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Rio 2016

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed that a Russian cyber espionage group operator by the name of Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear, illegally gained access to its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database via an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account for the Rio 2016 Games.

The hacker group leaked confidential medical files of star US Olympic athletes, including tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and teenage gymnast Simone Biles.

Fancy Bears claimed responsibility for the hack of a WADA database.

After the leak, Simone Biles said she had long been taking medicine for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).wada-cyber-attack

The hacker group had accused her of taking an “illicit psycho-stimulant”, but Simone Biles said she had “always followed the rules”.

The Rio Olympics quadruple gold medalist had obtained the necessary permission to take prescription medicine on the WADA banned drugs list, USA Gymnastics said in a statement.

In a statement on the agency’s official website, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “WADA deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act.”

“We are reaching out to stakeholders, such as the IOC, IFs and NADOs, regarding the specific athletes impacted,” he continued.

WADA said that the cyber attacks were an attempt to undermine the global anti-doping system.

Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was “out of the question” that the Kremlin or secret services were involved in the hacking, Russian news agencies reported.

The hackers accessed records detailing “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” (TUEs), which allow the use of banned substances due to athletes’ verified medical needs.

“By virtue of the TUE, Biles has not broken any drug-testing regulations, including at the Olympic Games in Rio,” USA Gymnastics said.

Fancy Bears said TUEs amount to “licenses for doping”.

The leaked documents allege that Serena Williams was granted permission to use drugs commonly used to treat muscle injuries, such as anti-inflammatories, while Simone Biles is said to use Ritalin – a treatment for her ADHD.

Former – Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority head Richard Ings said: “Nothing I see here gives me cause for alarm,” adding it looked “totally normal”.


“The issue here is privacy breach.”

Russia’s track and field team were banned from the Rio Olympics over an alleged state-backed doping program. All Russian athletes are barred from the ongoing Paralympics.

“Let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia,” Olivier Niggli said.

US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart called the hack “cowardly and despicable”.

“In each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to the global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication,” he said.

The US Olympic Committee has had “zero adverse findings from the Rio Olympic Games that weren’t 100% within the medical guidelines set forth by anti-doping authorities,” spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.

Earlier this month, Olivier Niggli said WADA was experiencing almost daily cyber attacks originating from Russia.

Fancy Bears has pledged to release confidential records from other national Olympic teams.

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Ryan Lochte has been charged by Brazilian police with making a false statement about being robbed at gunpoint during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

According to the police statement, the court issues a summons for the Olympic swimmer.

The US State Department said it was aware of the request.

Ryan Lochte flew out of Brazil after the Games before he could be questioned about the alleged false claim.

The swimmer initially claimed that he and three fellow athletes were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic village from a party.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

However, the police say Ryan Lochte made up the story and officers produced video evidence that the group were actually challenged by security guards after they had vandalized a gas station toilet.

Ryan Lochte, 32, has admitted he was drunk and apologized, but he now has to decide whether or not to return to Brazil to defend the charges.

The crime faces a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and the swimmer can be tried in his absence.

However, it is understood that if Ryan Lochte did attend the hearing he could agree to pay a fine like fellow swimmer Jimmy Feigen, who was with him during the incident.

Jimmy Feigen agreed to donate nearly $11,000 to a Brazilian charity to resolve the case.

The US and Brazil have an extradition treaty which Brazil has flouted in the past. US authorities could take the same stance if Ryan Lochte is found guilty.

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US Soccer has suspended goalkeeper Hope Solo for six months for describing Olympic opponents Sweden as “a bunch of cowards”

Hope Solo, 35, was speaking after Sweden knocked her side out of Rio 2016 in the quarter-finals, winning 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Sweden lost 2-1 to Germany in the Olympic final.

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said Hope Solo’s comments were “unacceptable”.

World Cup winner Hope Solo wrote on her Facebook page that she was “saddened” by the decision.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things,” the goalkeeper added.

Hope Solo will not be eligible for selection until February.

US Soccer has only announced two matches in that period, against Thailand and the Netherlands next month.

Hope Solo could miss several games once the team’s fixture list is finalized – they played 14 games in the same six months of the 2015-2016 season.

Last year, Hope Solo was suspended for 30 days following an incident during a training camp.

Media reports claimed Hope Solo was in the car when husband Jerramy Stevens was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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Speedo, Ralph Lauren and other two sponsors have dropped Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte following Rio Olympics scandal.

They were followed by announcements from skin care company Syneron-Candela and Japanese mattress maker Airweave.

The move comes after Ryan Lochte, 32, lied about being robbed at gunpoint by a policeman after a night out during the Rio Olympics.

Ryan Lochte, a 12-time Olympic gold medalist, has earned millions of dollars through endorsements.

