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In brief: Usain Bolt center of controversy, denies quotes

Thu., July 31, 2014

ATHLETICS: Even as athletics medals were being won at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, the spotlight was on the sprinter nowhere near the track: Usain Bolt.

The world’s fastest man was at the center of a controversy in Glasgow for apparently criticizing his games experience so far. Bolt was quoted as telling The Times of London newspaper that he was “not really” having fun in Glasgow and the games were “a bit s—-.” The Jamaican sprinter dismissed the report as “lies” and complained on Twitter: “I’m waking up to this nonsense.”

Seemingly unaffected by the growing row, Bolt watched the Jamaica netball team lose to New Zealand, but attempts to ask for his views on Glasgow were blocked by his manager. “Awesome” was his only response to a question shouted as he left the venue.

The Times defended its story during the day, with Scottish editor Angus Macleod saying: “We stand by this story 100 percent. We have utter confidence in this story.”

Bolt is limiting himself to racing a leg in Jamaica’s 4x100-meter team, with the heats not until Friday and the final on Saturday.

Bosh officially signs contract with Heat

NBA: Chris Bosh has signed his $118 million, five-year contract to stay with the Miami Heat.

The team said Bosh signed the deal Wednesday. The sides agreed on the terms earlier this month, but the paperwork could not be completed because Bosh was on a lengthy international vacation and needed to undergo a physical before signing.

Bosh is entering his fifth season with the Heat. He was the first player to commit to the Heat this summer after LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Miami and returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bosh averaged 16.2 points on 52 percent shooting last season for Miami. He will earn just over $20.6 million this season, and his contract is the largest in terms of total value in Heat franchise history.

Wolves add Williams: The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed veteran guard Mo Williams.

Williams gets a one-year, $3.75 million contract to serve as the primary backup to point guard Ricky Rubio.

Williams can play both guard positions, which would allow for the Wolves to play him with Rubio late in games.

He averaged 9.7 points for the Trail Blazers last season and is a career 38.5 percent shooter from 3-point range.

Kings’ arena approved: The Sacramento Kings got the green light from the NBA on Wednesday to build their new $477 million arena, setting the stage for preliminary demolition to begin early Friday at Downtown Plaza.

The league’s advisory/finance committee, consisting of 10 team owners, approved the Kings’ loan terms and lease arrangement with the city of Sacramento, Kings president Chris Granger said. With the NBA’s approval in hand, the team expected to close on a loan with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and have the first installment of its money wired late Wednesday or early today.

Nadal withdraws from 2 hard-court events

TENNIS: Rafael Nadal is withdrawing from hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati because of a right wrist injury, putting his status in doubt for a title defense at the U.S. Open.

Nadal plays left-handed, but he uses a two-handed backhand.

The Toronto tournament begins Monday; the Cincinnati tournament starts Aug. 11. Those two events would have represented Nadal’s hard-court preparation for the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 25.

Williams wins in return: Top-ranked Serena Williams won in her first match since defaulting in a doubles match with sister Venus at Wimbledon, beating Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-2 on in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California.

In the quarterfinals, Williams will meet the winner of today’s match between fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic and qualifier Carol Zhao.

Isner ousted: Two-time runner-up John Isner was beaten in his opening match at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., then complained that he and fellow American Steve Johnson played on a secondary court instead of in the main stadium.

The fifth-seeded and 12th-ranked Isner failed to earn a single break point and lost to the 68th-ranked Johnson 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (6), despite hitting 29 aces.

Lisicki hits record serve: The WTA says Sabine Lisicki has hit the fastest record serve in the history of the women’s tennis tour, reaching 131 mph.

Lisicki hit the serve at 5-5, 40-30 of a first-round loss Tuesday against Ana Ivanovic in the Bank of the West Classic.

The previous fastest WTA serve was 129 mph, by Venus Williams at the 2007 U.S. Open.

Evertron gets Lukaku with $47M transfer

SOCCER: Everton has broken its transfer record to sign striker Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea for $47 million.

The 21-year-old who set up the first and scored the second in Belgium’s 2-1 World Cup win over the United States is returning to Everton after scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances while on loan at Goodison Park last season.

The transfer fee eclipses the 15 million pounds paid in 2008 for Lukaku’s compatriot Marouane Fellaini, who was subsequently sold to Manchester United.

Fewer women hold jobs in college sports

MISCELLANY: A report released on the NCAA and its member schools shows fewer women holding jobs in college sports and only a small improvement in racial diversity.

The report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gave college sports a B grade for racial hiring practices and a C-plus for gender hiring. The racial score of 82.3 points in 2013 increased from 81 points in 2012, while the gender score decreased from 81.3 points in 2012 to 75.9 in 2013.

Wings add assistants: The Detroit Red Wings have hired assistant coaches Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer.

Hiller had led the Tri-City Americans since 2009 in the Western Hockey League.

Brewer worked for Hockey Canada as its video coach for three years.

Earnhardt gets new chief: Greg Ives will return to Hendrick Motorsports next season as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ives was race engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s record five consecutive championships. He moved to JR Motorsports in 2013 for his first crew chief job, with Regan Smith in the Nationwide Series.

Ives was moved to rookie Chase Elliott’s pit stand this season. He has five Nationwide wins, including three with points leader Elliott.

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