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Ian Thorpe denies gay rumors, says he’ll keep swimming

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After failing to qualify for the London Olympics earlier this year, is Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe staring at retirement No. 2?

His simple answer: No.

Thorpe, who stepped away from the sport in 2006 after a career that earned him a total of nine medals (five gold) at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, attempted to qualify for London in the 100m and 200m freestyle. Thing is, Thorpe’s comeback sputtered at the Olympic Trials – he didn’t make the finals in either race.

The 30-year-old Aussie is currently on a book tour Down Under to promote his new autobiography, “This Is Me.” Among the topics he addresses in the book are rumors of him being gay (which he denies) and his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

And, in an interview with Fox Sports News, he said his next goals are to compete in the 2013 World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Thorpe has been training in Switzerland.

“Everything is on a two-year plan for me these days,” Thorpe said in the interview. “What I didn’t like about London was that I was rushing to make it. I’m not going to do that this time. I’ll do what I want to do and what I feel I can do.”

If nothing else, the Australian swim team could use a veteran like Thorpe to provide leadership in the wake of a scandal that allegedly had some of the athletes sleepwalking through London this summer.

Boules bids for 2024 Olympic inclusion

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 (AP) — The sport of boules has launched a bid to be included in the 2024 Olympics.

The Bowls Sports World Confederation, which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, is campaigning on behalf of three disciplines: the French petanque, the Boule Lyonnaise and the Raffa, a version of the game popular in Italy.

According to the international world games association, about 20 million people regularly play boules in France and Italy, and more than 2 million players are licensed in 150 other countries.

Under new IOC rules, Olympic host cities can propose the addition of one or more sports to their games. Paris and Rome are among the five cities bidding for the 2024 Games, along with Los Angeles, Budapest and Hamburg.

MORE: Complete 2024 Olympic bidding coverage

South Korean rhythmic gymnast throws another acrobatic first pitch (video)

Pitching mound
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South Korean Olympic gymnast Shin Soo-ji made a triumphant return to the mound over the weekend and outdid her acrobatic 2013 first pitch.

Shin, who finished 12th in rhythmic gymnastics at Beijing 2008, added another gymnastics move to her wind-up before tossing a little bit high.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Analyzing U.S. women’s World Championships roster