Olympics will show off more than just London

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Olympics will show off more than just London

From Comcast SportsNet
HAMPTON COURT, England (AP) -- Medieval cottages crowned with thatched roofs. King Henry VIII's storied riverside palace. A wind-swept naval fort that helped to defend Britain's coastline during World War II. Away from the bustle of London's Olympic stadium, the Summer Games will also showcase the country's postcard perfect rural charms, and highlight centuries of its history. While it was Britain's vibrant capital that won the right to host the 2012 Games, events aren't confined to London. Spectators will flock to Wales and Scotland, to verdant hills in southern England, and even to a working farm -- where rare breed sheep must make way for Olympic cyclists. "It might be called London 2012, but really it's a countrywide event. There are places right across the country which are getting a chance to taste the Olympics," said Beverley Egan, of the Salvation Army charity, which owns a swath of eastern England countryside where the Olympic mountain bike competition will take place. Egan, the organization's director of community services, lives close to the site, the 950-acre Hadleigh Farm, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the London stadium, where cattle graze amid the ruins of a 700-year-old castle. Sports fans can head to 10 venues outside Britain's capital. Canoeists will slalom through bubbling rapids at Lee Valley White Water Center just beyond London's northern outskirts, while rowing crews will compete on a lake at Eton Dorney, set inside a tranquil 400-acre park about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of the capital. On England's southern coast, visitors will watch sailing events at Nothe Fort -- a 19th century naval defense post. During World War II, troops fired the fort's heavy guns in warning on two suspicious ships, but later found the vessels were carrying refugees fleeing the Channel Islands, the only corner of Britain to come under Nazi occupation. Quaint images of rolling hills will provide a quintessentially British backdrop to events beamed around the world. However lovely, they are also critical to the country's plans for capitalizing on the Olympics, which have cost Britain 9.3 billion pounds (14.6 billion) to stage. Ministers hope prospective visitors will be captivated as they see historic landscapes and landmarks and book a vacation. They also hope potential investors can be wooed. Competitors in road cycling races will travel into England's picturesque countryside as they compete for gold medals. Their route -- 156 miles (250 kilometers) for men, 87 miles (140 kilometers) for women -- begins outside Queen Elizabeth II's Buckingham Palace home, but quickly swaps London streets for tree-fringed country lanes. Their path winds through fields of grazing deer in Richmond Park, bringing the Olympics into the southern England county of Surrey and to the historic Hampton Court Palace. Home to Henry VIII from the mid-1500s, the palace sits at the heart of his scandalous personal life. It was here that he and his aides plotted England's break with the Roman Catholic church to allow the king to divorce. The king married two of his six wives here, too. Two were accused of adultery and beheaded. Road race cyclists will flash by, headed toward the spine of chalk hills known as the North Downs -- but competitors in time trial events will start and finish their races inside the palace grounds, where William Shakespeare and his company of actors once performed for King James I. During the road race, athletes will continue past the ruins of the 12th Century Newark Priory, on through woodland copses shaded by canopies of trees and down heart-stopping, twisting slopes. Alan Flaherty, a highway engineer at Surrey County Council and a road cycling fanatic since he first visited the Tour de France in 2004, helped to devise the course once organizers chose to take the event outside London. Olympic authorities had planned for the route to snake through the capital, but the sport's governing body wanted a course that would better challenge riders and show off more iconic British views. Flaherty was tapped to share some of his own favored paths. "I literally went out with my rucksack, a camera and a pen and paper and looked at the whole route and then reported back," he said. The final course offers a checklist of famous British images -- from Westminster Abbey to sheep-filled meadows -- and some competitors have already interrupted training rides with Flaherty to snap pictures with their smartphones. "It does manage to go past all the main tourist sites in London, starting and finishing on The Mall, and also takes in a huge amount of Surrey," Flaherty said. "It's a real contrast -- all the countryside shows another element of Great Britain to the rest of the world." Spectators, though not the riders who will speed by, can admire a vision of English nostalgia nestled along the course at Shere, an unspoiled village with a 12th century church, tea house, gently gurgling stream and cluster of thatched roofed cottages. Nearby at Box Hill, a favorite southern England picnic spot and vantage point, competitors face a grueling ascent up the aptly named Zig Zag Road, an energy-sapping climb which men will complete nine times and women twice. The summit will host about 15,000 spectators, while tens of thousands more are expected to pack along the remainder of the course. Flaherty said that since he helped to finalize the route scores of enthusiasts have taken to the course with their own bikes -- meaning he must find new paths for his own peaceful weekend cycle rides. "I've been cycling around here for about 25 years and one of the things I liked is that it's always really quiet," Flaherty said, ruefully. "Then I got involved with the Olympics and now there are hundreds of people out on the route every weekend. The lesson is to be careful what you wish for."

