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  • Biggest Ever Asian Games; Plushenko Out of Sochi; Kim Feuds with Ex-coach


    The Guangzhou TV tower dominates the skyline behind the opening and closing ceremonies stadium on Haixinsha Island in the middle of the Pearl River. (ATR)
    November Asian Games Biggest Ever

    The Asian Games in Guangzhou, China will be the biggest ever.

    "The Asiad this year has the most number of events and contestants, and is the biggest in history" said Lei Ji, the Games’ deputy manager, ticketing division.

    "It will feature 42 sports, comprising the 28 Olympic Games events and 14 non-Olympic sports. What's special about these 14 is that they are uniquely Asian and familiar to the people as recreation. Making their formal debut at the Games are four major sports - dancesport, dragon boat, roller sports and cricket, and two board games, weiqi and xiangqi."

    Ji had little apprehension about selling tickets for sports such as cricket that don’t have large profiles in China.

    "We will do our best to bring cricket to the people of China and we are not worried about tickets not being taken up for the event."

    Yu Na Kim, Coach Part Ways, Light Up Twitter

    Olympic champion figure skater Yu Na Kim and coach Brian Orser are history.

    The 19-year-old Korean and 48-year-old Canadian announced the split Tuesday in back-to-back statements from their respective management companies.
    Kim and Orser celebrate gold in Vancouver. (Getty Images)

    Orser said via IMG that Kim's mother told him earlier this month he’d no longer be needed and gave no reason for the “sudden and unexpected decision".

    "I am honored to have worked with such a talented and gifted skater," the two-time silver medalist said in his statement. "I wish her all the best as she moves forward in her skating career."

    Kim said via AT Sports her relationship with Orser had been uncomfortable since May and via Twitter that Orser’s dismissal was her call and not her mother’s.

    “Would you please stop to tell a lie B?” she tweeted Wednesday.

    “I know exactly what’s going on now and this is what I’ve DECIDED.”

    The post was quickly deleted but not before thousand of views from her quarter-million followers.

    Kim and Orser joined forces in 2006 and went full-time the following year.

    She won the world championships in 2009 and an Olympic gold in Vancouver, where she smashed her own world record by 18 points en route to South Korea's first gold medal in a sport other than speedskating.

    Kim continues to train at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club ahead of the 2011 world championships in Tokyo next March.

    As a PyeongChang 2018 ambassador, she is featured heavily on the bid’s new website.

    Plushenko Ineligible for Sochi

    Olympic champion figure skater Evgeni Plushenko won’t be on the ice when the Winter Games come to his native Russia in 2014.

    Plushenko won silver in Vancouver. (Getty Images)
    The International Skating Union revoked his eligibility in late June, and the two-time medalist failed to appeal his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within the required three weeks.

    “The ISU Members are obliged to take due notice of the ineligibility of Mr. Evgeny Plushenko for any ISU activity,” Fredi Schmid, director general of the international federation, said Monday in a statement.

    ISU activity includes world championships, Grand Prix series events and the Olympic Games.

    Plushenko, 28, said he wanted to compete in Sochi. However, the ISU determined that he skated in exhibition events in March and April without his national federation’s approval.

    He would be 32 the year of the Sochi Olympics, perhaps an improbable age for an Olympic-level skater.

    ISU rules are written to prevent skaters from withdrawing from major events to make money in exhibitions and other skating events.

    The three-time world champion won gold in Turin and came out of a three-year retirement to skate in Vancouver, where he finished second.

    Plushenko wanted to reclaim the gold from Evan Lysacek in Sochi. Barring a change of heart from the ISU, he won’t have that chance.

    Bolt, Puma Partners for London Olympics

    World’s fastest man Usain Bolt will be the face of Puma through London 2012.
    Bolt strikes his signature “To the World” pose in Beijing. (Getty Images)

    The sporting goods company announced Tuesday a sponsorship extension that will take the Olympic sprint champion through the end of 2013.

    The 24-year-old Jamaican will be track & field’s highest paid athlete ever, Puma said without giving a figure.

    Bolt won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in Beijing, all in world record fashion.

    He lowered his 100m and 200m records at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin but is taking the rest of 2010 off to rest his back.

    Nykanen Heads To Prison Again
    Nykanen and Tapola in a 2008 file photo. (Getty Images)

    Four-time ski jump gold-medalist Matti Nykanen will spend 16 months in prison for aggravated assault.

    The 47-year-old Finn was convicted Tuesday of attacking his wife, sausage heiress Mervi Tapola, with a kitchen knife last Christmas.

    Nykanen spent time in prison three years ago for assaulting her.

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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