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Ennis aiming for 7000-point mark in heptathlon

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British heptathlete Jessica Ennis surpassed the high expectations of a nation this summer when she won gold in front of her home crowd in London.

Now the champ is setting her goals even higher. 

Ennis says she’ll aim to be only the fourth woman ever to break the 7000-point barrier in the seven-event heptathlon when she competes at the world championships in Moscow next summer.

“Your motivation levels are very different,” Ennis told the London Telegraph. “It’s just getting back into it and looking forward to the next championship.

“The World Championships are going to be the main focus for next year, preparing and being where I need to be. I’m still 26, I’ve got time to achieve a bit more, and it’s about re-setting your goals.”

Ennis barely missed the 7000-point mark during the London Olympics, as she totaled a British record and top-five all-time score of 6,955 after winning the 100m hurdles and 200m and 800m races.

Ennis still isn’t sure if she’ll take a shot at the open 100m hurdles in Rio after clocking 12.54 seconds during the heptathlon competition in London. Her time would have good enough for fourth place, just ahead of American track-star-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones, but Ennis’s coach isn’t keen on the idea.

Instead, she seems content to focus on winning another heptathlon world championship… for now.

Blake Griffin will miss Olympics, report says

Blake Griffin
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For the second straight Olympics, Blake Griffin will not be able to join Team USA due to injury, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Clippers power forward will be out several months due to his left quad injury, according to the newspaper.

Griffin was originally chosen for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team but withdrew due to a torn meniscus, opening a spot for Anthony Davis.

Davis is also expected to miss the Rio Games due to injury.

Other power forwards on the U.S. finalist list released in January include LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

Rio Olympic cauldron likely to be located near Plaza Maua

Candelaria Church
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Mayor Eduardo Paes says he wants the Olympic cauldron to burn in Rio de Janeiro’s revitalized port area.

The cauldron will be lit at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5, and will spend the night there before traveling to a permanent home.

Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the cauldron will be placed in the port area, but not in the heart of the renovated port area known as Plaza Maua.

“It will be close to Plaza Maua, but not exactly in Plaza Maua,” Andrada said. He said it was likely to be located near the Candelaria Church, which is near the plaza.

“Don’t get me into a fight with the mayor,” Andrada added.

Paes said he hoped the new plaza would be a center for outdoor entertainment during the Games, including performance stages, musical attractions, and large-screen televisions.

“It seems that the Maracana Stadium has limitations,” Paes said, adding that moving out of the Maracana “is good because it democratizes the access to the cauldron.”

The new plaza and downtown Rio are far from the heart of the Games in suburban Barra da Tijuca. It is also an area not usually visited by tourists.

The Olympic flame arrives from Greece and Switzerland on Tuesday in the capital Brasilia, to be carried off the plane by IOC member Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio organizing committee.

The flame then goes to the Planalto presidential palace where it is expected to be greeted by President Dilma Rousseff.

Andrada said IOC President Thomas Bach and other top IOC officials would not be at the ceremony.

Rousseff is facing impeachment charges and could be suspended from office as early as May 11, turning over authority to Vice President Michel Temer.

Temer, himself, could also face impeachment proceedings and has a scandal-tainted career.

PHOTOS: Olympic flame visits Acropolis, 1896 Olympic Stadium