When Maggie Mac Neil won the 100-metre butterfly at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, her mother, father and younger sister were in the stands cheering.
“My parents have done a great job throughout my career always trying to come to as many meets as they can,” said the 20-year-old London, Ont., native who is now attending the University of Michigan. “It was definitely nice to have them there in Korea.”
When Mac Neil competes for Olympic gold this summer in Tokyo, it’s unlikely any family members will be there to watch. Concerns about COVID-19 and restrictions due to the virus are convincing friends and family of many Olympic athletes to rethink travelling to the Games.
Susan McNair, Mac Neil’s mother, said staying home won’t be easy.
“I didn’t grow up anticipating I would have a child in the Olympics,” McNair said. “I didn’t anticipate if she did make the Olympics that we would ever not be there.”
WATCH | Maggie Mac Neil posts Canadian-record time at aquatic worlds:
Canadian teen Maggie MacNeil posts a Canadian-record time of 55.83 seconds at the world aquatics championships. 2:56
Last March, Nathan Hirayama celebrated with his family in the stands at BC Place Stadium after Canada defeated South Africa to win the bronze medal at the HSBC Canada Sevens Rugby tournament. He had hoped to repeat the experience in Tokyo — his parents had already booked flights — but now doubts it will happen.
“Our families have been on this journey with us for so long, supporting us and travelling and staying up in the middle of the night watching,” said the 32-year-old from Richmond, B.C. “They invested in what we’re doing. I think the whole experience would be fantastic to share with our loved ones.
“I think what we’re coming to understand now is, if these Olympics do happen, they’ll look a lot different than what we all dreamed about or foreseen for so long.”
Fears over COVID-19 forced the Tokyo Olympics to be delayed one year. With the Games now scheduled to begin July 23, some of the playbooks that instruct athletes, officials and members of the media of the protocols to be followed have been released, but many questions remain.
“If you have been to the Games before, we know this experience will be different in a number of ways,” reads the playbook for international federations. “For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require your flexibility and understanding.”
WATCH | Breaking down the IOC playbook:
With less than six months to go to the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have said the Games will go on no matter what. Now, they’ve released some preliminary guidelines explaining how that will happen. 1:37
Organizers have said they will wait until the spring to decide if fans will be permitted to travel to Tokyo or attend any events.
Dick Pound, a Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee, believes a limited number of fans will be allowed.
“I would see some, but certainly not full stadiums,” he said.
The Canadian Olympic Committee is waiting for more information before advising families and friends about travelling to Tokyo.
“We continue in our preparation to participate at Tokyo 2020 with a focus on the health and safety of our athletes, their families, and their communities,” Eric Myles, the COC’s chief sport officer, said in a statement.
“We are planning based on the assumptions that the COVID-19 virus will still be present internationally and that Team Canada may not be vaccinated. We expect the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee to update their playbooks in April, at which point we hope to provide a more thorough update for athletes to help inform their family and friends’ decisions.”
WATCH | Mac Neil overcomes nerves to claim gold at acquatic worlds in 2019:
Canadian Maggie MacNeil discusses her victory in the 100m butterfly at aquatics worlds. 0:50
McNair, who is a family physician, had originally planned on her brother and his family to join them at the Olympics. Now, with tight restrictions expected on access to athletes, she questions the point of going.
“There’s a lot of factors kind of against going at this point,” she said. “Even if we didn’t have access to her there [but] we could see her swim, I think I’d be the first one on the plane.
“But there’s a lot of cons against it right now. I want the joy of watching her swim, but I also want to do what’s right, in terms of our safety and the safety of others.”
Another deterrent could be recently-introduced rules that travellers returning to Canada are required to take a COVID-19 test upon landing and spend the first three days of their quarantine, at their own expense, at a supervised hotel while awaiting their results.
For Hirayama, whose great grandparents came to Canada from Japan, Tokyo has special significance. His parents had planned to meet up with old friends while in Japan.
He hopes conditions will change and his parents can make the trip.
“It’s hard to plan for anything that’s not a week away,” he said. “Things change so quickly. It would be awesome for them to book a last minute ticket, but I don’t think they’re planning on it now.”
In some ways, not having her parents make the journey would be a relief for Mac Neil.
“My parents are getting older,” she said. “It’s definitely better for them to just stay home safe and healthy.
