Saturday, February 15, 2014

Drummond's 30-25 wins Rising Stars Challenge

NEW ORLEANS — Andre Drummond had 30 points and a Rising Stars Challenge-record 25 rebounds, leading Team Hill to a 142-136 victory over Team Webber on Friday night.

Besides an impressive tally of dunks and rebounds, Drummond even managed to make his free throws while winning MVP honors. A 41 percent shooter during the regular season, the Detroit forward went 6 for 8, including a pair with 29 seconds left after chasing down Bradley Beal’s missed free throw to give his team a five-point lead.

Cleveland’s Dion Waiters had 31 points, mostly coming during a 1-on-1 duel with New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr. in the second half. Beal finished with 21 for Team Hill, picked by former NBA star Grant Hill.

Hardaway scored 36 points and made seven 3-pointers for fellow former Michigan star Chris Webber’s squad. Philadelphia rookie Michael Carter-Williams had 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Portland’s Damian Lillard had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in the victory, making him 1 for 1 during the busiest All-Star weekend ever. Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year will take part in five events, three more on All-Star Saturday and the All-Star game on Sunday.

All-Stars such as Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Kyrie Irving watched the game, with Irving leaping to his feet at one point after watching Waiters, his Cavaliers teammate, try to take over the game with about 8 minutes to play.

Waiters had two baskets and then two 3-pointers, one of them when he stepped back after faking a move to the basket that made Hardaway lose his balance. Hardaway answered back with two 3-pointers of his own as the crowd roared.

Waiters then clinched the duel when he knocked the ball free for a rare defensive highlight in the game, nailing his second straight 3-pointer to give team Hill the lead for good at 126-124 with 2:44 left. Drummond followed with a dunk for a four-point advantage, and Team Webber could never catch up.

The game that began as a matchup of top rookies and later turned into rookies against second-year players now mixes the rosters. That’s probably a good thing, since this year’s crop of kids is so underwhelming.

Only two of the top 10 picks in the 2013 draft, which has been hindered by injuries, were invited to this game, No. 2 Oladipo and No. 9 Trey Burke.

Players were picked to play on Team Hill and Team Webber, which they wore under their numbers on the back of their jerseys.

Drummond 16 points and 10 rebounds in his first 10 minutes and shot 12 of 21 for the game.

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2nd Test, Day 4: India vs New Zealand – Statistical highlights

2nd Test, Day 4: India vs New Zealand – Statistical highlights
Wellington: Statistical highlights on day two of the second and final cricket Test between India and New Zealand at Basin Reserve, here on Saturday.

Ajinkya Rahane (118 off 158 balls) recorded his maiden Test century, surpassing the 96 vs South Africa at Durban in December last year. He became the fifth Indian batsman to record a Test hundred at Basin Reserve, joining Gautam Gambhir (167 in 2009), Ajit Wadekar (143 in 1968), Sachin Tendulkar (113 in 1998) and Mohammad Azharuddin (103 not out in 1998).

Rahane is the fifth Indian player to post a hundred while batting at number seventh position away from home. Kapil Dev remains the only one to have registered two hundreds - 100 not out at Port of Spain in March 1983 and 129 at Port Elizabeth in December 1992.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (68) recorded his highest score in New Zealand in Tests, eclipsing the 56 not out at Wellington in April 2009. Overall he has registered three fifties in consecutive innings in New Zealand - all at Basin Reserve.

At Basin Reserve, Dhoni is averaging 88.00 - 176 in three innings, including three fifties. His sixth fifty against New Zealand is his 29th in Tests.

Rahane and Dhoni were associated in a stand of 120 - India`s highest for the seventh wicket at wellington and their second best in New Zealand, next only to the 128 between Kiran More and Sachin Tendulkar in the 1989-90 Napier Test.

Ishant Sharma (26 off 50 balls) has recorded his highest Test score outside the sub-continent besides posting his highest against New Zealand.

Dhoni completed his 3,000 runs as Indian skipper in Tests - his tally being 3037 at an average of 42.18 in 53 Tests, including five centuries and 20 fifties. Sunil Gavaskar (3449 (ave.50.72) in 47 Tests) was the first to achieve the distinction.

India (438) posted their highest total at Basin Reserve, eclipsing the 434 for seven wickets declared in April 2009.

India took a first innings lead of 246 against New Zealand - their highest in a Test match in New Zealand in the first innings. The lead is their second highest against New Zealand in the first innings in Tests behind the 376-run lead in the Nagpur Test in November 2010. The last instance when India had a first innings lead of 200 or more outside sub-continent was against New Zealand in the 2008-09 Hamilton Test.

India have accomplished a run-rate of 4.26 - their second highest outside the sub-continent when they have managed atleast 400 - their highest is 4.61 during their total of 482 off 104.3 overs against New Zealand at Auckland in February 1990.

Shikhar Dhawan (98) registered his third highest score in Tests behind the 187 on Test debut against Australia in March last year and 115 against New Zealand at Auckland in February last week.

Dhawan has amassed 213 at an average of 71.00, including a hundred - the highest by an Indian batsman in the current rubber. He has totalled 200 runs or more in a Test series forthe firt time.

Dhawan has become the fifth Indian player to be dismissed in the nervous nineties against New Zealand in New Zealand in Tests. Rusi Surti (99 at Auckland in 1968), Navjot Singh Sidhu (98 at Hamilton in 1994), W.V.Raman (96 at Christchurch in 1990) and Manoj Prabhakar (95 at Napier in 1990) had been the previous victims.

Watling has become the third New Zealand wicketkeeper to effect five dismissals in a Test innings at Basin Reserve, Wellington. He has joined Roy Harford (vs India in 1967-68) and Warren Lees (vs Sri Lanka in 1982-83).

Watling has become the first New Zealand wicketkeeper to effect five dismissals in a Test innings against India twice - Auckland and Wellington Tests in 2014. In three consecutive Tests, he has effected five dismissals or more in a Test innings - the first New Zealand wicketkeeper to do so.

With 14 dismissals in three innings in the current rubber, Watling is a New Zealand record against India in a Test series, eclipsing the 13 by Ian Smith in five innings in 1980-81. It is a New Zealand record in a two-Test series.

Rahane and Dhoni have provided the 12th instance when India`s number seven and eight have recorded half-centuries in the same Test innings.

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Winter Olympic skiing 2014 results: Austria takes 2 medals in super-G, including gold for Anna Fenninger

Austria add two more medals to its total in the women's super-G on Saturday, including a gold takes to a brilliant run by Anna Fenninger

Austria continued its reign of dominance in Olympic super-G on Saturday. A total of 24 medals have been handed out since the event was added to the Winter Olympics in 1988, and the Austrians have now won eight of those medals after securing gold and bronze in Sochi.

