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home : sports : regional July 22, 2014

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USFS-Vt. Urges Safety-first Snowmobiling

RUTLAND -- The U.S. Forest Service is encouraging safe snowmobiling this winter in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest.

Weather permitting, snowmobiles are allowed on 470-miles of designated trails within the forest from Dec. 16 through April 15.

Besides urging caution on snowmobile trails, the Forest Service is warning of the dangers associated with riding, hiking and skiing on frozen water bodies.

Statewide, there are about 6,200-miles of corridor and feeder trails, including the trails in the National Forest.

The snowmobile season opened Dec. 16, but the rains and ice storm of this past weekend led to the closure of many trails across the state.



Olympic Skier Kearney Greeting Fans This Morning

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. -- Olympic champion Hannah Kearney will be skiing and signing autographs this morning at New Hampshire's Waterville Valley.

Kearney, who is from Norwich, Vt., won the Olympic gold medal in 2010, making up for an early slip that resulted in a 22nd-place finish four years previous when she was the favorite. Earlier this month, she won the season-opening World Cup moguls in Kuusamo, Finland.

She'll be skiing from the top of Waterville's Upper Bobby's Run on Thursday morning, then warming up on the second floor of the Base Lodge from noon to 1 p.m. to sign autographs.


Tanaka's Team Releases Hurler To Seek MLB Contract

TOKYO -- Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is set to move to the majors next season after his Japanese team Rakuten Eagles announced Wednesday it was prepared to let him leave, reversing its earlier rejection.

Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana told a news conference that the team has decided to release him through the posting system, paving the way for his departure. Tachibana said Tanaka's outstanding performance over the past seven years, including this season, meant he deserved to be allowed to move to the U.S.

Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Eagles during the regular season and sought a move to the majors. But he has two years remaining on his contract and Rakuten was under no obligation to release him.

The New York Yankees are considered the leading candidates to sign Tanaka, though the capping of the posting fee at $20 million meant many other teams could also afford to make offers.


Russia Earmarks Extra $50M for Sochi Olympics

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's Cabinet has approved the allocation of nearly $50 million in extra subsidies for the organizers of the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

The Cabinet's decision, reported by the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday, takes the total number of subsidies for the Sochi Organizing Committee to the equivalent of more than $420 million.

The Cabinet said without elaboration that the extra money would help finance the committee's activities.

The allocations for the organizing committee are a small share of the total Sochi Games costs that amount to $51 billion, making them the most expensive Olympics in history.

The games will take place from Feb. 7-23.

GUNNAR ERICSSON: Gunnar Ericsson, a long-time International Olympic Committee executive and former member of the executive committee died in Switzerland. He was 94.

The IOC says on its website that the former Swedish parliamentarian died Tuesday but did not provide a cause of death. An IOC member from 1965, Ericsson served on the executive board from 1988-92, and headed the inspection team for 2000 Summer Games bidding.


Sydney to Hobart Race Begins Today

SYDNEY -- The Sydney to Hobart race begins Thursday when the yachts make their way out of Sydney Harbour through hundreds of spectator crafts and with thousands watching from the shore. Here are five things to know about the annual "bluewater classic," which was first held in 1945:

FLEET: Ninety-four yachts are entered, including 12 boats from the Clipper Round the World Yacht race. The Sydney to Hobart competition is the sixth race of their series. The 70-foot Clipper fleet has boats representing six continents and has drawn crews from 42 nations.

ROUTE: The race is 723 miles. Once out of Sydney Harbour between North and South Head, the fleet moves into the Coral Sea and south along the New South Wales state coast. From there, it gets tricky as the yachts make their way across the often treacherous Bass Strait toward the island state of Tasmania. The final portion of the race sees the fleet move up the Derwent River and to Constitution Dock in Hobart, the state capital.

FORECAST: Five days ago, the weather office was predicting favorable winds, raising the possibility of a race record. But the northeasterly breezes are now not expected to last long enough to help the fleet to a speedy finish.

FAVORITES: The 100-foot super maxis, including Wild Oats XI, Perpetual Loyal and Ragamuffin, are favored with Wild Thing, which wasn't able to compete in last year's race because of an administrative error -- the yacht's entry didn't officially arrive in time.

RECORDS: Race record: Wild Oats XI: 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds in 2012 when it also won handicap honors. Slowest finisher: Wayfarer: 11 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes in 1945. Closest finish: Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo by seven seconds in 1982; Largest fleet: 371 in 1994.

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