“I think no matter where I am in the world, no matter where they are, I can always feel their support.”
Calgary Flames alternate captain Matthew Tkachuk delivered an impassioned soliloquy on the Saturday afternoon of a Hockey Night in Canada clash with the Edmonton Oilers.
“It’s time for us to get going. Enough is enough,” Tkachuk told a Zoom call with reporters. “This is a huge, huge moment in our season, this game tonight. We have to be ready right now. I think we will be.”
Turns out, the Flames were not ready for a game that could very well define their season and for all the wrong reasons. Connor McDavid collected a natural hat trick and two assists in a 7-1 show of dominance by the Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton fans savoured the latest installment of the Battle of Alberta while disillusioned Flames fans hit social media to demand general manager Brad Treliving take drastic action after such embarrassment.
“That sucked,” Tkachuk said, running a hand through his mop of curls in exasperation. “Let’s call a spade a spade here. That was probably one of the toughest moments since I’ve been here. Just the way that it went, the way things are going.
“Things snowballed. They got out of hand pretty quickly.”
Did they ever for a Flames team that started the season with designs on one of the top spots in the NHL’s North Division.
Optimism abounds in the Alberta capital where the second-place Oilers are 9-2 in the last 11 games. Criticized for allegedly lacking offensive depth, Edmonton’s third and fourth lines are chipping in with timely goals.
WATCH | McDavid powers Oilers past Flames with 5 points:
Connor Mcdavid recorded three goals and two assists in Edmonton’s 7-1 blowout win over Calgary. 0:59
At age 26, defenceman Darnell Nurse has matured into a minute-munching stalwart on the back end. New addition Tyson Barrie gives the Oilers an exceptional power-play quarterback. And Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, finally looks like a legitimate top-six forward on a line with McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“It’s still early on in the year,” McDavid said. “There’s lots of hockey left. We’re playing well and we need to keep winning games.”
The Flames are riding a three-game losing streak, and they’re off to Toronto to play Monday and Wednesday against the league-leading Maple Leafs.
“We need to get back to playing the way we know we can,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “It starts individually. You have to look at yourself and get your game going, and then the team will get going as well.”
WATCH | Rob Pizzo recaps Week 5 in the NHL’s North Division:
Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:48
Jacob Markstrom concealed many of the Flames’ flaws through the first quarter season. Now, the veteran goaltender looks tired and discombobulated.
Calgary’s prize free-agent signing surrendered five goals on 15 shots Saturday before receiving the mercy hook in favour of David Rittich.
“I guess my one thought is I feel terrible for our goalies,” Tkachuk said. “They come in and they battle every practice, every game.
“If it wasn’t for them right now, who knows where we’d be in the standings. We’d be pretty close to the bottom.”
They’re closer to the bottom than the top, sitting in fifth at 8-9-1. With their next five games on the road, the Flames could return to Calgary on March 3 with their playoff hopes in tatters.
“Realistically, it’s a make-or-break road trip for our team the way things are going and not a whole lot of games left,” Tkachuk said. “You get behind the eight ball it’s hard to make up ground with less than 40 games left.”
On Saturday, the Flames outshot the Oilers 44-24. Tkachuk led the way with an assist on Calgary’s lone goal by Andrew Mangiapane, six hits and seven shots.
But the Flames simply can’t seem to overcome untimely miscues, maddening inconsistency and shaky starts. Case in point: they’ve surrendered the first goal this season in 12-of-18 games.
“The gaffes we give up are big ones and come at inopportune times,” said Calgary head coach Geoff Ward. “It’s fixable. It’s all fixable. but we’ve got to put our minds to it and get going here.”
It’s Robert Lewandowski’s turn to try to stop Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from winning the FIFA best player award.
The Bayern Munich forward joined the two standout players on the three-man shortlist announced Friday.
Lewandowski’s goals led Bayern to a sweep of titles this year — the Champions League, the German league, the German Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
One of his 55 goals last season came in Bayern’s 8-2 rout of Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Lewandowski could become only the second player — after Luka Modric in 2018 — to deny Messi or Ronaldo since their run of FIFA domination started in 2008. Messi has won the award six times while Ronaldo has won it five times.
Two Bayern players are among those whose career years were good enough only for third place in previous votes, Franck Ribery in 2013 and Manuel Neuer in 2014.
