Armstrong Gives Paris Nod for 2012 Olympics

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lance Armstrong is picking his country to finish second in the competition for the 2012 Olympics.

The Texan endorsed Paris instead of New York when asked Wednesday which city should win the highly competitive bid for the Summer Games.

“To be fair, I think that Paris deserves the Olympics,” Armstrong said in an interview with Associated Press. “I think they were arguably the best candidate in 2008 but for different reasons Paris didn’t win, and they went to Beijing.”

The six-time Tour de France champion acknowledged he was torn over the decision, and that his heart was with New York, given “everything they went through the last four to five years” -- an apparent reference to the trauma of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But he added: “If they don’t win in 2012, they could win in 2016.”


Armstrong’s comments came as the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission began its four-day visit to Paris.

The French capital is competing against New York, London, Madrid and Moscow. The IOC is expected to select the host city July 6.

Armstrong dropped out of the Paris-Nice race after the event’s third stage Wednesday, citing a sore throat.



Juventus, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven -- which got a goal from American DeMarcus Beasley -- advanced to the final eight of the European Champions League.

Two-time winner Juventus beat nine-time champion Real Madrid, 2-0, in Turin, Italy, to advance, 2-1, on aggregate.

Despite losing 1-0 in London, Bayern Munich ousted Arsenal, 3-2, on aggregate.

Liverpool went to Germany and beat Bayer Leverkusen, 3-1, to advance, 6-2.

In a good day for road teams, PSV defeated last year’s losing finalist AS Monaco, 2-0, and advanced, 3-0, over two games.

On Tuesday, Chelsea, AC Milan and Lyon advanced. The remaining spot will go to either defending champion FC Porto or Inter Milan.

Christie Welsh scored to give the U.S. women’s national team a 1-0 victory over France in the Algarve Cup at Ferreiras, Portugal, in its first game since longtime stars Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett retired.

Forward Abby Wambach and midfielder Aly Wagner had early chances before Welsh scored a 20th-minute goal in her tournament debut.

The U.S. next faces Finland on Friday.

The U.S. men’s team will face Mexico in a World Cup qualifying match at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 3. The teams met there in 2001, with the U.S. winning, 2-0.


Pro Football

Wide receiver Keenan McCardell agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2007 season with the San Diego Chargers.

McCardell, 35, gets a $4.1-million signing bonus, a source with knowledge of the deal said.

Laveranues Coles returned to the New York Jets in a trade from the Washington Redskins after he passed a physical.

The Redskins got speedy wide receiver Santana Moss in return, a swap of two receivers who were unhappy with their respective teams’ conservative offenses last year.

Quarterback Jim Miller signed with the New York Giants to become the backup to Eli Manning. Miller was the backup to Tom Brady in New England last season.

Tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who led the Minnesota Vikings in receptions last season, agreed to a $7.3-million, five-year contract to stay with the team.

The Arizona Cardinals re-signed defensive end Peppi Zellner to a two-year contract and released quarterback Shaun King and wide receiver Karl Williams.

The Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins will meet in the annual Hall of Fame game Aug. 8 at Canton, Ohio, the traditional opener of the NFL’s exhibition season.


College Football

Former Carson High football and track star Kevin McCall, a freshman running back at Washington State, was charged with third-degree rape and might enter a plea in court Friday.

Campus police said a Washington State student alleged that McCall raped her Sunday night in a school dormitory.

McCall, who redshirted in 2003, appeared in nine games and rushed for 40 yards on eight carries last season.

Marshall football coach Bob Pruett retired after nine years, saying that it was time to move on. Larry Kueck, Marshall’s associate offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, will serve as interim coach.

A leader of an independent commission that investigated the Colorado recruiting scandal said the panel was “stabbed in the back” and that Coach Gary Barnett should be fired.

Joyce Lawrence, a former state legislator who was co-chairwoman of the panel, told the Pueblo Chieftain on Tuesday that Barnett and other athletic department officials never revealed the existence of a “slush fund” mentioned in a report by a grand jury that conducted a separate probe.



Labor negotiations involving the NHL and the players’ association will resume Friday at an undisclosed location, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Associated Press on condition of anonymity.



Former Oklahoma fullback Buck McPhail, who helped clear the way for Heisman Trophy winner Billy Vessels and teamed with him to become college football’s first pair of same-season 1,000-yard rushers in 1952, died in Costa Mesa from hardening of the arteries Friday. He was 75.