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Argos lose Ray for 3-6 weeks with sprained knee

FBO CFL Alouettes Argonauts 20160725

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray will miss the next three to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament.

CBC.ca

'Sport needs me,' says Bolt

Whatever controversy is raging in the Olympic world there's one constant: Usain Bolt's bravado and self-confidence.

It's what is expected from the world's fastest man and greatest showman.

"I know the sport needs me to win - and come out on top," Bolt asserts, assessing the damage caused by the Russian doping scandal that has divided sports leaders.

As for his pursuit of a treble Olympic treble next month, Bolt adamantly responds: "I'm not going to lose one of the golds, for sure."

In his last lengthy media appointment before heading to Rio de Janeiro, Bolt spent around two hours over a Jamaican lunch last week in London, discussing his Olympic challenge prospects and the challenges of life.

When letting his guard down does Bolt sounded less invincible. Weighing on the Jamaican sprinter's mind is the fear of hitting 30 next month, the toll of injuries - and even being caught up in an extremist attack.

"It is scary," said Bolt, adopting a rare subdued tone. "But if you live scared, you don't live at all. So I try to live my life to the fullest and when it's my time, it's my time."

Bolt recalls being in Munich as news emerged of the truck attack in the French city of Nice on Bastille Day - July 14 - that killed 84 people. Munich was itself the scene of bloodshed last week with a teenager shot dead nine people.

Bolt usually goes to Munich every three months to visit his doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.

"Especially at the start of last year I noticed that injuries take a little bit more time to get back to where you want to be," Bolt said. "My coach always tells me that the older you get it's going to get harder, and you have to push yourself."

But coach Glenn Mills also offered him comforting reassurance Bolt still craves, despite being the 100- and 200-meter world record holder.

Bolt remembers Mills telling him "don't worry you're a champ" at the world championships last year.

It was "one of the roughest years," Bolt said, explaining how his back issue "has really deteriorated over the years."

Bolt's preparations for the defence of his Olympic titles (100, 200 and 4X100-meter relay) have been far from smooth, with a hamstring injury forcing him out of the Jamaican trials.

"I always have little doubts in my mind," Bolt said in a restaurant overlooking London's St. Paul's Cathedral. "But I'm focused and ready to go."

Unlike many of the world's top golfers, who have snubbed the chance to go to their first Olympics.

"I guess it's not as important to them as it is to us who have been competing over the years," Bolt said. "It surprised me when I heard that golf was going to be in the Olympics. There are a few sports in the Olympics that make me go 'Argh.'"

The Olympics are unquestionably the pinnacle of track and field. But providing the spectacle desired is proving difficult for the men.

"This year is one of the poorest I have ever seen as an Olympic (field) for men really - the women have really shown more promise running fast times," Bolt said. "(The men) have really unperformed this season, but I'm sure when we get to the Olympics it won't be like that."

Bolt expects Rio to be his last Olympics, but he still dangles the possibility of a trip to Tokyo.

"My coach always says 'Usain you can always go on to the 2020 Olympics if you want,'" Bolt said. "So this is why he tells me to stop talking about retirement and just take it a year at a time."

The power of athletics in attracting big audiences would be more difficult without its global superstar.

"People always say to me, 'Usain when you leave the sport, the sport is going to go down,'" Bolt said. "But I'm not going to look at it like that. There are a lot of athletes stepping up."

Plans to overhaul the sport and make it more exciting have been sidetracked by the Russian doping scandal.

The vast majority of the Russian athletes who will miss the Rio Games are are in track and field, where 67 of its 68 athletes were ruled out when a ban on the Russian team was upheld at the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week.

Sebastian Coe, head of track and field's governing body, has to deal with that.

But Coe is also the man tasked with making track and field "more exciting," as Bolt explains.

"I'm assuming Seb Coe has a plan," said Bolt, who advocates more street races. "Over time with different ideas, and the athletes that are coming up, the sport will stay current. It will take a while but I think it will get back to its former glory when I walk away."

Unless he decides to continue, Bolt's glory era is due to end after the 2017 world championships in London.

He is absolutely certain he will be greatly missed.

"In football you have the debate who is the best footballer, but no one can debate who the fastest man in the world is," Bolt said. "It's going to be a long time, I think, before somebody comes who will be as talented as me to break my records."



No headgear for boxers

Although Antonio Vargas still thinks about the cut that nearly ended his Olympic dream, his unprotected head will be clear when he steps into the ring in Rio de Janeiro.

Vargas grew up sparring and competing in protective headgear, so he had never been cut in a fight before his face split open in that bloody loss at the U.S. Olympic team trials seven months ago. The gifted flyweight from Florida had to fight his way back through the challengers' bracket, surviving to earn a spot on the team.

Cuts haven't been a major concern in Olympic boxing since 1980, but they will be a constant danger in Rio, where the 250 male fighters will box without headgear for the first time since Moscow.

Fighters have had three years to adjust to the change, and they've adapted with the same tenacity that made them boxers in the first place.

"I'm always going to do what I have to do," Vargas said. "I don't think it's really changed my style. I'll still have the same style going into the Olympics. I just have to be careful."