The women’s best player shortlist includes Lucy Bronze, Wendi Renard and Pernille Harder. Bronze and Renard are teammates who won the European title with Lyon last season. Harder played on the team that lost in the final, Wolfsburg.
Harder won the UEFA award as the best women’s player in Europe last season. Lewandowski won the men’s award.
Neither Messi nor Ronaldo made it onto the three-man shortlist for the European award, voted on by coaches of top European clubs and media. Kevin De Bruyne was runner-up and Neuer finished third.
The FIFA award was voted on by a four-part worldwide jury: national team coaches and captains, media and fans.
Voting has closed and the winners will be announced on Thursday at a virtual ceremony hosted by FIFA.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa are in the running for the men’s coaching award. The coaching award in women’s soccer will be between Jean-Luc Vasseur of Lyon, Emma Hayes of Chelsea and Sarina Wiegman of the Dutch national team.
Get used to the concept of pods and pucks if the NHL is going to have any chance of completing its season, with the most likely scenarios calling for games in empty, air-conditioned arenas during the dog days of summer.
What is emerging as the leading plan involves bringing teams back in a few empty NHL buildings to complete some, if not all, of the remaining regular-season games before opening the playoffs and awarding the Stanley Cup for the 125th time in the past 127 years.
The most aggressive timetable would have players returning to their home rinks as early as May 15, followed by a training camp and possible exhibition games in June, a person familiar with discussions told The Associated Press.
The regular season would then resume in July, with the Cup awarded in September, the person said Tuesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because plans haven’t been finalized.
Commissioner Gary Bettman emphasized no decisions have been made and noted that government and medical officials will ultimately make the call on when sports can return. Still, the league and NHL Players’ Association have formed a joint committee to determine a path forward that could get games back on the ice sometime in July without fans in attendance.
WATCH | NHL outlines possible return scenario:
Rob Pizzo joined John Northcott on CBC News Network to discuss NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s interview with Ron MacLean . 5:04
The joint committee released statement Wednesday night echoing Bettman, saying they “have not made any decisions or set a timeline for possible return to play scenarios.” However, they added they believed there was a possibility to return to small group activities at team facilities in mid to late May.
“When we feel that players are safe and we have enough testing and we have enough ways to get back on the ice for us, it’s probably going to be contained at playing at like four or five neutral sites,” Florida Panthers president Matthew Caldwell said. “My guess is that we would start with either limited fans or empty arenas, so just the teams and their associated staffs.”
One scenario calls for teams playing each other at four NHL rinks around North America. Each would play about a dozen regular-season games to even out the standings and determine playoff seedings. Play was postponed with 189 total games remaining for the 31 teams.
‘Fairest season is a full season,’ says McDavid
Edmonton captain Connor McDavid, who is on the NHL/NHLPA committee that meets weekly, believes “the fairest season is a full season” but that might not be possible. Players must approve any plan to return.
“Guys are preparing to possibly having to play in the summer,” McDavid said, “and guys just want to play.”
That likely means playing in empty NHL buildings. The minimum league requirements call for arenas having at least four NHL-caliber locker rooms, a nearby practice facility and hotel infrastructure. They also cannot be located in a COVID-19 hot spot, though that definition is not clear.
“Among the scenarios we’re looking at is potentially as many as four (cities) because we need a lot of ice,” Bettman said on Sportsnet last week.
WATCH | Flames captain Mark Giordano hopeful for NHL’s return:
Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano is eager to get back to playing hockey. 4:42
Bettman alluded to playing as many as three games a day, which would provide much-needed live entertainment on NBC Sports and other networks, many of whom have time to fill following the postponement of the Summer Olympics.
No fans would be in attendance and even broadcasters might be limited to calling games remotely. Mike “Doc” Emrick, the voice of hockey in the U.S. for NBC Sports, has done it a few times for games staged overseas or outdoors.
“It was an interesting concept,” Emrick said. “It’s not impossible because of high-definition now and because of the precision that you get with the cameras.”
The league is still exploring sites, though Bettman’s criteria puts places like Edmonton, Alberta, and Columbus, Ohio, on the list because practice rinks and hotels are all nearby. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Toronto was in the running, and Bettman spoke to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney last week about Edmonton being one of the sites.
