Beach volleyball players allowed to cover up now

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Beach volleyball players allowed to cover up now

From Comcast SportsNet
GENEVA (AP) -- Most female beach volleyball players will wear their usual bikini outfits at the London Olympics. For those who prefer to cover up, that's OK, too. Under new rules adopted by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), players are free to wear shorts and sleeved tops. The governing body said the move was made out of respect for the cultural beliefs of some of the dozens of countries still in contention to qualify for the games. "Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements so the uniform needed to be more flexible," FIVB spokesman Richard Baker told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The rule, which will now apply to the Olympics, has already been in effect at five Continental Cup qualifying competitions involving 142 nations. "Winners of the Continental Cups will qualify for the Olympics, so it has to be applied," Baker said. The FIVB has not specified which countries have lobbied to be allowed to cover up in London. An African qualifying event scheduled May 24-26 in Kigali, Rwanda, includes Algeria, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo among the contenders. Photographs on the FIVB's website of preliminary matches shows female players from those countries covering their midriffs by wearing sleeveless tops, which are the typical attire of indoor volleyball teams. A Continental Cup qualifier to be played in Asia will include India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka among 12 competing nations. The modified rule permits "shorts of a maximum length of three centimeters (1.18 inches) above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops." Bikinis have helped define women's beach volleyball, which became an Olympic medal event at the 1996 Atlanta Games. FIVB regulates the size of bikinis allowed, setting "a maximum side width of seven centimeters (2.76 inches)." But players also had the option to wear body suits in cold weather. "Up until now, athletes had the choice," Baker said. "They weren't forced to wear a bikini." Cultural and religious sensitivities have been brought into focus by changes to the Olympic entry format to encourage more nations to compete. Four years ago, qualification was based almost entirely on world rankings earned by competing in at least eight elite-level events. The Continental Cup competitions, which began in July 2010, now offer direct routes to the Olympics. The women's tournament at London will be played from July 28-Aug. 12 and is expected to sell out almost every session. "We're at a high level (of interest) like the final of gymnastics. They will pay special attention to beach volleyball," FIVB President Wei Jizhong told the AP last year. Wei's ruling board gave added support to beach volleyball last week, deciding it will replace indoor volleyball as the FIVB's nominated sport at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Beach volleyball also is a commercial success, with the women's season-long World Tour this year comprising 13 events in Europe, Asia, Brazil and Canada. Shorts and sleeved tops are also now allowed in that event, which is dominated by players from Brazil, the United States and Europe who have favored wearing bikinis. "We don't think we will see much change (in uniforms) on the World Tour," Baker said.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Saturday: 

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

White Sox courting of Luis Robert leads to 'Christmas in May'

Cubs blanked again by Dodgers

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

After getting shut down by Buck Farmer, White Sox ninth-inning rally falls short

Scott Boras fires back at Jake Arrieta’s critics and makes another Max Scherzer comparison

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Luis Robert will start journey through White Sox organization in Dominican Summer League

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base