Football flameout Maurice Clarett has found a new home in Rugby, and says he’s committed to making it on the U.S. team for the Rio Olympics.
The 29-year-old former Ohio State star has joined up with the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Program in Columbus, and team director Paul Holmes told Rugby Mag that he couldn’t be happier with the decision:
“He’s ridiculous. That’s all I can say. His footwork is phenomenal. He’s nowhere near conditioned for rugby, but that will come… The stuff he’s doing in the gym right now, he’s just ridiculous.”
Clarett led Ohio State in rushing his freshman year in 2002, and scored the winning touchdown in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl to secure the BCS National Championship for his team. But academic and behavioral problems got him suspended and then dismissed in 2003.
Clarett failed to sue his way into the NFL Draft after being named ineligible due to his age, then sat out a year before being drafted by the Broncos in 2005. He was released before he ever played an NFL game.
Oh, then Clarett spent four years in jail for armed robbery and illegal gun possession. But Walker says they’ve done their homework on Clarett, and made sure he’s matured through his experiences.
“We hit up a few guys whose opinion we value…” Walker said. “We’ve been assured by people that we trust that he’s a different person, that he’s found himself. And I believe in giving him a shot.”
Walker says that Clarett doesn’t really know the game yet, but will begin training with the team immediately to learn the ins and outs of the sport, and to get in shape so he can aim for a spot in Rio.
London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.
TASS named nine 2008 Olympic medalists among 14 Russian athletes, citing a Russian TV report, including seven in track and field, with Chicherova being the superstar of the group.
“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympic tested positive after a re-check, and she called me,” Chicherova’s coach said, according to TASS. “So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”
Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.
Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.
Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.
Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.
MORE: Russia track and field boss: ’50-60 percent’ chance of Olympics
Katie Zaferes was announced Tuesday as the sixth and final member of the U.S. Olympic triathlon team seeking its first medal since 2004 and first gold medal in the sport’s 16-year Olympic history.
Zaferes, 26, was named to her first Olympic team 10 days after the final Olympic selection race in Yokohama, Japan.
Zaferes comfortably led the qualifying standings for the third and final U.S. Olympic women’s spot behind World champion Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True, who qualified for Rio on Aug. 2.
USA Triathlon decided not to bypass Zaferes in discretionary selection for a less-accomplished triathlete that would be used as a domestique to improve Jorgensen and/or True’s medal chances in Rio.
Jorgensen, True and Zaferes are the only active U.S. women to make a World Triathlon Series podium, all having done so at least five times in the last two years.
Jorgensen won in Yokohama, with Zaferes placing sixth and True not competing.
The U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon team includes Greg Billington, Ben Kanute and Joe Maloy, all first-time Olympians who have never made a World Series podium.
MORE: Gwen Jorgensen returns to top of podium