Speedo, the biggest sponsor of the four, said: “We cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.”

Ryan Lochte said he respected Speedo’s decision, and thanked the company.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

“I am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years,” the swimmer said.

Ralph Lauren, which has removed some of Ryan Lochte’s images from its website, said its sponsorship of the swimmer had been only for the Rio Games and would not be renewed.

Airweave and Ralph Lauren both stressed that they would continue their support of the US Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Syneron-Candela said: “We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners.”

Speedo said it would donate a $50,000 portion of Ryan Lochte’s sponsorship fee to the charity Save The Children’s Brazilian operation.

The value of Ryan Lochte’s Speedo sponsorship has not been disclosed. The contract reportedly expires this year after 10 years.

Forbes magazine calculated that in the year of the 2012 London Olympics, Ryan Lochte earned about $2 million in sponsorships from companies such as Gillette, Nissan, AT&T and Gatorade.

Ryan Lochte’s performance at Rio did not reach the heights of his London triumph, but Forbes estimated the athlete’s endorsements would still have been between $1 million-$2 million.

The saga started when Ryan Lochte and three team-mates returned to the Olympic village after a late night out in Rio.

They tried, unsuccessfully, to use the locked toilet at a garage and urinated outside instead.

After first claiming that Ryan Lochte and his three team-mates had been robbed by bogus policemen, Lochte back-tracked and admitted he had, while still drunk, “left details out” and “over-exaggerated some parts of the story”.

Despite the evidence against him, including CCTV footage, he has however denied that he actually lied in his initial account to Brazilian police.

Ryan Lochte’s behavior has been met with disdain in the US and he has been widely pilloried in the US media.

On August 19, the New York Post carried a front-page headline describing him as the “Ugly American”, along with the slogan “Liar, Liar, Speedo on fire”.

Ryan Lochte is one of the most successful swimmers in history, with 12 Olympic medals, and he once had his own reality TV show.

In Rio, Ryan Lochte swam in two events, winning a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay along with team-mate Jack Conger.

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The Rio Olympics closed with a spectacular carnival-inspired ceremony, and the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo.

The Maracana stadium was turned into a street carnival as the ceremony celebrated Brazil’s art, music and dance.

The colorful ceremony lasted almost three hours.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

The highlights included human formations of iconic Rio landmarks Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.

The Olympic flame was extinguished by a rain shower, which then gave life to a large tree sculpture to symbolize rebirth.

The ceremony featured the symbolic handover of the Olympic flag. Rio mayor Eduardo Paes returned it to IOC President Thomas Bach, before it was passed to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.

IOC President Thomas Bach officially closed the Games of the 31st Olympiad after 16 days of competition, featuring 11,303 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team.

One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium.

The closing ceremony, watched by billions around the world, featured the parade of athletes and concluded with a confetti and firework show.

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Ryan Lochte has said sorry to Brazilians after “over-exaggerating” claims he was robbed at gunpoint while at the Rio Olympics.

The Olympic swimmer had claimed that he and a group of three other US swimmers had been robbed at a gas station.

However, CCTV footage contradicted Ryan Lochte’s story, showing the men had vandalized the gas station.

Ryan Lochte told Globo TV, Brazil’s largest broadcaster, that he had not lied over what happened.

“I wasn’t lying to a certain extent,” he said.

Photo Globo TV

Photo Globo TV

“I over-exaggerated what was happening to me.”

He added that he was sorry, saying: “Brazil doesn’t deserve that.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident and the four swimmers’ behavior.

News of the alleged robbery emerged through Ryan Lochte’s mother on August 14.

Ryan Lochte then gave an account of the events, saying he and the other swimmers were returning by cab from a club in the early hours of the morning when they were robbed at gunpoint by men who forced the vehicle to pull over.

However, Brazilian police said a day later that there were inconsistencies in the men’s accounts.

On August 17, two of the swimmers, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were taken off a US-bound plane at Rio de Janeiro airport and questioned by police.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were eventually allowed to leave Brazil. Another swimmer, Jimmy Feigen agreed to pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity after the incident.

On August 19, Jack Conger said in a statement that Ryan Lochte had pulled a metal advertisement in a frame to the ground, but Conger said he was “unsure why”.

Jack Conger also said Ryan Lochte began yelling at guards for an unknown reason. The men then agreed to pay the guards for the damage.

Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes had told media he felt nothing but “shame and contempt” towards the athletes for their portrayal of what happened.

In a separate interview with NBC, part of which also aired on August 20, Ryan Lochte said he felt “hurt” watching footage of his team-mates being taken off their plane.

Ryan Lochte had already returned to the US from Brazil.

“I mean, I let my team down and you know, I don’t want them to think I left them out to dry,” he said.

