men, showed off some shooting touch in a 59-

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Neither ranking points nor Zika, nor politics, nor an arduous ATP season could have kept Andy Murray from Rio. Camiseta Real Madrid Luka Modric .Although pro athletes withdrew from these Olympic Games over the past few months for a wide variety of reasons, the two-time Wimbledon champ and defending Olympic gold medalist held firm to his commitment. He took a week and a half off after Wimbledon to rest and begin preparation for Rio and beyond at the expense of missing tournaments like the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week, where 1,000 rankings points were forfeited for the 2015 champion.The Olympics means a lot to me, Murray said Thursday, two days after being named the flag-bearer for Great Britain at Fridays opening ceremonies. Thats why this is my priority. And yeah, I lost a few ranking points, but thats fine. I was willing to sacrifice that to give myself the best chance to do well here.The native Scot was also questioned about whether his political leanings factored into his decision after he spoke out in favor of Scottish independence more than a year ago, a referendum that was denied.Ive been competing for Great Britain since I was 10 years old, Murray said. It was the first time I traveled abroad. ... My record when I compete for my country speaks for itself. I love the feeling of competing for my country.Murray cited his Davis Cup victories for Britain and called the day he won his gold medal in singles and silver in mixed doubles with Laura Robson at the 2012 London Games one of the best days in my professional life.And Im going to try my best to make the country proud again after another good run, he added.Being named the flag-bearer makes Rio that much sweeter for Murray, a three-time Olympian who said he was humbled and speechless when told the news as he was getting into bed Tuesday night.By far its the proudest moment in my professional career, he said. I never, ever thought Id get the opportunity to do this. ... Ill remember it the rest of my life.The message was carried by Mark England, Great Britains chef de mission, who spoke of Murrays perseverance throughout his career.I was thinking so many things when he told me, Murray said. I couldnt absorb everything he said. I just kept saying, Thank you so much.Murray, 29, was equally flustered when the team gathered for photographs Wednesday night, when he had to carry the flag for the first time.Im going to blame the photographers for what happened last night because I was given directions and then I ended up putting the flag in front of Princess Annes face, Murray said to chuckles from the media. I didnt know what to do, to be honest. They were telling me put the flag here, but the flag is huge, so as soon as I moved it, it was covering someones face, and last night didnt go so well.Asked how the princess reacted, Murray quipped, I think she said, Make sure you dont poke my eye out. Something along those lines. I hope she was OK. I didnt mean to do that. I was just following directions.Murray was chosen ahead of such favorites as boxer Nicola Adams and rower Katherine Grainger.Its fully deserved, and its great for British tennis as well to have someone like him representing all of the athletes [on Friday], said teammate Johanna Konta.Murrays first appearance on the tennis court will be Sunday, when he will play both singles and doubles with younger brother Jamie. Ranked No. 2 in the world, Andy Murray said he will be ready after Friday nights festivities, which he said will be inspiring.With stars such as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka opting out of Rio because of injuries, Murray and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic are the favorites to win gold.Roger and Stan, if they were both here, everyone who has won a Grand Slam in the last 10 years or so would be playing here, Murray said. So thats unfortunate they both got injured, and some people obviously had different concerns about coming here.Maybe everyone thinks differently. For me, the Olympics is the biggest sporting event by far, and Im proud to be here to represent my country. Camiseta James Rodriguez . Its an influence in football and a big part of the game. Camiseta Real Madrid Nacho Fernandez . -- Eastern Kentucky thrives off creating havoc for others. . The home side created most of the chances but struggled to break down Braunschweigs resilient defence, resulting in the Bundesligas 1,000th scoreless draw. COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Alaina Coates thinks she and post partner Aja Wilson have picked up right where they left off -- and thats a bad sign for No. 3 South Carolinas opponents.I pretty much feel like were back to where we were, Coates said.Theyd get no arguments from Maine after the Gamecocks ran off to a 79-42 victory on Monday night in the Basketball Hall of Fame Womens Challenge.The 6-foot-5 Wilson had 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting while 6-4 Coates had 12 points and 14 rebounds. The two did about whatever they wanted most of the way against the undersized, young Black Bears (2-3).Theyre good, Maine coach Richard Barron said. What else can you say?The Gamecocks (3-0) used their defense to make quick work of Maine, starting on a 15-0 run, then outscoring their opponents 13-0 to open the third quarter. South Carolina eventually grew the lead to 41 points in the final period.Freshman Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, at 6-2 the primary post backup for Wilson and Coates, added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and picked up eight boards.South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said when Coates and Wilson play with efficiency and speed, it helps in teaching Herbert Harrigan the right way to play.When she sees our two bigs clicking like that, it kind of becomes contagious, Staley said. She had a pretty good basketball game.The Gamecocks outrebounded Maine 42-27 while Wilson had four of their five blocked shots. Coates swatted away the other.South Carolinas two high-profile transfers, Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray, also finished in double figures with 10 points each. Julie Brosseau had 11 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Black Bears.BIG PICTUREMaine: The Black Bears opened with a surprise win at Purdue, but lost for the third time in the past four games. They dont have the size to match up with teams like No. 7 Mississippi State (a 44-point loss on Nov. 12) or the third-ranked Gamecocks. But Maine, which starts four freshmen, showed off some shooting touch in a 59-43 win over St. Camiseta Real Madrid Denis Cheryshev. Peters on Sunday night. Laia Sole, who scored 16 points in the St. Peters win, was named the American East rookie of the week for the second straight time this season.Whats it like starting four freshmen? Its a little bit better than starting five, Maines Barron said.South Carolina: The Gamecocks wont go wrong going inside this season to Wilson and Coates. Coates had 10 points and 12 rebounds by halftime to collect her second double-double of the season and 44th of her career.POLL IMPLICATIONSSouth Carolina will have one more tune up on Tuesday night before things get serious when it faces No. 4 Louisville on Sunday. Lose that one and count on the Gamecocks to tumble from the top five.YOUNG GAMECOCKSAfter taking its big lead, South Carolina played several young players in the final quarter like Herbert Harrigan, Victoria Patrick, Araion Bradshaw and Tyasha Harris, all freshmen. Staley said the group has to get experience because the Gamecocks have only four juniors or seniors returning with significant experience Wilson, Coates, point guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore and guard Tiffany Davis.We may need the young players at some point this season, Staley said.STREAK ENDERWilson set a school record on Sunday night, going 14 of 14 from the foul line in defeating Hampton 92-38. Could Wilson keep it going? No as she missed her first free throw against Maine and finished 0-2 at the line.UP NEXTMaine takes on Hampton here at the Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday night as part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Challenge.South Carolina finishes a three-game homestand on Tuesday, facing St. Peters as part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Challenge. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 

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