Klose out of quarantine
Germany striker Miroslav Klose was released yesterday from a four-day quarantine for swine flu after showing no signs of the virus and is available to play against the Ivory Coast next week. Both the Bayern Munich star and his wife Sylwia were put under observation on Wednesday after their four-year-old twin sons Noah and Luan were discovered to be suffering from the H1N1 virus. Neither Klose, the top scorer at the 2006 World Cup, nor his wife showed signs of the virus and have been allowed to leave quarantine. Klose, 31, is now free to join the Germany squad to prepare for Wednesday’s friendly against the Ivory Coast, while Saturday’s planned Germany-Chile match has been called off after last week’s suicide of goalkeeper Robert Enke.
Madrid cracks down
The Spanish government said on Friday that it plans to introduce stiffer penalties against those involved in match-fixing. The planned new rules will target the “most serious corruption in sport, such as the payment of bribes by members or employees of sports clubs, or athletes and referees, in order to predetermine or alter the result of a sports competition,” a government statement said. Allegations that payments are dished out — usually to teams which no longer have anything to play for — have swirled around Spanish soccer for years.
Gusmao loses appeal
Brazilian swimmer Rebeca Gusmao lost her appeal against a lifetime ban for committing three doping offenses. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Friday that swimming governing body FINA was right to end the 25-year-old Gusmao’s career. Gusmao tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in 2006 and also days before the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. She also tampered with doping controls during the Pan Am Games by switching her urine sample for another person’s. Gusmao won the 50m and 100m freestyle races, but was disqualified and stripped of the medals. FINA banned her for life in September last year.
World’s fastest ambassador
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, has been honored once again by his native Jamaica by being named an ambassador-at-large by Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Bolt, who last month was conferred with the Order of Jamaica, the country’s fourth highest honor, was overjoyed by the latest accolade, which saw him granted a diplomatic passport. “So now I’m officially an ambassador. In making the presentation, Golding said: “We have a great athlete, a great icon, someone who can help to strengthen Jamaica’s image right across the globe.”
S Korean slugger joins Lotte
South Korean first baseman Kim Tae-kyun joined Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines on a three-year deal worth about US$6 million. “My aim is to help Lotte win a championship,” the power-hitting 27-year-old told yesterday’s Japanese media. “I hope to play a full season without injuries next year and I expect to put up solid numbers.” Kim, who helped South Korea reach the final of the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, will also get performance-linked bonuses. Kim was the biggest name in South Korea’s free agent market. Despite a concussion early last season he batted .330 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI. He decided to move to Japan after failing to reach an deal with his former team, the Hanwha Eagles.
Cutler fined US$20,000
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was fined US$20,000 by the NFL on Friday for abusive conduct toward a game official during a 41-21 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Cutler drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after an incomplete pass to tight end Greg Olsen on a fourth-down play with the Bears trailing 34-7 at the time. Cutler apparently thought there should have been an interference penalty. The fine came one day after Cutler threw five interceptions during a 10-6 loss to San Francisco. Cutler has thrown an NFL-worst 17 interceptions this season for the Bears.
Bengals receiver fined
Chad Ochocinco’s US$1 jest will cost the Bengals receiver US$20,000 after the National Football League fined the Cincinnati player on Friday. The league reprimanded Ochocinco for taking a dollar bill onto the field last Sunday as officials reviewed one of his catches. As one official motioned him away, Ochocinco stood with the bill at his side. He said the gesture was just a joke, but the NFL wasn’t amused. “The very appearance of impropriety is not acceptable,” Ray Anderson, executive vice president of football operations, wrote in a letter to Ochocinco. “Your conduct was unprofessional and unbecoming an NFL player.” In addition, Anderson reminded Ochocinco, players are prohibited from taking items onto the field that are not part of their uniform.
James gives up 23 jersey
LeBron James is ready to give up the No. 23 jersey out of respect to Michael Jordan and is urging others in the NBA to do the same. Jordan, who wore 23 while accumulating six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, watched the Cleveland forward score 34 points in a 111-104 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday. James said in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he was willing to give up the number and would try to encourage others to do likewise. “I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon,” James told the newspaper. “There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if there wasn’t Michael Jordan first. “I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I’m starting a petition, and I’ve got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. “Now, if I’m not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it.” Jordan, who retired in 2003, is widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time and is credited with spreading the league’s popularity globally.
Hefti, Baumann win gold
Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann won gold in the opening two-man World Cup bobsled race of the season on the 2002 Olympic track to cap a powerful night for the Swiss men on a frigid Friday. Hefti’s time over two runs was 1 minute, 37.08 seconds, just 0.11 seconds ahead of Americans Todd Hays and Steven Langton. Ivo Rueegg and Cedric Grand of Switzerland finished third. Germany’s Cathleen Martini has won the women’s event, driving her way to victory here for the second straight year. Martini teamed with Romy Logsch to finish two runs in 1:39.92 — just ahead of the fellow German team of Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker, which was 0.20 seconds back. American sleds finished third and fourth. Erin Pac matched her best World Cup finish, driving to the bronze with Michelle Rzepka. Bree Schaaf paired with Ingrid Marcum to finish fourth.