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  • Rio Clears Golf Course Site; Yu Na Kim Talks Sochi 2014; Plant Leads US Speedskating


    Rio Begins Clearing Golf Course Site

    After a protracted and complicated legal battle over the site of the Rio 2016 golf course, work is underway to begin construction.
    A rendering of the 17th hole from the golf course’s architect. (Hanse Course Design)

    On Wednesday, workers began clearing non-native vegetation at the site. Construction on the venue is scheduled to begin on April 1.

    In a statement, Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman said the organizing committee is still on track for a golf test event in 2015.

    Course designer Gil Hanse added: “We are very excited and pleased to have begun the initial clearing of the site. It is the start of a long process to transform this property into a beautiful golf course, and we are happy to get started.”

    Czech Athletes' Commission Candidate

    Czech skier Sarka Zahrobska will run for the IOC Athletes' Commission in Sochi.
    Sarka Zahrobska at the Vancouver Olympics. (Getty Images)

    She was nominated by the Czech Olympic Committee (COV) on Monday.

    Zahrobska 28, was the first Czech alpine skier to win an Olympic medal when she earned a bronze in the slalom event at Vancouver 2010.

    A statement on the COV website says she was chosen because the nomination committee felt she could appeal to a wide segment of Olympians in Sochi.

    If elected, she would be the Czech Republic’s only IOC member now that Jan Zelezny’s term has expired.

    “Some Way to Go” Says London Sustainability Watchdog

    Wednesday’s final report from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 says “there is still more work to be done” in the wake of “the greenest Games ever” for the Olympic Movement.

    “There is some way to go before the model is embedded in the UK public sector,” said Chair Shaun McCarthy.

    “London and the UK is looking to host a number of high profile events in the coming years and are well placed to take advantage of London 2012’s sustainability successes and lessons learnt. Internationally, Rio 2016 and the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco have already demonstrated a commitment to cutting edge sustainability goals and we look forward to even better sustainability outcomes from the UK into the future. So much good has come from the Games, it’s up to government and the private sector to adopt Olympic best practice and ensure the legacy lives on.”

    Click here to read the complete report, titled “Making a Difference” and numbering 113 pages.

    Team USA, Politicians Hoop It Up

    It’s not every day members of Congress score points for their support of Olympism.
    U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.) and 2008 Olympic champion Kara Lawson en route to the win Tuesday. (USOC)

    That’s what happened Tuesday when nine representatives joined seven Team USA athletes at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C for the second edition of the Congressional Olympic & Paralympic Caucus Free Throw Challenge.

    "It's great to see Members of Congress, including Members of the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus, supporting Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements," said Desiree Filippone, USOC managing director of government relations.

    "The outpouring of support for this event shows that the bipartisan members of the caucus are continuing to educate and engage fellow members of Congress about the goals and spirit of Olympism."

    Yu Na Kim Talks Return

    Defending women’s figure skating gold medalist Yu Na Kim is setting her sights on the Sochi Olympics.
    Yu Na Kim on Saturday. (Getty Images)

    Kim made the comments at a press conference after returning to Seoul from the figure skating world championships.

    "Going into the next Olympics, I want to prepare as well as I did ahead of this world championships," she was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency. "I think then the results will take care of themselves."

    She took a hiatus from competition following the Vancouver Olympics, and last weekend’s gold medal was her first world championships since returning to the competitive circuit.

    "This was my first worlds in a while, and I was worried that I might make mistakes in competition," she said. "I was so pleased that I was able to show everything I'd prepared and skate both programs (short program and free skate) without a mistake."

    Dominicans Take WBC Title

    Dominican Republic are champions of the World Baseball Classic after topping Puerto Rico 3-0 in Tuesday’s final at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
    Dominican Republic celebrates the country's first WBC crown. (Getty Images)

    Led by MVP Robinson Canó, the Dominicans knocked off Netherlands in the Monday’s semifinal after the Puerto Ricans took care of two-time reigning champs Japan, the only other team to win a WBC, in Sunday’s first semifinal.

    Japan finished in bronze position.

    Australian Swim Coach Resigns

    Swimming Australia refuted allegations that head coach Leigh Nugent was forced to resign due to the team’s poor showing in London.
    Leigh Nugent at London 2012. (Getty Images)

    A statement from the organization claims Nugent approached SA asking to step down. A “mutual decision” between Nugent and the board of Swimming Australia was reached allowing him to take “an extended break from the organization before returning in a youth development and coach mentor role,” the statement said.

    Following the Games, reports surfaced of an Australian swimming team that used drugs and engaged in inappropriate behavior during the Olympics. Australians won 10 medals at the London Olympics, considered a flop for the team. In Beijing, Australia won 20 medals.

    Former USOC Leader, Baseball Exec Leads US Speedskating

    Mike Plant is the new president of US Speedskating. Plant was announced as interim president on Tuesday.
    Mike Plant at Vancouver 2010. (Getty Images)

    He is the current executive vice president for the Atlanta Braves baseball team, and a former speedskater. He’s previously held leadership roles with the U.S. Olympic Committee and other national sport bodies in the U.S.

    Plant takes over at a critical time for the organization. A group of speedskaters broke away from the national governing body following allegations of abuse from a former national coach and allegations of sexual misbehavior with underage athletes by the former president. Questions also surfaced over the finances of the organization.

    "This is a crucial time for US Speedskating and I hope to be able to help propel this great sport forward," said Plant. "My focus for the organization will be on building a support and service system for our elite level athletes, and working on developing our athlete pipeline. Another priority is to tackle our governance and management reform. These are the two key pillars I am going to zero in on immediately."

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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