However, Ryan Lochte maintained the men were threatened and made to pay: “Whether you call it a robbery or whether you call it extortion or us just paying for the damages, we don’t know. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”

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The US Olympic Committee (USOC) has issued an apology for what it called the unacceptable behavior of four swimmers who falsely said they had been robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian police questioned three of the gold medal winners and say “they were not victims of the crimes they claimed”.

Two of the four – Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger – were allowed to fly out of Rio on August 18.

Ryan Lochte had already left, and James Feigen remains in Brazil.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger had been taken off a plane at Rio airport on August 17 and taken for questioning.

Ryan Lochte had initially said the four were robbed at gunpoint when they were returning by cab from a club.

However, Rio’s civil police head Fernando Veloso said the four Olympic gold medalists had not been robbed.

“No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed,” he said.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Fernando Velosi told reporters that one or more of the swimmers had instead vandalized a toilet in a petrol station and then offered to pay for the damage.

The athletes paid and left after armed security guards intervened, he said.

One guard had justifiably drawn his gun after one of the Americans began behaving erratically, Fernando Veloso added.

He warned that the medalists, who had repeatedly changed their accounts of what happened, could “in theory” face charges of giving false testimony and vandalism.

However, on August 18, the swimmers’ lawyer Sergio Riera said Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger had been allowed to leave Brazil by a special Olympic court.

“They are on their way to the airport,” Sergio Riera said.

However, James Feigen remains in Brazil.

James Feigen “provided a revised statement this evening [August 18] with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible,” said the USOC.

The USOC statement confirmed the version of events given by Fernando Veloso, and added that “the behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA”.

Earlier, Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada had tried to make light of the case saying: “These kids tried to have fun, they tried to represent their country to the best of their abilities.

“They competed under gigantic pressure. Let’s give these kids a break. Sometime you take actions that you later regret.

“They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.”

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Four Olympic swimmers from Team USA, who said they had been robbed in Rio de Janeiro, were not victims of crime, the head of the city’s civil police has said.

Fernando Veloso told reporters that one or more of the men had committed an act of vandalism at a petrol station and then offered to pay for the damage.

The Americans paid and left after armed security guards intervened, he said.

One guard had drawn his gun after one of the swimmers began behaving erratically, Fernando Veloso added.

Three of the swimmers, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen, remain in Brazil and are being questioned by police. The fourth, gold medalist Ryan Lochte, returned to the United States on August 15.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were taken off a US-bound plane at Rio de Janeiro airport on August 17 and were seen entering a Rio police station for questioning on August 18.

According to police, the swimmers invented a story about a robbery to disguise a dispute over a damaged bathroom door at the petrol station.

The men, who have repeatedly changed their accounts of what happened, could “in theory” face charges of giving false testimony and vandalism, Fernando Veloso said.

“We are dealing with important public figures who influence others and should know how to comport themselves,” he told reporters during a news conference at Rio police HQ.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

The people of Rio de Janeiro were unhappy to see the reputation of their city damaged, Fernando Veloso said, adding: “An apology would be welcomed.”

Video from CCTV appears to show the athletes being detained and ordered to sit on the ground.

Ryan Lochte admitted on August 17 to some inaccuracies in his original account of being robbed at gunpoint in the early hours of Sunday, but vehemently denied making the story up.

“I wouldn’t make up a story like this nor would the others – as a matter of fact we all feel it makes us look bad,” he told NBC.

Accounts of what happened to the swimmers have been confusing from the beginning.

News of the incident emerged after Ryan Lochte’s mother told US media about it.

Ryan Lochte himself gave an initial account of the events to NBC on August 14, saying he and the other swimmers had been in a cab returning from a club in the early hours when they were pulled over by men wearing police badges.

He said they had pulled a gun and told the swimmers to get on the ground. “I refused… and then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead…”

Ryan Lochte has since slightly altered his account, telling NBC on August 17 that the cab had not been asked to pull over – they had been robbed while making a stop at a petrol station – and he said the gun had not been pointed directly at his forehead.

He called the inconsistencies a “traumatic mischaracterization” caused by the stress of the incident.

Police and the judge investigating the case found inconsistencies in the men’s accounts.

CCTV footage of their return to the athletes’ village appears to show the swimmers laughing and joking, and handing over their wallets, phones and accreditation, as they go through the security screens. The judge said they had not shown signs of being affected by a robbery.

Ryan Lochte is one of the most successful swimmers in history, with 12 Olympic medals, and he once had his own reality TV show in the US. In Rio, he swam in two events, winning gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

James Feigen won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Gunnar Bentz competed in the 4x200m preliminaries, but not the final. He still received a gold medal after the US team’s win.