Anna Fenninger took the gold with a time of 1:25.52, nosing ahead of silver medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany by 0.55 seconds. Fenninger's country-mate, Nicole Hosp, was just 0.66 seconds out of first and 0.11 seconds out of silver in taking bronze.

The United States' Julia Mancuso took eighth place in the event, 1.52 seconds behind Fenninger. Mancuso, who has a bronze medal in women's super combined slalom, told NBC Olympics that she was hesitant on the course after watching several skiers struggle before her start. Seven of the first eight bibs on the course did not finish, thanks in part to soft snow.

The gold was Fenninger's first medal at this year's Olympics. She finished fourth in the women's super combined downhill. Hoefl-Riesch and Hosp both added their second medals in Sochi. Hoefl-Riesch won the super combined slalom, beating Hosp who took silver in the event.
Austria has now seven total medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Germany has 12, putting them in a tie for the second-most behind the United States and Norway.

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Report says Miami Dolphins bullying was widespread

An investigation into the racially charged Miami Dolphins bullying scandal detailed widespread harassment in the team's locker room that extended beyond the two players at the center of the probe.

The NFL-ordered report stated there was a "pattern of harassment" committed by at least three players and extended to two linemen and an assistant trainer, all targets of vicious taunts and racist insults.

Lawyer Ted Wells released the report Friday, saying guard John Jerry and center Mike Pouncey followed Richie Incognito's lead in harassing Jonathan Martin, who left the team in October. They threatened to rape his sister, called him a long list of slurs and bullied him for not being "black enough."

In a statement emailed by a league spokesman, the NFL did not make any mention of possible punishment stemming from the case. The league only confirmed it had received the report and said it appreciated the Dolphins' cooperation. Wells said he does not intend to comment further.

Martin is biracial, Incognito is white, and Jerry and Pouncey are black.

Martin's agent Kenneth Zuckerman said his client feels "vindicated" by the report.

Incognito's attorney Mark Schamel released a statement calling Wells' report "replete with errors" and said that Martin "was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins' offensive line."

Martin, a former Stanford star, declined interview requests.

Incognito was suspended in November, but Pouncey and Jerry remained starters throughout the season.

The report mentioned but didn't identify another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer who also routinely came under attack from the trio.

The inquiry said Martin was taunted and ridiculed almost daily and that, "To a great extent, Incognito dictated the culture."

The report found no evidence the Dolphins front office or coach Joe Philbin was aware of the conduct Martin found abusive.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Jim Fregosi dies at 71; first star player in Angels history

Fregosi also was the manager who guided the Angels to their first AL West championship in 1979. He later managed the White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays, leading Philadelphia to the NL pennant in 1993.
Jim Fregosi
Manager Jim Fregosi after the Angels won the American League West Division Championship in 1979. (Los Angeles Times / Los Angeles Times / February 14, 2014)

Jim Fregosi, the first star player in Angels franchise history and the manager who guided them to their first American League West championship in 1979, died Friday in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke in the Cayman Islands. He was 71.
His death was announced by the Angels, who retired his No. 11 jersey in 1988.
Fregosi, who spent the last 13 years as a highly regarded scout for the Atlanta Braves, was stricken during a Major League Baseball Players Alumni cruise last weekend. He was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Wednesday and removed from life support on Thursday.
"This is really shocking, very sad news," Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren said. "Jim was involved in every player decision we made. He had so much insight, so much understanding of players and how to put teams together.
"He was a real valuable member of the team and just a wonderful guy, one who always brightened up your day because he loved the game, he loved life."
Fregosi, who was a special assistant to Wren, received one of scouting's greatest honors, the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 2011 Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner in Los Angeles.
"Every scout loved him — he was a legend in the game," said Dennis Gilbert, the Chicago White Sox executive and founder of the scouts foundation. "He was a hero for scouts, a really good friend, and as a kid, he was my favorite player growing up. He was the heart and soul of those Angels clubs."
Fregosi was born in San Francisco on April 4, 1942, and was a three-sport star at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, where he was all-league in football, basketball and baseball.
Originally signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960, he was selected by the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft and made his major league debut in September 1961, when he was 19.
Fregosi quickly established himself as one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, teaming with second baseman Bobby Knoop to form one of the game's top double-play combinations. He led the AL in double plays twice and won the 1967 Gold Glove Award.
In 11 seasons with the Angels, Fregosi hit .268 with 115 home runs and 546 runs batted in and made the All-Star team six times.
Fregosi was traded to the New York Mets in December 1971 in the famous five-player deal that brought future Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan to Anaheim.
He moved to third base because the Mets had a respected shortstop in Bud Harrelson. But he was sidelined by several injuries, including a broken thumb in 1972, and hit just .233 with five homers and 43 RBIs in 146 games in New York.
Fregosi was sold to Texas in 1973 and spent most of his five seasons with the Rangers as a backup before being traded to Pittsburgh in June 1977.
Fregosi was enjoying an off-day with teammates in Cincinnati, "eating ribs and chicken and having a beer," as he later recalled, when he got a call from then-Angels GM Buzzie Bavasi in June 1978 offering him a job as manager. Only 36 at the time, Fregosi called his wife, Jan.
"I said I hurt my arm in the game last night, and I'll be coming home," Fregosi said in 1978. "She said, 'Coming home?' I said, "Yeah, my arm is bad. I think I'll come home and probably manage the Angels.' And she said, 'Yeah, sure.' And I said, 'Yeah, I'm coming home to manage the Angels.' And she started crying."
Fregosi, who finished his playing career with a .265 average, 151 homers and 706 RBIs in 18 years, said that he got the inspiration to manage from Bill Rigney, who managed the Angels from 1961 to 1969, the first nine years of their existence. "Just talking with him about baseball, I got very interested in managing," Fregosi said.
It was clear from the beginning that Fregosi would be a favorite among players. At a news conference to announce his hiring, he was asked if he would have any team rules such as a curfew on the road.
"You know what the easiest thing is?" Fregosi responded. "If you don't have any rules, they can't break them."
The players responded, going 88-74 and winning their first division title in 1979 with stars such as Don Baylor, Rod Carew, Bobby Grich, Brian Downing, Ryan and Dave Frost. The Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the AL championship series.
Fregosi, who didn't see eye-to-eye with then-Angels Owner Gene Autry, was fired during the strike-shortened 1981 season. He went on to manage the White Sox (1986-88), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-96) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000) and led the Phillies to the National League pennant in 1993.
Fregosi had a 1,028-1,095 record in 15 years as a major league manager, including a 237-249 mark in his three seasons (1979-81) in Anaheim.
Fregosi is survived by his wife, Joni; his sons Jim Jr. and Robbie and his daughters Jennifer, Nicole and Lexy.

