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Olympic notebook

Injured Nadal pulls out of London Games

From Staff And Wire Reports / July 20, 2012
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Defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics Thursday with an undisclosed injury, leaving the tennis competition without one of its leading stars and robbing Spain’s team of its flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony.

Nadal has struggled with left knee problems at times during the season. Shortly after winning his seventh French Open, he lost to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon. Nadal has not played since.

Nadal said Thursday he wasn’t in condition to compete at the Olympic tournament — which also will be held at Wimbledon.

‘‘This is one of the saddest moments of my career,’’ Nadal said in a statement. ‘‘I have to think about my companions, I can’t be selfish and I have to think of what’s best for Spanish sport, especially tennis and Spanish players, and give fellow sportsmen with better preparation the chance to compete.’’

The 26-year-old Spaniard has won two Wimbledon titles and claimed gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

‘‘[This] is one of the saddest days of my career as one of my biggest ambitions, that of being Spain’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony of the games in London, cannot be.’’

New threats: strikes

Britain’s Olympics secretary said 1,200 extra troops were put on standby in case embarrassing manpower shortages get any worse, while border agents announced a strike for the day before the Games begin. Olympics Secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged that even that may not be enough, telling the BBC that the government put the troops on standby ‘‘in the unlikely situation that [the security contractor’s] performance deteriorates from where it is today.’’

The staffing and security issues have been compounded by industrial disputes that threaten to spawn two Olympics strikes.

One, involving about 400 train workers, threatens to disrupt services in central England from Aug. 6-8. Potentially more serious is a walkout by border guards at London’s Heathrow Airport timed for July 26 — the day before the Games begin in London.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union voted for the 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay and job losses, saying its members would also take other forms of industrial action, such as a ban on overtime from July 27 to Aug. 20 — a period that’s expected to be one of the busiest periods ever for London’s airports.

Team USA rolls

Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony had 19 points apiece to lead the Americans over Great Britain, 118-78, in an exhibition game in Manchester, England. The Americans shot 60 percent from the field and led by as many as 47.

Price of gold: $100k

USA Cycling will reward gold medalists at the London Olympics with $100,000 in bonus money through a new incentive program, the Associated Press has learned. The ‘‘London 100K Challenge’’ will be the richest known Olympic reward program put forward by any cycling organization in the world. The program includes $75,000 bonuses for silver medalists and $50,000 for any athlete winning bronze.

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