VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Phelps wins even more awards; rules out Rio in 2016

3 Comments

Michael Phelps was down in Rio for the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday, but reiterated the fact that he won’t be back for the Olympics in three years. At least not as a competitor.

“I am having fun. I love being retired, I can’t stress it enough,” Phelps said during a swimming event for children. “I am happy, smiling, and more relaxed. It’s something that I have wanted for a long time and now I’m happy that I can make the most of it.”

Phelps was also happy to praise Rio as it prepares to host the upcoming 2016 Olympics.

“It’s not something you see too often. It’s going to be something special for Rio to host the Olympics and the World Cup with this type of spirit.”

But while Phelps may be done with swimming, the world isn’t quite done giving him accolades: Phelps was honored with the first Laureus Exceptional Achievement Award after winning six medals in London last summer for a career total of 22, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most all-time.

“It has been an amazing career and it is crazy to think that it is over,” he said at the podium. “But I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in sport. I wanted to change swimming and take it to a level, and I have. But I will continue to be a part of sport and help grow sports. That is a goal and a passion of mine.”

Blake Griffin will miss Olympics, report says

Blake Griffin
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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 are LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

Love is the only name from that list of healthy players with Olympic experience. Faried is the only player from that list who suited up at the 2014 World Cup, starting all nine games.

At London 2012, the U.S. started NBA small forwards LeBron James and Kevin Durant at the forward spots in all eight games, with another small forward, Carmelo Anthony, bringing similar versatility off the bench.

MORE: Why Candace Parker was left off Olympic team

Rio Olympic cauldron likely to be located near Plaza Maua

Candelaria Church
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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