herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Carrzone: Pollution issues still a threat to health of athletes at Rio

Behind the sports headlines

Aerial view of
Aerial view of "Nacra 17" sailboats during a training session on Guanabara Bay
Ronda Rousey

When awarded the 2016 Games, Rio claimed that cleaning the polluted waters locally would be the legacy of the Olympics.

In April, this column reported massive fish die-offs around Rodrigo de Freitas lake where Olympic rowing and canoeing events will be held next year. Guanabara Bay (pictured), the location for sailing events, remains polluted with raw human sewage and recent analysis of the water reveals not just bacteria but also dangerously high levels of viruses.

Competitors who've been training in Rio have been contracting illnesses. With 12 months to go, the governor of Rio has co-opted Brazilian universities to develop a plan for an environmental clean-up.

Meanwhile, concerns are being expressed at Beijing being granted the Winter Olympics 2022 by 44 to 40 votes, despite the fact that the area is relatively warm in winter with "minimal annual snowfall."

The organisers will have to supply manufactured snow for the competitions, which competitors claim impacts negatively on performance.

 

Rowdy Rousey says she wants to headline with McGregor

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Paramount Pictures are planning a bio-pic of UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (pictured), who took just 34 seconds to retain her title against Brazil's Bethe Correia on Saturday.

Following her win, Rousey (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) said she'd like to co-headline on Conor McGregor's featherweight title unification fight with Jose Aldo, a bout that's planned for December.

This is music to the ears of UFC boss Dana White who knows this superstar bill is already being touted as the biggest-ever UFC event. Rousey's next opponent is likely to be Miesha Tate (28), a challenger she defeated in 2012 and 2013.

"I'm a better athlete now and I can take a punch," says Tate, who's since defeated three of the top ten in the division. "I want to show I can be the best in the world."

The latest fighter to call out McGregor is TJ Dillashaw, a team-mate of the Dubliner's last opponent Chad Mendes. Dillashaw says of McGregor, "Mendes showed the holes in his game.

"He's definitely going to get beat."

 

Credibility of sport goes flat thanks to latest positive test

With Chris Froome (Team Sky) insisting that all Grand Tour winners should be subjected to the same level of doping scrutiny as he's experienced while winning his second Tour de France, it's been revealed that American cyclist Tom Danielson (Cannondale Garmin) has tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

He's currently waiting for the results of a B sample. Danielson, who had earlier been banned for six months for doping, was the highest-placed American in the Tour de France in 2011 and was the favourite to win the current Tour of Utah.

A critic of doping culture, rider Ben Jacques-Mayne, who was first in the mountains in last year's USA Pro Cycling Challenge, is one who feels cheated. "He and I started our professional cycling in 2002," he says. "You can see the trajectory that his career has taken compared to mine. Maybe this is why."

 

Will Van Gaal surprise us?

What happened to the surprise signing Louis van Gaal promised Manchester United supporters? The biggest surprise imaginable would be to see Cristiano Ronaldo back at Old Trafford but if van Gaal could persuade Real Madrid to part with Gareth Bale for a reported offer of €143m that would rank as a shock. "Everything is well and he's going to have a good season with us I'm sure," said Real manager Rafa Benitez.

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