The effect of the London riots on 2012 Olympics

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The effect of the London riots on 2012 Olympics

From Comcast SportsNet Tuesday, August 9, 2011
LONDON (AP) -- Despite three days of rioting and looting in London, Olympic organizers were going ahead with a series of events to prepare for the 2012 Games. A women's beach volleyball tournament began as scheduled at Horse Guards Parade, with players in bikinis competing on a specially made sand court a short distance from Prime Minister David Cameron's 10 Downing Street residence. The competition, which runs through Sunday, is a test event for the Olympic tournament that will be played at the same venue next summer. A wave of violence and looting has raged across London, as authorities struggled to contain the country's worst unrest since race riots set the capital ablaze in the 1980s. More than 400 arrests have been made so far. The volleyball court was bathed in bright sunshine for the start of the 24-team tournament. The stands, which will be boosted from their current 1,500 capacity to 15,000 for the Olympics, were about half full for the opening three matches. "You'll have incidents anywhere you are in the world," U.S. player Brittany Hochevar said after a win over a Chinese team. "It doesn't matter. If you're in a big city, this could happen anywhere in the world, so this doesn't change my perception of London for 2012 or give me concern for the Olympics. That's the world." Other scheduled test events this week include a marathon swimming competition at Hyde Park on Saturday and a cycling road race that will go through the streets of London on Sunday. "A lot of detailed work has taken place regarding security plans for the games and we will continue to review them together with the Met Police and the Home Office over the coming year," LOCOG, the local organizing committee, said in a statement. British Olympic Association spokesman Darryl Seibel expressed confidence the games would go safely. "It makes an Olympic Games and a Paralympic Games all the more important," he said on Sky TV. "We need a reason to come together. What better city to do it in than London. This is not a reflection of London, this is a reflection of the world we live in today." Hundreds of Olympic delegates from around the world were gathering Tuesday at a luxury hotel in Park Lane, near Hyde Park, to check on logistical preparations for the games. The chefs de mission, or team leaders, from more than 200 national Olympic committees were scheduled to tour the venues on Wednesday. "We know that security has been a top priority in the planning and preparation for London 2012, and we have full confidence in the work being done to prepare for the games," Seibel said in a statement. Across town, in the Canary Wharf business district, top International Olympic Committee officials huddled with LOCOG leaders for a regularly scheduled "project review" of preparations for the games. LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe and his team were meeting with a delegation led by Denis Oswald, the IOC executive board member who heads the coordination commission for the games. The IOC reiterated its confidence in security planning for London. "Security at the Olympic Games is a top priority for the IOC," spokesman Mark Adams told the AP. "While we are not responsible for security, we're happy with how local organizers are dealing with the issue and we are confident they will do a good job." Groups of young people rampaged for a third straight night, setting buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps alight, looting stores and pelting police officers with bottles and fireworks into early Tuesday. The unrest started Saturday night in the Tottenham area of north London following the fatal shooting of a local man by police. It spread closer to the Olympic complex Monday when scattered violence broke out in the Hackney area of east London. Hackney is one of the five boroughs encompassing the Olympic Park, a square-mile site that will be the centerpiece of the games. Monday's violence took place about 4 miles from the park. The unrest, which has affected some of the boroughs encompassing the Olympic Park, comes less than two weeks after London celebrated with great fanfare the one-year countdown to the opening of the games on July 27, 2012. Cameron cut short his summer vacation in Italy and returned to London to deal with the crisis. He recalled Parliament from its summer recess and said 16,000 officers would be on the streets of the capital Tuesday night -- almost tripling the number on the streets Monday night. Britain was already preparing a massive security operation for the Olympics, but most of the attention has been on the threat of international terrorism. About 12,000 police officers will be on duty each day of the games, which have a security budget of at least 770 million. A day after London was awarded the games in 2005, suicide bombers attacked London's transport network, killing 52 people. The British government is planning for the national terror threat to be "severe" during the Olympics, meaning an attempted attack is highly likely. "It's not a great thing to be happening to London, but most of us can see past that to what a great city London really is and all the preparation going into this great event," said Heather Bansley, a Canadian beach volleyball player. "It shows how ready they are for the games."

When asked about facing Kings for first time, Cousins plays possum

When asked about facing Kings for first time, Cousins plays possum

It was going to happen eventually. The Sacramento Kings were going to face the New Orleans Pelicans at some point, which means they’ll see their former franchise cornerstone and all that entails.

