Monkeys ‘Deployed’ As ‘Guards’ Of India Games

A week ago I wrote about the obstacles facing India in staging the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Monkeys on guard at Commonwealth Games

(What could go wrong?)

Apparently a citywide Dengue plague, hordes of wild monkeys terrorizing citizens around Games venues, piles of excrement and wild cobras being found in rooms of the Games athletes village, the collapse of two construction projects, and a reporter breaching multiple security checkpoints with a hidden bomb wasn’t enough to stop this Sunday’s Opening Ceremonies.

But thanks to the newly-reported scale and scope of India’s security plan for the Games, it now turns out that Usain Bolt, who pulled out of the event because of the aforementioned concerns, won’t know what he’s missing.

REUTERS reports that around the Games venues and athletes village, India has “deployed” 100,000 security guards, army sniper units, soldiers manning mobile surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns and 38 monkeys.

38 monkeys?

NDTV (New Delhi Television) has a delightful video report about the monkeys (so cute!) along with some sweet bonus coverage online:

Read more…

Excrement, Plague, Venue Collapse: Hello Delhi!

Opening Ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, are less than two weeks away, so I thought we’d check in to see how preparations are going courtesy REUTERS, the ASSOCIATED PRESS and the LONDON GUARDIAN.

Commonwealth Games preparation in India is in chaos

  • A portion of false ceiling in the weightlifting venue caved in today.
  • Yesterday, 27 workers were injured when a footbridge collapsed near the same sports complex.
  • A dengue epidemic, blamed on stagnant water around unfinished Games construction sites, has plagued New Delhi and hundreds of people have been hospitalized.
  • Less than a week after two tourists were shot and wounded by unapprehended assailants in Delhi, an Australian TV reporter purchased bomb-making devices in the city which were then promptly smuggled through Games security points.
  • In the official athletes village, “monsoon rains had flooded some of the rooms, while air conditioning and electrical sockets weren’t working in others.”
  • The head of the Scottish delegation of athletes said the Commonwealth Games Village is “unsafe and unfit for human habitation. … There have been dogs roaming around the village, the apartments are filthy, there are piles of rubble and right now it’s not fit to receive 6,500 athletes and officials.Read more…

Photo: Usain Bolt And ‘Google’ Girlfriend Together

Last month I posted about a reality show performer who claimed a hookup with Usain Bolt.

Usain Bolt's Girlfriend Lava From Ray J VH1 Show

Taneish Simpson played “Lava” on the VH1 For The Love of Ray J production and claimed on a recent episode of the show that Bolt “googled” her in order to find out her identity. Bolt then apparently contacted her and brought her to Jamaica for a rendezvous.

Usain Bolt's Girlfriend Lava From Ray J VH1 Show

Today the folks who run the Jamaica-based entertainment website sent me a couple photos of Simpson and Bolt together in Jamaica. Read more…

Claim: Usain ‘Googled’ Reality Actress To Meet Her

A woman who has appeared on the reality show, For The Love of Ray J, claimed on the VH1 show yesterday that she’s Usain Bolt’s girlfriend.

Usain Bolt's Girlfriend Lava From Ray J VH1 Show

Taneish Simpson, who goes by “Lava” on the reality production, said Bolt “googled” her in order to find out her identity. He then contacted her and brought her to Jamaica for a rendezvous.

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Bolt Rep Wants Untrue ESPN Claim ‘Taken Down’

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported this morning:

ESPN Bolt Johnson Report By Schefter Is Wrong

(Bolt agent: No such race ‘planned’)

Sources close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that representatives for the Titans running back and Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica have spent recent days trying to set up a race between the two men to determine who really is the world’s fastest human.

The race would be used to raise money for charity.

But Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms said after the report that not only was ESPN’s story untrue, but he hinted that Bolt might not even know who Johnson is. Read more…

World’s Fastest Man Adopts World’s Fastest Pet

While visiting Kenya this week, world champion Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt adopted a baby cheetah. I applaud this cosmic symmetry, and wish it could be repeated throughout the sporting world: Charles Barkley could adopt a baby water buffalo, for instance. Hank Steinbrenner a jackass. And so on.

