Canadian climber Sean McColl aiming for Olympic podium in Tokyo

He made his debut on the competition show in 2014.“It’s basically a fun park for adults,” he said of the show’s unique obstacle course.McColl plans to return to Las Vegas this summer to film his fourth season.“The whole experience for me was something that was really cool, a really fun experience,” he said. “It pays off or sometimes he risks it and he falls off earlier than he could have. “Now I get to go back every year.”McColl is not lacking for confidence. While most top climbers choose to specialize, McColl competes in all three events.The speed competition is like the climbing version of a sprint. So with the 2020 Olympics, it’s making the Olympic team, going to Tokyo and winning a medal.“And hopefully that medal is gold.”The climbing disciplines — speed, lead and bouldering — will be used in a combined format at the Games. Future Olympian. World championship results, world rankings and a qualifier competition will likely determine the participants.McColl, a 29-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., was 10 when he first tried climbing at a friend’s birthday party.It didn’t take long before he was hooked.“I remember going and just being fascinated with the idea of climbing up and just letting go and being lowered back down to the ground,” he said.Climbing is a relatively small sport and not particularly lucrative. Canadian.”When it comes to Tokyo, he has a three-year plan.He’ll test things out this season in training and competitions. But often it pays off and he does better.” And his lead skills are top shelf as well.Put it all together and it’s not surprising the Canadian all-around World Cup champion is one of the country’s brightest medal hopes for the Summer Games in 2020, when the sport will make its Olympic debut. Sean McColl’s versatility has helped make him one of the best all-around climbers in the world.He’ll rocket up a wall in speed climbing like a squirrel being chased up a tree. His bouldering technique brings out his inner Spider-Man. “I always want to do something that I’ve never done before. Sponsors and purses have helped him stay out of the red in recent years.He’s able to rent cars now at events instead of taking buses, or he might fly direct instead of dealing with stopovers.McColl got a big financial boost recently when he was added to the HBC athlete bursary program that will see him receive a personal grant of $10,000 annually in funding through the 2020 Games.“I’m really excited because it’s the first Olympic funding that I get,” he said.His profile will get also get a lift when he appears on the “American Ninja Warrior” again next month. McColl didn’t seriously consider turning pro until his early 20s.More sponsors eventually came on board and he was able to travel more.“When I realized that I could actually make it into a career, I was in heaven,” he said.McColl said he has to lay out over $50,000 every season to compete on the circuit. Climbers rely on their explosiveness and use jumps and swinging techniques to their advantage.Plenty of hand chalk is used and climbers wear special shoes as they contort their bodies on the wall’s various grips and holds.“We use our heels, we pull, we push, and we’re working in an environment that’s in 3-D now,” McColl recently said from northern Japan during a break in training.The Olympic qualification plan has yet to be finalized, but 20 athletes per gender will compete at the Games. Breaking down the basics of climbing, a future Olympic sport (The Canadian Press)

“For me it’s always going into unknowns,” McColl said. Two climbers go head-to-head in a race to climb the wall and touch the timing pad first.In lead, athletes also wear a harness while climbing a fixed course on a wall within a specified time frame.Bouldering is done on a shorter wall with a mat below. Next year will be about fine-tuning his skills and in 2019, he plans to “do exactly what I know I can do” and qualify for the Games.Nathan Smith, a Toronto-based national-level climber, calls McColl a “very dynamic” climber who uses his experience to his advantage.“He goes big or goes home,” Smith said. The main caption on his website says: “World Champion Climber.

