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Lawrence Okoye hopes to dominate NFL

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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.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross beat top-ranked Brazilians for first time

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross
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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross beat Brazil’s best beach volleyball team for the first time and extended the longest winning streak of their partnership in winning the Moscow Grand Slam on Sunday.

“That just shows our growth,” Ross said. “We’re still on the up and up.”

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion, and Ross, an Olympic silver medalist, beat world No. 1 Larissa and Talita 22-20, 22-20 in the final for their third straight international title.

Walsh Jennings and Ross have now won 22 straight FIVB World Tour matches, the best run of their three-year parternship. Walsh Jennings last reached a streak this long from 2007 to 2010, when she won 78 straight international matches with Misty May-Treanor and Nicole Branagh, according to BVBInfo.com

The Americans had lost all three of their previous matches (one a one-set exhibition) versus Larissa and Talita:

Feb. 27, 2015 — 26-24 in Rio de Janeiro
Aug. 23, 2015 — 21-18, 21-16 in Long Beach, Calif.
March 20, 2016 — 22-20, 21-19 in Vitoria, Brazil

Larissa and Talita, seeking to become Brazil’s first Olympic women’s beach volleyball champions in 20 years, have won 12 of their 20 international tournaments since pairing in July 2014.

The FIVB World Tour continues in Hamburg, Germany, next week, the final event in Olympic qualifying. Walsh Jennings and Ross are expected to play there.

Walsh Jennings and Ross and Larissa and Talita are already qualified for the Rio Games.

MORE: Logan Tom continues volleyball career in Indonesia

Joe Kovacs goes wild after winning Pre Classic shot put (video)

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Joe Kovacs put together an incredible series of throws to win the Pre Classic shot put on Friday night, and he topped it off with perhaps an even more impressive celebration.

The World champion Kovacs, who is listed at 6 feet and 276 pounds, let out bellowing roars and a “Hell yeah!” after his final throw of 22.13 meters.

Kovacs threw farther with every throw in Eugene, Ore., on Friday night:

20.41
20.49
21.26
21.57 (farthest in the world this year)
21.66 (farthest in the world this year)
22.13 (farthest in the world this year)

Kovacs has come a long way in four years. He finished fourth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials with a then-personal-best throw of 21.08 meters. His last throw Friday night would have won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

MORE: Kovacs emerges from family tragedy, Olympic miss to world leader