- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From combined dispatches

ARLINGTON, Texas | Sprinter Tyson Gay is in Germany, resting, relaxing and getting ready for his next race - almost exactly like he planned before getting injured at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Gay sprained a muscle in the back of his left leg in a 200-meter qualifying race, a tumble that forced him to be carted off the track and ended his chances of winning two individual gold medals in Beijing.

“He’s fine,” his coach, Jon Drummond, said. “He’s walking normal. There’s nothing to really be overly concerned about. I feel there’s no reason why he won’t be 100 percent at the games.”

Gay will run in the 100 and the 400-meter relay in Beijing.

Before he was hurt, Gay already had qualified for the 100, running a wind-aided time of 9.68, the fastest ever. He also set the American record of 9.77 in a quarterfinal. But as the reigning world champion in the 100 and 200, he was aiming to sweep sprinting’s glory events on the biggest stage of all.

Now he’s focused on his rehab.

Drummond said Gay still plans to race in London on July 25. The only change is he’s already in Europe getting acclimated to the time change and working with doctors on his rehabilitation.

Gay headed overseas early to get in four extra days of “active recovery” - as opposed to the lounging-around rest he would have needed had he run two more grueling heats in the 200.

Graham banned for life

Track coach Trevor Graham received a lifetime ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday for his role in helping his athletes obtain performance-enhancing drugs.

Graham has been banned from participating in any event sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee, the IAAF, USA Track and Field or any other group that participates in the World Anti-Doping Agency program.

He was convicted in May of one count of lying to federal investigators about his relationship to an admitted steroids dealer. He’s still awaiting sentencing and has asked a judge to toss out his conviction.

Graham already was banned from all USOC-sponsored facilities and had essentially become a pariah in his sport, connected with too many athletes involved in doping - Marion Jones and former 100-meter world-record holders Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery to name a few.

“While drug use by athletes is a serious wrong to be addressed with stiff penalties, involvement in doping by a coach is even more reprehensible and must be dealt with through the most severe of all sanctions,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “It is truly disgraceful when a coach uses his position to assist athletes under his care in doping.”

Lodging abounds

BEIJING | There are plenty of rooms available for the Beijing Olympics, with domestic visitors being counted on to make up for an apparent absence of foreign guests.

Xiong Yuemi, deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Bureau, said 45.5 percent of Beijing’s four-star hotel rooms were booked for the Olympic period. Bookings in hotels with three-star ratings or below also were under 50 percent, though Xiong didn’t offer specific numbers.

She declined to tie the vacant rooms to new visa controls and bad publicity surrounding the games, which open in 3 1/2 weeks. The games are supposed to showcase a new China, but they also are exposing facets of the authoritarian state that has run the country for almost six decades.

“This is within our expectations,” Xiong said of the occupancy rate.

She said the rate at five-star hotels, many of which are booked by Olympic officials, sponsors or national delegations, was 78.1 percent.

Qualifying continues

ATHENS | Slovenia, Germany, Puerto Rico and Brazil won and reached the quarterfinals of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 points to lead Germany to a 104-68 win over Cape Verde in its opening game.

Slovenia beat Canada 86-70, Brazil coasted to an easy 94-54 victory over Lebanon and Puerto Rico survived a spirited Cameroon comeback to win 81-72 in the 12-team tournament that will send three countries to the Beijing Olympics.

Croatia, Greece and New Zealand also have booked a place for the quarterfinals. Canada and South Korea will play for the final spot Wednesday.

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