Jordan Clarkson
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Jordan Clarkson eyes Olympic qualifying tournament for Philippines

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said he plans to play for the Philippines national team in 2016, as it tries to qualify for the Rio Olympics, according to Rappler.com.

Clarkson, who ranks second on the Lakers this season averaging 14.9 points per game, said he will play for the Philippines in a last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament in July if his schedule is free, according to the report.

Clarkson, whose mother is Filipino, did not play in the FIBA Asia Olympic qualifying tournament in September and October as it ran into the Lakers’ preseason training camp.

The Philippines, led by veteran NBA forward Andray Blatche, lost in the Oct. 3 final to China in the winner-goes-to-Rio tournament.

The Philippines nonetheless earned a spot in one of three, six-team, winner-goes-to-Rio qualifying tournaments in July and may even be selected in January to host one of those tournaments.

The Philippines last competed in basketball at the Olympics in 1972.

MORE: Nine of 12 teams qualified for Olympic men’s basketball tournament

Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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MORE: Five storylines to watch for Tokyo Paralympics

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Alysa Liu lands quad Lutz

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Alysa Liu, a 14-year-old who in January became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion, on Saturday landed a quadruple Lutz, something no other U.S. woman has done in competition.

Liu landed the jump at the Aurora Games, a women’s sports festival in Albany, N.Y. It does not count officially, since it’s not a sanctioned competition.

Previously, Sasha Cohen landed a quadruple Salchow in practice in 2001, but never in competition. At least three Russian teens landed quads in junior competition in the last two years.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first woman to land a clean, fully rotated quad in senior competition en route to silver at last season’s world championships.

Liu, who landed three triple Axels between two programs at January’s nationals, makes her junior international debut at a Grand Prix stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., next week.

She will not meet the age minimum for senior international competitions until the 2022 Olympic season. But she can continue to compete at senior nationals.

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