“It’s just another chance for us to come out, play hard and get a win,” DeMarcus Cousins told media members when asked about his Friday matchup against his former team.

Cousins gave the same exact answer the next five times reporters asked about the Kings, grinning as he played possum in front of rolling cameras.

“I enjoyed my time there,” Cousins eventually said. “I developed a lot of relationships. It will be good to see the guys again. I haven’t seen them since before the break, so it will be a good chance to see those guys and laugh a little bit.”

To say there is bad blood is an understatement. Cousins wanted to spend the rest of his career in a Kings uniform. He had already discussed parameters on a potential $200+ million extension. He wanted to be the player that ended the franchise’s decade long postseason drought - and then he was traded.

Cousins wears his emotions on his sleeve, which more often than not has gotten him into trouble. After just a few months with the team, Matt Barnes wanted to “kill ‘em” when asked about the Kings. You can only imagine what Cousins is really thinking.

“If I was in his shoes, I’d come out trying to take it to us,” Garrett Temple said. “Just like Matt said he wanted to kill us, I’m assuming DeMarcus has the same mindset. That’s what makes him one of the best players in the league.”

The deal that sent Cousins to New Orleans cost the player tens of millions of dollars and his parting gift on the way out the door was a strongly worded press release about the Kings looking for a cultural change.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization,” Divac said in the team’s press release. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

At the time of the trade, the Kings were just a game and a half out of the eighth seed in the playoffs. Since the trade, they’ve gone just 5-13 as they’ve pushed towards a complete youth movement.

The Pelicans have struggled with the transition as well. Adding another high usage player on the frontline alongside All-Star Anthony Davis has taken an adjustment period. They are 9-9 since the deal, but 7-3 over their last 10 games.

Cousins’ numbers are down across the board, but he is beginning to adjust. In 14 games with New Orleans, he’s averaging 22.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks in 33 minutes a night. He’s missed three games due to injury and one due to suspension. The Pelicans are 3-1 without him on the court.

With seven games remaining in the season, the Pelicans sit 4.5 games behind the Trail Blazers for the eighth seed. They finish the season in Portland, but that’s a lot of ground to cover with so few games to play.

This is the first time that Kings players will see Cousins in a different uniform. After playing against him in practice and alongside him for plenty of games, Sacramento’s players know the reality of facing a motivated Cousins.

“You’re not going to stop, you’re not going to stop him,” Willie Cauley-Stein said. “You just have to get in his way and pray to God he misses. Other than that, you’re not going to stop him from doing what he wants to do. You just have to keep coming back at him and just be competitive and don’t lay down.”

Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and even rookie Georgios Papagiannis will take turns defending Cousins in the post. The trio have 18 fouls between them and if Cousins is motivated, he will try to get all three out of the game.

“I expected him to get his numbers, but I’m going to try and make it as difficult as possible,” Cauley-Stein added. “That’s going to be fun for me just because, I was kind of like his apprentice here and it’s going to be cool to go against a big bro.”

Friday night’s matchup should be a lively affair. You’ll have a motivated player, seeing his former team for the first time while embroiled in a playoff chase. Hopefully the Kings brought plenty of ice packs, they’re going to need them.

Evans: Cain's strong final spring start 'does give him an edge' over Blach

Evans: Cain's strong final spring start 'does give him an edge' over Blach

Matt Cain entered spring training competing with Ty Blach for the fifth starter spot.

On Thursday morning, Giants GM Bobby Evans provided an update on the position battle.

"Blach put up a good spring for himself, and it does make the decision harder," Evans said on KNBR 680. "We'll process it today with the coaching staff and Boch and I, and we'll make a final call."

Back in early February, Evans said: "“In a perfect world, Matt Cain would be Matt Cain and he would take that spot."

Over seven games (six starts) this spring, Cain went 0-1 with a 7.82 ERA.

[PAVLOVIC: Cain makes case for Giants' rotation spot in final Cactus League start]

Blach went 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA over seven appearances (two starts).

Cain is making nearly $21 million this season in what is the final guaranteed year of the 6-year, $127.5 million deal he signed in April 2012.

"Again, with the track record that Matt Cain's had overall, it would seem easy," Evans said. "But yet, the last couple years have been so rough and we've had the injuries and the hard contact against him.

"But he did finish strong with the Cubbies (Cubs) and I think it does give him an edge as we close out this decision."