Okoye

Lawrence Okoye signs with San Francisco 49ers

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British discus thrower and London Olympian Lawrence Okoye announced on Twitter that he’ll sign with the San Francisco 49ers after no team picked him during this weekend’s NFL Draft.

The 21-year-old has never played a down of American football in his life, but at 6’6″ 304 pounds with a 35-inch vertical and a 4.78 40-yard-dash time, it’s kind of a surprise that more teams weren’t interested purely because of his stature.

“I really stood out because of my size, strength, and speed,” Okoye told The Daily Mail after competing at a regional combine in Atlanta. “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I was good [at the combine] – to the point that a lot of NFL clubs began talking to me.”

Okoye, who was a star junior rugby athlete while growing up, will likely end up as a defensive lineman under 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and line coach Jim Tomsula.

Okoye was planning on holding off his NFL dreams until after the 2016 Rio Games, but after his combine performance, and after talking with San Francisco and working out for the Chicago Bears, he couldn’t pass up the chance: “I want to give this my best shot. It’s a rare life opportunity.”

Check out Okoye at the Super Regional Combine in Dallas:

Blake Griffin will miss Olympics, report says

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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 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

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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