March 4, 2013

Escape From Alcatraz racers' meeting     Photo: Thomas Pix

Man Dies During Escape From Alcatraz

First fatality in 33 years

A participant in San Francisco's annual Escape From Alcatraz triathlon died mid-race from a presumed heart attack, race officials said Sunday. Ross Ehlinger, a 46-year-old attorney from Austin, was pulled out of San Francisco Bay shortly after entering the water for the famously tough triathlon's 1.5-mile swim leg. Water safety personnel attempted and failed to revive Ehlinger, who is the first person to die in the 33 years that the race has taken place.

Normally held in June, Escape From Alcatraz was moved to March this year to avoid a potential clash with the America's Cup sailing race series. However, race director Bill Burke told the San Francisco Chronicle that he didn't think the low 51-degree water temperature played a part in the man's death. "This gentleman obviously had a heart condition he was aware of," Burke said.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office has not released its findings on Ehlinger's death.



World champion skier Tina Maze.     Photo: Viviana Coloma/Flickr

Tina Maze Unfazed by Death Threat

Police provide protection

After skier Tina Maze won the women's overall World Cup title and set a new points record for the season, a little thing like a death threat wasn't about to bring her down.

Maze showed up to the super-G at Germisch-Partenkirchen with police protection and two bodyguards after receiving the emailed threat on Saturday afternoon. She finished fourth in the race.

"That's sad. If somebody is strong and showing good performances and perfect in the thing you are doing, there are people who want to disturb you," Maze said after her race. "I guess it's part of the game, but it didn't disturb me that much."

"It shouldn't be part of the game but life is not perfect. It's not nice for me, it's not nice for my team. I haven't seen the email ... they want to ruin your day, ruin the record, but I enjoyed the day 100 percent," Maze said.

Via USA Today


Kelly Slater

Slater surfs Huntington Beach, August 2011     Photo: Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Kelly Slater: Recreational Drug Use 'Rampant' on Tour

Pro surfer talks testing

Pro surfer Kelly Slater said he does not think surfing has a problem with performance-enhancing drugs, but does think surfing has a problem with recreational drug use. "There clearly is [a problem], absolutely," he told the Courier Mail. "There's no denying that, it's rampant, it's full-on."

The ASP instituted a drug-testing policy on tour last year, but Slater said tests were lacking. "They tested us at the first event and I never got tested again all year," he said. "Why talk about it and not do it? Why bother? Either do it or don't do it."

Slater lost last year's ASP title to Joel Parkinson in the final event. He will chase a 12th title in 2013. He questioned whether testing on tour would have helped Andy Irons deal with his drug problem in a useful way. "I know a lot of drug addicts and you can't force them to go get help if they don't want it," he said. "You just have to show those people love and support and let them know that if they need your help, you're there."

Slater also said he would support more stringent testing, though it wasn't his battle to fight because he has been drug free.

For more from Kelly Slater, read the Courier Mail. For more on surfer Andy Irons, read "Last Drop" and "Crashing Down" by Brad Melekian.


    Photo: Ben Fitzgerald-O'Connor/Wikimedia Commons

Bulgarian Wrestling Coach Goes on Hunger Strike

In protest of sport being dropped from Olympics

A Bulgarian man is going on a hunger strike. While you may presume it to be some kind of protest relating to the fact that Bulgaria, at this very moment, does not have a government, you would be wrong to presume that.

The man on the hunger strike is Armen Nazaryan, head coach of Bulgaria’s national wrestling team. The 39-year-old, who is a two-time gold medalist (for Armenia in 1996 and Bulgaria in 2000), will not eat anything until the start of the European Championships on March 22 in protest of wrestling being dropped from the 2020 Olympic program. According to the country’s wrestling federation, Nazaryan “will only take juices.”

Two former Olympic champions have already returned their gold medals to the IOC, and the American and Iranian wrestling federations—as in: the U.S.A. and Iran—have joined forces in protest of the sport being dropped. With 16 gold medals, wrestling is Bulgaria’s most successful Olympic sport.