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Sports chatter: Olympic flame sparks relay to London

'Priestesses' use sun’s rays, mirror to light the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece.

Need to know:

Actresses portraying priestesses will use the sun’s rays and a mirror today to light the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece. Well, where else would you do such a thing? 

OK, specifically, the ceremony is at the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera.

The priestesses will then pass the flame to the first of 490 torchbearers, each running a short leg during an 1,800-mile trip through Greece.

Spyros Gianniotis, a world champion swimmer, gets the first leg, and he will pass it to boxer Alex Loukos.

It will leave for England on May 18, and spend 70 days traveling through the United Kingdom. The opening ceremony for the London Summer Games is July 27.

Want to know:

New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, who injured his knee during practice, vowed Wednesday to play next season.

The 42-year-old Panamanian – who holds the record for most saves – also had blood clots removed from his leg.

“I’ll do whatever it takes,” he told media on Wednesday. “If it’s my call, I don’t want to leave the game the way it happened.”

A future Hall of Famer, Rivera tore knee ligaments shagging fly balls in the outfield before a game in Kansas City last week.

Dull but important:

Few recent Olympic Games have ended without some form of protest, and they’ve started sprouting already ahead of London 2012.

About 40 union members demonstrated outside Rio Tinto’s annual general meeting today in Brisbane, Australia, calling the mining company’s labor policy into question.

Rio is producing the Olympic medals, and the protest leader said the company has no right wrapping itself in Olympic ideals

“They are not a good corporate citizen,” Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams told the Herald Sun. “They need to be outed as a very bad employer.”

Battams used the company’s contract offer to miners in Alma, Quebec, Canada, as an example. He said Rio asked the mine’s 800 workers to take a 50 percent pay cut, and locked them out when they refused.

Just because:

Wayne Rooney might want to stick to soccer, for now at least.

The Manchester United and England striker watched in the rain as his new racehorse, Pippy, finished dead last at the Lily Agnes Stakes in Chester on Wednesday.

Horseracing is de rigueur around Old Trafford stadium these days, with manager Alec Ferguson and Rooney’s teammate, Michael Owen, both enjoying the sport of kings.

Rooney bought three horses, and will get another chance today with a second horse.

Pippy is what friends called Rooney’s wife, Coleen, when she was a girl. In her defense (Pippy, not Coleen), rain made track conditions especially difficult, and some of the other horses took their sweet time getting into the starting gate.

Then they squeezed Pippy early, and jockey Richard Kingscote eased off the young horse in order to race another day.

“I’m sure there’s plenty of people in the world that would love to buy a horse to win, and it doesn’t always happen,” Pippy’s trainer, Tom Dascombe, told The Guardian. “You never realize how lucky you are until it does.”

Strange but true:

It could be a lonely, lonely night for English boxers Dereck Chisora and David Haye.

They’ve scheduled a July 14 bout at Upton Park in London, but the British boxing council today threatened to punish anyone involved with the fight, including managers and fighters on the undercard.

Chisora lost his license after a messy melee during a press conference earlier this year.

He’d just lost to Ukrainian heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in Munich when he started arguing with Haye, who – according to the British boxing council – is still officially retired and has no license.

To get around all these sticky legalities, managers for the combatants sanctioned the fight through the boxing federation of Luxembourg.

That’s not sitting well with the British Boxing Board of Control, BBC reported. 

“Those behind this proposal are not concerned with the interests of the sport of boxing,” a press release from the organization said. “Anyone who participates will be deemed to have terminated their membership.” 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/sports-chatter-olympic-flame-sparks-relay-london