Blue Jays top Mariners despite depleted lineup

What’s a self-respecting general manager to do? Just grin and bear it.Such is the plight of Ross Atkins, the GM of the brittle Blue Jays, who is almost afraid to wake up these days to see what latest catastrophe has befallen his down-in-the-dumps baseball team.Toronto’s rapidly expanding injury report through the first six weeks of the season should be required reading for budding sports trainers everywhere. Happ (elbow). The American League club has been hampered by hamstrings, confounded by calf muscles, busted by blisters and irritated by inflammations.It is no wonder the Blue Jays were carting an unhealthy 13-21 record into Thursday night’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre. And on Sunday, Sanchez is expected to be activated from the DL to make what would be just his fourth start of the season.Triple-A call-up Mike Bolsinger will make his second emergency start of the season for Toronto, filling in for Liriano on Monday when Toronto takes on the Atlanta Braves. The Blue Jays are in danger of becoming the official mascots of the Canadian Medical Association.Despite the depleted lineup, the Blue Jays continue to battle, riding a five-run fifth inning to a 7-2 win against Seattle, Toronto’s fourth win in its past five games.Left fielder Steve Pearce stroked a three-run home run in that decisive frame to help back a strong outing from pitcher Marco Estrada, one of the healthy holdovers from the starting rotation.Estrada pitched a tidy six innings, and allowed two Seattle runs and four hits along with eight strikeouts.Justin Smoak was also solid, going 3-for-3 with a home run to drive in four of the Toronto runs.As for Liriano, after a rocky outing on Wednesday against the Cleveland Indians, in which he failed to get out of the third inning, he complained of shoulder fatigue to the club’s medical staff.Thursday, in the latest of the almost daily trauma bulletins from the team, it was disclosed that Liriano was being placed on the 10-day DL suffering from what is described as left shoulder inflammation.The Blue Jays can find some solace in that they do not believe Liriano’s shoulder affliction is serious and that he should be good to go once the 10-day respite is over.Liriano finds himself in good company, joining two other starters who have already decamped in Club DL in Aaron Sanchez (blister/fingernail) and J.A. That’s why we’re carrying some extra [bullpen] guys.”“I think every team is some way is going to deal with some similar rash of injuries,” Atkins said. That’s three-fifths of Toronto’s rotation in sick bay.And it gets worse.The team is also minus three regulars in catcher Russell Martin (shoulder), shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (hamstring) and third baseman Josh Donaldson (calf).When you add it up, it works out to roughly $84-million in salaries on the sidelines, about half of Toronto’s payroll.And that total could have easily risen by another $10-million were it not for the fast recovery powers of designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who has not started the past two games trying to sort out a sore left hammy.It appears Morales will avoid a DL stint and be available as early as Friday’s game against the Mariners in a pinch hitting role.With the starters depleted and little in the way of salvation in a pitching-thin minor-league system, the Blue Jays have bolstered the bullpen to nine men by calling up Leonel Campos from their triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.“You look back, and we’ve said it many times, we’ve been pretty lucky [avoiding injuries] the last couple of years,” Gibbons said. But we’ve got to ensure it doesn’t happen again or we’ll have a really hard time digging out.”Estrada and Marcus Stroman remain the only two healthy holdovers from the rotation that started the season.On Friday, Joe Biagini will make his second start after being sprung from the bullpen. With so many on the disabled list, there is almost nobody left to play the game.Starter Francisco Liriano is the latest Blue Jay to fall victim to the rash of injuries threatening to sink Toronto’s boat.“You just deal with it, you know,” shrugged Toronto manager John Gibbons, who has had to become a master of manipulation when it comes to filling out his lineup card.“It’s an expensive DL, though, I’ll tell you that,” he added wryly.Forget the boys of summer. “We’ve had a lot at one time and it’s somewhat more magnified. “And then this year it’s been hitting us.

Bouchard crushed by Kuznetsova at Madrid Open quarter-final

She then saw off world number two Angelique Kerber to reach the last eight but was slapped down by Russian Kuznetsova, who only ceded one break point in the entire match, which she saved.The eighth seed then took Bouchard apart in the second set, breaking her four times before serving out the match.Kuznetsova will face Kristina Mladenovic of France in the last four on Friday, with Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia meeting Romanian third seed Simona Halep in the other semi-final. Eugenie Bouchard’s Madrid Open campaign ended on Thursday with a whimper as she was thrashed 6-4 6-0 by eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova to exit at the quarter-final stage.The Canadian set the tournament alight with a scintillating, three-set win over Maria Sharapova on Tuesday after her outspoken comments about the Russian returning from her 15-month doping ban, including calling her a cheater.