Usain Bolt

“During his trip, he has already impressed local children with his football skills, and become an honorary Maasai warrior.” It’s like I have a twin! If you’d like to see a split-screen video of Bolt and a cheetah racing each other, with a title graphic that’s spelled “Battle of the Mammels,” you’re in luck. It’s following the jump. Read more…

Usain Bolt Obliterates Own 100m Record (Video)

No disrespect to Michael Phelps or anything, but when it came to jaw-dropping performances in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the real show-stopper was Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. He so effortlessly dominated the 100 meter dash that not only did he break a world record, he did it while celebrating over the last 15 meters or so. He set the record at 9.69, which is wild enough, but considering his chest-thumping while he crossed the finish line, it was only natural to wonder just how low he can push the record.

Usain Bolt

Well, plenty lower, as it turns out. At the World Championships in Berlin today, Bolt chopped over a tenth of a second off his record, recording a 9.58 and - of course - winning easily. Video is after the break.

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Speed Read: Turkoglu Is Magic Man For Orlando

Even with the Orlando Magic leading the Boston Celtics by 17 midway through the fourth quarter in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, you may have had an uneasy feeling in your stomach that it was a big set-up to a massive, heartbreaking, Stan Van Gundy-firing collapse. Of course Boston was going to make a run - especially with Dwight Howard sitting with five fouls. The only question was how badly would the Magic collapse.

Dwight Howard

After all, they had blown a 14-point lead in Game 5 of the series, and almost let a 28-point cushion slip away in Game 1, so why not save the “best” for last? And sure enough, after Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with 4:12 to play, the Celtics had cut the lead to 12 and were poised to make something happen. So, of course, there was only one man the Magic could turn to in their hour of need.

Hedo Turkoglu eating pizza

That’s right, Mr. Pizza Man himself, Hedo Turkoglu. Maybe the grease on his fingers from his pregame meal of pizza put extra spin on the ball, but he was out of his mind in Game 7, especially when the Magic needed him most. He responded to Allen’s three-pointer with one of his own, and then hit a fallaway jumper on the next possession to get the lead back to 17. Maybe he’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and pizza is his spinach?

After that, it was time for the Celtics to pull Allen and Paul Pierce for a final round of applause, and bring in the scrubs. (Otherwise known as “Gabe Pruitt Time!”) As for the Magic, they haven’t been this far since the Shaq and Penny days, so you can excuse the people of Orlando if they don’t exactly act like they’ve been there before.

So the NBA didn’t get the Cavaliers vs. Celtics match-up they were craving, but their consolation prize is nice: the most dominant big man in the game (Dwight Howard) vs. the most dominant anything in the game (LeBron James). As for Bron-Bron and the Cavaliers, you can see that they were clearly concerned about who they would play:

Let’s see Van Gundy draw up a defense for that.

As the NBA’s reigning champs were dethroned, the current NFL champs get ready to enjoy one of their spoils on Thursday: the traditional meeting with the President in front of the White House. But NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison won’t be joining them. No, he doesn’t have a pressing personal emergency, and it’s not a political protest. His reason is a little more complex than that:

“This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl. As far as I’m concerned, he [Obama] would’ve invited Arizona if they had won,” said Harrison.

So let me get this straight: Harrison is upset because he thinks that Barack Obama is playing favorites and only inviting the Steelers because they won the Super Bowl and not because he’s their biggest fan? Apparently he didn’t see the bitchin’ helmet tattoo that the President got before the playoffs, or the new paint modifications he made to Air Force One once he took office:

Modifications to Air Force One

Finally, the Stanley Cup playoffs started their conference finals on Sunday, and the Detroit Red Wings gave the upstart Chicago Blackhawks a welcome to big time hockey with a 5-2 thumping in Game 1 of their series. But the big story was almost something far darker, as the Blackhawks’ Adam Burish narrowly escaped a Richard Zednik/Clint Malarchuk moment when his neck was clipped by the skate of teammate Ben Eager.

Unlike the other two players, Burish only received a minor nick that didn’t require stitches. Still, he knows how lucky he was:

“I don’t know how my head was still connected there,” Burish said. “I saw his skate. It was like he did a figure skating move. He lifted his skate up and I just watched it go over my neck.”

If only they made some sort of device that could protect hockey players in case a blade happens to catch them in the neck. A “neck protector,” if you will. But I guess that’s just crazy talk.

