The curse of Rio, otherwise known as Australian cyclings 2016 Olympics campaign, dealt perhaps its most vicious blows at BMX.Unlike the luckless road and track campaigns, everything had gone flawlessly for the BMX riders through qualifying and the mens quarter-finals.And in Fridays racing, Caroline Buchanan, Sam Willoughby and Anthony Dean won their opening semi-final races.But just as the Australian cyclists thought their fortunes might be in for a belated change, everything unravelled.After finishing fourth in the second ride, Buchanan crashed in her third semi-final and missed the medal race on a countback.Teammate Lauren Reynolds also failed to qualify.That left Willoughby, the 2012 London bronze medallist, and Dean.They were outstanding in the semi-finals, winning all their races and holding the best two start positions for the final.Willoughby mistimed a crucial jump and finished sixth, while Dean crashed and did not finish.The words cut-throat, cruel and unforgiving featured repeatedly as the five stunned Australians tried to explain what happened.It is cruel in the respect that you focus on yourself, you do your own thing all day, but theres no lanes, its full contact, Willoughby said.You watch other sports, track and field, swimming, something like a little mistake, you can recover from it.But here, its a shit show - thats what we all signed up for and thats what makes it good when you win.Willoughby admitted he had felt the pressure of being a medal contender.He also revealed a training crash six months ago left him with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in a knee, which he said was dangling.Its been tough, Ive had to change the way I approach everything and Ive kept it under wraps, he said.I feel like I did everything perfect until the last hurdle.Once you were behind on this track, it was chaos.It was a day of wildly-fluctuating emotions for Willoughby and Reynolds, given American Alise Post won silver behind Colombian great Mariana Pajon, with Venezuelas Stefany Hernandez third.Post will marry Willoughby next year and Reynolds is her training partner.A tearful Buchanan admitted her disaster had shades of London four years ago, when she finished fifth after qualifying fastest.It does feel like a little bit of a repeat of London, but a different story, she said.I can hold my head high that I am a champion and Ive done everything I can.Im a fighter - Ive come back from London and I will come back again.Dean was similarly inconsolable, despite the London team reserve starring until the final.Its heartbreaking to end it like this after I was in the best form of my life, he said.American Connor Reynolds won the mens gold medal ahead of Dutch rider Jelle van Gorkom, with Colombian Carlos Ramirez taking the bronze from US rider Nicholas Long in a photo finish.Olympic cycling ends on Saturday and Sunday with the mountain bike races, where Australians are not expected to feature in the medals. Shoes Wholesale Online Store . During the athletes parade, the 23-strong Ukrainian team was represented by a lone flagbearer in an apparent protest at the presence of Russian troops in Ukraines Crimean peninsula. Cheap Shoes Wholesale Free Shipping . The 15th-ranked Canadian men lost the opening two games of their European tour: 19-15 to No. 17 Georgia and 21-20 to No. http://www.shoeswholesale.us/ . Following a lopsided 5-2 loss against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night, Paul MacLean told reporters that "theres a lack of focus, theres a lack of leadership and theres a lack of preparation" with his struggling team. That came on the heels of Bryan Murray taking the unusual step of going into the locker room at the Prudential Center and addressing the players himself. Shoes Wholesale China Free Shipping . Laudrup revealed Thursday he was notified of his dismissal in "the briefest of letters which gave no reasons why such hasty and final action was deemed necessary. Shoes Clearance Sale Online . Canada is now down to its 22-player limit, although but players wont be registered until Christmas Day. Changes could still be made as a result of a suspension or injury. In kneeling during The Star-Spangled Banner before the U.S. womens national team friendly versus Thailand on Thursday, Megan Rapinoe became the first athlete to continue Colin Kaepernicks protest while wearing a national team uniform.Before Thursdays match, Rapinoe said she was undecided about kneeling because the act so far hasnt prompted conversation about racial injustice as hoped. So, Rapinoe could have retreated into her own privilege, explaining away a decision not to kneel with some words about patriotism and not achieving her original goal. She would have saved herself from the deluge of condemnations sure to come. Not kneeling certainly would have been the safer option.Instead, she chose solidarity over safety and took a knee.The pushback to Kaepernick, Rapinoe and the other players kneeling during the national anthem has been fraught with cries of how divisive the protest is, with disagreements about the method and timing, and with calls to place individual beliefs aside. All of those complaints have to do with the method of the protest instead of what really matters: the fact that racial inequality is rampant in this country.In Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday (where the U.S. women played their match), 13-year-old Tyre King was shot and killed by police. His death is still under investigation, and we dont know all the details, but his name will forever be mentioned with Michael Brown, John Crawford III, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Natasha McKenna, Janisha Fonville, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice and so many more as black people who have died at the hands of the police in recent years.This is what Kaepernick and Rapinoe are fighting against. This is about lives and about emphatically stating that black lives are worth just as much white ones. Instead of criticizing Rapinoe for exercising her right to protest, perhaps we should ask this question: Why she is the only white professional athlete to kneel so far? Because the silence from white athletes is deafening.The Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs players locking arms in unity is the closest a white NFL player has come to joining the protests. But there is no risk or objection in linking arms -- fundamentally, there is no protest, andd that is the point.dddddddddddd Its a cop-out.Each time a player of color takes a knee or raises a fist, they put themselves and their livelihoods at risk. Brandon Marshall, a linebacker with the Denver Broncos, lost two endorsements following his kneel before the season opener at Mile High Stadium. Hiding behind linked arms and team statements shields players from backlash -- but also from taking a stance.Compare the linked arms to the actions taken by white members of the WNBA following shootings in Dallas in July. Alongside her Lynx teammates, Lindsay Whalen wore a T-shirt supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and Dallas Police; Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart showed solidarity by also wearing black T-shirts. These players openly raised awareness of police brutality against the black community, much like Rapinoe is doing for Kaepernick now, in the absence of support from his own teammates.The fact that the examples of support come from women point to the fact that this conversation is rooted in an understanding of marginalization in this country. Many women have experienced discrimination. For Rapinoe, as a member of the LGBT community, its magnified. Anyone who is not a white, cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied man has had to fight for their rights and dignity in this country.These are hard, uncomfortable conversations. Thats why so many are deflecting the issue at hand in their criticism of the protests. Rapinoe will probably be painted as ungrateful, because playing for the national team is a privilege and an honor, as U.S. Soccer said in a statement afterwards. For Rapinoe, however, its clear that privilege can and should be risked -- and possibly sacrificed -- for a cause greater than herself.Rapinoes choice was one of selflessness, though critics will say she put herself before the team. That is a false dichotomy. The issue of equality and the value placed (or not placed) on the lives of black and brown people transcends sport. And if she is punished for this action, she may well have placed those lives above her own livelihood.That is the very definition of sacrifice. ' ' '