Opening Ceremony takes center stage
LONDON (AP) -- The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games is under way. Fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke roared over the Olympic Stadium, packed with a buzzing crowd of 60,000 people.
The show kicked off with a film about the River Thames (tehmz), followed by a countdown and the release of balloons carrying the five Olympic rings to the edge of space.
Thousands of athletes are set to parade before the spectators, including Queen Elizabeth II and an A-list of global celebrities.
The British government says more than 80 heads of state and government are in the audience. The U.S. is represented by first lady Michelle Obama. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will also attend.
LONDON (AP) -- The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee says the nation's athletes are ready. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun says he "can't wait for the games to start."
Americans have won the overall medals race at the last four Summer Games.
LONDON (AP) -- The draw has taken place for the first women's Olympic boxing tournament. Two of the three Americans taking part received a first-round bye, while lightweight Queen Underwood was assigned one of the toughest paths to gold imaginable. In the first round she has to fight British contender Natasha Jonas, with the winner meeting Ireland's Katie Taylor, the top-ranked lightweight thought to be the best female boxer at the Olympics.
LONDON (AP) -- A world record was set in a preliminary archery competition in London, and it was accomplished by a blind archer. South Korean Im Dong-hyun sees only blurred colors and lines when he peers toward the target about 76 yards away, arrow at the ready.
Im set the first world record of the London Olympics today, breaking his own mark in the 72-arrow event and helping South Korea set a team record in the opening round
JERUSALEM (AP) -- A spokesman for Israel's culture and sports minister says the official will stage a protest during the opening ceremony to decry a decision by Olympic organizers not to mark the killing of Israelis at the 1972 Munich Games. The spokesman said minister Limor Livnat will stand for a minute of silence as IOC President Jacques Rogge (zhahk ROH'-geh) delivers his speech tonight.
Israel and the U.S. lobbied the IOC to hold a commemoration at the opening ceremony to remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian gunmen 40 years ago.
Another rivalry night in baseball
UNDATED (AP) -- Longtime rivals San Francisco and Los Angeles open up another series this evening in the City by the Bay. This rivalry goes back to the first half of last century when the two clubs were based in New York. Tonight's game is the first of a three-game set and the results will affect the National League West as the Giants top the Dodgers by three games. Matt Cain will get the start for the Giants while the Dodgers will name their starting pitcher later in the day. Cain is 10-3 on the season with a 2.74 earned run average.
Cardinals' 12 game winner Lance Lynn is back on the mound this afternoon as the Cards visit the Cubs in Chicago. The Cardinals start the day 5 1/2 games back of first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Reds tonight are playing the Rockies in Denver, while Pittsburgh, which trails Cincinnati by two games in the Central, is visiting Houston.
The first-place Washington Nationals of the NL East are in Milwaukee tonight. The Nats lead the Braves by five games in the East and tonight Atlanta is home to the Phillies. Cole Hamels gets the ball for the Phillies, just days after signing a six-year, $144 million contract to stay with the team.
Completing the National League schedule, San Diego is at Miami and the Mets play the Diamondbacks in Arizona.
In the American League, two long-standing rivals start another series tonight, but this time the Yankees-Red Sox matchup doesn't seem to mean much. In the AL East the Yankees lead the last-place Sox by 10 1/2 games. The Yankees lead the division by five games over Baltimore and tonight the Orioles are home to Oakland.
In the AL Central the White Sox are back in first with Detroit a half-game out and the Indians 3 1/2 back. The Sox are playing the Western Division-leading Rangers in Arlington tonight while the Tigers face the Blue Jays in Toronto and the Indians are at Minnesota. As mentioned the Rangers stand on top of the pack in the West by five games over the Angels. Tonight Los Angeles is hosting Tampa Bay.
The remaining American League game has Kansas City playing at Seattle.
Team owner looking to sell control of club
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner has begun talks with an investor to give up controlling interest in the team. President Mike Holmgren says Lerner's discussions with truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam won't affect the team's status in Cleveland. In his words, "The Cleveland Browns are not going anywhere."
Holmgren says keeping the team in Cleveland was an agreed stipulation in the talks.
Holmgren says players were briefed on the matter and says Lerner "is giving up controlling interest in the team."
Bowe a no show
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) -- Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City's leader in receptions and receiving yards the past three years, was not on the field today as the Chiefs opened training camp.
Bowe, a Pro Bowler in 2010, was given the franchise tag when he refused to sign the Chiefs' tender. If he eventually comes in and plays this year, as the Chiefs expect, he will get about $9.5 million.
The sixth-year pro, a first-round pick in 2007, had 81 catches for 1,159 yards and five TDs last year. In 2010, he led NFL wide receivers with 15 touchdowns while making 72 receptions for 1,162 yards.
Autopsy confirms brain damage in former player
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- An autopsy has concluded that former Atlanta Falcons Safety Ray Easterling had a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated concussions.
Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in April. He was 62.
The report was provided to The Associated Press by Mary Ann Easterling, who is among thousands of plaintiffs who have sued the NFL, claiming the league failed to properly treat players for concussions and attempted to cloak any links between the violent sport and brain injuries. The autopsy's findings were first reported by The New York Times.
A trade and signings
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Hornets, Suns and Timberwolves say a three-team deal has been completed that will send 7-foot center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick from Phoenix to New Orleans, while moving forward Wesley Johnson and a first-round draft pick from Minnesota to the Suns.
The deal sends the contracts of Jerome Dyson and Brad Miller from New Orleans to Phoenix. Minnesota receives three second-round draft picks in the deal.
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls have signed free agent center Nazr Mohammed. The 14-year NBA veteran played for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. He appeared in 63 games, averaging 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed free agent Andrei Kirilenko. The 31-year-old is currently playing with the Russian national team at the Summer Olympics in London. He played 10 years for the Utah Jazz, averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, but spent the 2011-12 season with the CKSA Moscow club.
He won the Most Valuable Player and Best Defender awards in the Euroleague.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Hornets first-round draft pick Austin Rivers has had surgery to clean up bone spurs in his right ankle but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. The Duke guard was taken 10th overall.
New deal for Enstrom
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- The Winnipeg Jets have signed defenseman Toby Enstrom to a five-year contract extension. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Enstrom has one year remaining on his current contract, which carried a cap hit of $3.75 million per season.
The 27-year-old, who could have become an unrestricted free agent next summer, appeared in 62 games last season with the Jets. He recorded 33 points on six goals and 27 assists.
Round two under way
ANCASTER, Ontario (AP) -- Scott Piercy of the U.S. has the second round clubhouse lead of the PGA's Canadian Open. He shot a 3-under-67 in the second round after an 8-under-62 on Thursday. He leads William McGirt by a shot.
Lewis stands alone on top
EVIAN-LES-BAINES, France (AP) -- American Stacy Lewis maintained her first round lead through the second round of the LPGA's Evian Masters in France. She followed up her opening-round 9-under 63 with a 3-under 68. Lewis stands 12-under for the tournament, one shot in front of South Korea's Ilhee Lee.
CHAMPIONS TOUR-SENIOR BRITISH OPEN
Big round by Hallberg
TURNBERRY, Scotland (AP) -- Gary Hallberg completed a second round 7-under-63 at the Champions Tour Senior British Open to take the second round lead at 6-under. First round leader Bernhard Langer (LAHN'-gur) is tied for second at 3-under with Tom Lehman (LAY'-muhn).