  • THE STATE says South Carolina baseball player Casey Rihn allegedly learned the hard way why you don’t keep hitting the back of a police car with your hands when you are walking around drunk at 2 a.m.: you can wind up arrested after the cop in your car turns your face into Hamburger Helper on the ground.
  • Casey Rihn before and after

  • I guess that Usain Bolt’s OK after the foot surgery following his car crash: The AP says that in his first meet back in Manchester, England, he set the world record in the 150 meters at 14.35. Yeah, he even has the world record for a race no one runs now.
  • Walls? After you’ve been through the kind of hell Josh Hamilton has, walls are nothing. Actually, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that the wall was a pretty decent adversary for the Rangers’ outfielder, as he suffered a mild groin strain while making a game-saving catch against the Angels.
  • Dear Bruno Junqueira: Thanks for qualifying our car for the Indianapolis 500 - we really appreciate it. But we hope you don’t mind that we’re pulling you from the ride and replacing you with Alex Tagliani. It’s nothing personal - it’s just that he’s our main driver and all, and he failed to qualify. Best, Conquest Racing. P.S. Please return your driving suit to us by 5 p.m. or you lose the deposit.
  • Manchester United wrapped up the English Premier League crown this weekend, but the biggest story might be the plight of former soccer heavyweights Newcastle United. As the TELEGRAPH reports, their 1-0 loss to Fulham puts them on the edge of relegation to soccer’s minor leagues, as they need a win in their final game to stay in the EPL.
  • NFL fans who don’t get the NFL Network might finally be in luck: SI’s Peter King says that the league is closing in on a deal with Comcast to make the network available on the regular digital cable package. Finally, I won’t have to pay a premium for my daily dose of Rich Eisen.
  • TROY NUNES IS AN ABSOLUTE MAGICIAN sat down with new Syracuse football coach Doug Marrone for an interview, but not during breakfast if their arteries know what’s good for them. After all, Marrone claims that he once ate “42 pancakes with two sticks of butter…or a stick and half of butter…no, two sticks of butter and a thing and a half of maple syrup. I take pride in what I can eat.”
  • As if the Colorado Rockies didn’t have enough problems with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking two of three against them over the weekend, BUGS & CRANKS says that they even had to dodge bats kicked at them by the umps.
  • It was apparently “Dress Like A Banana Day” in San Francisco for the Giants’ game against the Mets, but THE SPORTS HERNIA says that Jon Miller was the only person in the ESPN broadcast booth to get the memo:
  • Jon Miller

  • What’s more American than baseball? The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER has an answer: beer and baseball. Since a local ordinance was changed allowing them to sell beer on Sundays, the minor league Charlotte Knights have seen attendance for Sunday home games go up by 30 percent.

NBA Finals: Who ya got?

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Willie Gault Is Still Faster And Cooler Than You

While his quarterback is out slinging erection pills these days, ex-Bears wide receiver Willie Gault is still doing what he always did best — running. And he’s running really fast. Faster than most of us could ever dream, and he’s 48 years old.

Willie Gault

Gault recently clocked a 10.80 in the 100-meter dash, and he holds the world record for runners over the age of 45 (a 10.72 in 2006). This is only about .7 seconds slower than he ran the 100 back when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 1980 (the year the Americans didn’t show up in Moscow). Most ex-NFLers this age can barely get out of bed. Also, as you can see, Gault doesn’t mind rolling with no shirt on at the Playboy mansion.

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Speed Read: Washing Our Hands of the Swine Flu

The discerning reader prefers the news (and most foods) wrapped in bacon and liberally salted with panic. Therefore, we provide your Thursday morning sports-centric swine flu stories to better arm you at the water cooler to pass along the latest gossip mumbled through your faux designer mask:

Swine flu (or pigs fly)

Whew. That’s a lot of abject terror sensible precaution for one morning. Please add any additional sports-related swine flu stories to the comments below so the few remaining survivors have a record of these final days.

Thankfully, our few remaining moments left as a functional species can be well-represented by the following people tellin’ it like it is and keepin’ it real with the kids, assuming your kids take Don Rickles’ routine at face value:

Geno Auriemma

Fire truck at Comerica Park

(Emergency vehicle sized appropriately to emergency)

Finally, a false alarm (possibly a fire alarm) in the eighth inning could not shake the New York Yankees from barely holding onto a 8-6 lead at Comerica Park over the Detroit Tigers last night despite holding a 7-1 advantage late in the contest. As Joe Girardi put it, “In this day and age, that’s a little scary.”

Heck, Joe … in this day and age, what isn’t?

And now a hail of bullet points caused by two heroin-slingin’ senior citizen sisters (though you can’t fault them for looking for a new retirement plan these days) …

What’s your favorite pandemic?

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