Lago blames woman
American halfpipe bronze medalist Scotty Lago says risque photos of him that showed up on the Internet weren’t his idea. Lago was photographed last week at a party wearing a Team USA T-shirt when somebody snapped a photo of a woman kneeling below Lago’s waist to kiss his medal. Appearing on Friday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Lago says the woman wanted to take the photo so that “it looked as it does.” After the photos surfaced, Lago left the Vancouver Olympics. Now he’s saying he didn’t leave voluntarily, but rather that the US Olympic Committee and the US Ski and Snowboard Association asked him to leave the Games.
Bjoergen cheated: rival
A rival athlete has accused Norway’s triple cross-country gold medalist Marit Bjoergen of using asthma medication to help her win at the Vancouver Olympics. “Without the medication she would not have won,” her Polish rival Justyna Kowalczyk said on a Polish Web site. “Marit knows very well that without this ‘aid’ she would not have much to show.” Bjoergen’s coach Aage Skinstad said the medication used by his athlete was legal. “This is the most idiotic thing I have heard since the start of the Olympics,” he said.
Zhou gets new apartment
Chinese teenager Zhou Yang will be able to display her two Olympic short track speed skating gold medals in a new apartment when she returns from Vancouver. The parents of the 18-year-old 1,500m and 3,000m relay champion were awarded a new home by the local government in their home city of Changchun on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported. “It is a surprise to get the flat that solves our housing problem. Zhou Yang can live with us when she comes home,” said Wang Shuying, Zhou’s mother. The 94m² apartment, with two bedrooms and two living rooms, was valued at 300,000 yuan (US$43,960), Xinhua reported.
Iranian shows pride
For Marjan Kalhor, the most important thing about competing at the Winter Olympics was that she started, not where she finished. Kalhor, wearing a pink Islamic headscarf beneath her safety helmet, finished last among the 55 skiers who completed the women’s slalom on Friday — a full 35.71 seconds behind winner Maria Riesch of Germany. She was the first Iranian to compete at the Winter Games. “I’m proud,” the 21-year-old Kalhor said through a translator. “I’m the first one and we’ll practice and practice, and we’ll be better in the next Olympics.” Kalhor said the headscarf she wears to comply with Islamic dress code was no big deal: “We’re used to it, we wear it at every event in Iran and everywhere we go ... Women in Iran are free, and accept that the Islamic revolution rules ... President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad wants women to be more active, to be free,” she said.
Putin disappointed at team
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has expressed disappointment with the performance of Russian athletes at the Vancouver Olympics and suggested officials “analyze” their mistakes and shortcomings. Putin said in televised remarks on Friday that he “expected more” in Vancouver from the Russian team, which has so far collected three gold medals and 13 overall, the nation’s poorest result at the Winter Games. He said, however, that the haul was “no reason to throw in a towel.”
Robertson facing charges
Former star Alvin Robertson faces sexual assault of a child and sex trafficking charges alleging he was among seven people who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl who was forced into prostitution and made to dance at a strip club, authorities said on Friday. Robertson, who was an All-Star player for the San Antonio Spurs, was taken into custody on Friday in Arkansas, Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Ino Badillo said. The arrest comes as part of an investigation that began last April when a 14-year-old girl waved down a police cruiser in Corpus Christi and told authorities she had been abducted from San Antonio, Badillo said. She told police she was driven around the city and forced to have sex with various men, before being driven to Corpus Christi and forced to dance at a strip club. The girl escaped her alleged captor, Leslie Campbell, while he was showering, Badillo said. The 49-year-old Corpus Christi man pleaded guilty last month to sexual assault of a child. Badillo said the girl was able to identify several of her assailants and the locations she was taken in great detail. Robertson’s girlfriend, Raquel McIntosh, 41, was arrested early on Friday on charges of sex trafficking of a minor and forcing a sexual performance by a child, Badillo said.