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Beijing watch | News and notes from the week past and ahead

Beijing watch: Olympic news and notes

The Gators’ Nick Calathes is going to try out for Greece’s Olympic team. His grandfather was from Greece.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

The Gators’ Nick Calathes is going to try out for Greece’s Olympic team. His grandfather was from Greece.

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

Coming up

Events of note on the Olympic calendar:

• Basketball, men's roster announced Monday; men's minicamp, Friday-June 29, Las Vegas

• Equestrian, dressage trials second round, Friday-June 29, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

• Field hockey, roster announced Monday

• Soccer, men's and women's roster deadline, Saturday

• Tennis, men's and women's roster deadline, Monday

• Rowing, big-boat crew roster deadline, Friday

• Track and field, trials, Friday-July 6, Eugene, Ore.

• Water polo, men's roster deadline, Saturday

On TV

• Diving, trials, 3 p.m. today (live and tape),

Ch. 8

• Gymnastics, women's trials, 7 tonight, Ch. 8

• Track and field, trials, midnight Friday, USA;

8 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 8

• Wrestling, trials, noon today (taped), MSNBC

Athlete watch

Bay area athletes in action

John Capel, Brooksville, track and field trials, 200 meters

Garrett Johnson, Tampa Baptist Academy/Florida State, track and field trials, shot put

Beijing watch: Olympic news and notes 06/21/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 21, 2008 10:18pm]
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