Sochi 2014

Sochi 2014 names first Olympic torch relay bearers

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The first woman in space, a 12-time Olympic medalist and a popular blogger are among the first 6,000 people to be announced as Sochi Olympic relay torch members.

Former cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who first went into orbit 50 years ago, and legendary Olympic champion gymnast Alexei Nemov were among those chosen from more than 140,000 candidates.

There are still to be more than 8,000 torch bearers picked by the end of September. The relay will run from Oct. 7 to Feb. 7, the day of the opening ceremony.

Dubbed the longest relay in Winter Olympic history, it will span more than 40,000 miles across 83 Russian regions.

The fortunate 6,000 were selected on the following criteria: commitment to a healthy lifestyle and sports and the main Olympic values of friendship, respect and commitment to excellence.

Joining Tereshkova and Nemov among the 6,000 are three-time Olympic synchronized swimming champion Maria Kiseleva, Paralympic rowing bronze medalist Aleksey Chuvashev, Russian gymnastics coach Nadezhda Nabokova, cardiovascular surgeon Maksim Strakhov and Sergey Dolya, a “popular blogger,” according to the Sochi 2014 press release.

Notice none of those athletes are Winter Olympians. Sochi must be saving those stars for the final legs of the relay.

Some torchbearer stats:

* The youngest is 14. The oldest is 93.

* The most common last names are Ivanov, Petrov and Kuznetsov. The most common first names are Aleksandr, Sergey and Aleksey.

* Of the 6,000, 136 are from other countries, including the United States.

Sochi CEO: Winter Games will be ‘more creative and more dramatic’ than London

Helen Maroulis lifts Teddy Roosevelt at Nationals game (video)

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U.S. Olympic wrestling gold medalist Helen Maroulis took down a 13-time world champion in Rio. As part of her homecoming celebration, she lifted up the 26th President of the United States.

Maroulis followed fellow Maryland native Katie Ledecky in being honored at a Washington Nationals game Thursday night.

Maroulis did not throw a ceremonial first pitch, as Ledecky did, making headlines using Bryce Harper as a medal rack.

But Maroulis had her own viral moment, showing off her strength in lifting Teddy Roosevelt off the ground after the famed Presidents Race.

Maroulis, who became the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion in Rio by dethroning Japanese legend Saori Yoshida, aims to return to training after a break and wrestle through the 2020 Tokyo Games.

MORE: Historic win for Maroulis came with stunning dietary discipline

Appeal for harsher Oscar Pistorius murder sentence denied

Oscar Pistorius
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African judge on Friday dismissed an appeal by prosecutors for a harsher sentence against Oscar Pistorius who was found guilty of murder for killing his girlfriend in 2013.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said the state’s appeal to extend the six-year sentence against the 29-year-old double amputee Olympic sprinter had a limited prospect of success.

“I am not persuaded that there are reasonable prospects of success for an appeal,” she said in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp, 29, in the early hours of Feb. 14. He claimed he thought she was an intruder. The state charged that he shot her in anger after an argument. Pistorius was found guilty of murder and sentenced by Masipa to six years in prison.

The sentence was “shockingly light” and that the judge should have used 15-year minimum as starting point as Steenkamp had suffered a “horrendous death,” said prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Pistorius never offered an acceptable explanation for having fired four shots through the toilet door, he said.

The fact that Pistorius fired four shots using hollow point bullets that are designed to inflict maximum damage meant the possibility of death was more likely and should have been an aggravating factor, said Nel.

The state may appeal Masipa’s decision at the Supreme Court of Appeals in the city of Bloemfontein, but is yet to indicate whether it will do so.

MORE: Oscar Pistorius timeline since London Olympics