Canada lucky to escape with win against France at world hockey championship

Lee had 14 goals and 65 points in 2016-17 with Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the KHL. As much as we controlled the puck, it seemed like whenever they had the puck, it was tough.”Canada was without Tyson Barrie, who had led all defencemen in scoring with seven points in three games before suffering a tournament-ending lower-body injury away from the ice on Wednesday.Chris Lee, a 36-year-old from MacTier, Ont., was registered for the tournament on Thursday and took Barrie’s place on the second defence pairing with Calvin de Haan and on the power play. Marc-Édouard Vlasic was credited with the winner at 2:22 of the third after a bouncing puck deflected past French netminder Florian Hardy off teammate Jonathan Janil.France pressed for the equalizer behind a raucous sold-out crowd of 14,510 at AccorHotels Arena but Canada held on for the win.“That game was really good for us as a coaching staff,” said Canadian coach Jon Cooper after the game. “To come into a hostile environment, it was amazing to be in front of all those fans, knowing that a lot of them weren’t cheering for us.”Canada’s Ryan O’Reilly and France’s Olivier Dame-Malka traded first-period goals.Tempers ran high throughout the game. He had been a practice player with Canada and scored a goal during Canada’s warm-up game in Switzerland before the tournament began.“It seems like a month ago now at this point,” said Lee of his game experience with the team. Earlier on Thursday in Paris, the Czech Republic shut out Norway 1-0.In Group A action in Cologne, Germany, the Russians moved into first place with a 3-0 shutout of Denmark, while Sweden beat Latvia 2-0.Canada’s next game will be against 2-1-1-0 Switzerland on Saturday. “I’ve known Chris Lee for about 10 days,” Cooper said. Already boasting wins over Finland and Switzerland, France almost added the two-time defending champions to its impressive list of upsets at the world hockey championship.Canada did just enough to sweat out a 3-2 win over France on Thursday, however, overcoming a boisterous home crowd and its own undisciplined play to remain perfect through four games in Paris. He’s just a consummate pro. He’s really good for our power play. The Canadian Press “It’s nice to get that one game just to kind of get a feel for the speed of the guys and the skill of the guys. Canada fell behind an opponent for the first time in the tournament when Damien Fleury put France up 2-1 on the power play at the 1:37 mark of the second period.Claude Giroux replied on a Canadian power play to send the teams to the dressing room in a 2-2 tie after two periods. “They’ve got to make split-second decisions and that’s the way they saw it. “It’s been a good 10 days.“He’s savvy with the puck. “They came hard and it seemed like any chance they had, they were close calls on a lot of them. He can calm things down. He’s been a great addition for us.”Another defenceman, Colton Parayko, had arrived in Paris after his St. Knowing Jeff Skinner, he didn’t mean to do that.”Hardy made 32 saves for France, while Canadian goaltender Chad Johnson stopped 22 shots.“It was a tough game for us,” Johnson said. The Canadians improved to 4-0 but faced plenty of adversity from the French. Louis Blues were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, but was not yet ready for game action.The two-time defending world champion Canadians remain first in Group B at 4-0. Hopefully I can continue to get better as we move toward the medal round.”Lee came on Hockey Canada’s radar at the Deutschland Cup last November but was a stranger to Cooper, who likes what he has seen. Forward Jeff Skinner was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for a spear on goaltender Hardy with 16:08 left to play in the third period.“The refs have a tough job,” Cooper said. France was whistled for 10 minutes in penalties, while Canada received 33 minutes.