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 50th anniversary cover models revealed

Sports Illustrated readers will be seeing triple when they pick up the magazine's 50th anniversary swimsuit issue on newsstands (or in mailboxes) Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Models, from left (above), Lily Aldridge, Nina Agdal, and Chrissy Teigen are sharing the landmark spotlight in their first ever swimsuit issue covers. Earlier this week, SI released that Mattel icon Barbie will grace the front of a limited number of issues via a cover wrap in an advertisement for the the New York Toy Fair. Barbie will be dressed in a re-imagined version of the swimsuit she wore when the doll came out in 1959. Head to SI's Swim Daily site for more swimsuit issue details.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Uncapped players hog auction limelight

Rishi Dhawan during a practice session at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. File photo: V. Ganesan

Karn Sharma and Rishi Dhawan top the charts; Karnataka players also snapped up

Cricketers, who sweat it out in domestic cricket but almost inevitably miss the limelight and have to settle for a lesser remuneration package in the Indian Premier League, finally got their due.

The inclusion of uncapped players in the auction-list, a first in the IPL’s seven-year history, helped merit and market-forces determine their real worth and men like Karn Sharma and Rishi Dhawan will readily agree that they got their just reward.

The two topped the charts (for uncapped players) while the auction concluded at the ITC Gardenia Hotel here on Thursday. Karn Sharma earned Rs. 3.75 crore as Sunrisers Hyderabad pipped King’s XI Punjab and bagged the Railways leg-spinner.

Karn’s auction marked a busy morning in which auctioneer Richard Madley found more sales as the teams enriched their Indian component.

More than happy

Having played for Sunrisers in the past, Karn was more than happy to be back with a familiar team-environment. “It’s a great feeling to have been picked at such a high price. I am glad to go back to my team because we have jelled as a unit in the previous season and we will save time on team building.

“It was disappointing to have been left out of the Rest of India team and the World Twenty20 probables, because playing for the country is a different feeling. But now I am looking forward to doing well in the IPL,” said Karn.

Rishi Dhawan too triggered a bidding war as Preity Zinta (King’s XI Punjab) and Rahul Dravid (Rajasthan Royals) kept raising their paddles before the former India captain admitted that his team was out of the race.

The Himachal Pradesh fast bowler — highest wicket-taker (49) in the recent Ranji season — and a useful batsman, went for Rs. 3 crore.

“To be honest, I was very tense when the bidding was on. Now, I am very happy that my efforts this season have paid off. I am sure if I continue to play to my potential the selectors will take note of me.

“There are great players in the Kings XI Punjab team and I am looking forward to playing and at the same time learning from them,” said Dhawan.

Also rewarded for hard-work was Maharashtra’s Kedar Jadhav, who led the Ranji run-chart this year at 1,223. He was picked up by Delhi Daredevils for Rs. 2 crore.

Scaled down expectations

The batsman, however, had to scale down his expectations. “My fine run in the Ranji Trophy where I finished as the top run getter obviously helped. But I did expect to go for a higher price so my price fell below my expectations. But I guess the franchisees didn’t have too much money left.”

The auction also recognised Karnataka’s successful run in the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup. Players like K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair found respectable numbers in currency though Mumbai Indians got C.M. Gautam at a steal for Rs. 20 lakh!

The auction’s final day wasn’t just about unsung Indian players gaining those extra bucks and belated recognition, it was also about a few comeback stories.

Ross Taylor, who was overlooked on Wednesday, was brought back into the auction-pool and found a buyer at his Rs. 2 crore base price in Delhi Daredevils.

But there was a touch of bewilderment too as Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews, reinstated to the auction list on the insistence of the team-owners, were again ignored!

In all 154 players were sold over the two days and now it is time for the teams to firm up their preparations while also keeping an eye on the IPL’s probable venue that will be determined entirely by the imminent general elections.

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'Targeting' is defined in high school football rule change

Among 10 rule changes approved for the 2014 high school football season, the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee put together a definition for "targeting," and it will be penalized as illegal personal contact.
New rule 2-43 will read: "Targeting is an act of taking aim and initiating contact to an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders."
The rule is an effort to minimize risk of injury.
Bob Colgate, the NFHS director of spotrs and sports medicine and liason to the Football Rules Committee, said, "Taking aim with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders to initiate contact above the shoulders, which goes beyond making a legal tackle, a legal block or playing the ball, will be prohibited."
There's also a new definition for a "defenseless player."
"A defenseless player is a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury."
In an attempt to reduce injury on kickoffs, two new requirements were approved for the kicking team. At least four members of the kicking team must be on each side of the kicker and second, other than the kicker, no members of the kicking team may be more than five yards behind the kicking team's free-kick line. That will change how onside kicks are done.

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RCB is a place where I can express myself: Yuvraj

BANGALORE: Indian Premier League's costliest player Yuvraj Singh feels that Royal Challengers Bangalore is a team where he can express himself in the company of star cricketers like Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.

IPL 7 Auction: Full Coverage | Who got whom | Team compositions

Yuvraj was brought by RCB for a whopping Rs 14 crore on the opening day of the two-day IPL 7 players' auction on Wednesday, thereby becoming the most expensive player purchased at the IPL auctions.
Even though he is conscious about the expectations he will have to face after getting the top pay packet, Yuvraj feels RCB will provide him the perfect platform to "express" his talent.

"I am very happy to go to RCB and I am looking forward to playing alongside the likes of Chris Gayle and AB (de Villiers) and all the other great guys in the team. I just feel that I am going to a place where I can express myself," he said.

"Everyone is talking about my being the highest-paid player and being bought for so much at an auction, that also means that there is a lot of focus on you and on how you have to win matches, it adds responsibility.

"In RCB, we've got a lot of guys who are match winners on their own -- Gayle, AB, Virat (Kohli), Albie (Morkel), (Ravi) Rampaul all can just take games away single-handed. It's a great bunch. It is great that in that kind of environment, I can go and express myself," said the flamboyant left-hander, who was the player of the tournament in India's 2011 World Cup triumph.

Yuvraj outpriced Gautam Gambhir who was the most expensive player before IPL 7 auctions, with a price of Rs 11.04 crore from Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011.

Yuvraj's whooping price tag came as surprise for many as of late he has been out of the Indian team due to poor form.
Although he got a cold shoulder from the national selectors for the 50-over Asia Cup in Bangladesh, Yuvraj has found out a place in Indian squad for the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in Bangladesh after the continental ODI championship.

"But the World T20 is up first and that's what I'm focussed at the moment and I am trying to play as much domestic cricket as I can to prepare myself for that. I hope for the best," said Yuvraj, who made a remarkable comeback to international cricket after successfully battling cancer.

