RIO DE JANEIRO -- The Israeli and Lebanese Olympics teams became involved in a heated argument about access to a bus to the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Games.
2016 Summer Olympics coverage
Both sides acknowledged Saturday that Israeli athletes were blocked from boarding a bus packed with the Lebanon team on Friday, but they are at odds over the reasons for the actions of the head of the Lebanese delegation.
Israel portrayed it as a hostile act, with sailing coach Udi Gal saying they were prevented from getting on the bus for political reasons at the athletes' village.
"The driver opened the door and we started to get on, but then the head of the Lebanese delegation physically blocked the entrance and wouldn't let us on," Gal, a former Olympic sailor, told Israel's Channel 2 television. "We wanted to stand up for ourselves but you can't cause trouble."
Gal told The Associated Press by email that he had not lodged an official complaint. The Olympic Committee of Israel said it was preparing a statement.
Lebanon chef de mission Salim Haj Nicola insisted that he had the right to prevent another team's athletes from joining them on the transport reserved for them.
"I asked the bus driver to close the door, but the guide with the Israeli team prevented him from doing so," Nicola told Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar. "I then stood at the door of the bus to prevent the Israel team from entering and some of them tried to go in and pick a fight."
Nicola told the AP that it was "only a small problem."
"This problem is finished," he said by telephone. "We are here only for sports."
It has been a decade since Israel was embroiled in a month-long war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. The 2006 conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of civilians, and about 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. The border between the two countries has been largely quiet since then.
Talk about last-minute notice.
Marathoner Vanderlei de Lima said he found out just an hour before the Olympic cauldron was lit at the opening ceremony that he was the one who would carry the flame.
He told the story to a group of Brazilian sports journalists who accidentally ran into him buying beer at a gas station after the show ended. He was still wearing his Rio 2016 outfit.
"I never thought that I could be that person to light the cauldron," he said.
Three-time soccer World Cup champion Pele was widely expected to perform the task, but earlier on Friday he said he was ill. His announcement created a lot of mystery about who would be chosen.
At the 2004 games, an Irish spectator wearing a kilt, knee-socks and a beret tackled de Lima while he was leading the Olympic marathon. Instead of gold, he fell back to take bronze.
U.S. women's water polo coach Adam Krikorian has left the team to be with his family after one of his two older brothers died.
He plans to return Monday, the team said. The U.S. plays Spain in its Olympic opener Tuesday.
Krikorian coached the U.S. to its first Olympic gold medal in women's water polo at the London Games. The team is favored to win again in Rio de Janeiro.
Blake Krikorian, co-developer of the pioneering video streaming device Slingbox and a Silicon Valley businessman, died Wednesday at 48, the San Mateo County coroner's office said. Deputy coroner Danielle Beckman declined to provide further details, but Coroner Robert Foucrault told the San Francisco Chronicle that Krikorian had gone paddle boarding in the San Francisco Bay Area and was found lying next to his car in the parking lot. Foucrault said it appears Krikorian died of natural causes.
A small blast shook the area near the finish line of the men's cycling road race Saturday with about 43 1/2 miles to go in the race. No one was injured, and the event went on unaffected.
Reporters heard a loud boom on the press tribune and felt the ground shake.
An officer assigned to the event said it was a controlled explosion of an unattended bag. He did not give his name because he was not authorized to speak.
A half dozen military police cordoned off the area. No one was immediately evacuated.
There have been several bomb scares in the city the last couple weeks. A few blocks of the high end neighborhood of Leblon were shut down two weeks ago when a doorman reported a suspicious package in front of a building. A bomb squad came out and found that the sports bag only contained clothes.
Sports on 08/07/2016
Print Headline: Lebanese deny team bus access