Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta and the Olympics

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Fans of the Olympics searching for a team to root for in the MLB playoffs should look no further than the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs, in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, seeking their first World Series title since 1908 and set to play at the Pittsburgh Pirates in a wild-card game Wednesday, have three U.S. Olympic bronze medalists on their roster.

Pitchers Jake Arrieta and Trevor Cahill and outfielder Dexter Fowler were on the 24-man 2008 U.S. team that finished third in Beijing, the Olympic curtain call for baseball.

MLB never stopped its season for an Olympic break — like the NHL does — so the Beijing team was made up of 23 minor leaguers and Stephen Strasburg, then a rising junior at San Diego State.

Note Arrieta, who ranked second in the majors in ERA this season (1.77), including a 0.75 ERA and 12-1 record in 15 starts since the All-Star Game. Arrieta, 29, is slated to start the wild-card game Wednesday.

Arrieta was actually more dominant at the Olympics, where he was the only minor leaguer on the U.S. who hadn’t yet reached a double-A league. He made one appearance and threw six shutout innings in Beijing, two years before his MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles.

“One thing about pitchers, if they can throw a couple pitches in the strike zone, they could be at A-ball one day and the next day in the big leagues,” U.S. Olympic team manager Davey Johnson said in 2008, according to MLB.com. “He’s kind of intimidating. He can look at you like you don’t want to mess with him in a dark alley.”

Arrieta’s lone Olympic start came in a memorable 9-1 pool-play win against China that included hit batters and ejections.

In the fifth inning, top Chinese player and then-Seattle Mariners catching prospect Wang Wei was knocked out of the game in a glancing home-plate collision with U.S. outfielder Matt LaPorta.

In the sixth, Wang’s replacement took a direct hit from outfielder Nate Schierholtz trying to score on a sacrifice fly, the catcher’s helmet flying off.

China manager Jim Lefebvre (a former Cubs manager) took issue with the rough play, complained to umpires and was ejected.

In the seventh, LaPorta was hit in the head by a pitch, exited the game and was diagnosed with a mild concussion. LaPorta did play later in the tournament.

In the ninth, China’s backup catcher smacked a solo home run off a relief pitcher, circled the bases with his right index finger held high and stomped on home plate. The run reduced the U.S. lead to 9-1.

The U.S. lost to Cuba in the semifinals and beat Japan in the bronze-medal game.

Arrieta also conversed with then-U.S. president George W. Bush while in Beijing. They’re both Texans.

“I was shocked to meet him at first and a little nervous,” Arrieta said, according to USA Baseball. “My family is going to be jealous, and it is something I’ll remember for a long time.”

Baseball was voted out of the 2012 Olympics in 2005 and came up short in bids to return for future Olympics. Its next attempt, to return for Tokyo 2020, will be decided by August.

MORE BASEBALL: The Olympic All-Star baseball team

Carolina Kostner eligible to compete Jan. 1

Carolina Kostner
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Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner can compete starting Jan. 1 after her suspension for assisting then-boyfriend and Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer in covering up his doping was amended Monday.

It’s unknown whether Kostner, 28, seeks to compete again.

Her ban had been scheduled to end May 15, but it’s now up at the end of 2015 after she settled a dispute with doping authorities, according to the Italian Olympic Committee. The ban was increased to 21 months but then backdated to April 1, 2014.

The Olympic bronze medalist Kostner was originally given a 16-month ban last January after she admitted she lied to drug testers who showed up at her home in 2012, looking for Schwazer in order to perform a drug test. She said she told drug testers Schwazer was not there, per his request, even though she knew that he was present.

Kostner said before the Schwazer controversy that she would take the 2014-15 season off, after she won Olympic and World Championships bronze medals earlier in 2014.

In Sochi, she became the second oldest women’s figure skating medalist since 1928, according to sports-reference.com.

She owns six World Championships medals, including gold in 2012.

The 2008 Olympic champion Schwazer tested positive for EPO in 2012, was excluded from the London Olympics and banned for four years.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: U.S. silver medalist comes out as gay

Leisel Jones details depression in ‘Body Lengths’

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Retired swimmer Leisel Jones recalled extreme dieting, depression and suicidal thoughts in her new co-written biography, according to excerpts in Australian media.

Jones, 30, won nine Olympic medals, tied for the most by an Australian with Ian Thorpe, and previously talked about her battle with depression. Thorpe also dealt with depression.

Nicknamed “Lethal” Jones, her physical appearance was scrutinized in swim-mad Australia. As was her performance in the pool. The breaststroke phenom who made her first Olympic team at age 14 in 2000 needed five more years before winning her first individual World title and eight more before her first individual Olympic gold.

“I would do it all over again in a heartbeat,” Jones said on ABC Australia, despite the mental and physical problems she detailed in her book, “Body Lengths.”

In one excerpt, Jones said she went one year without eating chocolate and that coaches at one of her training groups labeled female athletes fat with a code number after public weigh-ins.

In another, she told a story of contemplating suicide while at a team altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada, Spain, in 2011. From the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age:

I sit down on the bathroom floor with sleeping tablets and plan how I will steal a paring knife from the hotel kitchen to try to kill myself. I will start with my legs, with the big veins in my thighs. Then I will slash at my arms, at my pale white wrists. I shake as I think about it. I imagine the knife and how I will run its blade gently over my skin, scrape it across the smooth skin of my wrist – then go further, do what I need to do.

“I was picturing myself in a body bag leaving Sierra Nevada,” Jones said on Australian TV.

Jones said those thoughts were interrupted by a team sports scientist texting to invite her to breakfast downstairs with Tour de France winner and four-time Olympian Cadel Evans and, two hours later, by a coach knocking on her door.

“It was very hard to write,” Jones said on ABC Australia. “Writing it was quite cathartic. … I want the stories to have a lesson for other people.”

MORE SWIMMING: Golden Goggles nominees announced