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Bahamas runner Shaunae Miller won a dramatic gold medal in the women’s 400m final at the 2016 Rio Olympics after she stumbled and then dived across the finish line.

Shaunae Miller, 22, edged out American world champion Allyson Felix, 30, to win in 49.44 seconds.

Allyson Felix took silver in 49.51 seconds with Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson third.

Photo USA Today

Photo USA Today

“I don’t know what happened,” said Shaunae Miller, who finished second to Allyson Felix at the World Championships in Beijing in 2015.

“My mind just went blank. I heard my mom screaming. When I heard her screaming, I was like, <<OK, I had to have won the race>>. “

“The only thing I was thinking was the gold medal and the next thing I know I was on the ground,” Shaunae Miller said.

“It was just a reaction.”

She added: “I’ve never done it before. I have cuts and bruises, a few burns.”

Shaunae Miller’s coach, Lance Brauman, added: “She gave everything she had and her legs gave out at the line. It was not intentional.”

Allyson Felix, who won the 200m at London 2012 and has three relay gold medals, now has seven Olympic medals in total – more than any other woman in US history.

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Chinese Olympic diver He Zi has been surprised with a marriage proposal from her boyfriend Qin Kai while receiving a silver medal for the women’s 3-meter springboard at the Rio Olympics on August 14.

Luckily for Qin Kai, who himself won bronze in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard last week, He Zi said yes.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

“We’ve been dating for six years, but I didn’t expect him to propose today,” He Zi said.

“He said a lot of things, made a lot of promises, but I think the thing that touched me the most is I think this is the guy I can trust for the rest of my life.”

However, some viewers have suggested that Qin Kai’s shock proposal stole the limelight from He Zi’s Olympic medal.

The moment was one of the biggest trends on China’s Twitter-like Weibo service with some calling it “sweet and romantic” but others weighing in with more skepticism: “What a way to add pressure to her, having the entire world watch her as she makes such a private and life-changing decision.”

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Bulgarian athlete Silvia Danekova has tested positive for banned blood booster EPO at the Rio Olympics.

Silvia Danekova, 33, tested positive in a doping control conducted a few days after her arrival in Brazil on July 26.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The 3,000m steeplechase athlete has been temporarily suspended pending the test of her B sample.

“Unfortunately, we have a positive test,” confirmed the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, whose weightlifting team was banned from the Games for doping.

Silvia Danekova raced in the 3,000m steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012 but did not get beyond the heats.

The athletics program at the Rio Olympics will begin on August 12.

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South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-ju of South Korea and fellow North Korean Hong Un-jong posed for a selfie during the training period before the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The images of the two gymnasts have been widely praised as capturing the Olympic spirit.

North Korea and South Korea are technically still at war with each other and relations between the two countries have been more tense in recent months, with recent missile launches from Pyongyang.

Political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted: “This is why we do the Olympics.”

Ian Bremmer’s tweet was re-tweeted more than 18,000 times.

Photo Twitter

Photo Twitter

Others hailed it as the “most iconic photo” of the games.

Lee Eun-ju, 17, and 27-year-old Hong Un-jong both competed as individual qualifiers, with the games in Brazil being Lee’s first Olympics.

Hong Un-jong became North Korea’s first gymnast to win a medal at the Olympic Games when she took home the gold in vault in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Many users were quick to point out the contrasting attitudes portrayed by the South and North Korean athlete in comparison to the Lebanese Olympic Team, who allegedly refused to ride on the same bus with Israeli athletes.

According to Udi Gal, a member of Israel’s Olympic sailing team, the organizers intervened and the two teams traveled separately to “prevent an international and physical incident”, he said in a post on Facebook.

“How could they let this happen on the eve of the Olympic Games? Isn’t this the opposite of what the Olympics represents?” Udi Gal said.

Lebanon and Israel are officially at war and have no diplomatic relations.

However, they weren’t the only two countries to get off to a rocky start.

Chinese authorities clashed with Australian Olympic gold medalist Mack Horton, after he called Chinese defending champion Sun Yang a “drug cheat”.

“We think his inappropriate words greatly hurt the feelings between Chinese and Australian swimmers,” said China’s swimming team manager Xu Qi to Chinese news outlet Xinhua.

“We strongly demand an apology.”

Users on social media also quickly flooded Mack Horton’s social media with angry comments.

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Namibian Jonas Junius is the second boxer arrested by Brazilian police on suspicion of attempting to assault a maid in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic village.

The maid alleged Jonas Junius, 22, had grabbed her and tried to kiss her. The woman also accused the boxer of offering her money.

Jonas Junius is competing in the light-welterweight division.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Last week, Moroccan boxer Hassan Saada was arrested by police after allegedly assaulting two female cleaners.

A judge has ordered Hassan Saada to be detained for 15 days, pending an investigation, media reports said.

