The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday upheld a decision not to ban Russian cyclist Alexandr Kolobnev for a positive drug test at the 2011 Tour de France. Kolobnev tested positive for a banned diuretic but said the drug was prescribed by a doctor treat a long-standing vascular disorder. The diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide, can be used to mask performance-enhancing drug use. In October, Russia's cycling federation fined Kolobnev $1,600 but did not suspend him from competition. The International Cycling Union appealed that decision to the CAS. Kolobnev, 30, has also been linked to a race-fixing scandal involving Kazakhstan rider Alexandre Vinokourov.
Former President Bill Clinton called for Americans to "embrace" the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in a speech on Wednesday at an energy conference in Maryland. Clinton backed TransCanada's decision to proceed with construction of the southern section of the pipeline and reroute the a portion of the line around environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska. “The extra cost of [rerouting it] is infinitesimal compared to the revenues,” Clinton said. On Monday, President Obama also welcomed the construction of the U.S. section of the pipeline, which, unlike a link to Canada's oil fields, does not require State Department approval. The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas. "We take very seriously the need to increase our [oil] supply," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
We hear a lot about young people climbing big mountains. However, we rarely hear about the steady-handed partners climbing alongside them and keeping an eye out for them.
In 2010, I covered 12 -year-old Matt Moniz as he set a High Pointer record by standing on the highest point of each of the 50 states in under 50 days. His dad Mike was with him on every climb, from Florida's 345-foot-high Britton Hill to the summit of Denali. Now, Mike is setting out on his own. This spring, he plans to climb Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu—all in a single push.
Mike is not a guide: he is a regular father with a real job. So attempting three 8,000-meter peaks during the same expedition is ambitious, especially considering that his highest thus far is 6,962-meter Aconcagua. But Mike is a case study in preparation and training, and is approaching this summit with a meticulous attention to detail. Not be left out, Matt is going back to Everest Base Camp too.
How is Matt these days? Any recent climbs? Matt is doing really well – his latest climbing project was in the Bolivian Cordillera Real, attempting three 6000-meter peaks in 6 days, summit to summit. Always thinking ahead, he’s been looking for a possible “first ascent” or something ambitious. I’m not sure what he has in mind but he’s creative. This summer he’s planning a trip to Spain to connect with his climbing hero Chris Sharma for some rock climbing and Spanish lessons.
The Republic of Georgia last month allowed hunters to kill animals on the nation's Red List of protected species in an effort to boost tourism. The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry included the brown bear, Caucasian tur (an antelope), and red deer on a list animals that can be legally hunted. Hunters must obtain a license and pay a fee for each animal they kill, and Georgia's environment minister says that the new rules may help reduce poaching. Killing tur during mating and birthing seasons will remain prohibited.
The winter window for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surf contest closed on Wednesday, marking the third season in a row that the event has been called off because of small waves. The invitation-only Eddie Aikau can take place anywhere between the beginning of December and the end of February, but only if swells reach a minimum of 20 feet. "Those special winters of Eddie-sized waves seem to only come around every three to five years, so a season like this is to be expected," contest director George Downing said in a press release. In the 27 years since the first Eddie Aikau, the contest has taken place only eight times. The last contest took place in 2009, when Greg Long beat Kelly Slater in a close competition.