How Toronto's Papers Are Covering the Countdown To The Rio Olympics
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How Toronto’s Papers Are Covering the Countdown To The Rio Olympics

The Toronto Sun is disqualified.

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

The Rio Olympic Games start this Friday, and Toronto’s papers are starting to gear up for what is usually the biggest multi-sport event on the planet. While some papers are spotlighting our local heroes as they head to Brazil to fight for glory, other papers are focusing on the challenges facing the host nation, from getting facilities ready in time to the myriad security challenges the games present, including the shadow of possible international terrorism. Which of Toronto’s dailies will be presented with this week’s Front Page Challenge gold medal?

Note: The Toronto Sun did not make an electronic version of their front page available for the purposes of this column today and are therefore disqualified from this week’s competition, a stunning turn of events considering they have won the last two weeks of Front Page Challenge and currently sit atop this column’s leaderboard.

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The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail‘s central image this morning features a worker installing pavestones outside the Olympic Tennis Centre, a good metaphor for how the city is frantically scrambling to put the finishing touches on the facilities with less than 100 hours to go until the Games begin. Tourists are beginning to arrive before much of the scaffolding has been removed and construction is even completed. There is a concern that Brazil’s political crisis, crumbling economy and health challenges (from water quality to the Zika virus outbreak) leaves Rio unprepared to handle the massive influx of tourists and international attention the Games will bring to an already demoralized nation. On top of the page, there’s news about today’s scheduled announcement out of Ottawa that the Feds will overhaul the process by which Supreme Court justices are selected, with an advisory board chaired by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell. One of the expected changes is that people will be able to nominate themselves for the Supreme Court instead of such nominations being done through partisan backrooms. And an Ontario superjail is revamping their fire-safety plan after the Toronto Fire department responded to nearly 30 false alarms this year that all appear to have been malicious prank calls. Bad news, I.P. Freely, Anita Bath and Amanda Hugginkiss—Toronto Fire is onto you!

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National Post

A mixed bag on page one of the Post today. A stunning panoramic image of a destructive tornado that touched down in Saskatchewan is this morning’s main story. Donald Trump is preparing his flock for the mind-blowing defeat that awaits the Republican party this fall by road-testing his prediction that the Presidential election “is going to be rigged“, an unheard-of assertion by a major party Presidential candidate, which can be the only explanation how he could lose to “Crooked Hillary” (whom he also called “the devil” on his campaign trail). It wasn’t a good week for Trump, with his numbers crashing in the wake of the well-received Democratic National Convention, and the bad press Trump is generating for his daily attacks on the bereaved parents of a decorated Muslim-American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in the Iraq war. And on the eve of the Olympic Games, the Post also covers the story of a Canadian cyclist who has won a battle in a human rights complaint; Kristen Worley, who transitioned from man to woman, says the hormone supplements she must take to stay healthy runs up against the anti-doping rules of the sport, which she feels is a discriminatory practice in world sports, and Ontario’s human rights tribunal agrees she has the right to a full hearing on the issue.

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Toronto Star

The Star’s “Countdown To Rio” is in full swing, if you will, with golf phenom Brooke Henderson and track and field star Andre De Grasse leading a special “30 Canadians To Watch” feature, as well as a story on the U.S. and Brazil law enforcement teaming up to tackle a suspected jihadist threat on the Games, with the revelation that Daesh (as the Star refers to ISIS) has transmitted propaganda in Portuguese to reach potential radical actors in Brazil, hoping to take advantage of the apparent lack of preparation that already exists in Rio. The Star also reports on the “disturbingly low success rate” the Ontario Ministry Of Labour has had in terms of recovering wage-theft to workers shafted by unscrupulous bosses; the enforcement rules in place have only led to 0.2 per cent of them being prosecuted in the last six years. And thanks to Stephen Harper’s miscalculated plan for a three-month-long election campaign designed to crush Justin Trudeau, today is already the first anniversary of the start of that campaign; the Star reports on how the then long-shot Trudeau is still “riding high” in the polls nine months after his majority victory.

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Metro Toronto

Metro also has a case of Olympic Fever under the banner “T.O. 2 Rio”, with their cover taken up by Crispin Duenas, “Physics teacher by day, Olympic archer by night”, who is now on his way to Rio to represent Canada with his eye on the target of Olympic Gold. Metro catches up on this weekend’s chaotic events in the city with their headline “Trauma In Toronto” which encapsulates shootings, stabbings “and even a lightning strike.” Metro also covers a local success story, the website Lokaly, which caters to Millennials who are looking for a more authentic travel experience, matching visitors to local guides who can offer them a personalized, off-the-beaten-path tour (for a fee). And Metro asks you to spare a thought for the chimney swift, a type of local bird that is also getting caught up in Toronto’s condo boom, with their preferred habitat (brick chimneys) decreasing in number and the smaller metal chimneys of modern condos being insufficient to support their needs, leading to a decline in their number in Toronto.

This week’s winner: The Globe and Mail wins this week’s competition for their timely photograph of the work being done in Rio’s race against time to be ready for the start of the Olympic Games. Ironic that the Toronto Sun, which boasts of being a sponsor of Canada’s Olympic team on their front page on a daily basis, did not take this regular Tuesday competition (a derby they are currently leading) more seriously.

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