NHL stars to return to Games
NHL stars will again play in the Olympics next year in Sochi. The league and the players’ association announced on Friday that they had reached a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation for the world’s best players to take part in the 2014 Games in Russia. It marks the fifth straight Olympics that the NHL will allow its players to participate. The league will take a break from the regular season on Feb. 9 and return to action on Feb. 26. The hockey tournament runs from Feb. 12 to Feb. 23.
Gomez grabs share of lead
Argentina’s Fabian Gomez fired an eight-under-par 64 to grab a share of the lead on Friday in the second round of the storm-hit US PGA Sanderson Farms Championship in Madison, Mississippi. The South American made six birdies and closed with an eagle to grab a share of the clubhouse lead at 10-under 134 with Americans Vaughn Taylor, Paul Stankowski, Troy Matteson and Kyle Reifers. Daniel Summerhays, who opened with a 63 to lead after 18 holes, was also at 10-under with 10 holes to finish when darkness halted the second round. Fifty-nine players were still on the course after a storm delay had halted play. The second round was set to resume yesterday morning, with hopes of completing the 72-hole event this evening.
Star defends nude shoot
Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska on Friday defended her controversial nude photo-shoot which saw her dropped by a Catholic youth movement, claiming the pictures were in good taste. Radwanska, 24, who makes no secret of her strong Catholic faith, was photographed in the “Body Issue” of ESPN Magazine in profile without a stitch, sitting in a lawn chair by a pool filled with tennis balls. While not explicit, the nude pictures proved too much for a Catholic group known as Krucjata Mlodych (Youth Crusade). The group dropped Radwanska last week for what they said was “immoral behavior” in the ESPN spread. However, world No. 4 Radwanska insisted the pictures were a celebration of the “beauty of the bodies of the best athletes in the world.” “My tennis colleagues Serena Williams, Daniela Hantuchova and Vera Zvonareva have all participated in the past,” Radwanska wrote on a statement published on her Facebook page. “The pictures are certainly not meant to cause offense and to brand them as immoral clearly does not take into account the context of the magazine. Moreover, they do not contain any explicit imagery whatsoever.”
Stoke offer fans free travel
Stoke City’s fans will benefit from the club’s increased income from improved TV deals with free coach travel to all of the team’s away matches in the Premier League for the 2013-2014 season. Stoke’s chief executive Tony Scholes said in an interview on the club’s Web site that he believed it was the first time any club in England’s top four divisions had undertaken such a venture. “As a club we are conscious that following football can be an expensive business, especially at a time when so many people are feeling the squeeze financially. We work hard to try and provide our supporters with value for money which is why we have not increased our ticket prices since being promoted to the Premier League in 2008. However, we realize how expensive following the club away from home can be for supporters and we’re delighted to be able to offer free coach travel and hope it encourages more of them to give us their fantastic backing away from home.”