This could mean Hassan Saada is unable to take part in the Games.

Jonas Junius, Namibia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony on August 5, is scheduled to fight French boxer Hassan Anzille on August 11.

However, that could also be in doubt if he has to remain in custody.

Athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team are in Brazil to compete in 28 sports. They will be watched by a global audience of billions.

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Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy has died at the age of 90, just one day after passing the Olympic torch for the Rio Games.

Ivo Pitanguy died of a heart attack at his home in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, a spokeswoman said.

On August 5, Ivo Pitanguy had held the torch in the Rio neighborhood of Gavea, on the final leg of the Olympic relay.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

He cemented Brazil’s place as a destination for plastic surgery, giving the world the “Brazilian butt lift”.

Ivo Pitanguy first earned the respect of his fellow citizens by providing his skills free of charge to victims of a disaster.

After a huge circus tent burned hundreds of spectators in the Brazilian city of Niteroi in 1961, Ivo Pitanguy tended to disfigured victims.

Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer said in a statement: “Ivo Pitanguy dedicated his life to helping people live better.

“He will be missed.”

Trained in Paris and London, Ivo Pitanguy became a pioneer of plastic surgery in Brazil and a “cultural icon” in the “beauty-obsessed” country, Reuters writes.

Yet Ivo Pitanguy still offered his staff and services free of charge to less well-off patients one day a week, the news agency adds.

Salvador Dali painted Ivo Pitanguy and in 1999 he received one of the highest honors in Rio when a samba school used him as their theme: “The Universe of Beauty – Master Pitanguy.”

Ivo Pitanguy’s body will be cremated on August 7.

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French artistic gymnast Samir Ait Said has tragically broken his leg while performing in the vault at the Rio Olympics.

Samir Ait Said’s left leg folded beneath him as he landed badly during the men’s qualification event.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

The 26-year-old, who won gold on the rings at the 2013 European Championships, was taken off on a stretcher and acknowledged the crowd as he departed.

French team leader Corrine Moustard-Callon said: “We don’t know what happened, except it was his tibia.”

She added: “He is in the hospital with a doctor now. We will do more exams to see if it is just the bone.

“It is very difficult for the team. He was one of the friendliest on the team which is very difficult – he came to win a medal and gave everything, 200%.”

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Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games have been formally opened with a lavish and ceremony at Maracana stadium.

Broadcast to an estimated audience of three billion, the ceremony celebrated Brazil’s history, culture and natural beauty, before former marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic cauldron.

The build-up to Rio 2016 has been played out against a deep recession and political protests in Brazil.

Rio Olympic Games, the first to be held in South America, have also been disrupted by concerns over the Russian doping scandal, the Zika virus and problems with the city’s security, infrastructure and venues.

Organizers will hope the focus can now shift to the action in 28 sports, with 207 teams, after the Games of the 31st Olympiad were officially opened.

The Olympic cauldron was lit by Vanderlei De Lima, who won bronze for Brazil in the marathon at the 2004 Games after he was grappled by a spectator while leading the race.

Soccer legend Pele had ruled himself out of performing the role saying he was not in the right “physical condition”.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

With Brazil’s economy struggling, the budget for the opening ceremony was thought to be considerably less than the $50 million spent on London 2012’s extravagant display.

While Rio’s event did not match the enormous ambition of the ceremony directed by Danny Boyle four years ago, those inside the Maracana were treated to a show that mixed light displays, fireworks, dancing and music.

After a simple but emotional rendition of the Brazilian national anthem, sung and played on acoustic guitar by singer-songwriter Paulinho da Viola, video projections beamed on to the floor of the stadium explored the history of the nation.

Starting with images of micro-organisms dividing and giant sculptures of microbes – representing the beginning of life – the ceremony showed the contributions made by the nation’s indigenous peoples, by Portuguese explorers, by African slaves and by Japanese immigrants to Brazil’s history and culture.

Performers strode across projections of giant buildings, symbolizing the cities of Brazil, and a recreation of a 14-bis biplane – the invention of Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont, which first flew in 1906 – drew one of the biggest cheers of the evening as it flew out of the arena.

One of the warmest welcomes of the evening was given to a team consisting of refugee athletes – the penultimate team to enter the stadium.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said the refugee athletes were sending “a message of hope to the millions of refugees around the globe”.

The local crowd of 60,000 exploded with noise as the Brazil team, with London 2012 modern pentathlon bronze medalist Yane Marques flying the nation’s flag, emerged into the stadium to chants of “Brasil, Brasil, Brasil”.

Thomas Bach shone a positive light on the Games, despite the problems around the organization in the build-up to Rio 2016.

“These first Olympic Games from South America go from Brazil to the entire world,” he said.

