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Audio: Sully previews Opening Ceremony

The News' Jerry Sullivan is providing audio updates as he covers the Olympic Games in London.

In today's segment with News Sports Editor Lisa Wilson, Sully looks forward to tonight's gala.

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Live Chat Today

LONDON -- I'm hoping to chat live for an hour or so from the Olympic Stadium today at 1 p.m. EST (6 p.m. here in London). That assumes, of course, that I can surmount any logistical problems that arise at the Stadium. Security figures to be tight, but I plan on leaving the Main Press Center on a shuttle bus at around 4:30 p.m. my time.

So I'll look forward to chatting then. I assume you have a lot of questions about the Olympics. But as always, the forum is open to Bills, Sabres, baseball and, of course, politics. Does Mitt Romney ever think twice before opening his mouth?

Kaminski, USA men fourth in archery ranking round

LONDON -- The U.S. men's archery team had high hopes coming into this Olympics. They were ranked No. 1 in the world indoors and had their sights on winning the team gold medal for the first time since the 1996 Games. Elma native Jake Kaminski considered his squad the best in the world.

But evidently, the South Koreans will have something to say about that. The Korean men dominated Friday morning's Ranking Round at Lord's Cricket Round, setting individual and team world records to qualify first by a wide margin for Saturday's team medal-round competition. The U.S. finished fourth.

Im Dong-hyun, who is legally blind, broke his own 72-arrow record by scoring 699. The three-man Korean team set a world record with 2,087 points, making 145 gold hits (the center bullseye) along the way. Kim Bubmin finished a point behind with 698 points, also better than the old world record. Oh Jin Hyek, the third Korean, shot a 690, the third-highest of the ranking round.

American Brady Ellison, ranked No. 1 in the world,  rallied from a slow start to finish with 676 points, 10th overall. Jacob Wukie of the U.S. was 13th with 673 points. Kaminski scored 335 in both halves to finish 18th among the men with 670 points.

France finished second with 2,021 points. China had 2,019 points, the same as the U.S. team, but took the third ranking with one more 10 score (the inner bullseye). All four earned a bye into Saturday's quarterfinals, which begin at 3 p.m. at Lord's Cricket Ground. The U.S. meets the winner of the Japan-India prequarterfinal.

The U.S. men are attempting to win team gold for the first time since 1996. They have not medaled since the 2000 Games. The team archery medals will be the first awarded at the London Olympics.

 

Come On, Jacques

LONDON -- It's been clear over the years that IOC presidents don't like common folk telling them what to do. But Jacques Rogge, the current IOC prez, showed a lack of vision by refusing a request by widows of the 1972 Munich massacre to observe a moment of silence at Friday's Opening Ceremonies. 

Widows of two of the 11 Israelis who were murdered by terrorists in Munich made their appeal in person to Rogge on Wednesday. The women brought a petition that had been signed by more than 100,000 people. Rogge, who had denied a request earlier, did so again.

“We are outraged by the denial of the request, which comes not only from us but from so many people around the world,” Ankie Spitzer, one of the two widows, said in a statement. “Our husbands were murdered at the Olympics in Munich. To observe a minute of silence in their memory would let the world know where the IOC stands in the fight against terrorism.”

In a small Monday ceremony, Rogge observed a minute of silence in memory of the Israelis.The widows feel he could do more. They're right. How difficult would it be to take one minute out of a ceremony of more than three hours to honor this request? These women have suffered for 40 years. It's a powerful thing to know they still feel this strongly 40 years later. Rogge should have deferred to them.

President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have voiced their support for the cause. The organizers are asking attendees to stand for their own moment of silence Friday night when Rogge begins his speech. The IOC discourages political statements at the Games. But Rogge could have defused this by giving the widows their moment of silence. Instead, he is allowed a political issue to linger and possibly take away from a hotly anticipated Opening Ceremony.

You know what would be great? If Paul McCartney asked for a moment of silence for the Munich victims before singing Friday night.

 

Audio: Sully on events he is looking forward to in London

The News' Jerry Sullivan is providing frequent audio updates as he covers the Olympic Games in London.