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) made a highly visible alteration to its sport when it removed the headgear ahead of the 2013 world championships. Many fighters are excited for fans to see a sport that looks more like the pros, but the move is still criticized by other fighters and coaches who believe safety has been made secondary to appearance, particularly because of the high potential for cuts in a short, multi-fight tournament.

"I don't think it was a good idea, taking off the headgear, because we're still amateur," U.S. light flyweight Nico Hernandez said. "I got cut on both eyes before. I got stitches and stuff from head-butts. I just don't think it's as safe for the amateur boxers. But I also like it, because you can have more peripheral vision and you don't get as hot. I've had a lot of fights without now, so I'm used to it."

The bulky protective pads were placed on Olympic fighters' heads in 1984 because organizers wanted to improve safety, and they've been pulled off the fighters heading to Rio for ostensibly the same reason.

In its lengthy quest to become a professional boxing promoter with control over the Olympics , AIBA went to great lengths to establish a scientific backing for its decision to drop headgear. The IOC also cited research to support the notion that the bulky head guards reduced the number of knockouts and stoppages, thereby reducing concussions.

Their conclusions have been disputed by other scientists and fighters alike, but the benefits of removing headgear go beyond any concussion data in an inherently dangerous sport: Quite simply, the removal of headgear allows television audiences to see the fighters' faces.

Billy Walsh competed in headgear for his native Ireland at the 1988 Seoul Olympics before becoming one of the amateur sport's foremost teachers. The new U.S. coach has adjusted his instructions under the new rules.

"Without the headgear, we've now got to be a bit more mobile, a bit more flexible, a bit more careful of heads," Walsh said. "We've got to be a bit more elusive. With headgear, we just locked up. We've had to adapt some skills and techniques, but we've adapted similar stuff we would have been teaching when they had headgear. We all have to adapt."

AIBA's changes are expected to continue after Rio, too. Women's boxing kept the headgear for its second Olympic tournament because AIBA says it doesn't have enough concussion data on women, but most female fighters expect AIBA to remove their headgear next year. The male boxers are still wearing tank tops in the ring in another holdover from the sport's amateur days, but those are likely to be removed soon as well.

Hernandez is among dozens of top Olympians who got experience without headgear by participating in World Series of Boxing, one of two professional leagues launched by AIBA. The WSB fighters have five-round fights that largely resemble pro bouts.

Even fighters who don't agree with the science of the decision credit AIBA for attempting to improve their sport's marketability, and the governing body has conducted a lengthy campaign to persuade boxers to fight without the in-close, head-butting style that could ruin the tournament.

Most of the American fighters also plan to turn pro shortly after the Olympics, so the absence of headgear gives them a head start on the process.

But all fighters in Rio will have to be careful with the knowledge that one cut could end their Olympics.

"With no headgear, at first I was nervous, and I didn't really want to do it," 18-year-old U.S. middleweight Charles Conwell said. "But when I got in there, it was the same, basically. You just have to worry about cuts and head-butts. I'm less worried now, because I've got more experience with it. I know the dos and don'ts of not having headgear on. So I'm going to adjust, because I know there's going to be some dirty things that are going to happen out there."



Bouchard feels 'l'amour' after battling to 1st-round win

TEN Rogers Cup Womens 20160726

Eugenie Bouchard thrilled her hometown crowd with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3) victory over Lucie Safarova in the opening round of the US$2.4 million women's Rogers Cup on Tuesday.

CBC.ca

Pospisil advances at Rogers Cup after injury forces Chardy out

TEN Rogers Cup Mens 20160726

Canada's Vasek Pospisil defeated Jeremy Chardy in first-round action at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday night after the Frenchman retired following a right foot injury.

CBC.ca

Canadian women's soccer team touches down on Rio

canadian womens soccer

With 10 days to go until the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Canada's soccer women have touched down in Rio. They were one of the first Canadian teams to move into the Athletes' Village.

CBC.ca

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Cuts concern for Olympic boxers fighting without headgear

BOX OLY Trials 20151209

Cuts haven't been a major concern in Olympic boxing since the 1980 Moscow Games, but they will be a constant danger in Rio where the 250 male fighters will box without headgear for the first time in 36 years.

CBC.ca

A breakdown of Team Canada's Olympic team

amy-millar-1180

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced the 313 athletes that will represent Canada at Rio 2016. CBC Sports breaks down some of the numbers.

CBC.ca

Usain Bolt: Track and field 'needs me to win' at Rio Olympics

Bolt-Usain-07222016

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt announced on Tuesday that "the sport needs me to win — and come out on top" in assessing the damage caused by the Russian doping scandal that has divided sports leaders.

CBC.ca

Federer out for Olympics, season with knee injury

Roger-Federer

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the upcoming Rio Olympics and will miss the rest of the season to rehab his injured knee.

CBC.ca

Why a full Olympic ban on Russia never had a chance

lesun-aleksander-1180

In the wake of the latest investigation into widespread, state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes, many figured the IOC had a slam-dunk decision on its hands. But banning an entire country from the Olympics would have been easier said than done.

CBC.ca

2-time Olympic archer Crispin Duenas on perfection

duenas-crispin-111022-1180

A lifelong perfectionist, Canadian archer Crispin Duenas will shoot for a podium finish in Rio, his third Summer Olympics. CBCSports.ca talked to Duenas about learning to be the best he could be at a young age and the misconceptions about archery.

CBC.ca



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