August 5, 2013

    Photo: brewbooks/Flickr

Snowboarder Dies in Tunnel Collapse

Was working as instructor in Oregon

A 25-year-old snowboarder died on Mount Hood on Saturday when the snow tunnel he was in exploring collapsed. Collin Backowski was in the tunnel with five friends when the roof fell in on them, trapping him under a bus-sized chunk of ice. His friends managed to escape from the cave.

The Executive Director of the High Cascade Snowboard Camp, where Backowski was working for the summer as an instructor, said that the group wasn't "doing anything extreme" at the time of the accident.

"I've seen these stories painted as extreme snowboarders needing to fulfill their adrenaline rush, and that's not what it was," said Kevin English. "They were essentially going out to explore the mountain and look at it, and they were fascinated by it."

Backowski, originally of Pine, Colorado, had gone to work as a snowboard instructor and professional rider after graduating from high school, and qualified for the X Games at one point.

Via Denver Post

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    Photo: Jim Dreyer

Man to Swim from Canada to Detroit

Will tow 2,000 pounds of bricks

A long-distance swimmer known as "The Shark," embarked on a 30-hour, 22-mile swim across Lake St. Clair Monday to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Departing from the Michigan-Canada border, Jim Dreyer plans to swim to Detroit's Belle Isle, making landfall Tuesday.

The 49-year-old swimmer will go without the help of a support boat. He'll also haul two dinghies filled with 334 bricks weighing more than 2,000 pounds. One dinghy is equipped with a tracking device so that Dreyer will show up on radar screens.

Dreyer has made direct crossings of the five Great Lakes. You can track his progress here.

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    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Baby Survives 100-Foot Fall in the Alps

Saved by carrier backpack

A baby girl is expected to survive after sustaining serious injuries in a 100-foot fall from a cable car. The girl and her parents were taking a cable car intended only for freight use down from the Baerlaui Alp in Switzerland when the vessel began to pitch and sent the family down onto the rocks below. Her mother, 31, and father, 38, did not survive.

Rescuers on the scene heard wails from the bushes and found the one-year-old alive inside a carrier rucksack, which they believed saved the baby’s life. “The rucksack cushioned the fall,” said a rescue services spokesperson. “Otherwise, she would be dead too.”

An investigation is now being launched into why the family was allowed to take a freight-only cable car down from the mountain. One arrest, believed to be the mountain worker who allowed them passage on the car, has been made.

The baby is recovering at a nearby hospital where doctors and nurses have nicknamed her Eidelweiss, after the hardy mountain flower.

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Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador in 2009.     Photo: charel.irrthum/Flickr

Dick Pound Doesn't Trust Tour Riders

Doubts the performance of most athletes

Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, pushed back against the effectiveness of anti-doping programs Sunday, telling The Daily Mail, "I certainly question everything I see now, in all sports."

Pound's comments came in the wake of a WADA-led review of global anti-doping testing that showed 1.19 percent of all samples tested positive in 2012, with the number jumping to 2 percent when "atypical" findings, those outside the normal range but not yet illegal, were included.

"This isn't people ranked at No 300 taking drugs to boost them up the rankings, it's the people at the top who have used drugs to get there," Pound said. "I believe it's happening across sports. It's clear that cycling, athletics, swimming, tennis, and soccer have major problems and are ruled by governing bodies in denial."

Pound also announced that he will not watch the Tour de France until the sport's administration, the UCI, is reformed. While cycling took the brunt of Pound's criticism, he also targeted baseball and tennis as two other sports with ongoing problems: "When you look back at the era of McEnroe and Connors, in their prime they looked like little old men compared to the brutes now, thrashing around for four hours with a force and intensity that's ridiculous. Has tennis got a problem? Of course it has."

In other doping news, the Turkish Athletics Federation announced that it would suspend 31 athletes for two years each for doping violations. The bans come five days after the federation confirmed that nine Turkish athletes, including two teenagers, received two-year bans for using anabolic steroids.

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