“We would obviously expect the league to prepare a very detailed plan to mitigate risk,” Kenney said. “I gather the NHL is looking at finishing the season in arenas for television purposes without large crowds. Whether or not we could accommodate that, we do not yet know.”
League could lose up to $ 1 billion US
Some projections suggest the NHL could lose up to $ 1 billion US in revenue if the season is not completed. The financial hit would affect both owners and players based on the league’s revenue-sharing agreement.
There are still plenty of unknowns, ranging from when teams can re-open facilities and getting players back from Europe.
Still, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis noted that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has already suggested a way for sports to return: without fans and with players quarantined and tested often.
“On paper, this could definitely work if all of the athletes, coaches, medical staff and service workers around them are isolated for 14 days and test negative prior to coming together,” said Dr. Patrick Mularoni, medical director of sports medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. “You would need 100 per cent strict adherence to staying away from anyone outside of the `bubble’ or the oasis and the virus wouldn’t get in.”
One concern among players is how much time they might have to spend playing in relative self-isolation and without their family for what could amount to months. There’s also the risk of infection, with hockey being a contact sport.
“Player safety’s been something that keeps coming up when I talk to guys around the league or guys on my team,” said defenceman Torey Krug, the Boston Bruins’ alternate NHLPA representative. “Frequent testing is something that would probably help, but we’ve got to make sure that it’s really safe to even get to that point where we can even talk about it.”
As Americans hunker down for another weekend, President Donald Trump faces a critical choice. The U.S. has topped 120,000 coronavirus cases, the most in the world and by late Monday, the White House campaign of “15 days to stop the spread” will end, leaving an unpredictable president with a critical decision to extend, tighten or loosen the mitigation measures.
“Our country has to go back [to work],” he said Thursday. “Our country is based on that. And I think it’s going to happen pretty quickly. A lot of progress has been made, but we’ve got to go back to work.”
His options are complicated. State governments have locked down 169 million Americans in varying stay-at-home orders. Every day, Vice-President Mike Pence has brandished the one-page guidelines for the 15 days, urging compliance with hand washing and physical distancing.
A new mail out to millions of Americans titled “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America,” arrived in mailboxes just before the weekend.
Trump hopes for economic resurrection
Yet President Trump has, for a week now, been peddling the idea of allowing more freedoms, hoping for an economic resurrection, with the country “raring to go by Easter.” That statement set off red alarms among health care experts who strongly urge strict adherence for a longer period.
This weekend the White House’s coronavirus task force will present the president with “a range of recommendations and guidance for going forward,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the team leaders.
One strategy is to identify if areas in the U.S. that have fewer cases could open up first — the theory being that America could be divided into low, medium and high-risk areas.
“We may take large sections of our country that aren’t so seriously affected and we may do it that way, but we’ve got to start the process pretty soon,” President Trump repeated at a briefing Thursday.
States with fewer confirmed cases, like North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico and pockets in the northeast could be targeted as lower risk, while places like New York, with nearly half the reported cases, and other hot spots in urban areas, would be higher risk.
On Saturday, Trump said he was considering putting sections of New York and New Jersey into quarantine. It was not clear how he would be able to block road, air and sea travel out of a region that serves as the economic engine of the eastern United States, accounting for 12 per cent of GDP.
By Saturday night he’d retreated from that plan, saying the CDC would instead urge a strong travel advisory to hard-hit areas, and that “a quarantine will not be necessary.”
On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the <a href=”https://twitter.com/CDCgov?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CDCgov</a> to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the….
“I think we can start by opening up certain parts of the country, you know, the farm belt, certain parts of the Midwest, other places,” Trump said.
But the job of defending that decision, were it to happen, falls to his coronavirus response team working round the clock to get more data.
“What we’re trying to do is to utilize a laser-focused approach rather than a generic horizontal approach. And I think in the 21st century we should be able to get to that,” said Birx, who co-ordinates the White House’s coronavirus response team.
“The president’s made it clear that, in his words, he wants to open up the country. But we’re going to do that responsibly,” she added.
Muddling the public health message
After declaring himself a “wartime president,” the president appeared impatient this week with the economic casualties, including 3.2 million unemployed, cratering growth and a kick to a stock market that was soaring just a month ago.
