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  • Rio 2016 Auto Partner; Canadian Freeskier, 29


    Automotive Partner for Rio 2016

    A Rio 2016 official tells Around the Rings that an automotive partner “is likely to be announced next week.”

    The official could not disclose the name of the potential partner before the entire bidding process was complete, saying “we cannot disclose company names before all the steps of the bidding process have been completed.”

    The possible deal comes on the heels of Rio 2016's announcement of a new chief commercial officer and marketing team.

    Canadian Freeskier, 29

    Sarah Burke will be remembered for championing the inclusion of ski halfpipe on the Winter Olympic program ahead of Sochi 2014, where she would have been the gold medal favorite.
    Sarah Burke en route to a fourth-place superpipe finish at the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Championships last February in Park City, Utah. (Canadian Freestyle Ski Association)

    The four-time Winter X Games gold medalist, 29, died Thursday following "irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest” suffered during a Jan. 10 training run in Utah, according to her publicist.

    Burke, who lived near Vancouver 2010 alpine venue Whistler, had been in a coma following the halfpipe training accident at Park City Mountain Resort.

    “Sarah was a true inspiration to all who had the privilege to know her, especially to the new generation of athletes in this country as she helped define the superpipe discipline in the sport of freestyle skiing," Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut said in a statement.

    "Her fans from Canada and around the world looked up to her and all she has accomplished as a true leader. This true champion will be missed but never forgotten."

    For the first time at an Olympics of any kind, ski halfpipe was contested at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Gams last Sunday in Innsbruck.

    Friends and supporters are encouraged to use the tagline #BelieveinSarah to pay tribute on social media as well as to contribute here to help with her family's rising medical costs.

    Andres Botero Sworn In

    IOC member Andres Botero was officially sworn in as Colombia's sports minister on Thursday.
    Juan Manuel Santos and Andres Botero at the swearing-in ceremony for Botero. (Coldeportes)

    Botero was named to the post by Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos partly to boost Medellin's bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

    “Bringing the Games to Colombia is very important,” Botero was quoted by his country's media. “Medellín has the ability, willingness and desire to host this event.”

    Santos said of Botero that “no one is better than Andres Botero for this position.”

    Rugby CEO Steps Down

    International Rugby Board CEO Mike Miller will step down at month’s end after 10 years in office.
    Mike Miller at the 2009 IOC EB meeting at which the IRB successfully pitched rugby for Olympic inclusion in 2016. (ATR)

    The move is timed, according to a Friday statement, around “the beginning of a new four-year cycle” following the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and the recent IRB elections.

    “We have achieved a lot in the last decade,” said Miller.

    “Rugby is in a great place as it looks forward to Rugby World Cups in England and Japan, Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Women’s Rugby World Cup in France and the Olympics in Rio.”

    Lapasset, who staved off British challenger Bill Beaumont last month, added: “Mike will be a hard act to follow. But with my newly re-affirmed four-year mandate, a revamped IRB Executive Committee, a soon to be refreshed Rugby World Cup Board and a vibrant Council and staff we have the tools in place to continue to drive the Game forward.”

    Miller also doubled as Rugby World Cup managing director in his capacity as IRB CEO.

    Speculation over Sir McCartney’s Olympic appearance has swirled for months. (Getty Images)
    Paul McCartney on Olympic Plans

    One of the surviving members of The Beatles may have a role to play in this year’s Olympics.

    Paul McCartney said on Thursday he "might be doing something" for the Games, according to an Associated Press report.
    He added he will pay a visit to Games organizers to discuss "something they want me to do."

    Puerto Rico Pan Am Bid Possible?

    Caguas, a city in central Puerto Rico, is beginning talks to bid for the Pan American Games in 2019.

    A report in El Nuevo Dia, a Puerto Rican newspaper, says the city’s senator, Norma Burgos met with Puerto Rican Olympic Committee president David Bernier to discuss a bid.

    "Caguas and adjacent municipalities have the sports infrastructure,the physical, human and technical resources to mount the games and the space needed," Burgos was quoted by the paper.

    Cameroon 2012 Base

    Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city. (Visit Scotland)
    Sixty Cameroonian athletes will train in Aberdeen, Scotland before the London Olympics. A statement from the city made the announcement on Friday.

    RGU: SPORT and Aberdeen Sports Village will be the Pre-Games Training Camp for Cameroon from July 2 to 16. The site is a collaboration among the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and sportscotland.

    Jiri Raska, Fist Czech Olympic Champion, 70

    Jiri Raska, the first Winter Olympic champion for Czechoslovakia, died on Friday at age 70.
    Jiri Raska. (HOC)

    The Associated Press reports he died at the Novy Jicin Hospital, and no cause of death was given.

    At the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, he won ski jumping's normal hill competition and a silver in the large hill.

    Raska was described as “a legend” by Czech Olympic Committee (HOC) president Milan Jirasek. An indication of his stature in Czech sports could be seen when visiting the HOC website. A large picture of Raska popped up over the homepage. He was also awarded the Czech Medal of Merit in October, a top civil award.

    Media Watch

    The New York Times reports on what may be the latest performance-enhancing item: underwear.

    Jere Longman, a sports columnist for the Grey Lady, writes about a potential threat for the 2012 Olympics: an “invasion of the equestrian competition by drunken rugby players.” He notes by “players,” he means English rugby star Mike Tindall, who is married to Olympic hopeful Zara Philips, the Queen’s granddaughter.

    The story of Neville Bardos, a horse doomed to slaughter following a fire who is now a top contender for an Olympic berth, is a comeback that has surprised many. Warning: the story may be a bit of a tearjerker.

    Howard Berkes of National Public Radio in the United States examines Mitt Romney’s Olympic legacy and the role he played in the Salt Lake City 2002 turnaround.

    Written by Ed Hula III, Matthew Grayson and Brian Pinelli.

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