“All Brazilians can be very proud tonight. With the Olympic Games as a catalyst, you have achieved in only seven years what generations before you could only dream of.

“You have transformed Rio de Janiero into a modern metropolis and made it even more beautiful. You managed this at a very difficult time in Brazilian history. We have always believed in you.”

Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman said he was “the proudest man alive”.

He added: “I am proud of my city, proud of my country. Let’s celebrate together as we work together to build the Games.”

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Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games will officially start on August 5 with the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.

Athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team are in Brazil to compete in 28 sports and be watched by a global audience of billions.

These are the Games of the 31st Olympiad but are the 28th to be held as those in 1916, 1940 and 1944 did not take place because of war.

The Olympic Games – held in South America for the first time – officially take place between August 5 and 21, but they have actually already started.

The opening ceremony is taking place on August 5 at 7.30 PM ET/PT, but the action kicked off two days ago with the women’s soccer. Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

An estimated three billion people will watch the ceremony, which has taken five years to produce and includes 300 dancers, 5,000 volunteers and 12,000 costumes.

Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen and Judi Dench are confirmed to have roles in the production before the 207 competing teams take part in the Parade of Nations.

There will be 10,500 athletes from a record 207 teams competing in Rio, including the Refugee Olympic Team, while it will be the first time Kosovo and South Sudan have taken part in the Games.

The Refugee Olympic Team will compete under the Olympic flag and has 10 members – five from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from DR Congo and one from Ethiopia.

With 554 athletes, the US has the largest Olympic team and 100m runner Etimoni Timuani is the only athlete from the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu.

The Rio Games will be the first to feature Olympians born since the year 2000 – and the youngest is 13-year-old Nepalese swimmer Gaurika Singh.

Competitions will take place across 32 venues in Rio, with football matches also scheduled for the cities of Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo.

There are 306 events in 28 Olympic sports but none are bigger than the 100m sprint final and the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.

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Moroccan boxer Hassan Saada has been detained in Brazil over allegations of assaulting two female cleaners in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic village.

The 22-year-old boxer was held on suspicion of committing the assaults on August 3, a police statement said.

Hassan Saada, who fights in the light-heavyweight category, was due to take part in his first bout on August 6.

A Brazilian judge has ordered Hassan Saada be detained for 15 days, pending an investigation, media reports said.

His detention could mean Hassan Saada is unable to take part in the Games.

Brazilian media reports quoted police as saying the boxer had pushed one of the maids against a wall and tried to kiss her.

There has been no immediate comment from Hassan Saada or Moroccan Olympic officials.

Judge Larissa Nunes Saly said the boxer must remain in detention while the allegations were investigated because of the risks he could reoffend or try to flee the country.

The 2016 Olympic Games officially start in Rio on August 5 with the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.

Athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team are in Brazil to compete in 28 sports. They will be watched by a global audience of billions.

The build-up has been dominated by a Russian doping scandal, the Zika virus and issues with the city’s security, infrastructure and venues.

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Russia will not be totally banned from Rio 2016 following the country’s doping scandal.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will leave it up to individual sports’ governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part.

The IOC decision follows a report in which Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia operated a state-sponsored doping program from 2011 to 2015.

The Rio Olympic Games start on August 5.

Russian competitors who want to take part in the Games will have to meet strict criteria laid down by the IOC.

Any Russian who has served a doping ban will not be eligible for next month’s Olympics. Track and field athletes have already been banned.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “We have set the bar to the limit by establishing a number of very strict criteria which every Russian athlete will have to fulfill if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

“I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete.”

IOC’s decision not to impose a blanket ban came after a three-hour meeting of the body’s executive board, and reaction came quickly.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko described the decision as “objective” but “very tough”, while the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) claimed the IOC had “refused to take decisive leadership”.

The 28 individual federations now have just 12 days to “carry out an individual analysis of each competitor’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of each sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field”.

The International Tennis Federation quickly confirmed on July 24 that Russia’s seven nominated tennis players meet the IOC requirements, having been subjected to “a rigorous anti-doping testing program outside Russia”.

Russia’s full Olympic team would consist of 387 competitors.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already ruled that Russian track and field athletes will not compete at the Games, a decision which was upheld on July 21 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe said: “The IAAF team are ready to offer advice to any International Sports Federations given our experience and what we have learned over the last eight months.”

World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) president Craig Reedie said previously that his organization, which commissioned the McLaren report, wanted the IOC to “decline entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes” submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees.

The IOC also confirmed it will not allow whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to compete as a neutral athlete in Rio.

Yulia Stepanova has previously failed a doping test and also did not satisfy the IOC’s “ethical requirements”.