Friday, he seemed to lean toward public health advice, telling a briefing, “life and safety and then the economy.”
But health professionals and state officials are deeply worried he will muddle the public health messaging.
“I am quite concerned that we’re considering these measures, especially when the science doesn’t support it,” says Nadia Abuelezam, an Infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at Boston College’s Cornell School of Nursing.
“Evenif we do see a reduction in the number of cases, that doesn’t mean that it can’t resurge there, or it can’t be reintroduced to that particular area.”
It’s not at all clear how some states with fewer cases could open up, while neighbouring states with a higher incidence remain locked down. Confusion over what’s allowed where could prompt people to pay less heed to the restrictions, health experts fear.
“Viruses do not respect borders. Viruses do not discriminate. Viruses just want to find another body where they can replicate. And I think that’s something to really keep in mind,” says Abuelezam.
Infectious disease experts want more time to measure if the mitigation efforts across the country are working. They also want to better understand how many Americans have or had the virus, with few or no symptoms. That data would help more accurately define how much coronavirus is circulating in the community, but capturing that picture is still extremely complicated and will take time.
“I understand the concept — we’re hearing of ‘pockets’ [of coronavirus]. But the problem with those pockets is we don’t know if those are places where the disease just hasn’t spread, or testing hasn’t started,” said Dr. William Jaquis, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, in an interview with CBC News.
“Look, we all had low cases at one time, right? And then Seattle started, then New York started, New Orleans, now Detroit, and California is ramping up.”
Modelling the new virus and predicting its effect on large populations is challenging, and changing, but data from more tests will ultimately produce a clearer picture.
“It’s really important to remember that the modelling results, the mathematical modelling results that are coming out about the United States, are all indicating that if we let up on the [physical] distancing now, we will see a large spike in the number of new cases,” says Abuelezam.
The coronavirus team at the White House is collecting as much data as fast as it can to provide concrete evidence to persuade an unpredictable president, who has a habit of freelancing from the podium.
Birx’s role at the daily briefings is to balance the bad news piling up as the cases mount and the slope of the virus goes straight up, with no levelling off.
You know, it’s one thing to have it. It’s another thing to die– Donald Trump, U.S. president
“Nineteen out of 50 states that had early cases have persistently low level of cases, at this point less than 200 cases [on Thursday]. So that’s almost 40 per cent of the country with extraordinarily low numbers, and they are testing,” said Birx.
“Models are models. We are adapting; there is enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to really make these predictions much more sound,” she said.
President Trump has seemed persuaded the number of deaths does not justify shutting down the whole of the country for longer than a few weeks.
“In my opinion, the mortality rate, it’s way, way down, and that takes a lot of fear out. You know, it’s one thing to have it. It’s another thing to die,” he said.
“When I first got involved, I was being told numbers that were much, much higher than the number seems to be. That’s one of the reasons I say, look, we’re going to beat this and we’re going to get back to work.”
Practically, Trump does not have the powers to regulate whether businesses open or close; the U.S. states can independently decide which restrictions will apply under broader federal guidelines.
On Friday, one of those lower-risk states, Wyoming, extended its closures of schools and some businesses to April 17. “It’s clear how important it is for us to take sustained action,” said Governor Mark Gordon.
With the U.S. now eclipsing cases in all other countries, the experience on the ground changes by the hour and the health-care response in some hard-hit areas is severely strained.
Nurses and doctors say they can’t get enough personal protective equipment; ventilators now being raced into production may not come soon enough. States are competing with each other to procure supplies.
The number of cases is one marker, but the rate of growth or the ‘cadence’ is even more telling, said Jaquis. In New York, cases doubled in three days.
Doctors say they need more time to allow them to respond to what’s about to hit, without worrying about the second rotation of spread.
“We’re not quite ready to take care of what’s coming. And we need to make sure that all of our patients and our communities and our health-care workers are protected. So right now, we need people to continue to stay home and we need to flatten that curve; they just need to continue with this for longer,” Jaquis said.
President Trump, calling himself a “wartime president,” travelled Saturday to Norfolk, Virginia, “to kiss goodbye” to the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship, headed for New York harbour to deal with the pandemic.
“It sends a great signal,” Trump said, “when the president is able to go there and say thank you.”
Perhaps a confusing signal for the millions of Americans under orders to stay at home.
