India’s flag will not fly at Sochi Opening Ceremony

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Athletes from the world’s second most populous nation will not march under their flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will hold elections two days after the Opening Ceremony. The International Olympic Committee froze the IOA’s membership in December 2012 after the IOA elected tainted officials.

Even though the IOA will keep those tainted officials out of elections, they will come two days too late, according to Agence France-Presse. The IOC said that if elections were not held before Feb. 7, Indian athletes would be classified “as independent athletes under the Olympic flag,” according to AFP.

It will not be unprecedented — athletes have marched in the Parade of Nations under the Olympic flag before, including 2012 — but Indian Olympic luger Shiva Keshavan called the situation “shameful and pathetic.”

“It is a sad and embarrassing situation that Indian sport has been put in,” he told Mail Today, according to AFP. “People around the world know about the failure of our systems and about corruption and bad governance in sports.

“The essence of the Olympic Games is to represent and I feel it is shameful and pathetic for all of us Indians that athletes may not walk under the Indian flag.”

India, a nation of more than one billion people, has won 26 Olympic medals, all in the Summer Games. It has sent athletes to each of the last four Winter Olympics with a high of four in 2006, according to

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Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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