With new women’s Olympic roster, Hockey Canada marks end of an era

Hockey Canada chose 28 players for its tentative women’s Olympic hockey roster Wednesday, an announcement that officially marked the close of one era in the sport and the beginning of another.The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will mark the first time Canada’s roster didn’t include either Hayley Wickenheiser or Jayna Hefford, the long-time faces of the women’s national team, who retired after playing in all five previous Olympic hockey events. Our focus is to try and get this program back on top.“I think we have all the experience and leadership we need in this room. This is the next chapter in my life, so I’m ready to tackle it.”Ouellette turns 38 in two weeks, but finished fourth in the overall CWHL scoring race last season. Chemistry needs to be developed almost instantaneously.In an Olympic year, they assemble in Calgary in August, and practise as a team for six months and then go to the Olympics. 30 and covers costs associated with insurance, travel, ice time, coaching and other expenses associated with the players’ training.There is also a nine-month addendum to the agreement to cover player costs associated with basing the team in Calgary. I find it very rewarding. But I also love coaching. As much as we’re coming together, we’re also battling for the spots. Only 23 of the 28 players can be picked for the final Olympic roster, which will be tentatively unveiled at the end of December.The leadership roles on the 2018 team will largely fall on Poulin, Brianne Jenner and goaltender Shannon Szabados.In discussing the transition to a younger, faster team, Jenner described the trio of Wickenheiser, Hefford and Ouellette as “legends in our sport and in our game and obviously, they’ll certainly be missed. Moreover, Caroline Ouellette, who made her Olympic debut in 2002 and won gold medals each of the four times she represented Canada at the Olympics, was also left off the roster.Ouellette, who won a Canadian Women’s Hockey League championship with Les Canadiennes de Montreal this past season, skipped the 2017 women’s world championship, won by the United States, to act as an assistant coach for Canada – and plans to make coaching her career.In a telephone interview, Ouellette said she was “okay with not playing in these Olympics. Chemistry can be developed over time.The belief is that the latter form of preparation builds deeper team values, and more trust among the players because there’s more familiarity there. That agreement runs from July 1, 2017, until March, 2018, and provides players with a training allowance, which covers rent, food, relocation costs and child-care expenses where applicable. There is a boot-camp-like element to the latter process, which Poulin says provides “a great opportunity to build chemistry.”“The stakes are very high,” Jenner said. “This is everyone’s dream – to play in the Olympics. But this is a new team now, and a new era. college teams and teams in Europe gather for a hurry-up five-day training camp and then they start to play. It’s just a matter of figuring out to get the job done.”While Canada and the United States remain the predominant powers in women’s hockey, the Americans have mitigated their Olympic disappointments by winning the past four world championships, and seven of the past eight.In non-Olympic years, players from CWHL teams, U.S. It was hard at first because for someone like me, who loved the game so much, playing is the best. Instead, she played and/or practised with three different teams while working full-time – the Valley West Hawks, a midget boys’ team based in Langley, B.C., the police department team, and, after turning 30 in February, her brother’s 30-and-over team. In a team sport, the opportunity to become a team is critical. However, she is one of those rare unflinchingly honest players who candidly acknowledged, “I don’t think I was fast enough to play at this level any more. and how talented they are, it’s not enough any more.”In all, 14 players appointed to the roster played for the team that won the gold medal in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, including Marie-Philip Poulin, who has scored the winning goal for Canada in each of the past two Olympics. 1 to Sept. Agosta is taking a leave of absence to represent Canada.Financially, players are compensated for the move to Calgary with a stipend that goes beyond the standard Sport Canada funding of $18,000 a player.Hockey Canada’s annual agreement, negotiated with its players through the Women’s High Performance Advisory Committee, runs from Oct. Yes, I could have brought experience and leadership, but if you look at the U.S. So I think the important thing is having that perspective – of what we’re playing for and what the goal is at the end of the whole process.”Just as in past years, Hockey Canada will base its women’s team in Calgary, beginning in August, where the players will prepare for their gold-medal defence.The roster features many players with interesting back stories, including the sister team of Amy and Sarah Potomak of Aldergrove, B.C.Jennifer Wakefield, a returnee from 2014, played this past season in Linkoping, Sweden, while Meghan Agosta, a full-time officer with the Vancouver police service, didn’t have a full-time women’s team affiliation last year.

