AP Photo/Georgy Abdaladze

Georgia votes unanimously to compete in Sochi

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Following the lead of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s Olympic Committee decided in a unanimous vote Thursday that its athletes would be allowed to compete in the 2014 Sochi Games next February.

“I congratulate everyone that Georgian athletes will compete at the Olympic Games,” Georgian Olympic Committee president Leri Khabelov said.

The two countries have been at odds since a brief war over separatist South Ossetia back in 2008, and Georgia’s previous Prime Minister had threatened to boycott the Games, which will sit about eight miles from the Georgian border.

But Ivanishvili has sought to improve dealings with Russia since taking power in October, and said that competing in the Olympics is necessary if Georgia wants to have “normal relations” with its neighbors.

Russia suffered through a boycott at their last hometown Games when 65 countries, including the United States, sat out the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest.

José Calderón retires from Spain national basketball team

Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon
AP
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Los Angeles Lakers point guard José Calderón retired from Spain’s national team after playing in his fourth Olympics in Rio.

Calderón, 34, earned silver medals in 2008 and 2012 and bronze in 2016 for Spain, which lost to the U.S. in the medal rounds at each of the last three Olympics.

Calderón is one of five Spaniards to play in the last four Olympic tournaments, along with Pau GasolJuan Carlos NavarroRudy Fernandez and Felipe Reyes.

Calderón came off the bench in Rio and played 25 minutes total in five of the team’s eight games. He’s entering his 12th season in the NBA.

Gasol, who will be 40 years old come Tokyo 2020, has not determined when he will end his international career.

VIDEO: Top basketball moments from Rio Olympics

Helen Maroulis gives Baltimore Ravens pre-game locker-room speech (video)

Helen Maroulis
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Helen Maroulis nervously stood to the side of Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh as he introduced the Olympic gold medalist to his players, in full pads and ready to take the field, in their locker room Saturday.

“When you beat a legend, you become a legend,” Harbaugh told the team and Maroulis. “You’re a legend, so our guys want to hear about it.”

Maroulis, who beat three-time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida to become the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion, then stepped up. Wearing a Ravens jersey — “No. 16 Maroulis” — she addressed the team.

“I was incredibly nervous,” Maroulis said later. “I just speak from the heart.”

Her full speech before the Ravens-Lions preseason game Saturday:

“A lot of people asked if I knew I was going to win before the finals. And, no, I don’t ever know if I’m going to win before a match. And I’ve always said, I’m not called to be a Magic 8-Ball. I’m called to be a wrestler. So my job isn’t to predict the future. My job is to step out there and give everything that I have. Just through studying opponents and studying people’s mindsets and trying to figure out what was going to work for me, I just realized that you have to give everything you have, and you have to sacrifice everything that needs to be sacrificed, but you can’t take anything with you into a match that’s going to guarantee you a win. Like all the hard work, everything, that doesn’t promise you a win. You still have to step out there as if you’re wrestling for your life, or you’re fighting for your life. Did I know I was going to beat her? No. But I always say, Christ is in me. I am enough. I didn’t need to be perfect that day. I didn’t need to be the fastest. I just needed to be enough. And on that day I was enough to win.”

VIDEO: Maroulis lifts Teddy Roosevelt at Nationals game