During today's segment with News Sports Editor Lisa Wilson, Sully discusses his interview with U.S. flag bearer Mariel Zagunis, as well as the events he is most looking forward to covering:


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Audio: Sully checks in from London

The News' Jerry Sullivan will be providing frequent audio updates as he covers the Olympic Games in London.

During today's segment, he discusses what he has seen in London and rehashes and encounter with a Latvian producer who was happy to talk about new Sabre Zemgus Girgensons:


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Hockey On The Thames

LONDON -- It seems you can't even go to England without getting involved in a spirited discussion about the Sabres.

Wednesday morning, I took a subway ride down to Westminster to check out the Parliament Buildings and Buckingham Palace. After taking an admiring look up at Big Ben, I walked onto the nearby Westminster Bridge above the Thames River. I saw a person with a media credential setting up an interview on the bridge. When I saw "Latvia" on his badge, I struck up a conversation.

Armands Tripans, who works in production for a Latvian TV station, positively gushed when I asked him about Zemgus Girgensons, who was recently taken by the Sabres with the 14th pick of the NHL draft. Tripans said Girgensons wasn't a big celebrity in his home nation until the draft. But that changed when he became the highest NHL pick in this history of a hockey-mad nation.

"This is huge," Tripans said. "We had Arturs Irbe and Sandis Ozolinsh (Latvians who had successful NHL careers). Now, Girgensons is above them, because he was drafted higher than any Latvian player."

Tripans said he has gotten to know Girgensons and found him remarkably well-grounded for an 18-year-old.  He said Girgensons doesn't seem driven by money or fame, but by his love for hockey, which is extremely popular in the Baltic nation of 2 million people.

"He is so different," Tripans said. "So honest and committed to community and the game of hockey. In my country, hockey is everything."

Tripans said the sport was elevated in Latvia by Viktor Tikhonov, the former head coach of the Soviet national team during its dominance. "Hockey was so down," Tripans said. "It was like Frisbee. Tikhonov came with new ideas and brought the whole country up."

Girgensons, who signed a three-year contract with the Sabres rather than play in college, is the latest manifestation of the rise of Latvian hockey. Sabres fans will love to hear the new kid described in such glowing terms, as a player who honors the sport and has the right emotional makeup.

And when Tripans described the hockey culture in his home country, it sounded awfully familiar. He seemed to be describing Buffalo.

Review live chat

I'll be chatting live from the News today at 1 p.m. It will be a print only chat. Tim Graham is on assignment. Next week, I'm on vacation and the following week I'll be leaving for the Olympics in London. I hope to chat regularly during the Games, technology permitting.

For the record, I oppose the Bills' decision to opt out of the NFL's  new policy on blackouts. I've been saying for years that the blackouts are a joke, a dinosaur policy by a league awash in profit. I don't care what the Bills say. They're a highly profitable franchise and could afford to ease the blackout restrictions for their loyal fans. Boo to them.

Jenn Jumps Again

Evidently, Jenn Suhr is recovering nicely from the quad injury that hampered her at the Olympic Trials. Last weekend, Suhr cleared 15-10 at the Gill Field Fest in Champaign, Ill, giving her the best women's vault in the world this year. Two weeks earlier, while nursing a Grade 2 tear of her right quadriceps, Suhr had won the Trials and a return trip to the Olympics with a jump of 15 feet, 1 inch.

"I feel pretty good," Suhr said Monday by phone from her home near Rochester. "I took a full run in (Champaign). I wasn't used to running at that speed. I was healthy and running faster than normal. The box looked like a blur. It was nice to open up my legs and run."

Suhr had taken a shorter run on her vault at the Trials in Eugene, Ore., two weeks earlier. She passed to 14-11 in Eugene and cleared it on her second try. After making 15-1 on her first attempt, she didn't jump again. Suhr attempted to break her American record of 16-1 1-2 in Illinois, but didn't succeed.

Rick Suhr, her husband and coach, said Jenn is 95 percent healthy and will be ready for the Games in London. The women's pole vault qualifying will be held on Aug. 4 in London. The finals are Aug. 6.

"We're on target," Rick Suhr said. "She's almost healed. I don't know if we'll continue to get treatment. It was the first time she took a full run since she got hurt. We're happy with it."

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