The statement added: “The executive board would like to express its appreciation for Mrs. Stepanova’s contribution to the fight against doping and to the integrity of sport.”

The IOC was “expressing its gratitude” to Yulia Stepanova by inviting her and her husband to Rio as guests.

USADA chief Travis Tygart described the decision to exclude Yulia Stepanova as “incomprehensible”, adding it will “undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward”.

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Russia will remain banned from track and field events at this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping program.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the IAAF.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled the suspension can stand.

A handful of Russian athletes could still compete as neutrals at the Rio Games, which start on August 5.

“It’s sad but rules are rules,” said Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, who will be chasing more gold medals in Rio.

Usain Bolt said it was important to send a strong message to the dopers.

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva – one of the 68 to appeal to CAS – said the ruling was “a blatant political order”.

The 2012 gold medalist, 34, told the Tass news agency: “Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it was “pleased CAS has supported its position”, adding that the judgement had “created a level playing field for athletes”.Russia banned from Rio Olympics 2016

IAAF president Lord Coe added: “This is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing.

“Beyond Rio, the IAAF taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”

Separately, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering calls to ban all Russian competitors across all sports from the Rio Games following a second report into state-sponsored doping.

Some Russian athletes could compete in Rio as neutrals if they meet a number of criteria, including being repeatedly tested outside their homeland.

At least two – 800m runner and doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova and US-based long jumper Darya Klishina – have gone down that path.

Now the CAS ruling has cleared the way for more to follow.

CAS said the ROC could still nominate athletes to compete as neutrals. However, there appears to be little time for athletes to comply with the criteria.

Russia was suspended from track and field events by the IAAF in November 2015 following the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that showed a culture of widespread, state-sponsored doping.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko apologized for Russia’s failure to catch the cheats but stopped short of admitting the scandal had been state-sponsored.

However, another WADA-commissioned report delivered earlier this week – the McLaren report – contained more damaging allegations and suggested senior figures in Russia’s sports ministry were complicit in an organized cover-up.

The report implicated the majority of Olympic sports in the cover-up and claimed that Russian secret service agents were involved in swapping positive urine samples for clean ones.

Following July 18 publication of the McLaren report, the IOC faced calls to ban all Russian competitors from the 2016 Olympics and will hold an second emergency meeting on July 24 to decide its course of action.

The Russian authorities have already suggested that they will look at ways to continue legal action.

Following the ruling, sports minister Vitaly Mutko said CAS had set “a certain precedent” by punishing a collective group for doping offences by individuals.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The principle of collective responsibility cannot be acceptable. The news is not very good.”

Brazil has welcomed the Olympic flame for the start of a torch relay that will culminate with the opening of the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

The flame was flown inside a small lantern on a special flight from the Swiss city of Geneva to Brasilia.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch which will be carried around Brazil by 12,000 runners.

It could be one of Dilma Rousseff’s last public acts ahead of a possible impeachment trial.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on whether proceedings against the president should go ahead.Olympic torch Brazil 2016

If a simple majority votes in favor, Dilma Rousseff will be suspended from office for up to 180 days and Vice-President Michel Temer will take over.

Dilma Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts ahead of her re-election in 2014.

The Olympic torch will pass through more than 300 towns and cities from the Amazon to Brazil’s southern border, arriving at the Maracana Stadium in Rio on August 5.

Among the first torchbearers will be a Syrian refugee who now lives in Brazil.

The first torchbearer was Fabiana Claudino, who led Brazil to Olympic gold medals in women’s volleyball in the 2008 and 2012 games, and is team captain this time.

Brazilian mathematician Artur Avila Cordeiro de Melo ran the second leg.

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Greece handed over the Olympic flame to the Brazilian authorities during a ceremony in Athens.

The Olympic torch will arrive in Brazil next week and then will travel around the country ahead of the games in August.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes says the Olympic park is almost ready but there are concerns about delays to some projects.

The impeachment proceedings against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff mean there is uncertainty as to who will be in power during the Olympic Games.

Photo Yahoo News

Photo Yahoo News

Brazil’s unemployment has also risen to about 10% as the economy has contracted for the second year in a row.

Rights group Amnesty International has also criticized the number of killings by police in the city’s shantytowns, known as favelas, where residents were “living in terror”.

Officers have killed 11 people in the favelas so far this month, Amnesty said, and were behind 307 such deaths last year.

Nevertheless, the head of Rio’s organizing committee Carlos Nuzman said the city was “ready to make history” as the flame was handed over to the Brazilians.

The Olympic torch will arrive on May 3 in the capital Brasilia after a short stopover in Switzerland.

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The Olympic torch for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro has been lit in southern Greece.

Actress Katerina Lehou performing the role of high priestess lit the torch by using the sun’s rays.

