Twain lights cauldron
Shania Twain carried the Olympic torch the final 350m into Hollinger Park, cheered on by thousands of parka-clad fans who turned out in arctic conditions to see the hometown hero in person in Timmins, Canada, on Friday night. After making her final turn toward the stage, Twain paused, held the torch aloft in her mittened left hand, and waved to the crowd. The country star then bounded the final few yards onto the stage, where she lit the Olympic cauldron. “I feel proud, very proud,” Twain said. “It’s a highlight of my life to be able to carry the flame, to light the cauldron.” At minus 16ºC and windy, it was so cold that when a dozen red beach balls were tossed into the crowd, the balls came apart within seconds. “I know that sounds crazy, but it wouldn’t be Timmins if it wasn’t 40 below with the wind chill factor!” Twain said.
Contador to race Algarve
Reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador confirmed on Friday he will start this season with the Tour of the Algarve cycling race in Portugal next month. “Last year I liked the race and I think it’s ideal to start the season,” said the Spaniard, who is the reigning champion in the Portuguese race. “Then I’ll go to the Paris-Nice [beginning of March] where we’ll be mainly looking to work on a team level, notably on tactical coordination,” he said. Contador, winner of the Tour de France winner in 2007 and last year, added that he was also counting on competing in the Tour of Catalonia from March 22 to March 28 and the Tour of the Basque Country from April 5 to April 10. But he added: “I’m leaving the door open on the classics, we’ll decide on that later.”
Everton suspend Jo
Premier League club Everton said Friday they have suspended Brazilian striker Jo for a breach of club discipline after he made a trip back to his homeland without permission. Jo joined the struggling Toffees on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City but the ban throws into some doubt his future at Goodison Park. “Jo went back to Brazil without permission from the football club. He is now back but is suspended at the present time,” coach David Moyes said. “I am disappointed. We like Jo, he has been a really good lad and we have enjoyed having him. But there has to be discipline at all football clubs. He left over a busy period when we were short of players. I found it very difficult so he is suspended from the club.” Jo joined City from CSKA Moscow for £18 million (US$28.62 million) in July 2007. The tricky but lightweight forward has struggled this season, failing to score in the Premier League and mustering just two goals in cup competitions.
Sanchez has heart problems
Sevilla defender Sergio Sanchez has a heart condition that requires him to cease all physical activity for the time being, the La Liga club said on their Web site on Friday. The 23-year-old former Espanyol player has traveled to Barcelona to be with his family and will have further tests there, the club said. Spanish players called for improvements in screening procedures for heart problems following the death of Espanyol defender Dani Jarque in August, two years after Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta collapsed during a game and later died after a prolonged cardiac arrest.
Staying home during a national lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic is like “nirvana” for cricketers, as they generally have to live out of a suitcase, Australia head coach Justin Langer said yesterday. Australian cricket is in its off-season and has been largely insulated from the effects of the outbreak, which has suspended all of the country’s major sporting competitions that run during the autumn and winter. Some Australian players are signed with teams in the Indian Premier League, but the lucrative Twenty20 tournament has been postponed at least until the middle of next month and might end up being scrapped like
SCHEDULE CONFLICTS: While new dates have not been announced, somewhere around this year’s original dates would conflict with other major sports events next year The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics will require sacrifices and compromises by all involved, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said yesterday, before predicting the completion of “a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and wonderful Olympic Games.” “Our mission is to organize Games and make [the] dreams of athletes come true,” Bach said, adding that although the Olympics must be held before the end of summer next year, the as-yet-undecided dates would not necessarily be restricted to summer months. Japanese yesterday awoke to the deflating reality that the Olympics they had hoped to host in Tokyo this summer were now probably 16 months away. The IOC
NECESSARY SACRIFICE: ’We’re obviously in a high-cost, high-revenue industry and when the revenue dies, you’re left with high costs, so it’s a no-brainer,’ Ian Foster said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster yesterday said that he would take a pay cut and players would follow suit as New Zealand Rugby cuts expenses while professional competitions are shuttered during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a radio interview, Foster confirmed that he and other coaches had agreed to substantial pay cuts as long as New Zealand Rugby’s revenues are affected. He did not give a percentage figure. “Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut,” Foster told radio Newstalk ZB. “It’s already been agreed to.” “With rugby, when there’s no games there’s no revenue and that’s a tough thing,” Foster said.
From perfecting pizza dough to fermenting tea, rugby players in Europe have found various ways to pass their time during the lockdown forced on them by the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia international Scott Higginbotham, who plays for Bordeaux-Begles, has been busy in his kitchen during the confinement period, which started in France on March 17. “My wife and I take turns in going out, and doing a bit of exercise and a lot of cooking. Every meal is made from scratch,” Higginbotham told reporters last week. “I made my own pizza dough the other day, which was quite nice. I do love pizza,