The Montreal Impact learned the hard way that CONCACAF does not use video review.
The Impact felt they should have been awarded a penalty kick late in a 2-1 defeat to C.D. Olimpia of Honduras in the opening leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to speak about that in the heat of the moment,” said midfielder Saphir Taider. “We don’t want to focus on it too much. It’s frustrating. It all happened so quickly. We had to regain our composure after that.”
It appeared the Impact (0-1-2) were awarded a penalty in the 81st minute when a header by substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel went off Maylor Nunez’s arm in the box.
WATCH | Olimpia downs Impact to take opening leg:
Olimpia beats Montreal 2-1 in the opening leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. 1:30
Referee Adonai Escobedo initially pointed to the spot, to the roaring delight of the 20,243 fans at Olympic Stadium. But after a lengthy discussion with the assistant referee, Escobedo changed his decision.
Unlike Major League Soccer and several top European leagues, there is no video review (VAR) in CONCACAF.
Thierry Henry, who was handed his first defeat as Impact head coach, refused to comment on the no-penalty decision.
“I’m not talking about the refereeing,” he said.
Jozy chimes in
Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore chimed in on social media. “No VAR is a joke,” he tweeted after the game.
“The officials have to improve as the competition improves. It’s 2020 and teams still gettin CONCAF’D. It’s ridiculous,” he said in another tweet.
Yes. This competition is now becoming what it should. You see how important it is. The officials have to improve as the competition improves. It’s 2020 and teams still gettin CONCAF’D. It’s ridiculous.
The return leg is next Tuesday in Honduras, where Montreal will need to win and score at least two goals to stay alive in the competition.
Down 2-0, Henry made a tactical change at halftime that provided an offensive spark. He went from a 5-3-2 formation to a 4-3-3 and brought Orji Okwonkwo into the game.
The move paid instant dividends when Taider scored a sensational goal from 35 yards out in the 47th minute. The midfielder took a bouncing ball from Okwonkwo in stride and fired a perfectly weighted shot that dipped past the diving goalkeeper.
Taider could have tied the game in the 70th with a free kick on the edge of the penalty box but he sent the ball over the bar. Another opportunity in the 76th was wasted when Jackson-Hamel, unmarked in the box, sent his header wide.
‘A bitter taste’
“I’m frustrated,” said Taider. “I just looked over our stats. We dominated them everywhere. We had so many chances. They scored on two chances, two mistakes from us. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.”
Olimpia (1-0-2) goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar pulled his groin on a goal kick early in the match and was replaced by substitute ‘keeper Alex Guity. The defending Honduran champions scored off Guity’s ensuing goal kick in the 15th minute.
The ball fell to Leonardo Garrido, who headed it into the path of Jerry Bengtson. On poor coverage by rookie Luis Binks, Bengtson snuck behind the defenders and shot the ball with his first touch. Clement Diop got his hand on it, but not enough.
Instead of sitting back, the visitors kept looking for holes in the Impact back line, especially on the counter.
That second crucial away goal came in the 41st minute. After a poorly taken Impact free kick, Olimpia marched down the field with speed. Jorge Benguche evaded a tackle from Zachary Brault-Guillard with a dummy before beating Diop far side.
“We can’t concede the two goals we did,” said Henry. “Those were schoolyard errors. When you’re trying to come back from two goals down, it’s a big challenge. It’s a knockout game and you’re down 2-0, everything goes quicker.”
It was only the second loss for Montreal on home soil in the Champions League (9-2-3).
Olimpia has the chance to eliminate a second MLS club after taking care of the Seattle Sounders in the round of 16.
“It’s not over,” said Olimpia coach Pedro Troglio through a translator. “There’s 90 minutes to come next week in Honduras. They will be hard those minutes. We need to keep playing the way we did.
“There is still a lot of work to be done.”
The winner of the two-legged aggregate series will face New York City FC or Mexico’s Tigres in the semifinal next month.
Manant Vaidya knows the tragedy of losing loved ones in an airline disaster better than almost anyone.
And in the wake of the plane crash in Iran that killed all 176 passengers on board, his heart is aching this week.
Vaidya endured the same anguish these families are now facing; he lost his parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces last year when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
Now the Brampton, Ont., man is once again seeing news stories of entire families wiped out.
