Australia has set a goal of a top-five finish at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after slipping to 10th at last year’s London Games. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates said in the committee’s annual report yesterday that better use of resources, rather than more government cash, would help achieve the goal in Brazil. Coates said swimming would continue to be strongly supported by the AOC, despite recent controversies over the sport’s administration and performance in London, where the team won only one gold medal in the pool. The AOC expects to send about 480 athletes to Rio de Janeiro, including golfers and a rugby sevens team after the sports were added to the Olympic program. In London last year, Australia won seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze medals.
Alonso in hair loss quip
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has responded sarcastically to the qualifying edge currently enjoyed by his teammate Felipe Massa, saying he cannot sleep and is losing his hair. Massa has qualified ahead of Alonso in the past four races — the first two this season and the last two of last season — and if he does it again at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix it will represent the first time in Alonso’s career that he has been out-qualified by a teammate five straight times. Asked about the statistic, Alonso quipped: “I haven’t slept since Australia. I’m only eating white rice. I’m losing my hair. A huge drama.” Alonso said qualifying in Formula One is less important than ever in the Pirelli era, with tire management now the key to winning grand prix.
Dennard to go to prison
National Football League player Alfonzo Dennard was sentenced to 30 days in jail on Thursday for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest a year ago. Dennard, who plays defensive back for the New England Patriots, will only begin his jail sentence on March 1 next year after the next NFL season is over. The sentence stems from an incident in April last year outside a bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, just days before the NFL entry draft. The delay means Dennard will not enter jail to serve his four weeks until almost two years after the incident took place. The Patriots selected Dennard in the seventh round of the draft. As a rookie, he registered 35 tackles and three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He started seven of the 10 regular-season games he took part in and also appeared in two post-season games. Dennard was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Players linked to clinic
Major League Baseball players paid a former employee of a Florida anti-aging clinic linked to performance-enhancing drugs for documents. Two unidentified people briefed on the matter said at least one player linked to now-closed Biogenesis of America purchased documents from a former clinic employee in order to destroy them and that other players made efforts to buy potentially incriminating documents. In January, the Miami New Times, an alternative weekly newspaper, reported that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez was among the major leaguers listed in Biogenesis of America’s records. The players have denied they obtained banned drugs from the clinic.