"I'm not looking at making any big statement. At the end of the season, it's not like I have to prove anything to anyone else (about) what I can do. I have to prove to myself that I have it in me," he said.

"You are not going to be thinking about what others are thinking and what you must prove to them. You have to prove things to yourself and that is what I am looking to do with all the opportunities I get," he added.

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Christensen, Kenworthy and Goepper sweep Sochi slopestyle skiiing for USA

USA's Nicholas Goepper, Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy celebrate sweeping the podium in the men's freestyle skiingsSlopestyle finals at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 13, 2014.

USA's Nicholas Goepper, Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy celebrate sweeping the podium in the men's freestyle skiingsSlopestyle finals at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 13, 2014. 

Americans Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper swept the podium in the Winter Olympic debut of men’s slopestyle skiing on Thursday.

The podium sweep was just the third for the US in Winter Olympic history, joining men’s figure skating in 1956 and men’s halfpipe snowboarding in 2002. 

All four US gold medals in Sochi have come at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, and Thursday’s haul came 15 hours after Kaitlyn Farrington and Kelly Clark grabbed gold and bronze in women’s halfpipe snowboarding.

Britain’s James Woods produced a very creditable fifth place.

Another bumper crowd at Extreme Park were treated to a thrilling display of acrobatics. Christensen led the pack after qualifying and his 95.80 on his opening run of the final, which he capped with a stunning switch triple-corked 1440, assured him of the title even before his second attempt.

Christensen’s three off-axis jumps at the end of his first qualifying run totaled 10 full spins in the span of 15 seconds all coming while he skied over the ramp backward. His first run in the finals won the gold, and his second would have been good enough to win silver.

Reflecting the have-a-go spirit of the sport, though, the 22-year-old nailed another spectacular flurry of flips, spins and tricks for a score of 93.80, which would have been enough for gold in itself.

“I am so stoked about an American one-two-three,” said Kenworthy.

Teenager Goepper, who won the last two X-Games titles, added: “I think it’s going to give the U.S. a lot more confidence and it’s going to get a lot of people really excited.”

Goepper and Kenworthy raised Christensen on their shoulders following what amounted to a victory lap during Christensen’s last run down the mountain. The good friends wore flags as capes in the giddy aftermath of their victory in the sport’s Olympic debut.

Christensen was the last slopestyle skier named to the Olympic team, getting the nod over, among others, former world champion Tom Wallisch. The 22-year-old from Park City, Utah, was easily the best on a sun-splashed day where the weather was so warm that teammate Bobby Brown who finished ninth wore only a T-shirt in the finals.

“I can’t believe we made it,” Christensen said. “It’s been a long journey.”

A long and sometimes painful journey: Christensen lost his father J.D. in August and got the news while training in New Zealand. The last six months have been a mix of grieving and renewed focus for a skier whose lengthy list of injuries includes a pair of broken wrists and microfracture surgery in his knee.

“I hope I made my father proud,” he said. “Through all the injuries I’ve had, he’s always supported me and never said stop. I hope he’s looking down and smiling. Did it for him.”

Christensen’s first run in the finals produced a 95.80, giving the rest of the 12-man field a target to beat. None could top the kid with the floppy blonde hair and easy smile that seems to embody a sport full of tricks and fun.

Kenworthy, from Telluride, Colorado, was already planning to head back home with a family of stray dogs that call the streets of Sochi home. Now they’ll have some company a silver medal. He raised his arms over his head after his second finals run and busted out laughing when his score of 93.60 was revealed.

While Christensen learned his tricks on the best facilities in the world in his home town of Park City, Utah, Britain’s James Woods had to make do with a dry slope in the unglamorous city of Sheffield. 

Woods made it through to the final in third place but, hampered by a hip injury he sustained in a crash last week, was unable to produce the sort of triple-cork trick that might have delivered Britain their second Olympic medal on the snow. 

“I can do triples. I’ve got them,” said Woods, who finished fifth behind Norway’s Andreas Haatveit. “I got slammed in practice and, to be honest, on any other regular occasion, there is no way I would be anywhere near my boots and my skis at the moment. But I am incredibly proud to be here in such an immense final. It’s the Olympics and Joss is the nicest guy on the face of the earth, so I couldn’t be happier for anyone else.”

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IOC: Bobsled track worker has broken legs

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- An Olympic track worker struck by a bobsled broke both his legs and may have a concussion, IOC officials said Thursday.

The worker was on the track when he was hit by a forerunning sled near the finish line at the Sanki Sliding Center, just before the start of Thursday's two-man bobsled training.

"We still do not know why he was in this zone and exactly what happened," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a visit to The Associated Press office in Sochi.

Bach added that the worker "maybe" has a concussion.
Later, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the AP: "I understand he is conscious and talking and has two broken legs."

Sochi organizers said the unidentified man was taken by helicopter to a hospital, but gave no other information about his injuries. Officials said the crash took place just before the finish line, which would suggest that the sled likely had not yet started to brake.

Also, officials said the luge team relay event scheduled to make its Olympic debut on Thursday will take place as scheduled.

The first bobsled training session was delayed at the start for about 35 minutes as a work crew repaired a light fixture that was apparently smashed in the accident. Also, the track was cleared of other debris that had fallen into the finish area.

Olympic athletes remained in the start area during the delay, well away from the crash location.

Forerunning sleds are used before training and competition sessions to assess track conditions and make sure the facility is safe for racing. Also, people in the vicinity of the track are almost always alerted that a sled is in the track through public-address announcements, though it was unclear why the worker struck was unaware that the session was beginning.

It's also unclear why the worker was on the track when the sled came out the final curve and approached the finish line. The sled that struck him was the second "forerunner" used before the training session.

Loudspeakers in the finish-deck area were working during training after the crash, though there has been at least one incident when the public-address system at the facility — an absolutely critical part of the track's safety plan — failed.

It went silent when the U.S. and other international luge teams visited the Sochi track for a training session in November after electricity was lost. That impacted lights, timing devices and the speaker system that allows sliders up top know when sleds at the bottom of the chute have been removed and the track is clear for the next competitor.
In turn, it also tells people in the finish area that a sled is on the way.

"We didn't really know what was going on," USA Luge coach Mark Grimmette said in November, when detailing how training was interrupted.

The Sochi track was designed to be safer following the death of luger Nodar Kumarishtavili in an accident hours before the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Games four years ago. There have been no major mishaps during any of the competition so far, and athletes have been complimentary of the track's condition.

"To be honest, the ice is phenomenal," U.S. skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender said following the first two heats of the women's competition, several hours before the mishap. "It's better than it was in training and whoever they got working on the ice, kudos, because they are doing Olympic level work on the track. It is fast and it's fun."

