Marion Rolland

Alpine skiing world downhill champion Marion Rolland set to miss Sochi Olympics

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Lindsey Vonn won’t have to worry about beating the reigning world champion in the downhill at the Sochi Olympics.

France’s Marion Rolland will miss the Games after suffering a knee injury in training in Chile on Sunday, according to reports out of France citing the French Ski Federation.

Rolland ruptured an ACL and sprained an MCL in her right knee, according to the French Ski Federation, which did not give a timetable for how long she will be out. The Olympic downhill is Feb. 12, less than five months away. An injury like Rolland’s likely forces skiers to miss at least six months, according to Reuters.

Rolland underwent surgery on the same knee in 2007 and 2010.

Rolland won the world downhill title in Schladming, Austria, in February, five days after Vonn’s crash in the super-G.

Rolland, 30, fell four seconds into her downhill run at the 2010 Olympics and required surgery. Her world title marked the first time she had won a World Cup, World Championship or Olympic race.

The best indicator of Olympic prospects are the World Cup season standings. In the last four seasons, Rolland has finished 11th, sixth, 16th and ninth in the downhill standings. She was certainly not the biggest threat to the recovering Vonn in the Sochi downhill.

Vonn’s biggest competition is sizing up to be the two best all-around skiers in the world — rivals Tina Maze of Slovenia and Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany — who were second and third behind Vonn in the downhill standings last season.

Injuries, retirements pile up in Alpine skiing

Blake Griffin will miss Olympics, report says

Blake Griffin
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For the second straight Olympics, Blake Griffin will not be able to join Team USA due to injury, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Clippers power forward will be out several months due to his left quad injury, according to the newspaper.

Griffin was originally chosen for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team but withdrew due to a torn meniscus, opening a spot for Anthony Davis.

Davis is also expected to miss the Rio Games due to injury.

Other power forwards on the U.S. finalist list released in January are LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

Love is the only name from that list of healthy players with Olympic experience. Faried is the only player from that list who suited up at the 2014 World Cup, starting all nine games.

At London 2012, the U.S. started NBA small forwards LeBron James and Kevin Durant at the forward spots in all eight games, with another small forward, Carmelo Anthony, bringing similar versatility off the bench.

MORE: Why Candace Parker was left off Olympic team

Rio Olympic cauldron likely to be located near Plaza Maua

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Mayor Eduardo Paes says he wants the Olympic cauldron to burn in Rio de Janeiro’s revitalized port area.

The cauldron will be lit at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5, and will spend the night there before traveling to a permanent home.

Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the cauldron will be placed in the port area, but not in the heart of the renovated port area known as Plaza Maua.

“It will be close to Plaza Maua, but not exactly in Plaza Maua,” Andrada said. He said it was likely to be located near the Candelaria Church, which is near the plaza.

“Don’t get me into a fight with the mayor,” Andrada added.

Paes said he hoped the new plaza would be a center for outdoor entertainment during the Games, including performance stages, musical attractions, and large-screen televisions.

“It seems that the Maracana Stadium has limitations,” Paes said, adding that moving out of the Maracana “is good because it democratizes the access to the cauldron.”

The new plaza and downtown Rio are far from the heart of the Games in suburban Barra da Tijuca. It is also an area not usually visited by tourists.

The Olympic flame arrives from Greece and Switzerland on Tuesday in the capital Brasilia, to be carried off the plane by IOC member Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio organizing committee.

The flame then goes to the Planalto presidential palace where it is expected to be greeted by President Dilma Rousseff.

Andrada said IOC President Thomas Bach and other top IOC officials would not be at the ceremony.

Rousseff is facing impeachment charges and could be suspended from office as early as May 11, turning over authority to Vice President Michel Temer.

Temer, himself, could also face impeachment proceedings and has a scandal-tainted career.

PHOTOS: Olympic flame visits Acropolis, 1896 Olympic Stadium