya, the IOC will convene medical experts to form new guidelines for "ambiguous" gender cases.

    The Associated Press reports IOC medical chairman Arne Ljungqvist will organize a January symposium in Florida to review gender cases.

    "Sometimes you come across cases that are uncertain and ambiguous, and it changes from being a sports matter to a medical matter," Ljungqvist told the AP. "That's where we need to have a review."

    Gender testing captured headlines when it was reported that the International Association of Athletics Federations was reviewing Semenya's gender. The IAAF has not confirmed nor denied Australian media reports that indicate Semenya has both male and female sex organs.

    The IOC did away with mandatory gender testing 10 years ago. Ljungqvist said the IOC would have reviewed gender testing guidelines but the Semenya case pressured the IOC to review it sooner.

    Philippine Olympic Committee Seeks Private Funds

    The head of the Philippine Olympic Committee says the committee must rely less on government funding.
    POC President Jose Cojuangco Jr. told GMA News TV that the POC should look for more support from the private sector.

    “It’s really quite pleasing on the part of the POC to have started a program which we have envisioned for quite some time through established partnerships with private sector to reduce our dependency on developing sports from the government," said Cojuangco.

    Cojuangco and the POC are involved in a public feud with the Philippine Sports Commission, a government agency that provides funds to the POC.

    The two organizations are in a spat over the number of Filipinos that would participate in the Southeast Asian Games in Laos. POS chair Harry Angping said the commission would only subsidize 153 athletes of the Games while Conjuangco wants 250 athletes to make the trip.

    Andre Agassi admits to using crystal meth in his new memoir "Open." (Getty Images)


    ...Tennis star Andre Agassi, who won gold in singles at the 1996 Olympics, admitted in his memoir that he used crystal meth in 1997. Agassi said he failed a drug test and lied that he took the drug unwillingly.

    ...Ticketmaster will sell tickets for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ticketmaster will supply more than one million tickets for 400 events.

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    Written by Ed Hula III , Ed Hula , and Sam Steinberg .

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