Organizers warn of Rio shortfall

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Organizers of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games warn that they will be unable to fund the construction of Olympic projects if a new law passes reducing the state's oil revenues.

The Brazilian Olympic Games Organizing Committee said in a statement that a bill approved last week in the country's lower house of congress would mean that Rio de Janeiro state would lose about $4 billion in annual oil revenues.

Currently, Rio de Janeiro state receives a large share of the royalties for any oil extracted from the offshore fields off its coast. Under the new bill, those royalties will be shared equally between the federal government and all of Brazil's 26 states.

The committee said the impact would "leave Rio de Janeiro without the conditions needed to (finance) the projects needed for the 2016 Games."

The bill still faces debate and a vote in Brazil's senate. President Luiz Inacio da Silva has promised to veto it if changes aren't made so it doesn't jeopardize the games.

Earlier, Silva said Brazil plans to build sport centers in poor communities across the country.

ROCHETTE CLEARED TO PERFORM: Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette will be allowed to perform an exhibition program in tribute to her mother, Canadian figure skating officials said Tuesday.

Rochette wanted to perform Celine Dion 's Vole at the end of Friday night's Thin Ice , a made-for-TV show to be broadcast live by ABC. But the event isn't sanctioned by the International Skating Union, putting the Canadian in conflict with an union rule that prohibits skaters from withdrawing from championships and then performing in exhibitions around the same time.

"We appreciate the ISU worked with us to find a solution for this situation," William Thompson , Skate Canada's CEO, said in a statement. "They have agreed to relax (the rule) ... due to the unique and extenuating circumstances of this particular request. We want to thank the ISU for their consideration and understanding in reviewing this in light of Joannie's situation."

Therese Rochette , 55, died of a heart attack just four days before her daughter won the bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics.

TOUR DISPUTES CLAIMS: Claims that Olympian Johnny Weir was not included in the Stars on Ice cast because of his sexual orientation are not true, the figure skating tour said.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation started an online petition last week, saying Weir was being excluded from the tour because he was not "family friendly."

Weir has repeatedly avoided questions about his sexual orientation, saying people shouldn't be defined by labels.

"We are disappointed that there is untrue and inaccurate information being disseminated," Stars , which is sponsored by Smucker's, said in a statement. "Please be assured that the 'gender identity and sexual orientation' of cast members has never been a consideration in the selection of tour performers."

PUCK IN SAFE HANDS: The gold-medal puck is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Canada's Sidney Crosby used it to score the game-winner in the 3-2 overtime thriller against the U.S. in the Olympic final on Feb. 28.

It will be displayed at the Hall in Toronto.

"I am happy to see that the puck is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame," Crosby said in a statement Tuesday. "I feel very lucky to have been part of that team and that game as well, and I am glad hockey fans will get the chance to share the moment by seeing things like the overtime-winning puck up close."

FAMILY TO RECEIVE INSURANCE: The family of the Georgian luge athlete who died in a training crash on the Olympic track hours before the Vancouver Games formally opened in February will receive an undisclosed insurance settlement.

Vancouver organizing officials say Nodar Kumaritashvili 's family qualifies for a death benefit. The Vancouver Organizing Committee took out insurance on the approximately 5,000 members of the Olympic family, including athletes, for the games.

It's not known when Kumaritashvili's parents will receive the money.

The International Luge Federation already has donated about $14,000 to the family, and other private fundraising efforts are under way for Kumaritashvili's survivors as well.


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