“Those families looked just like the family I lost,” he said. “It all came back to me.”
Vaidya has also lived through a logistical nightmare that the victim’s families are now starting to navigate: Trying to recover their loved one’s bodies and bring them home for funerals.
Many of those who died in this week’s crash were Muslim, and Muslims customarily must bury their loved ones as quickly as possible after death — something that proves almost impossible in a complex incident like this.
WATCH | Manant Vaidya says he wishes no one would ever lose family in an airline disaster again
Manant Vaidya knows the pain of losing family in an airline disaster. 0:45
Experts also say that repatriating the bodies of Canadians killed in the crash will be hampered by heightened military tensions and the fact that Canada severed diplomatic ties with Iran years ago.
“There’s a lot of psychological trauma the families now have to endure,” said Liyakat Takim, a religious studies professor at McMaster University in Hamilton. “The trauma is just unbelievable for them.”
“I keep thinking about his last moments … it keeps coming in my mind,” he said.
DNA testing needed
Authorities have said the bodies and remains recovered from the site of the crash have been taken to the coroner’s office for identification.
Hassan Shadkoo’s wife, Sheyda, was one of the victims. Speaking to CBC News from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport Wednesday night, he said that instead of his wife returning to him, he was headed to Tehran to retrieve her remains and be with her family.
“I wish I didn’t exist now,” he said.
Mohammad Tarbhai, a relative of crash victims Alina and Afifa Tarbhai, told CBC News that authorities need to carry out DNA testing, and he isn’t expecting their bodies to be released for at least a week.
Vaidya’s experience shows that, in all likelihood, reclaiming the bodies of the Canadians who died won’t be a simple process.
He flew to Ethiopia after the crash last March, hoping to identify and retrieve his family’s remains from that crash site. He quickly learned that would be impossible with an ongoing investigation.
The only thing he was able to take was soil. “That’s all that was left to me,” he said.
Vaidya, who is Hindu, brought that soil to India, and was able to use it to perform end-of-life rituals.
“As long as you have the soil and you have the thoughts in your heart and mind … that is how we got the closure initially,” he said.
It wasn’t until November that he was able to return to Ethiopia to officially recover his family’s remains and bring them to India for final cremation.
Muslim families dealing with this tragedy won’t be able to observe normal customs, Takim said.
Usually, a dead person’s body would be washed and wrapped in a white shroud before prayers and a burial, he said, which would take place as soon as possible after death.
“The normal procedure would not be applicable in these cases,” said Takim, adding that a precedent does exist for longer waits for burials in extenuating circumstances, such as when a post-mortem examination is necessary.
This whole situation is undoubtedly very traumatic for the families involved, he said. “Their loved one has not died a normal death.”
Vaidya stressed that the families of the Iran crash victims should reach out to Global Affairs Canada.
“They were very helpful,” he said.
‘A further shock to the families’
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke to his Iranian counterpart earlier this week and stressed “the need for Canadian officials to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash,” according to a readout of the call.
The readout didn’t say whether Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed to Champagne’s request.
Champagne said Thursday that despite Canada’s rocky relationship with Iran, he’s been reassured that Canadian investigators will get visas to enter the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants Iran to grant Canada access to the full investigation into the causes of the downed Ukrainian airliner 0:42
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that intelligence now indicates the Ukrainian aircraft that crashed outside of Tehran was shot down by an Iranian missile, possibly unintentionally. Iranian officials have denied the allegation.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” Trudeau said Thursday during a news conference in Ottawa.
“The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families who are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy,” he said.
The crash happened just hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to order the targeted killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
In a report released Wednesday, the Iranian aviation authority said that it has invited “all the states involved” to join a growing team investigating the plane crash.
The organization’s initial report into the crash said a fire broke out on the Boeing aircraft immediately before it hit the ground.
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews is facing a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an incident last May in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Matthews, 22, has not been arrested in relation to the May 26 incident. He has a pretrial conference scheduled for Wednesday morning in Scottsdale at 11:30 a.m. ET, though he is not required to appear in court.
The team released a statement Tuesday saying it is aware of the complaint.
“The Toronto Maple Leafs are aware of the complaint of disturbing the peace against forward Auston Matthews,” the statement reads. “Auston is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities but neither he nor the Club will comment any further out of respect for the process involved.”
