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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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The opening ceremonies will come after the Olympic competition has opened, which is nice

USA’s Carli Lloyd, right, battles New Zealand’s Hannah Wilkinson, center, and Abby Erceg for the ball on Wednesday. (Eugenio Savio / Associated Press)
USA’s Carli Lloyd, right, battles New Zealand’s Hannah Wilkinson, center, and Abby Erceg for the ball on Wednesday. (Eugenio Savio / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Olympics are underway in Rio. Unless you are a soccer aficionado, you may not have known that. Read on.

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• If you have been waiting for Friday night to get your Olympic fix, then you were sorely misinformed. Maybe even by me. The opening ceremonies, the made-for-television (these days) extravaganza is Friday night. But the competition began yesterday on the soccer pitch. (When in Brazil, use the Brazilian terms, though I don’t know the Portuguese word for “pitch.”) The U.S. women even played, and won, 2-0 over New Zealand. Hope Solo, who spoke out about the Zika virus a while back then recently chastised the media for blowing Rio’s problems out of proportion, was even booed a bit. Of course, the U.S. is one of Brazil’s main competitors for a gold medal, so there is a bit of nationalism in play. It’s just good to know the games have begun.

• I made a mistake yesterday. Sorry. In my look at the all-time football programs in the country, I mentioned the WCC had two members on the list that no longer played football. One was Santa Clara. The other was the mistake. “USF” was listed at 94 and, with AP just listing it as USF, I assumed it was the University of San Francisco. It was, according to CBSSports.com, the University of South Florida. But in my defense, USF – the West Coast one – did have one of the nation’s best football teams in 1951, a team that was actually undefeated and turned down a bowl bid because it would have had to leave its African-American players, including pro football hall of famer Ollie Matson, at home. I figured that year, and USF’s previous history, was enough to get it on the AP list. Well, that and the Dons’ PR man in 1951 was Pete Rozelle. Yes, that Pete Rozelle. I figured he had the juice back then to get them ranked No. 1. Nope. Though the Dons finished 9-0, they were never ranked higher than 13th. By the way, WSU was 7-3 that season and finished ranked 18th.

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• WSU: The Cougars have a new room in their football operations building. Well, a room in the building has a new name. The place they bring football recruits will henceforth be known as the Steve Gleason Recruiting Center. Jacob Thorpe has a story and a blog post on how this came to be. ... Jacob also has a blog post on an offensive lineman who will probably use the room this fall. ... Gabe Marks is considered the 10th best player in the Pac-12 this fall. ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog has been counting down the top 25 and I’m trying to figure who will be No. 1. The names left include Luke Falk, Royce Freeman, Christian McCaffrey and Josh Rosen. My guess the top name will be McCaffrey, the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season. ... WSU and UW are well-regarded heading into the season.

• Gonzaga: BYU landed a recruit from Las Vegas.

• EWU: Shadle Park big man Tanner Groves, the GSL MVP last basketball season, announced on Twitter yesterday he’s committed to Eastern.

• Idaho: The Vandals open preseason football practice tomorrow. Jacob has a story about their preparations. By the way, Josh Wright, who has covered the Vandals in the past for the S-R, will be back this season.

• Indians: The all-star break is about over and there will be a new face or two in the Indians’ lineup when they return today. Josh Horton has a blog post on the newest members of the roster.

• Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma has won more games since May 20 – 11 – than any pitcher in the bigs. He picked up his 12th of the season last night in a dominating performance against the Red Sox, as the M’s took a 3-1 decision. And, yes, Edwin Diaz threw again and picked up another save, in a bit shaky inning. ... Ichiro is one of a kind. ... Steve Cishek may not be the closer anymore but he’s still a teammate.

• Seahawks: The Hawks have never been quiet about much, so it comes as no surprise some of them are speaking out now. ... Trevone Boykin is still No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart. He and the other rookies are learning quickly what it means to play in Seattle.

• Sounders: Portland earned a 2-1 Champions League win while Real Salt Lake made one mistake and lost an MLS match 1-0.

•••

• Time to head to the doctor’s office for my annual physical. Wish me luck. Until later ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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