In 2005, U.S. skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace was struck by a bobsled in the outrun of a track in Canada, shattering a leg and ultimately causing her to miss the 2006 Turin Olympics.

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

5 Countries Win Gold Medals in Sunday Events at Sochi Olympics

Jamie Anderson of the United States celebrates on the way to the flower ceremony after winning the women's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Athletes from Slovakia, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and the United States have won gold medals in Sunday events at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia defended her Olympic title from the Vancouver games four years ago by winning the women's biathlon 7.5-kilometer sprint.

Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust won the women's 3,000-meter race, edging out skaters from the Czech Republic and Russia.

Austrian Matthias Mayer took the top prize in the Alpine skiing downhill men's event.

Switzerland's Dario Cologna won the men's 30-kilometer cross country skiathlon.

And Jamie Anderson of the United States won the inaugural women's snowboarding slopestyle competition ahead of athletes from Finland and Britain.

Medals will also be awarded Sunday in three other events: men's ski jumping, team figure skating and men's luge singles

Norway leads the medal count with six, and is tied with the U.S. and the Netherlands for the most gold medals with two.

There are 98 medal events at the Sochi Games, 12 more than in Vancouver four years ago.

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Column: Bode's last ride begins with a whimper

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- In a couple of days, after a few more races, Bode Miller will make it official.
Or not.
The most decorated skier America has ever produced, and one of the most talented the sport has ever seen, will be done with the Olympics at age 36, after competing in five Winter Games and winning five medals — so far — but without the gold in the one discipline he wanted most.

Bode being Bode, getting him to admit either is a longshot.

After finishing eighth in the downhill, the first of five men's races here, Miller paused for a long time at the bottom of the course Sunday and stared back up the hill for a long time. Asked what he was thinking at that moment, he launched into one of those rambling answers that make it hard to know how much he believed and how much was said simply to get a rise out of his audience.

As someone with extensive experience interviewing Miller, who also happens to be one of the most entertaining and exasperating athletes I've ever run across, my translation follows his remarks in parentheses.

What Miller said: "I was just going through the run, seeing if there was anything that I would change or how I feel."

(Translation: "If I'd known I was going to finish eighth, I would have stayed in bed.")

Miller: "It's tough when you have to judge yourself, because the clock doesn't really seem to judge you fairly."

(Translation: "If there were style points in skiing, like figure skating or that goofy new slopestyle snowboard race, I'd have won every event I ever entered.")

Miller: "Just like I've said a million times, I'm not always so attached to the result. I would have loved to get a gold medal today or any medal, but I was making sure that I knew where I was at, before I had to go deal with everybody else telling me what they thought."

(Translation: "I wish you guys would just disappear.")
Frankly, what should have been a sweet story about the closing flourish by an aging skier to cap one of the great careers in Olympic Alpine history can't be told without asking "What if?"

Miller's talent has always been equal parts blessing and burden. In addition to the five Olympic medals, he won two overall World Cup titles and left rivals gaping at his margins of victory and how he recovered from mistakes that would have crashed almost anyone else.

Yet for someone who inspired so much awe in others, he should have won more.

At the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Miller came in without expectations and exited with two silvers. By the time the Turin Games rolled around in 2006, he was considered a lock to medal in all five races, only to squander his best moves off the course and inside a disco. At the 2010 Vancouver Games, instead of partying like an Olympian, Miller finally skied like one, winning a medal in each color and pretending that he couldn't care less.

"Why perform now?" Miller said at the time. "Because most likely, it's what I wanted to do."

Miller also wanted to revolutionize the sport, and he did. He grafted the style, equipment and attitude he picked up from snowboarding and gradually convinced nearly everyone in the Alpine establishment to embrace and copy it. Yet the genius that enabled him to survive one close call after another was the same thing that lured him out onto the edge again and again.

Matthias Mayer, the 23-year-old Austrian who won the downhill gold Sunday with a very cautious, technical run, counts Miller among his idols. So does U.S. teammate Marco Sullivan, who a day earlier spoke about Miller's inimitable style in almost-mystical tones.

"The angles his body can stack up, his bone structure in a way, that it just looks like he is ... it's effortless," Sullivan said. "The turns he is making, there is so much pressure coming up from the ski and the way he's absorbing it and making it happen — it is just like, it is just the way it should be."

Sullivan was echoing what skiers of every nationality and style have said about Miller since he first exploded onto the scene: namely, that they don't understand why he doesn't win every time out, let alone how he does what he does.
Neither, apparently does Miller.

"I would have loved to win, obviously," he said finally. "This is the premier event, and it's something I've thought about quite a bit. But when it's out of your control, that kind of takes the disappointment away, more or less. I mean, I don't think I would change much, the way I skied. I think I skied well enough to win, but it just doesn't happen sometimes."

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Hippy Anderson stays calm for slopestyle gold

Jamie Anderson of the U.S. gestures at the finish line during the women's snowboard slopestyle qualifying session at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Self-confessed California hippy Jamie Anderson kept calm in the frenzy of a dramatic women's snowboarding slopestyle final to clinch the first Olympic gold medal in the event on Sunday.

Going third last in what had been a low-scoring contest on an intimidating course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the 23-year-old laid down a superb solid run to score 95.25 and blow away the competition.

Enni Rukajarvi won a surprise silver for Finland with the only other run to break through the 90-point barrier (92.50), and Jenny Jones took the bronze with 87.25 to become Britain's first Olympic medallist in a snow event.

Anderson's victory gave the United States a sweep of the first two gold medals in snowboarding slopestyle after Sage Kotsenburg won the men's event on Saturday.

"It feels amazing, goodness," Anderson told reporters.

"To be here and represent my country, and just everything that has to do with the Olympics is such an honour and I'm so grateful right now."

There was also a reminder of the dangers of the sport when Sarka Pancochova, who had led after the first run, botched a jump and landed with a sickening thud on the snow.

The 23-year-old Czech appeared to lose consciousness as she slithered down the slope before being helped to her feet and making her way groggily to the bottom, where she showed her rivals a huge crack in her helmet.

That came two runs after Jones had taken the lead with her second run, which she executed without error over the rails and three big jumps that had brought so many snowboarders down to earth with a bump this week.

"It was very much about clean landings, no hands down and grabs," said Jones. "I guess we started to see that's what (the judges) were after and it was important to do everything the best you possibly could."


Rukajarvi went out straight after Pancochova's tumble and her nerveless run put her top of the leaderboard until Anderson, who had botched a landing in her first run, carved and jumped her way down the course.

