Chris Young

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Chris Young is a writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience covering a wide range of sports and news for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, including seven World Cup finals and one glorious Euro 2004.

  • Desperate times as Pacers unveil #WeTheGold riposte for Raptors

    If you can't beat 'em, copy 'em.

    That would seem to be the m.o. of the Indiana Pacers' marketing department, whose "Gold Out" playoff campaign added a little extra for the official T-shirt for Friday's Game 6, and it looks familiar -- for Raptors fans, perhaps too familiar.

    Note that "tickets available" tag. The Indy Star's Gregg Doyel has a pretty good idea who's going to be coming in for those:

    Canada is coming, Pacers fans. They're coming with their black shirts and white towels. They want to buy your tickets and watch the Raptors end your season and then parade back to Toronto to present Drake with a love offering: the Pacers' season on a stick.

    This is not going down too well with the Raptors, or at least, Patrick Patterson, whose love for The 6 is well documented.

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  • Rio de Janeiro is already in a league of its own for pre-Olympics problems

     

    The pre-Olympic narrative typically runs to tight deadlines, questions about infrastructure, slow ticket sales and much fretting and sweating.

    Then there’s Rio 2016, which with 100 days out now practically demands its own '99 Problems' remix.

    Olympic and Paralympic Games have in the past largely overcome the many concerns that precede them, delivering thrills, memories and a party (the post-Games hangover and day of reckoning is part of the cycle too), and each day brings a reminder – some pleasant, some not so much – that it’s all drawing closer.

    On Wednesday, to mark the milestone day in the Games’ ancient Greece home, the Rio OC president was handed the Olympic torch.

    Next Tuesday, it will touch down in Brasilia and begin winding its way to a host city which at this point is in ready-or-not mode, 6 1/2 years removed from

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  • For Raptors, it's going to be all about the opening minutes

    The imperatives heading into tonight’s Game 5 are pretty obvious for the Raptors:

    Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are all-stars, and have to start playing like it;

    Luis Scola’s presence in the starting lineup makes less and less sense (and while we’re on the subject, Patrick Patterson is no fan of starting);

    Make some open 3-pointers to free up the floor in particular for the two all-stars, keep JV out of foul trouble and scoring; Masai Ujiri's get out of work early slip; etc.

    Maybe the most important thing is fundamental. None of those changes will matter if the Raptors come out as soft defensively as they did starting Saturday’s Game 4 in Indianapolis, wherein the Pacers hit five of their first six shots, the last two baskets being lay-ups. They weren’t much better with the ball, and they never did make shots, but it was that lack of intensity on defence that to me was the biggest head-scratcher and the greatest indictment.

    This is the Raptors’ third trip to the playoffs in a row,

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  • Is Tom Hanks about to cash a 500,000 quid ticket?

    That Tom Hanks. What an actor.

    At Monday's opening in London of new film Hologram For a King, Hanks was lobbed a red-carpet softball question about his favourite English club Aston Villa's fall from grace and the Premier League. He promptly hit it out of the park.

    Did he or didn't he? Only his bookie knows for sure.

    Whether he's cashing or not, though, Hanks could well come off looking a little better than former England international turned pundit Gary Lineker, who vowed in December he would appear on the BBC's venerable Match of the Day highlights show in his underwear if/when the former 5,000-to-1 outsider Foxes nail down the title - which could well happen this weekend:

    "The conversation's been had," Lineker said in The Independent. "I've told them many times, 'please tell me I can't do it.'"

     

     

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  • Pinball Clemons leads Canada's Sports Hall of Fame class of 2016

    Michael (Pinball) Clemons wrote the accompanying intro nine years ago, when Doug Flutie became the first non-Canadian inductee to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

    It was Clemons' turn Tuesday. The Florida native and Toronto Argos footballer and executive who with his wife Diane officially became a Canadian citizen last year is among the Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 that will be feted Nov. 1 in Toronto.

    Along with Clemons, the inductees this year are:

    Bryan Trottier, the centre and captain of the New York Islanders team that won four successive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983, then two more Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Stephanie Dixon, a three-time Paralympian and winner of 19 medals, including seven gold, at the Sydney 2000, Athens '04 and Beijing '08 Paralympics.

