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Olympic Stadium tower ripped by London critics

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Olympic Stadium tower ripped by London critics

From Comcast SportsNet

LONDON (AP) Critics say it looks like a roller coaster gone badly awry. Fans say it's a landmark to rival the Eiffel Tower.

London got a towering new venue Friday, as authorities announced completion of the Orbit, a 115-meter (377- foot) looped and twisting steel tower beside London's new Olympic Stadium that will give visitors panoramic views over the city.

Some critics have called the ruby-red lattice of tubular steel an eyesore. British tabloids have labeled it ''the Eye-ful Tower,'' ''the Godzilla of public art'' and worse.

But artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, who designed the tower, find it beautiful.

Belmond, who described the looping structure as ''a curve in space,'' said he thought people would be won over by it.

''St. Paul's (Cathedral) was hated when it was begun,'' he said. ''Everyone wanted a spire'' - but now the great church's dome is universally loved.

He said if a groundbreaking structure works ''it starts to do something to you and your concept of beauty changes.''

Kapoor noted that Paris's iconic Eiffel Tower was considered ''the most tremendously ugly object'' by many when it was first built.

''There will be those who love it and those who hate it, and that's OK,'' Kapoor said of the tower, whose full name is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, after the steel company that stumped up most of the 22.7 million pound (36.5 million) cost.

''I think it's awkward,'' Kapoor said - considering that a compliment. ''It has its elbows sticking out in a way. ... It refuses to be an emblem.''

A little awkwardness is to be expected when you ask an artist to design a building. Kapoor, a past winner of art's prestigious Turner Prize, is known for large-scale installations like ''Marsyas'' - a giant blood-red PVC membrane that was displayed at London's Tate Modern in 2002 - and ''The Bean,'' a 110-ton (100-metric ton) stainless steel sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park.

Even for him, though, the scale of the Orbit is monumental.

He says the structure can only truly be appreciated from inside - something most of the public will not have the chance to do until 2014, when it reopens as the centerpiece of a brand-new park on the site of the 2012 London Olympic Park.

Before that, it will be open to ticketholders for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games, whop can ride the elevator to the top at a cost of 15 pounds (22).

Kapoor said visitors would enter a ''dark and heavy'' steel canopy at base before emerging into the light high above ground, where a wraparound viewing deck and a pair of huge concave mirrors create ''a kind of observatory, looking out at London.''

''It's as if one is in an instrument for looking,'' Kapoor said.

London Olympic organizers hope the Orbit, which can accommodate up to 5,000 visitors a day, will become a major tourist attraction.

It is, they note proudly, the tallest sculpture in Europe - and 22 meters (72 feet) higher than the Statue of Liberty. On a clear day, views from its observation deck extend for 32 kilometers (20 miles) across London and the green hills beyond.

The tower will be at the heart of a new 227-hectare (560-acre) park, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, that will include a lush river valley, biking trails and a tree-lined promenade. It is due to open in stages starting in July 2013 and finishing in early 2014.

London Mayor Boris Johnson takes credit for pitching the idea of a tower to steel baron Lakshmi Mittal at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in 2009. He is a huge fan of the finished product.

''It is a genuine Kapoor,'' Johnson said. ''It has all the enigmatic qualities of some of his great pieces.''

And he believes other Londoners will come to love it, too.

''I think so,'' he said, then paused. ''In the end.''

Mike Montgomery making the most of his DL stint, tied the knot Monday

Mike Montgomery making the most of his DL stint, tied the knot Monday

Mike Montgomery was placed on the disabled list last week, so he's had a few off-days, but Monday's off-day has been circled on his calendar for a while now as the 29-year-old married his girlfriend Stephanie Duchaine. 

Mr & Mrs Montgomery ✨ 08.20.18

A post shared by Stephanie Duchaine (@stephaniejdu) on

Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery look stunning as on their wedding day but it's back to business on Tuesday as Montgomery is scheduled to throw a bullpen session before Tuesday's game with the Tigers. 

The new Mrs. Montgomery has hosted shows on the Home Shopping Network, Amazon Prime promotional videos, and People Magazine. She is a graduate from the University of Michigan and seems to love baseball almost as much as her now-husband Montgomery. 

The lefty starter is available to return from the disabled list this Saturday in time to face the Cincinnati Reds. 

Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup champion Michal Handzus to retire from professional hockey

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AP

Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup champion Michal Handzus to retire from professional hockey

Michal Handzus, who helped the Blackhawks win a Stanley Cup in 2013 as the second-line center, is officially hanging up the skates.

The 41-year-old forward hasn't played in the NHL since the 2013-14 season but spent the last three years with Banska Bystrica HC 05 in Slovakia, where he was a part of the championship-winning team in 2016-17. He sat out the 2017-18 campaign and has decided to call it quits for good.

Handzus played with six teams in his first 13 NHL seasons, including eight games with the Blackhawks in 2006-07, before getting reacquired by Chicago in 2013 at the trade deadline for a fourth-round draft pick and it turned out to be one of the more underrated acquisitions in the league that year. He had one goal and five assists in 11 regular-season games, then accumulated 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 23 postseason contests and found himself in the center of all the big moments.

In Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings, with the Blackhawks trailing the series 3-2, Handzus scored a crucial goal on the road in the opening minute of the third period to tie it up at 2-2, a game the Blackhawks went on to win to force a Game 7 back in Chicago. (We all know what the final result was in that one).

In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, with the Blackhawks trailing the series again 2-1, Handzus set the tone early on the road by scoring the game's first goal shorthanded when he buried a feed from Brandon Saad before taking a hard spill into the boards in an eventual 6-5 victory:

And then of course in Game 6, Handzus was the extra attacker for the first of two goals scored 17 seconds apart in Boston as the Blackhawks captured their second Stanley Cup in four years:

It was the first Stanley Cup win of Handzus' career, so naturally, he was the first player to receive Lord Stanley from captain Jonathan Toews:

That's not all.

Handzus re-signed with the Blackhawks on a one-year deal for the 2013-14 season, which would be his last in the NHL, and gave Chicago this double-overtime goal in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final to keep the Blackhawks' hopes alive:

Handzus isn't the name who jumps out when you think of the three titles in six years run but he's a player that certainly made strong contributions in a Blackhawks sweater and delivered in key playoff moments.