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London Olympic news and notes: Former Gator Abby Wambach wins Savvy Veteran Move of the Year Award

Bolt to glazers: I'll play for you

Usain Bolt wants to play for a team owned by the Glazer family. And it's not yours, Bucs fans. He wants to play soccer for Manchester United. "If (manager) Alex Ferguson called me up and said, 'Okay, let's do this, come and have a trial,' it would be impossible for me to say no," Bolt said. "I am a very accomplished player, and know I could make a difference." A Manchester United spokesman said, "As the fastest man on Earth, he would undoubtedly add speed to the team."

a sad kiss goodbye

For every Olympic dream come true, twice as many Olympic nightmares are realized, when forces come together to leave an athlete crushed and his coach saying, "It just wasn't your day," like all he did was miss out on a good parking space. Liu Xiang has had two of those nightmares. In 2004 he won the 110-meter hurdles, giving China its first gold medal in men's track and field and becoming one of his country's most famous and popular people. Liu was the face of the 2008 Games, his image plastered everywhere leading up to Beijing, and his event was one of the most eagerly anticipated in the country. In his preliminary heat, Liu withdrew after two strides, unable to overcome right foot and hamstring injuries. The 2012 Games were supposed to be a chance for redemption. In his opening heat Tuesday, Liu stumbled into the first barrier, crumbled to the ground and stayed down for a few moments, clutching his lower right leg. Then he headed to the nearest exit, where he was told he had to go toward the finish line to get out. After he struggled to cover the distance, when he got to the 10th and final hurdle, he kissed it. Hurdler Balazs Baji of Hungary went over and raised Liu's hand in the air, as if to signify he was the winner. Other competitors offered handshakes, then Britain's Andrew Turner and Spain's Jackson Quinonez helped Liu into a wheelchair so he could be taken away. "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy," Turner said. Liu's coach said he might have ruptured his right Achilles tendon.

doing what veterans do

Today we announce the winner of the 2012 Tampa Bay Times Savvy Veteran Move of the Year Award. And we might just retire it after this presentation. The prize goes to U.S. soccer co-captain Abby Wambach, above, for setting off the chain events that keyed the controversial 4-3 semifinal OT win against Canada by counting out loud in earshot of the referee to let her know Canada's goalie was holding the ball too long. The goalie is supposed to control the ball with her hands, including bouncing it to herself, for no more than six seconds. The rule is rarely enforced. But after watching Canada's Erin McLeod break it a few times, especially after her team took a 3-2 lead in the second half, Wambach started counting out loud whenever she had the ball. With Canada leading at 76:36 on the clock, McLeod fell to the ground making a two-handed catch of a corner kick. She took three to four seconds to get up, then didn't start to punt the ball until 76:47. "I had gotten to 10 seconds counting out loud next to the referee," Wambach said. "And at 10 seconds, she blew the whistle. … You can say it's gamesmanship, you can say it's smart, but I'm a competitor, and I want to get the ball back at our feet." The resulting indirect free kick led to a U.S. penalty kick, on which the former Gator scored to tie it at 3.

readers ask us

How high are the hurdles, and are they the same height for men and women?

The hurdles are different heights for men and women, and for each event. For the women's 100-meter hurdles, the barriers are 2 feet, 9 inches high. For the men's 110, they are 3 feet, 6 inches high. For the women's 400, the hurdles are 2 feet, 6 inches high, for the men's, 3 feet.

Does Michael Phelps have an Olympics ring tattoo like many of the other male swimmers?

Phelps has the rings tattooed high on his right leg, near the hip. His suit usually covered them in competition.

Compiled by staff writer Sharon Fink from Associated Press, Britain's Sun newspaper,,

London Olympic news and notes: Former Gator Abby Wambach wins Savvy Veteran Move of the Year Award 08/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 11:20pm]
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