NBA Gameday: Kings look to bounce back against shorthanded Jazz

NBA Gameday: Kings look to bounce back against shorthanded Jazz

After another last minute loss on Friday night to the New York Knicks, the Sacramento Kings jump right back into the fire Saturday night against the Utah Jazz in a brutal home and road back-to-back.

Embroiled in off-the-court controversy, forward Matt Barnes missed Friday night’s game against the Knicks with what coach Dave Joerger deemed “scheduled rest.” After sitting out 12 of the Kings’ previous 16 games as a healthy scratch, and playing just 29 total minutes since Nov. 1, veteran Anthony Tolliver got the call and filled in admirably for Barnes. Tolliver finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench in the loss to New York.

The Jazz played without four starters Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors and lost by a final of 106-99. Joe Ingles came off Quin Snyder’s bench to score 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from long range and big man Rudy Gobert stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting night and added 17 rebounds.

OPENING LINE:
Jazz by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Rudy Gobert -- Cousins continues to dominate the action for Sacramento, averaging 28.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Gobert is one of the game’s best defensive bigs, posting 2.6 blocks per night for Utah. He’s improved greatly as a scorer and rebounder as well, averaging 11.6 points on an NBA-best 66.4 percent shooting, while grabbing 11.5 rebounds a game.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 8-14, fourth place in Pacific

Jazz: 14-10, second place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: F Matt Barnes (rest) sat out Friday night’s game, but according to coach Dave Joerger, he is expected to play Saturday night in Utah.

Jazz: PG George Hill (toe) out, SG Rodney Hood (hamstring) out, PF Derrick Favors (knee) out, G Alec Burks (knee/ankle) out. Gordon Hayward (finger) likely to play.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Kings won the season series over the Jazz 2-1 last year, but Utah leads the all-time series 99-81 and holds a 76-48 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTE:
“It hurts. What hurts the most is we’re not playing the right way. With this group that we have, with the team that we have, we should be able to play the right way throughout the whole game. We’re all veteran players. We all understand how to play, but there’s times throughout the game, you know what I mean, it don’t seem like we’re really sacrificing for one another.” -Darren Collison on the Kings’ struggles

NHL Gameday: Offense-starved Sharks look for boost from rookie vs 'Canes

NHL Gameday: Offense-starved Sharks look for boost from rookie vs 'Canes

Programming note – Sharks-Hurricanes coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 15-10-1, 31 points, 4th Pacific Division
Hurricanes: 11-10-6, 28 points, 7th Metropolitan Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***There’s a strong chance that Aaron Dell will start in net tonight, in the second of a back-to-back. On Nov. 15 in Carolina, Dell made 32 saves but got no goal support in a 1-0 Hurricanes win over San Jose. Coach Pete DeBoer said on Friday before the Ducks game that he “hadn’t even thought” about who would start on Saturday, and with no morning skate, we won’t know until closer to game time.

Dell is 2-1-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in four games this season.

***The Sharks are concluding a stretch tonight of eight games out of 10 in their own building, where they are 9-4-0 on the season. A four-game road trip begins on Tuesday in Toronto.

Carolina is wrapping up a three-game trip through California, losing to the Ducks in a shootout on Wednesday, 6-5, and beating the Kings on Thursday, 3-1.

***Carolina brings the NHL’s best penalty kill into the game, allowing just six goals on 75 chances (92.0 percent). San Jose has one power play goal in six of its last nine games (6-for-26, 23.0 percent), not including Brent Burns’ score on Friday, which came just one second after a power play had expired.

***San Jose has two or fewer goals in nine of its last 12 games, going 6-5-1 over that span. Of their 27 goals during that time, nearly half of them have come from Logan Couture (7g) and Burns (6g).

Burns brings a three-game goal streak into tonight’s game.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The rookie forward, who turns 21 on Monday, scored against the Ducks on Friday for his third in 14 games. All three of Labanc’s goals have either tied the game or put San Jose ahead. The Sharks are desperately looking for players other than their stars to put the puck in the net, and Labanc seems to be gaining confidence after a brief stint in the AHL last weekend. 

Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen. Acquired from Chicago in the offseason, the 22-year-old center recorded his first career multi-goal game with Carolina on Wednesday in Anaheim. The18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and a Finland native, has seven goals and 12 points in 27 games.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Aaron Dell (likely starter)
Martin Jones

Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner – Victor Rask – Phil DiGiuseppe
Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen – Lee Stempniak
Brock McGinn – Derek Ryan – Andrej Nestrasil
Joakim Nordstrom – Jay McClement – Viktor Stalberg

Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin – Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin – Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward
Eddie Lack

INJURIES/SCRATCHES

Sharks: David Schlemko (right ankle) is questionable. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm (lower body) is day-to-day. Bryan Bickell (MS), Jordan Staal (concussion) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“If we keep playing our game, we feel confident. We’re not giving up a whole lot. Moments in the season like this you’ve got to push through.” – Joe Pavelski, after the Sharks’ 3-2 loss in Anaheim on Friday