According to the police report, a female security guard at a condo complex in Scottsdale made the complaint after she said Matthews and a group of males tried to open her vehicle as she sat inside doing paperwork at 2 a.m.
The complainant said she got out her car and confronted Matthews, who she said appeared to be intoxicated. She said Matthews said he thought it would be funny to see how she would respond.
The report states that, as Matthews walked away, he dropped his pants, bent over and grabbed his buttocks, though the complainant said he appeared to keep his underwear on.
The report says surveillance video shows a male subject walking toward the complex elevators with his pants around his ankles.
The Brazilian government’s push to escalate agricultural and mining developments in the Amazon at the expense of Indigenous rights actively brought about the ongoing wildfire crisis, Indigenous advocates say.
There are currently over 75,000 wildfires burning in the rainforest throughout the country — an 80 per cent increase over last year, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Rayanne Cristine Máximo França, a member of the Baré Indigneous people from the Amazonas state in Brazil’s northwest, said the government of Jair Bolsonaro has unleashed an assault on Indigenous people and their lands by emboldening farmers, ranchers and miners to carve deeper into the Amazon rainforest.
Máximo França, 27, said there has further been a rise in the displacement of Indigenous people from these lands — one that she said often comes with violent death.
“We are facing a process of genocide with this government, also a process of ecocide,” she said in a telephone interview from the capital of Brasilia.
“They are killing us every day; they are killing us with the fire that is happening, they are killing us when they displace us from our territories, when they invade our territories.”
In a tweet Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called the ongoing Amazon wildfires an “international crisis.” Macron said he wanted to discuss the “emergency” during the G7 meeting he is hosting this weekend in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted in support of Macron’s call.
There is a direct link with the wildfires engulfing the Amazon and the increased deforestation, Máximo França said, referring to local news reports from earlier this month that said farmers and ranchers in the state of Pará reportedly announced a “Day of Fire” this month to clear out rainforest land for development.
“They started making fires in the territories to send a message,” she said.
One newspaper also reported that the majority of wildfires were on rainforest lands that had been cleared by ranchers and farmers for agricultural use.
Amnesty International calls for Indigenous rights protection
Brazil’s president has been vocal about his disdain for environmental protections and Indigenous territories in the Amazon, seeing them as an obstacle to economic development.
While Indigenous territories are protected under Brazilian law and its constitution recognizes an Indigenous right to land, the Bolsonaro government has weakened protections and turned a blind eye to illegal logging. This has led to increased incursions by illegal loggers and increases in illegal land seizures in Indigenous territories.
Amnesty International recently released a report that said the protection of Indigenous rights is “key to preventing further deforestation in the Amazon.” The report also said the “risk of bloodshed” in the Amazon was rising, unless the Brazilian government reversed its current position and began protecting Indigenous lands.
“Since early this year, there has been a surge in the invasion of Indigenous territories,” said João Ghilherme Delgado Bieber, a consultant with Amnesty International, in a text conversation with CBC News.
He was recently in Rondônia state, which is the site of wildfires.
“The deforestation has increased inside these protected areas and Indigenous leaders are threatened for defending their territories,” he said. “The fires, including inside Indigenous territories, further destroy the Amazon.”
Canada asked to pressure Brazil on Indigenous rights
Gilberto Vieira dos Santos, a spokesperson for the Brasilia-based Indigenous Missionary Council, said the elements behind the increased invasion and attacks on Indigenous lands are also behind the burning of cleared-out rainforest being blamed for the rash of wildfires.
“The situation of the fires in the Amazon is in the same context,” he said in a telephone interview.
Vieira dos Santos said countries like Canada, which tout the importance of Indigenous rights, have a duty to press Brazil to change its current trajectory. He also suggested such countries should impose a moratorium on importing Brazilian commodities that affect the Indigenous population in the country.
“The position of the Canadian government is very important,” he said. “Maybe it’s the only real pressure that can have an impact on the situation in the country.
“We believe the government of Canada, with its history and relationship with Indigenous peoples in its country, has position and influence with Brazil and other countries.”
Máximo França said she would also like to see pressure on Brazil from Canada to end the assault on Indigenous people in the Amazon, which she said has a direct impact on the environment.
The very survival of her people is at stake, she said. “If we don’t have land … we don’t have life.”