Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2014 Contents A51
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WASHINGTON---The White House is
applauding a college football player's
decision to announce he is gay, with
president Barack Obama's spokesman, first
lady Michelle Obama and vice president Joe
Biden all portraying him as courageous and
Biden and the first lady took to Twitter
yesterday to comment on Michael Sam,
who publicly came out on Sunday. Mrs
Obama says she "couldn't be prouder" of
The tweet was signed "-mo," which is
how the White House marks messages
personally sent by the first lady.
"Your courage is an inspiration to all of
us," Biden said. The message was signed "-
VP," which designates that the vice
president sent it personally.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said
the president "shares the sentiments
expressed by the first lady and the vice
president and so many others in marveling
at his courage and congratulating him on
the decisions he's made, on the support he's
had from his team and wishing him well in
the future, including in professional
Carney said Sam's announcement should
not affect his standing in the NFL draft and
his abilities should be measured by his
performance. (AP) (See page 54)
KRASNAYA POLYANA---Canada s Alex
Bilodeau defended his gold medal in Olympic
men s moguls yesterday, fending off rival
Mikael Kingsbury to become the first freestyle
skier to win consecutive Olympic titles.
Bilodeau put together a perfect run in the
finals to make history, posting a score of 26.31
on the slushy Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course
in the medal round. In the giddy aftermath,
he reached over a retaining fence and grabbed
his older brother Frederic to celebrate. Bilodeau
has called his brother, who has cerebral palsy,
an inspiration throughout his career.
Kingsbury endured a slight form break in
the middle of his run and ended up with silver.
Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia took bronze.
"It s victory," Smyshlyaev said. "It s one big
victory for Russian moguls."
Considering the stranglehold Canada has
on the sport at the moment, bronze is as good
as gold for everybody else.
Bilodeau s triumph capped a fantastic stretch
for Canada on the tricky slope at Rosa Khutor.
Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-
Lapointe took gold and silver in women s
moguls on Saturday.
It wasn t the smoothest night for the
favorites, who came to Sochi atop the world
rankings, at least until the medal round.
The two favorites dominated qualifying, but
were hardly sharp in the first elimination runs.
Kingsbury slogged to one of the slowest times
of the competition while Bilodeau nearly fell
on his backside after landing his first jump.
Still, it ultimately came down to what is
has repeatedly come down to in most of the
past four years, the 26-year-old Bilodeau
against the 21-year-old Kingsbury in a fight
In the end, it wasn t close.
Going fourth in the six-man final, Bilodeau
was flawless as he navigated the mounds with
his knees appearing magnetized together. He
thrilled over the two jumps, spinning and
twisting his way through the balmy air before
floating back to earth and continuing on his
"I know that guy can put down a better
run than me. He s got more talent than I do,"
Bilodeau said of Kingsbury. "I just wanted to
could put some pressure on."
Kingsbury couldn t match it. His knees sep-
arated midway through the final run, and while
he raised his hands as he crossed the line, he
knew he was finished. He pumped his first
half-heartedly when his score of 24.71 was
posted, more than a full point behind Bilodeau.
The two embraced, though it was Bilodeau
who flashed the "No 1" sign during the flower
ceremony in the giddy aftermath.
It was a predictable finish to a sometimes
Rising temperatures that pushed into the
mid-40s during the day turned a course
already deemed questionable by some into
the world s largest Slurpee machine.
Instead of powdery snow that allows racers
to carve graceful turns at near breakneck
speeds, nearly half of the field either veered
off course or tumbled head over skis during
And the mistakes weren t limited to the
also-rans. Pat Deneen of the US was hung up
midway down the mountain in his first qual-
ifying run and he angrily bulled through one
of the gates marking the end of the slope
before making his way to the bottom. While
he recovered to top the second qualifying run
and make it to the finals, defending Olympic
silver medalist Dale Begg-Smith of Australia
The two-time Olympic medalist---including
gold at Turin in 2006---was attempting to
make a comeback after taking three years off
following a silver in Vancouver. He was sloppy
during the first run before disaster struck in
the second. Less than 50 feet from getting
through a run clean enough to advance to the
medal round, Begg-Smith couldn t get his
skis over in time while completing his second
jump. He smashed into the muck, his face a
mixture of stunned disbelief and disgust. It
marked the first time Begg-Smith missed out
on the finals since 2005.
But reaching the podium, however, would
have been a long shot at best for Begg-Smith
following his sabbatical. The sport he once
dominated has moved on without him, as
Bilodeau and Kingsbury have separated them-
selves from the rest of the world --- a gap that
shows no signs of closing. (AP)
Canada's Bilodeau repeats
in Olympic men's moguls
White House praises gay player's announcement
Canada's Alex Bilodeau, right, celebrates with compatriot Mikael Kingsbury after Bilodeau won
gold and Kingsbury took silver in the men's moguls final at the 2014 Winter Olympics,
yesterday, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. AP PHOTO
SOCHI---That drone you might
have spotted hovering and zipping
around the Sochi Olympic slopes
isn t searching for terrorists or pro-
testers hiding behind the fir trees.
It s being used to transmit live video
of snowboard and ski jump compe-
titions to a screen near you.
Unlike military drones, which often
look like a remote-controlled airplane,
the creature floating around Sochi
resembles a huge flying spider. Drones
are increasingly common at sporting
events, and these Olympics is the
highest-profile showcase yet for their
use in broadcasting.
Why use a drone for Olympics?
"We can go really, really close. And
we are really quiet, so nobody is
distracted," said pilot and camera-
man Remo Masima, who has used
drones to film skiers in Switzerland
And it s cheaper than a camera
crew on a helicopter.
A drone with mounted camera can
cost anywhere from a few thousand
dollars to US$37,000 for a top-of-
the-line Ikarus from Britain s Heliguy,
which is advising broadcast clients
in Sochi on using drones, said
Heliguy s Justin Pringle.
That compares with the cost of a
few thousand dollars an hour to rent
a helicopter with pilot, not including
the camera crew and equipment.
Flexibility is key. Drones allow
unique angles and "allow more height
than a crane, but are able to get lower
than a helicopter," said a statement
from Olympic Broadcasting Services,
which provides the official world feed
of all the events at the Games and
is using one drone in Sochi.
How do the drones work?
The legs of this flying spider hold
the rotors that spin around to keep
it airborne. The drone then has a
flight deck that holds the flight control
system with GPS for navigation, sen-
sors and receivers. Then there s the
camera, which can be mounted in
the middle or suspended below the
Drones are being used to film major
movies and television shows---Heliguy
has provided drones for filming of
the HBO series "Game of Thrones."
As demand grows, cameras are being
designed with drones in mind.
When asked if this was the future
of sports video, Masima didn t hes-
itate: "For sure," he said. (AP)
Sochi drone shooting Olympic TV, not terrorists
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