Friday’s Sports In Brief

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OLYMPICS

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - A Russia in search of global vindication kicked off the Sochi Olympics looking more like a Russia that likes to party, with a pulse-raising opening ceremony about fun and sports instead of terrorism, gay rights and coddling despots.

And that’s just the way Russian President Vladimir Putin wants these Winter Games to be.

Superlatives abounded and the mood soared as Tchaikovsky met pseudo-lesbian pop duo Tatu and their hit, “Not Gonna Get Us.” Russian TV presenter Yana Churikova shouted: “Welcome to the center of the universe!”

The show opened with an embarrassing hiccup, as one of five snowflakes failed to unfurl as planned into the Olympic rings, forcing organizers to jettison a fireworks display and disrupting one of the most symbolic moments in an opening ceremony.

That allowed for an old Soviet tradition of whitewashing problems to resurface, as state-run broadcaster Rossiya 1 substituted a shot from a rehearsal with the rings unfolding successfully into their live broadcast.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A Ukrainian man tried to hijack a Turkey-bound flight to Sochi, Russia, as the Winter Olympics were kicking off, but the pilot tricked him and landed in Istanbul instead, where he was stealthily detained after a four-hour standoff on a plane full of passengers, an official said.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - One of the greatest goaltenders of all time and an innovative figure skater who won three straight Olympic pairs titles lit the cauldron together Friday night at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games.

Vladislav Tretiak and Irina Rodnina were given the honor of sparking the cauldron that will burn throughout Russia’s first Winter Olympics.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - U.S. Olympians will have to make do without the team’s official yogurt - denying them a source of protein and potentially disturbing their daily routines as they prepare for the biggest competition of their lives.

Some 5,000 cups of Greek yogurt from Team USA sponsor Chobani isn’t getting to Sochi because of a customs dispute with Russia.

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BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Alex Rodriguez ended his extended and acrimonious fight with Major League Baseball, withdrawing a pair of lawsuits and accepting a season-long suspension that marks the longest penalty in the sport’s history related to performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez, who has steadfastly denied using banned substances while with the New York Yankees, made the decision nearly four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz largely upheld the discipline issued last summer by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

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