Canadian rookie Hughes has share of the lead at Players Championship

It was a large enough gap and the perfect shot for a 6-iron.“I was close enough to the trees. It took him two shots to get out and he made double bogey. Fowler also shot 70.Fowler managed to see the big picture.“No one’s going crazy low or anything like that,” he said.Garcia’s round was different. Even after going bogey-free in his debut Thursday for a 5-under 67 to share the lead with William McGirt, Hughes saw enough of the Players Stadium Course to realize that surprises lurk around every corner. I felt like I was a little bit up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was 4 over after six.”Johnson still has only two rounds in the 60s out of 27 attempts at the Stadium Course. He could accept this 71 just because of all that went wrong — the wedge that hit the pin on No. He found a 4-foot wide window in which he had to keep it under on branch and go over two more. He hasn’t won since The Players last year. On a day when nothing seemed to go his way, the world’s No. From the middle of the fairway, Fowler blocked it so badly to the right that it hit a cart path and went deep into the pines. Rory McIlroy went to tap in from 2 feet and missed it, and then had to make one twice that long for his double bogey on the 10th hole. Told that no one had made eagle on both par 5s on the back nine in the opening round, McGirt didn’t have an answer.“Good numbers at a good time, made a good swing at a good time,” McGirt said. He made three bogeys and a double bogey in his opening six holes and went out in 40, the first nine holes of competition he has played since winning the Masters a month ago. He felt nerves on the first tee when he was introduced as the Masters champion.“The feeling was great,” he said. “You just kind of see the shot and hit the shot and see the putt and hit the putt.”He made it sound simple, even though the Players Stadium Course can be anything but that. shot 71 and Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask, shot 2-over.Day was playing in the same group as Rickie Fowler, the 2015 champion who also got off to a fast start until one bad shot — a really bad shot — on his 15th hole at the par-4 seventh. The last piece of stress came on the final hole when trees block his way to the green. Johnson rallied late with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole.“It could have been really good today, but ended up just being OK,” Johnson said.McGirt was among 13 players from the morning draw who shot in the 60s, but he was the only player to get as low as 6 under until he missed a short par putt on the final hole. Only twice did he have par putts longer than 3 feet, and he made them both. Scott followed by spinning a shot off the bank and into the water for a double bogey, and he compounded that with another double bogey.“I played some good golf out there and unfortunately not on the last two,” Scott said after settling for a 70. To chip out sideways would risk chipping into the water. It paid off,” said Hughes, who already has won (Sea Island) in his rookie season on the PGA Tour.McGirt played in morning and made a pair of eagles on the back nine to atone in his round of 67.Among those at 68 was Jon Rahm, another first-timer at this lucrative event who had one of four bogey-free rounds on the steamy day in north Florida. 1 player opened with a 71. 1 was a peculiar position. Mackenzie Hughes arrived at the TPC Sawgrass with no scar tissue and played his first round at The Players Championship with no bogeys.Pretty simple, eh?The Canadian rookie shook his head and laughed. Day, however, made three bogeys over his last four holes and had to settle for a 70.David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., also shot 70, Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. “There’s just not really a moment where you can let up,” Hughes said.No need explaining that to Adam Scott, who won The Players in 2004 and was off to a strong start on a steamy afternoon when he was 6 under and heading to the infamous par-3 17th with its island green.First, he watched Masters champion Sergio Garcia hit a gap wedge that took one big hop, land just behind the cup and disappear for a hole-in-one. 1, birdie putts that spun around the holes at Nos. 2 and 12. “It happens.”At least he had company.Dustin Johnson’s first wedge of the way hit the pin, caromed off the green and led to bogey. He shot 73.Through it all, Hughes was rock solid. “I think I wasn’t quite in the tournament because of everything that’s been going on after the Masters win and media and people congratulating you left, right and centre. Even with a mild wind in the afternoon, just over a third of the field broke par.Fast starts and bad finishes were the norm, and not just for Scott.Defending champion Jason Day ran off two straight birdies after making the turn and was in the lead at 5 under, which for the former world No.