"I was third to last so I watched almost all the second runs and I was really just trying to just stay calm and kind of just reserve my energy," added Anderson, who said she had prepared for the final by listening to yoga tapes and lighting candles.

"It was a lot of stress up there, the outreach that this event connects to across the whole world is just out of control.

"I was just trying to keep it light, I was freaking out."

Jones then had a nervous wait to see if any of the final two competitors could knock her off the podium.

The most likely was the final competitor, Anna Gasser, who had set the best score in qualifying.

Perhaps unsettled by the farcical scene at the start of her first run, when she set off too early but was unable to scramble back up the icy slope, the Austrian could only manage the 10th best score of the day and Jones had her medal.

"I feel very proud to have got a medal for my country, something I didn't feel was a possibility for me," Jones said.

"It was only two years ago we found out our event was going to be in the Olympics, until then I never represented my country."

Torah Bright has already won one Olympic gold for Australia but came up short in her bid for three snowboarding medals in Sochi, finishing seventh after failing to land a clean run with her more complicated routine.

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Sochi: Worst Olympics Travel Destination Ever?

Freestyle Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 1
It’s a nightmare to get there. Hotels aren’t ready for guests. The visa alone costs over $200 if you want it processed in a reasonable time frame. When you get there, don’t expect to be able to ski. Then there’s the risk of terrorism. No wonder so few foreigners are bothering to go to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

CoSport, the official seller of Olympics travel packages for residents in the U.S. and seven other countries, says that it has “experienced demand at expected levels” for the games kicking off this week in Sochi. The private company declined to offer any specifics in terms of number of bookings or inquiries from American travelers, however, and wouldn’t say how interest in Sochi compares to previous games. “It is hard to compare the U.S. fan attendance at Vancouver and Nagano or even Torino,” a spokesman stated via email.

Other agencies promoting Olympics packages give the straightforward analysis that the Sochi games are a disaster, at least in terms of generating interest among vacationers. “This is definitely, from a travel perspective, a low point in terms of a Winter Olympics that I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve been doing it.” Robert Tuchman, president of the New York-based Goviva travel firm, told Businessweek.

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Kameda three brothers, exile disposal qualification expire = substantially - Boxing

7 days, Hiroshi Akiyama president from Japan boxing commission (JBC) is a press conference in Tokyo, announced to the ShimaSatoshi and managers Yoshii Shinji president of Kameda gym, and do not allow the license renewal of this year. Boxer Koki Kameda license belonging to the gym Kameda, Daiki, KazuAtsushi holds also revoked substantially this. At the prospect of a match played in the country is impossible, became the expulsion of virtually.
According to the JBC, for boxer license is issued through the gym, gym to lose function becomes chairman absence, qualify as a boxer is also eliminated in effect. If Transfers of three brothers and update of next year Yoshii and colleagues was filed in JBC, Based on the examination and rigorous investigation, and that determine its propriety. 
 In the matter at two organizations throne unification match of December last year, holding the title Kamedao International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion while lost the game, corresponding Kameda gym hosted a unification match against confusion JBC pointed out that invited. Akiyama president said, "as long as the governance capacity of the gym is not. Improvement unhealthy, it is not possible to issue a license" he said. 
Kameda gym side, argued that unfair disposal of the JBC. And shows the policy is to request a reconsideration along with the provisions, to sue unless noted.

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For Want Of A Calendar, Sochi Winter Olympics Loses Shaun White

Forget about the hotel rooms and the funky toilets. Don’t forget about the gay rights crackdown and the poisoning of stray dogs. But the Winter Olympics in Sochi are off to a very bad start, losing perhaps their biggest star, all for want of a calendar

Yesterday, one of the biggest stars in these Games, snowboarder Shaun White quietly announced that he was dropping out of the slopestyle competition. That’s right. The two-time defending halfpipe champion is dropping out of the new event and a chance at a second gold medal.

Why? The course is simply too dangerous. A very smart Men’s Journal story by Andrew Burmon reports that the Sochi course was designed by a European, while most of the best courses have been created by North Americans. Unlike building a halfpipe, which is largely an engineering feat, a slopestyle course in which riders catch big air over huge jumps, gives the designer a lot more latitude.

The Olympics course, according to most riders, is simply too dangerous with not enough margin for error when a trick goes wrong. White hurt his wrist in a fall this week in practice, but he dismissed it as part of the normal bumps and bruises of the sport. However, other athletes weren’t so lucky, with a broken collarbone and a concussion among the early casualties during the training runs. White clearly took notice of these athletes, whose Games ended before they really started.

A specialist in halfpipe, White wouldn’t have been the favorite in slopestyle–that’s 2013 X-Games champ Mark McMorris of Canada–but he would have been a favorite. White had dominated slopestyle during the Oughts, before it was an Olympic event, and won a Slopstyle Gold at the X-Games in Tignes as recently as 2012.

The course was a big problem, but the course isn’t the only reason White pulled out. It was the scheduling of this first-time Olympic event.

The slopestyle begins today, before the Opening Ceremonies. The halfpipe doesn’t begin until February 11. You don’t have to be an X-Games veteran to realize that if the Sochi organizers and the IOC decided to flop the events, and hold the halfpipe first, White certainly wouldn’t have pulled out. And while NBC and other televisions rights holders certainly hold some sway in scheduling decisions, it’s not hard to imagine that they would jump at the chance to get twice as much Shaun White.

It’s not that Shaun White is concerned about getting hurt per se, he’s worried about getting hurt and missing the halfpipe. Hold the slopestyle just before the closing ceremonies, and it’s all but certain that the sport’s biggest name competes.

Roger McCarthy, who designed the slalom courses in Sochi, told Men’s Journal made a Summer Olympics analogy, noting that  a sprinter like Usain Bolt “doesn’t run a relay just before the big race.”

“You spend $50 billion on the Olympics and Shaun White won’t compete in slopestyle,” McCarthy adds. “What does that tell you?”

What’s your take on Shaun White? On the start of the Winter Olympics?  Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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New Zealand has bowlers to take 20 Indian wickets: Brendon McCullum

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum today said he has bowlers at his disposal to take 20 Indian wickets after the Kiwis rode on the skipper's unbeaten double century to take an upperhand in the ongoing first cricket Test, here today.

McCullum's sparkling 224 guided New Zealand to a commanding 503 in their first innings before the hosts reduced India to 130 for four at the send of second day's play. But McCullum said he had never imagined that the Kiwis would reach the 500-run mark after they were reduced to 30 for three in the morning session of first day's proceedings yesterday. "I thought we will get 200-odd runs, because when you are 30/3 down, you are thinking about small targets and getting a competitive score. Never did I think that after 30/3 in those conditions, we would end up getting 500 runs and for this batting line-up, I think that is a fine achievement," he said. "We have bowlers to take 20 wickets if we give them enough runs and I think we have given them enough runs," said McCullum, after the second day's play was called off early due to bad light.

