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.
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.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Hall of Famer Hank Aaron was honored by baseball greats, dignitaries and his family during a celebration this weekend of his 80th birthday in the nation’s capital.
Attorney General Eric Holder saluted Aaron at a private party Friday night near the White House.
Reggie Jackson and fellow Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Robin Yount, Ozzie Smith, Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson paid tribute to Aaron. Commissioner Bud Selig also saluted Aaron, who turned 80 on Wednesday.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Center fielder Coco Crisp is staying with the Oakland Athletics for an additional two seasons, agreeing to a new contract through 2016 that adds $22.75 million in guaranteed money.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Arizona Diamondbacks and Bronson Arroyo agreed on a two-year, $23.5 million contract with a club option for a third.
The right-hander, who turns 37 in two weeks, has a 138-127 record with a 4.91 ERA. He pitched the last eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before becoming a free agent.
Last year, Arroyo was 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA.
MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Brewers signed free-agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a $3.25 million, one-year contract.
Rodriguez is 41-36 with a 2.70 ERA and 304 saves in 730 relief appearances with the Angels, Mets, Brewers and Orioles.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – California football player Ted Agu died after collapsing during a morning training run with his teammates.
The 21-year-old Agu was on a training run near Memorial Stadium with his teammates that was supervised by multiple members of the team’s medical staff.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth have been nowhere close to each other in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – except atop the leaderboard.
Walker played bogey-free in the wind and rain at Spyglass Hill for a 3-under 69. Spieth was down the coast at Monterey Peninsula, where he made a birdie on his last that he described as the best of his young career. That gave him a 4-under 67.
They were tied going into the third round.
Walker was at 9-under 135 and heads over to Monterey Peninsula, which has played the easiest of the three courses. Spieth was at 9-under 134 and goes to Pebble Beach, which can be brutal in nasty weather. And the forecast Saturday is not pleasant.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Clint Eastwood added another starring role at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – life saver.
Eastwood attended a volunteer party on the eve of the PGA Tour event when he noticed tournament director Steve John choking on a piece of cheese. The 83-year-old actor quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver Wednesday night at the Monterey Conference Center.
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Michael Allen matched the Champions Tour record with a 12-under 60 in the Allianz Championship, finishing the first round with an eagle and 10 birdies.
GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) – Eight-time winner and defending champion Karrie Webb was disqualified from the Australian Ladies Masters for signing an incorrect scorecard after the second round.
American Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods, and South African Stacey Lee Bregman both followed first round 69s with six-under second rounds of 67 to lead the European and Australian tour event by a shot at 10-under 136.
NEW YORK (AP) – New Orleans forward Anthony Davis was chosen to replace the injured Kobe Bryant in the NBA All-Star game that will be played in his home city.
Davis was nearly chosen as a reserve, but missed by one spot in voting by Western Conference head coaches, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because vote totals were not released.
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) – A judge rejected a request by prosecutors in ex-New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez’s murder case for his jailhouse phone recordings, then ordered them to turn over to the defense copies of calls they acknowledged already having.
Judge Susan Garsh said prosecutors did not make a sufficient case for her to order the Bristol County sheriff to release the recordings, but she is allowing them to make the request anew. She said they must provide more information about what led them to believe the recordings are relevant to the case.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will be out for at least six weeks because of a stroke.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero announced that Letang had a stroke last week.
Letang will be treated with blood thinners and the stroke is not expected to threaten his career.
SAO PAULO (AP) – A worker was killed in an accident outside the World Cup stadium in the jungle city of Manaus in the latest incident tarnishing Brazil’s image as it tries to get ready for soccer’s showcase event in June.
Organizers in charge of the city’s preparations said the man died while dismantling a crane used to install the roof of the Arena da Amazonia.
Top-ranked Serena Williams withdrew from the Qatar Open and the Indian Wells event because of a back injury sustained last month in the Australian Open.
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) – Betty Moffitt, the mother of tennis great Billie Jean King and former major league pitcher Randy Moffitt, has died in Prescott, Ariz. She was 91.
King’s publicist said she died Friday at home with her children by her side.
VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) – Top-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy defeated fifth-seeded Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Royal Guard Open clay-court tournament.
Fognini will face No. 3 Nicolas Almagro of Spain, who defeated Taro Daniel of Japan 6-2, 7-5.
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) – Top-seeded Tommy Haas fought to defeat Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov and reach the semifinals of the Zagreb Indoors tournament, while Daniel Evans of Britain upset No. 3 seed Phillip Kohlschreiber from Germany.
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) – Top-seeded Richard Gasquet of France was hardly troubled by countryman Albano Olivetti as he won 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Open Sud de France semifinals and stay on course to defend his title.
Gasquet next plays third-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, who won had 18 aces in a 6-2, 6-4 win against seventh-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.