UF's Calathes going Greek
Florida sophomore guard Nick Calathes was expected to arrive this weekend in Greece, where he hopes to earn a spot on its Olympic basketball team. Calathes, whose paternal grandfather was from Greece, was asked by team officials to try out. He was scheduled to leave the United States on Saturday and spend two weeks in Athens working out with the national team. If he makes the Olympic team, he will participate in a four-team qualifying tournament July 14-20 in Athens. If not, he plans to spend the remainder of the summer working out and playing with the Greek 21-and-under team. Calathes was able to obtain Greek citizenship to be eligible. "It's going to be a great opportunity," said Calathes, Florida's leading scorer last season. "I'll be able to represent Florida, and I'll be able to represent Greece, where I'm from."
Don't mouth off about pollution
Beijing's massive pollution is one of the several issues Games organizers have been touchy about. So they got very testy when an Australian track and field official said last week his athletes wouldn't march in the Aug. 8 Opening Ceremony because being outside that long was too big of a health risk. Within hours of his statement, Max Binnington was being pelted by the diplomatic fallout. So he backtracked, saying the team wouldn't march because it needs a stable training environment and — in a common setup — would stay at camps in Hong Kong and Japan until their events begin. Friday, as part of their plan to clear up the air by the Games' start, the Chinese announced a temporary shutdown of industries and driving bans.
Number of the week
9 Olympic teams Ian Millar, 61, has made with his selection to Canada's equestrian team, tying a Games record held by Austrian sailor Hubert Raudaschl.
Dad of the week
Thousands of dollars. Hundreds of hours. Probably some of his stomach lining. What more could the father of world champion gymnast Shawn Johnson give to her Olympic goal? A biceps muscle. Doug Johnson was among those who pitched in to help when his daughter's West Des Moines, Iowa, gym was inundated by floodwater. He was helping rebuild the floor when he tore his right biceps. He'll have surgery this week (he also paid $2,000 for wood for the floor). Times staff writers Antonya English and Sharon Fink, Associated Press, Sydney Morning Herald, Toronto Globe and Mail, New York Times