McCullum opined with India opener Murali Vijay and said the new ball was creating problems for the batsmen initially. "The new ball is stopping a bit, when it is hard. We saw that with Ishant (Sharma) when the ball was changed in the morning and the pitch started to stop a little bit. Short catches in front of the wicket will become crucial as the game goes on," said the Kiwi skipper agreeing with Vijay's assertion that new ball hurting the batsmen of both teams. "So, to get two wickets in the first over was outstanding, especially (Cheteshwar) Pujara's wicket because he can bat for weeks. It's nice to get him pretty early. They had a nice partnership going in the end, but it means that we still have a hard ball tomorrow morning. There is a slightly earlier start and I am hoping for an overcast morning with some swing," he added. 

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Sochi: A monument to Putin's hubris

If one day the people of Russia find the strength and courage to evict Putin from the Kremlin, the seeds will have been sown in Sochi.
Putin visits the Olympic Village ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
If Vladimir Putin could go back in time six and a half years to that day in Guatemala City where he appeared before the International Olympic Committee to convince them to award the 2014 Winter Olympics to Sochi, would he have preferred to pass? At the time, hosting the games was so important to him that he departed from his rule of always speaking Russian in public and gave his speech in English with closing remarks in French. This was his personal project – erecting a display window of the New Russia to the world and transforming his favorite holiday town into an international five-star venue. Since then he spent four years as prime minister, returning in 2012 after constitutional changes that virtually ensure he will remain in power until 2024.

On Friday, as he opens the games, that dream will become reality but this was hardly the picture he had planned to present. Even if the Olympics come and go without a suicide bombing and the snow collected last year from the mountains above Sochi is enough for a couple of weeks' skiing, these games will go down in history for having taken place in the shadow of terrorism, suppression of ethnic minorities and homosexuals, deprivation of local residents, pollution of nature reserve and water sources and inconceivable waste of 51 billion dollars - four and a half times the original budget, which were squandered mainly on corrupt contracts to Kremlin cronies and infrastructure that can barely supply sufficient power and drinking water to the Olympic villages.
And yet, nothing seems to touch Putin. Not a muscle moves in his serenely expressionless face as he continues his PR tour, skiing, playing ice-hockey and petting snow leopards in the Sochi zoo. No one threatens him. The temporary stand-in for president, Dmitry Medvedev has been swiftly cut back down to size; the oligarch who dared to defy him, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed for a decade and is now a broken man in exile. The shining chess grand-master Gary Kasporov proved to lack any real support and continues to criticize Putin mainly from outside of Russia. The new champion, Alexei Navalny is already being forced to contend with corruption charges and a clever smear-campaign tainting him with allegations of nationalist racism. No one imagines a real challenge to Putin in 2018, though Putin would probably welcome a candidate who will give the elections at least the appearance of an open competition.

Even outside Russia he seems to rule. Russian pressure prevented Ukraine from signing a key agreement with the European Union and in Georgia the presumptuous Mikheil Saakashvili has been dumped in favor of a more pliable president. Putin's vision of a customs union of former USSR republics is evolving, not into a full return to the Soviet empire, but at least into an infrastructure for a Russian-led rival to the EU. Further afield, in Syria, Putin has prevented the West from attacking the Assad regime and preserved Russia's influence in the Middle East.
But Putin is under no illusions. He knows that with its ageing population and reliance on income from oil and gas which will probably not rise in price over the coming decade, Russia is on the brink of major financial catastrophe. And despite his previous success in ruthlessly putting down the Chechen rebellions, Islamist terror within Russia's borders has simply shifted place and shape – and has by no means disappeared. On the international stage he is fully aware that his achievements have mainly been due to the weakness of the Obama administration and the Eurozone crisis.

Putin's biggest asset was always his strongman image; the only one capable of ensuring stability and security, preferable in the eyes of most Russians to a weak democratic leader. The Sochi farce won't bring him down but it has already cracked that image despite the fawning broadcasts by the Kremlin-controlled television channels, the painting of the wasteland around Sochi in green, and the high wooden fences hiding the slums from view - not even a gold medal for Russia's ice hockey team could obfuscate the farce.

The most surprising discovery last week in Sochi was the readiness of the city's residents, those who may have been expected to be grateful for the massive investment, to complain of the broken promises and mirage of progress Putin built upon their backs. And they blamed him directly - not the oligarchs, not the corrupt officials nor the Chechen terrorists. With the last independent television channel remaining in Russia about to go out of business and environmental activists hounded out of the city and forced to leave the country, the protests have emigrated to the internet and to social media, and they cannot be tucked away.

In sixteen days the Olympic torch will go out and the inevitable transformation of most of the Olympic venues and athletes' villages into ghost-towns will begin. In a few years what will remain will be a monument to the hubris of one leader. It happened in other cities that hosted Olympic games. Sochi is not the first and certainly not the last place where billions were sunk to pay for fleeting glory. But the damage these games have caused Putin will not be wiped away. If one day the people of Russia find the strength and courage to evict him from the Kremlin, the seeds will have been sown in Sochi.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

"A man like Zubkov, and should be the standard-bearer"

Bobber Alexander Zubkov will lead to victory not only their deuce and four, but the entire Russian Olympic team
Expert "Gazety.Ru" - former head coach of Russia Vladimir bobsled Lyubovitsky said that he was glad the election of Alexander Zubkov bobsleigh standard-bearer of the Olympic team and considers this a good choice and worthy.

I am first and foremost, of course, happy for Alexander. Unfortunately, I am now in Moscow and could not witness his reaction. It is a great honor - to be the standard-bearer of team Russia in the Olympics. Every athlete wants to carry the banner of their country at the opening of the Olympics. Certainly, it is a great honor, but it's also a great responsibility.

Because, on the one hand, it gives emotional strength, elation, and on the other - in a few days the guys start training runs. And even the part in the opening parade selects a lot of emotion.

But Alexander is 100% worth it. He is the winner of two and five participant Olympics, won the world championship. I did not have any surprise about this.

That man should be the standard-bearer. At least, he is an adult, experienced athlete and clearly appreciates this situation. I think the choice in his favor was absolutely correct.

Before the first day of competition in the beans-twos, after the date of the inauguration of the Olympic Games, will still be a few days. During this time, positive emotions will go away or less bright. Hopefully that will come in the first place thought about the result - a good and decent box office performance.

At the Games every day - this test. Besides it's a big sporting event, and it is still a big test for the athletes of the nervous system.

