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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford offers community leader an ice-cold Coke

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, in the wake of Monday’s devastating shooting incident in which two people were killed, today met with community leaders to discuss ways of addressing violence, gang membership, and opportunities in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods. In addition to urging a war on gangs, deporting immigrants or even Canadian citizens convicted of gun-related offences, and enrolling youth in football programs–the only social program that the Mayor believes actually helps people–Ford also took the unusual and unexpected step of offering everyone present a frosty can of Coca-Cola. “This was a tragic event, but it’s time to move on,” said the Mayor, “And in that spirit, I’d like to buy the world a Coke, out of my own pocket, because I don’t believe in government handouts.”

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Sven Jonsson, two-time silver medalist and member of the Swedish Biathlon team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, is setting his sights on winning gold this weekend. But he’s not just relying on world-class training, fifteen years of experience, and the best equipment that money can buy–knowing that 90% of winning is mental, the athlete has a few tricks up his sleeve that he thinks will give him the edge.

Sports psychology has become entrenched in big-time athletics, and biathlon is no exception. Jonsson has Ken di Nuovo, who helped coach Brazil to World Cup Soccer success in 2002, on his team.  He’s expected to help Jonsson stay within himself and envision success in this grueling sport.  But it’s Jonsson’s other coach who’s drawing the most attention: the late Baron Wolfgang Hohenzoller von Hesse, famed big-game hunter notorious for his pursuit of “the most dangerous game.”  Before his mysterious disappearance last year, the reclusive and eccentric billionaire reportedly worked with Jonsson on von Hesse’s 30,000 acre private island in the Baltic Sea, in particular helping to hone his shooting skills.

“Biathlon, being a combination of cross-country skiing and marksmanship, demands a lot from an athlete,” Jonsson relates, “And I have always been a strong skier, with a tenacious ability to dig deep for that extra burst of speed or endurance, but it is physically taxing, and I had been having trouble keeping that same focus when it came to my shooting.  Then, when I washed ashore on his island after my sailboat sank, I met the Baron, and he instilled in me, over the course of a nightmarish weekend which cost the lives of my best friend as well as my fiance, the proper motivation to not only travel fast and light, but to make sure that every shot from my rifle counted.

“Yes… he meant to teach me something about embracing life, I think, and what the human spirit is capable of when faced with a life-or-death proposition.  At first I wouldn’t accept his methods, but when the woman you intend to marry dies in your arms because she couldn’t ski fast enough or aim steadily… well, one learns quickly.  Now, even if the skiing has exhausted me, and I feel about to give up, I never miss a shot… this I promise you, my friend.”

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