The flame will be taken by various runners on an international relay that will culminate at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5.

The ritual was established 80 years ago for the Berlin Games, based on a ceremony in Ancient Olympia where games were held for more than 1,000 years.

Katerina Lehou offered a mock prayer to Apollo, the old Greek god of light and music, at April 21ceremony.

Wearing a long pleated robe, the actress knelt solemnly to the ground and lit the torch within a few seconds by using a concave mirror to catch the sunlight.

Photo NBC News

Photo NBC News

Katerina Lehou then delivered the flame to Greek world gymnastics champion Eleftherios Petrounias, the first runner in a torch relay that will conclude at the opening ceremony in Rio’s Maracana Stadium.

The chief organizer of the 2016 Olympic Games, Carlos Nuzman, promised to “deliver history”. He said the Olympics would unite Brazil, which is beset by political and economic crises.

“[The torch lighting] brings a message that can and will unite our dear Brazil, a country that is suffering much more than it deserves in its quest for a brighter future,” Carlos Nuzman said in his speech.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was forced to cancel her trip to ancient Olympia because of the impeachment threat she faces.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said the flame was “a timeless reminder that we are all part of the same humanity” despite the difficulties that Brazil is facing.

“Rio de Janeiro… will provide a spectacle to showcase the best of the human spirit. In just a few weeks the Brazilian people will enthusiastically welcome the world and amaze us with their joy of life and their passion for sport,” Thomas Bach said.

Before the flame arrives in South America it will begin a six-day relay across Greece, passing through the town of Marathon – which gave its name to the long distance race – as well as a camp for refugees and migrants in Athens, the International Olympic Committee has said.

The torch is due to arrive in Brazil on May 3 for a relay across the country, traveling through hundreds of cities and villages in every Brazilian state.

The Olympic torch will be carried by about 12,000 bearers.

Two more senior Brazilian officials have stepped down in the latest blow to President Dilma Rousseff’s government.

They are Sports Minister George Hilton and Col. Adilson Moreira, who was organizing security at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Col. Adilson Moreira reportedly wrote that he was ashamed Brazil was being led by “an unscrupulous group”.

The resignations come as President Dilma Rousseff battles for her government’s survival in an impeachment process.

Col. Adilson Moreira led the National Force for Public Security, whose members will guard sporting venues during the Olympics.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Brazilian media reported the colonel had sent an email to his colleagues criticizing President Dilma Rousseff and other senior officials.

Brazilian officials said the planning for the Olympic Games would not be affected by Col. Adilson Moreira’s and George Hilton’s resignations.

Dilma Rousseff’s supporters marched on March 31 in a number of Brazilian cities to show their opposition to the impeachment proceedings.

On March 28, Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves handed in his letter of resignation, pre-empting his PMDB party’s split from the governing coalition.

The PMDB was the largest partner in the governing coalition and its exit could deprive Dilma Rousseff of crucial votes she needs to block impeachment proceedings against her.

Dilma Rousseff is expected to announce sweeping changes to her cabinet on April 1 to replace up to seven ministers from the PMDB party.

The president’s critics say she is trying to buy the votes of smaller parties by offering them posts in the cabinet.

Congress is expected to start voting next month on whether to remove Dilma Rousseff from office over allegations that she manipulated accounts to hide a growing deficit.

If 172 out of the 513 members of the lower house of Congress vote against Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, the proceedings will be shelved.

However, if 342 members vote for it, President Dilma Rousseff will be suspended for 180 days and Vice-President Michel Temer of the PMDB party will become interim president.

The impeachment would then by reviewed by the upper house, the Senate, and a final decision be taken in October.

Dilma Rousseff has denied any wrongdoing and has likened the moves to impeach her to an attempted coup.

Separately, ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues to be investigated as part of a corruption case involving the state-run oil company Petrobras.

On March 31, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was handed a boost as Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled it would take over the case.

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Kobe Bryant has said he would love to represent the US at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 37-year-old LA Lakers star, regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, announced this week he would retire at the end of the NBA season.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been hindered by injuries in recent seasons but said he would “love to play” in Rio if fit enough.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

“If my body can’t do it, there’s no sense doing it,” Kobe Bryant said.

The five-time NBA champion has scored 32,734 points during a 20-year career with the Lakers to rank third on the NBA’s all-time list.

Kobe Bryant, who won gold with the US team in 2008 and 2012, told ESPN Radio: “I would love nothing more than to be in an international environment and be around some of the other great athletes one more time.”

Should the Lakers fail to make the end-of-season play-offs, Kobe Bryant’s final game is set to be at home against Utah on April 13. The Olympics will be held four months later, between August 5 and 21.

Kobe Bryant is one of 34 players in the US men’s national team pool, from which only 12 can be selected for Rio.