shape during the World Cup, playing three gam

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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Powerlifting star Majid Farzin walked to the platform to roaring applause. Then, complete silence as he attempted his lift.Three white lights clicked on, signaling it was good, and the crowd erupted in cheers again, this time even louder. A sea of yellow and green rose to its feet, chanting and waving Brazilian flags.But heres the thing: Farzin isnt Brazilian. Hes Iranian.Welcome to the 2016 Paralympics, where the residents of Rio de Janeiro have shown people from all across the world their Carioca spirit. Cariocas are the Rio natives, known for their warmth, friendliness and laid-back attitude.Before the games began a week ago, organizers from the International Paralympic Committee were just happy that -- after a furious ticket-selling campaign and a price drop to as low as about $3 per ticket -- the Rio games seemed likely to surpass sales of 1.7 million, moving this Paralympics into second place behind London in terms of spectators (2.7 million).But as of Wednesday, the IPC said sales were over the 2 million mark. The sports festival for people with disabilities ends Sunday.We have to generate energy (at the games), so therefore, we wanted to bring the public on board and have them provide energy, because in both games we started kind of with an obligation to sell more tickets, said Mario Andrada, spokesman for the local organizing committee.Its not just that people are coming out to Olympic Park on the edge of Rio. Its who is attending -- local Brazilian fans, many of them families and couples, enjoying a day out in a country where roughly a fifth of the population is below the poverty line.I wasnt able to take my family to the Olympics because it was too expensive, but we grabbed the chance to see the Paralympics because the price of the tickets was so much lower, said a 42-year-old Rio resident who only gave his name as Marco, attending the games with his wife and three daughters. Im really glad to be part of this, especially being able to bring my whole family. Its a really unique moment and well probably never have this opportunity again.Once inside a venue, the Brazilians have been both gracious and enthusiastic.So, when Denmarks Ebbe Blichfeldt got lapped and finished last in his heat of a 5,000-meter wheelchair race last Friday, the crowd gave him a huge ovation down the final straightaway.Tharon Drake, a blind American swimmer who has won two silver medals in Rio, said the fans pumped up his performances.The atmosphere at this pool is outrageous. It is the best atmosphere I have ever been in, he said. You walk out to these guys, they dont care what country youre from. They just need a reason to start screaming and acting crazy, and I love it.Guilherme Vieira, 24, who was able to attend both the Olympics and the Paralympics, noticed the difference.The fans at the Paralympic Games have been a lot more intense. We Brazilians cheer for everyone, from every country because we want all of them to excel at their competitions, he said. Were so happy to see everyone from other countries and not everyone in the world is like that, but thats the Carioca spirit.Vieira explained it this way.The cheering from Brazilians is just what Brazilians do here and people from outside of Brazil that are here have to adapt to Brazilian culture, he said. I cheer for different countries because I dont like seeing anyone lose.---Nicole Barros is a journalism student at Penn State University. Penn State and Georgia are partnering with The Associated Press to supplement coverage of the 2016 Paralympics. Air Max Pas Cher France . The 17-year-old native of Marystown, N.L., pulled out of Skate Canada International last month in Saint John, N.B., with the same problem. Air Max Pas Cher Livraison Rapide . According the Toronto Star, a knee injury will keep Sundin out of the lineup, which includes former teammates Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Tie Domi and Curtis Joseph. http://www.airmaxfrancepascher.fr/ . The Nashville Predators were glad their captain was still on their side. Weber had a goal and two assists, and Roman Josi scored the shootout winner to lift the Predators to a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Thursday night. Air Max France . Ouellette, from Montreal, already has three Olympic gold medals since joining the team in 1999. Air Max Pas Cher Chine . Hazard cut in from the left and scored with a swerving right-footed shot for ninth goal of the season, which proved to be enough for the victory despite Chelseas forwards again lacking a cutting edge up front. TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping to reap the reward of having the NHLs worst team last season.Auston Matthews is the prize.Toronto took advantage of its awful season by drafting the highly skilled player with the No. 1 pick overall, the franchises first selection at the top of the NHL draft since 1985.Matthews, who just turned 19, will have a chance to make an instant impact.The Maple Leafs won just 29 games last season, their fewest since 1970 when they played six fewer games, and won only one more game the previous season.Mike Babcock, meanwhile, proved coaching can only do so much.Toronto gave him a $50 million, eight-year deal a year ago, hoping the Stanley Cup and Olympic gold-winning coach could make a difference.Last year, he did not as the Maple Leafs finished last in the league.This season, Babcock is expecting much better results.Were way better, Babcock said in an interview with The Associated Press while leading Canada to a World Cup of Hockey title. We got kids, but we got skill. Its a way different program than a year ago. We now have a team.Were like a fast-climbing stock. You want to buy. Last year, you didnt want to buy.Here are some things to watch as Toronto prepares to play at Ottawa on Oct. 12 in the NHLs first regular season game:FRANCHISE PLAYERTorontos hopes of reviving its beloved hockey franchise rest with Matthews, its first No. 1 pick overall since selecting Wendel Clark a little more than three decades ago.Matthews showed the world his talent as a key player for the North Americas 23-and-younger team, scoring once against Sweden and Russia and having an assist against Finland. He also very much belonged on the ice in his preseason debut against Montreal after playing in the World Cup.I felt really good, Matthews said.The 6-foot-3, 216-pound center looked good, too, flashing his rare blend of size, speed and skill. He was born in California and lived in Arizona before going to Switzerland last year to prepare to play in the NHL. Matthews had 24 goaals and 22 assists in 36 games for the Zurich Lions.ddddddddddddLots of skill, Babcock said after coaching Matthews for the first time in a game. Hell figure it out.IMPORTANT INVESTMENTBabcock bristled at the notion Toronto didnt make a splash in the summer to improve their team, pointing to picks the team gave up to acquire Frederik Andersen from Anaheim.We traded a first and a second to get a goalie who could win games, he said.The Maple Leafs also dealt goalie Jonathan Bernier as part of the deal.Andersen signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Maple Leafs, cashing in on his 77-26-12 record over three seasons while competing for playing time with the Ducks.ON THE MENDJames van Riemsdyk got a chance to get into game shape during the World Cup, playing three games and having one assist for the U.S.The 27-year-old forward played in just 40 games last year before his season ended due to a broken left foot.Its huge to have him healthy, Babcock said. We think hes a high-end player. The more skill we have around him, the better off well be.I think JVR is going to have the best year of his career.So far, the 2013-14 season was his best when he had 30 goals and 31 assists.GETTING AN ASSISTBabcock was busy with Canadas World Cup team, giving assistant coaches Jim Hiller, D.J. Smith and Andrew Brewer a chance to lead the team during training camp and early in the preseason.It was a great to give those guys an opportunity to run the program, Babcock said. They probably enjoyed it.TURNING 100The Maple Leafs are planning a season of celebrations to commemorate their centennial. The highlight may be when Toronto hosts the Detroit Red Wings at BMO Field, home of the Canadian Football Leagues Argonauts, in the leagues annual outdoor game on New Years Day.---Follow Larry Lage at www.twitter.com/larrylage and follow his work at www.bigstory.ap.org/content/larry-lage cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '

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