Besides voltage is amplified more because we stand in their native land. Fans, of course, are just waiting for good results. Responsibility because of this becomes even more.

We have a lot of decent people. In the team there are Olympic champions. For some reason I thought that the choice will fall on Olga Zaitseva . I thought that maybe somebody will carry the banner of the cross-country sprint. For example, the Olympic champion Nikita Kryukov, who now is in great shape. He is the number one favorite for the Sochi Games. But apparently, he was too young. Therefore chose Zubkov.

Frankly, all athletes - very mistrustful people. As for the match when the Russian-bearers often then not win gold, then Sasha performance on these Olympics should soberly assess the basis of the results of the season.

Bear flag it or not - this is not radically affect his speech. And when his crew returned Governor Alexei , they certainly have a chance to compete for medals in twos, I think, even more than quadruples.

Judging by the results of the same this season, I believe that their main rival will be the Swiss Beat Hefti. Race show. On his side - youth. And on the side of Alexander - the experience and availability of home runs.

Surprises can also be - it's the Olympics. And they always shoots some dark horse. But usually, bobsleigh this rarely happens. Because we have such a stable sport. And, of course, a man who never hit the mark during the season, will not be able to become a champion. This is a priori impossible.

And the circle of contenders, in my opinion, except for the Swiss, of course, includes world champion and Olympic champion in fours - American Steven Holcomb. The last performance of the Canadians in Europe showed that they, too, will be among the favorites in twos.

I think that the Germans are plotting some sort of game, and the youngest world champion in 2013 Francesco Friedrich also will fight for the top places. I do not think that any of Latvians will fight for the gold. Maybe only for the bronze medal will be hooked. So much for competition among dyads - the first type of program.

Everything depends on the results. If Sasha win a medal in twos, it will give him an extra incentive to fight in fours. First, psychologically will be quieter - the award is already there. And secondly, the pilot also exists the so-called peak form, which only he feels when people, roughly speaking, can ride with my eyes closed, feeling every inch of distance.

But this peak shape, as well as any athlete in any sport, can not last, for example, six months. He comes at some point. And that a maximum of two to three weeks. Left to wait a bit, we'll see.

After all feature track in Sochi is that there is no any difficult areas, where you can only play by piloting a particular lag. Therefore, everyone will start and willingness to solve engineering. A pilot's skill in this regard, several leveled. This is not Vancouver. Illustrative of this route is U.S. Salt Lake City and the Austrian Eagles in Europe.

Also, no doubt, during the Olympics will watch the biathlon, cross country skiing, ice hockey. Yes, in principle, for all will follow. But these kinds of priority for me personally and close.

A team from Russia waiting for a good performance and I wish our guys wins. Houses and walls help. Although, of course, will not be easy. All serious contenders, and the results of the World Championships in 2013 we did not get in the top three. But the presence of factor native walls should give us a definite advantage, at least for people with strong character.

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Snowboard slope S qualifying Sumino, to semi-finals

Sochi Olympics six days, prior to the opening ceremony, the snowboard there are men and women qualifying slopestyle, Sumino Tomomoto boys (Nissan X-TRAIL) remains in 13 of 15 people in one set 31.0 points, of the 8th I turned to the semi-finals.

Each of the top four qualifying 1 and 2 sets of advance directly final. I contend the final for a total of 12 people combined four top in this semi-final. Women of Japan has not come out.

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Legends are back! Tendulkar, Warne reunite for special ODI at Lord's

Tendulkar & Warne
Sachin Tendulkar and spin maestro Shane Warne will be seen back on the cricket field in a special ODI at Lord's 

Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and iconic Australian spinner Shane Warne have reportedly been confirmed as captains for a match marking the 200th anniversary of the Lord's cricket ground.

Tendulkar will lead the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of the northwest London venue, while Warne will head a 'Rest of the World' side in a 50-overs per side match at the 'home of cricket' on July 5.

According to, Tendulkar's former India teammate Rahul Dravid has also been included in the MCC XI and will make a return to the scene where he scored 95 on his Test debut, against England in 1996.

Stating that he was looking forward to the fixture, Tendulkar, who scored a hundred in the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Match at Lord's in 1998, said that he is honoured to be asked to captain MCC in such a prestigious game, adding that he is looking forward to helping celebrate the bicentenary of Lord's as it is a special place to play cricket.

Tendulkar, who was presented with an MCC Honorary Life Membership in 2010, also said that it will be a privilege to play at the 'home of cricket' once again, while Warne, who took 19 wickets in four Tests at Lord's, said that he is sure that the match will be a lot of fun.

Meanwhile MCC president Mike Gatting, who was involved in a similar, star-studded, match in 1987 when he scored 179 for MCC in a five-day fixture marking the 200th anniversary of the club, promised 'more big names' for the fixture in the 'coming weeks'.

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Star baseball pitcher turned TV analyst Curt Schilling announces he has cancer

Former star pitcher turned television analyst Curt Schilling announced on Wednesday that he is battling cancer.

The 47-year-old Schilling, who spent 20 years in the major leagues before retiring in 2009, divulged the news in a statement released through his employer, Bristol-based ESPN. It did not indicate what type of cancer Schilling has, when he was diagnosed or what his prognosis might be.
'With my incredibly talented medical team I'm ready to try and win another big game,' he said. 'I've been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I'll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on.'
Curt Schilling announced he had cancer on Wednesday but he did not specify which type of cancer

ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said Schilling is taking a leave of absence. He recently signed a multi-year contract extension with the network and was to be part of the 'Sunday Night Baseball' broadcast team, as well as contribute to the network's studio coverage, including its spring training coverage, Soltys said.
'Our thoughts are with Curt and his family during this challenging time,' the Bristol-based network said in a statement. 'His ESPN teammates wish him continued strength in his cancer fight and we look forward to welcoming him back to our baseball coverage whenever he's ready.'
Schilling played for five teams during his Major League career. He won three world championships, with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2001) and Boston Red Sox (2004, 2007), sharing the World Series MVP award with teammate Randy Johnson in 2001.

He won 216 games and struck out 3,116 batters during his career, but is perhaps best known for pitching in the 2004 ALCS and World Series after having stitches to mend an ankle injury. His bloody sock was later put on display in Cooperstown.
Schilling has been in the news recently after the failure of 38 Studios, a video game company he owned in Rhode Island, with the help of a $75 million state loan. The company went bankrupt last year, leaving Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook to pay back tens of millions of dollars.
Schilling said he invested and lost as much as $50 million.
This is not the first time he and his family have battled health issues.
Schilling recently revealed he suffered a heart attack in November 2011. His wife, Shonda, successfully battled melanoma in 2001.
Schilling was a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
Schilling was a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
Schilling also was the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies
Schilling also was the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies

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