    Sue Holloway, the only Canadian to represent the country in Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year. In 1976, Holloway competed in cross-country skiing at the Innsbruck Games and in canoe sprint at Montreal in the

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  • Marianne Vos proves there's no soft landings in cycling

    In the cycling world, Marianne Vos is a lot of rider: a 12-time world champion, and she'll go into this summer's Olympics with gold medals already in two different events.

    But even the best riders of their generation have moments like this one during Monday's finish to the Dwars door Westhoek race in Vos' native Netherlands.

    "Totally my fault," she told her Rababank team's website, after coming off the bike and tangling with the barriers within metres of the finish line.

    Vos was okay - "tomorrow I'll be stiff and sore" - and remains on track to defend her Olympic road race title this summer.

     

     

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  • For this refugee athlete, the Olympic torch is the culmination of a dream

    Growing up in Syria, Ibrahim al-Hussein harboured Olympic dreams as a competitive swimmer, winning medals in the pool and training in the Euphrates River, until war came. A bomb blew off part of his right leg, and he fled to Turkey, and finally to Greece.

    Now the UN High Commission on Refugees has announced the 27-year-old will carry the Olympic torch on Tuesday through Athens, part of the flame's journey from its Olympia home in Greece to Rio de Janeiro, site of this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    "Imagine achieving one of your biggest dreams. Imagine that your dream of more than 20 years is becoming a reality," al-Hussein told UNHCR reporters Tania Karas and Ifigeneia Diamanti.

    "My eyes only look forward. I can't think of the past. If I remember all those things behind me, it will slow me down."

    In Athens, where he works in a cafe, al-Hussein has rebuilt his life around sports, training in a pool that's part of the 2004 Athens Games' legacy, and playing wheelchair basketball

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  • All hail Oksana Chusovitina, vaulting back to her seventh Olympics

    There will be gymnasts in Rio de Janeiro this summer who weren't even born yet when Oksana Chusovitina began her Olympic journey as a gold medalist at Barcelona 24 years ago.

    At age 40, Uzbekistan's Chusovitina on Sunday qualified for her seventh Summer Olympics, a record for the sport. She'll be 41 by the time the Games roll around, and in a sport where teenaged prodigies come and go Chusovitina has kept going through six injuries and in a collection of national team uniforms that read like a map of post-Cold War Europe, including the Unified Team of former Soviet republics that won the gold in '92 and including Germany, for whom she won a silver medal at Beijing, the old CIS, her native land, and all the way back to the Soviet Union in 1990.

    "I have lots of energy left inside of me and I can still win a medal," she told Houston's KHOU-TV before this week's gymnastics test event in Rio, a competition that yielded more than its share of history in that she finished her vault specialty

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  • By George, the time has come for Raptors to take the limits off DeMarre Carroll

     

    One game into their NBA playoffs and it’s not like the sky is falling in on the Raptors.

    Worse than that. Paul George is settling in. More than any of the alarms out of a Game 1 loss, that’s the one ringing loudest ahead of Monday’s encore. George is back to a stage he knows well. It's up to the Raptors to respond, as Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star relates:

    “It’s a make-or-break thing for me,” George told Doyel. “This is where you make your mark. This is where you showcase it. This is where you put yourself in that category of being one of the top guys in this league, and some guys want it. Some guys don’t.”

    Maybe he was sticking it into the Raptors a little with that last bit - Pierce'ing them. Perhaps Toronto forget about him, after George missed most of last year with a broken leg and in two trips to the Air Canada Centre this season managed only a combined total of 31 points versus the Raptors.

    But that’s doubtful. The other time into the ACC this year was on All-Star

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  • This particular Raptors team enters the NBA playoff season remarkable mostly for one thing: the light load they appear to be carrying.

    There are no sideshows, and no distractions.

    To go back over some of their previous greatest hits from back in the day, the coach isn’t launching a lawsuit against one of their opponents, nobody’s wearing protest headbands, the owner’s private jet isn’t firing up for convocation, they don’t appear to have any trouble with math, there’s no former superstar of theirs (or Superman, for that matter) in the opponent’s corner.

    The general manager isn’t putting pressure on the coach to get a result and earn a new contract. The coach isn’t worried about his future.

    They’re no longer wide-eyed at this whole show, they’re not carrying major health questions, they’ve spent the last six weeks taking care of business and getting used to the altitude on the second rung of the conference. They even managed to get through a whole NBA season without anyone bellowing

    Read More »from Free of sideshows, Raptors still have one long shadow hanging over them for NBA playoff opener

Pagination

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