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.”
U.S. 800m runner Nick Symmonds‘ right shoulder is apparently twice as valuable as his left shoulder.
The two-time Olympian auctioned ad space on his body for a second straight Olympic summer, with the final bid at $21,800 for nine square inches on his right shoulder in an Ebay auction that ended Thursday afternoon.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere‘s Twitter account claimed the winning bid of 107 overall bids.
In 2012, Symmonds auctioned the same nine inches on his left shoulder for $11,100 to Hanson Dodge Creative, a marketing agency based in Milwaukee. Here’s what that temporary tattoo looked like.
Symmonds’ temporary tattoo was not visible during the 2012 Olympics or 2012 Olympic Trials, as rules mandate the advertisement is taped over in those events plus other IAAF competitions.
Symmonds, 32, finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics and second at the 2013 World Championships.
He was left off the 2015 World Championships roster, after winning the national title, after refusing to sign a USA Track and Field contract that required athletes to wear Nike-branded Team USA gear at team functions at Worlds.
Symmonds’ apparel sponsor has been Brooks since January 2014. He was previously a Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club member for seven years.
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Karch Kiraly will continue as U.S. women’s volleyball team head coach through the 2020 Olympics, agreeing to a four-year contract renewal.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to lead this special group of intelligent, powerful, hard-working, dedicated women, and the great staff that supports them — and it’s a double honor to prepare for battle at the Rio Olympics, knowing we’ll have the opportunity to carry that work forward in the next quadrennial,” Kiraly said in a press release.
Kiraly, the only U.S. volleyball player to earn indoor and beach Olympic titles, took over after serving on Hugh McCutcheon‘s staff from 2009 through the 2012 Olympics, where the U.S. women took silver behind Brazil.
Kiraly then led the U.S. women to their first World or Olympic title in 2014. They are ranked No. 1 in the world ahead of China and Brazil.
The program has gone 50 years with zero Olympic golds and broke a 62-year World Championship drought in 2014.
Kiraly, 55, is set to become the first coach of multiple U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball teams since Terry Liskevych from 1988 through 1996.
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