He may have never played a down of American football – ever – but British discus champ Lawrence Okoye, who San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh has called an “adonis” and a “beautiful man,” has the work ethic to make a difference now that he’s signed a deal with the 49ers.
Because Okoye admits that he was pretty “terrible” at the discus when he started only three years ago. That was, of course, before breaking the British national record and landing in the event finals at his hometown London Games, finishing twelfth.
“I had to work really hard to become good at [discus]. It’s going to be the same path in this sport,” Okoye told the San Jose Mercury News.
“I’m not going to be as good as everybody else. I’m going to look out of place… But with some work and with time and effort, I know I can catch up and hopefully become a dominant player in the league.”
Okoye, who never even put on a set of pads before meeting with the Saints this spring, will work with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who spent some time in NFL Europe and knows how to train up a novice in the sport. But despite his size and determination, and an impressive 4.78-seconds forty time at the combine, Okoye is humble about his role with a Niners team fresh off a Super Bowl appearance.
“I’m not going to say I’m going to kick Justin Smith or Ray McDonald out of their positions and I’m going to get 20 sacks next year. Of course not… It’s all about development. I’m going to develop every day.”
The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.
It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.
The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.
San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.
Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.
The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.
Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.
MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America
Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.
Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.
Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.
MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal