ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece — The flame for the Vancouver Olympics was lit by the sun's rays in an ancient ceremony, heralding the start of the torch relay for the 2010 Winter Games.
The sun shone just enough over the fallen temples at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics for a Greek actress in a pagan priestess' white gown and sandals to focus its rays on a silver torch using a concave mirror.
The flame will burn at the Feb. 12-28 Vancouver Games, following a torch relay across Canada and a shorter run in Greece. It will reach Canada on Oct. 30 for what organizers say will be the largest national relay starting in Victoria, British Columbia, and involving 12,000 torchbearers. Over 106 days, the torch will be flown as far north as the Alert forestry station in Nunavut, which at some 500 miles from the North Pole is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world.
ASHBURN, Va. — The front office says Jim Zorn will remain Washington Redskins coach "for the rest of this season and hopefully into the future."
Executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato gave Zorn the vote of confidence on a radio show on ESPN980 this morning.
Speculation has been rampant about Zorn's future following the Redskins' 2-4 start. Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties this week.
Cerrato said the front office is "very frustrated" with the team's performance this season and that the play-caller change was a way to help relieve Zorn of his many duties.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery will not play against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, missing his second straight game with an injured left hamstring.
Coach Rex Ryan said today that wide receiver Brad Smith and cornerback Lito Sheppard, both nursing quadriceps injuries, also will not play.
"I was hoping Jerricho would be able to do it," Ryan said. "We're going to make that trip all the way out there and we feel it's best if he stays back and rehabs. That's what we're going to do and hopefully get him back at 100 percent for next week."
Cotchery was injured in practice two weeks ago, but was able to play in the loss at Miami on Oct. 12 and had one catch for 4 yards. He then sat out the loss Sunday to Buffalo, and didn't participate in team drills this week.
LOS ANGELES — Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt was fired by her estranged husband, team owner Frank McCourt, a day after the Dodgers lost the National League championship series.
Jamie McCourt's attorney, Dennis Wasser, said his client learned she was no longer employed by the Dodgers, who ended their season Wednesday after being bounced in the NLCS by the Philadelphia Phillies for the second straight year.
Last week the couple confirmed in a terse statement that they have separated. The McCourts have been married since 1979 and have four grown sons.
In March, Frank McCourt promoted his wife to chief executive officer of the team he gained ownership of in January 2004 after moving from his native Boston. The promotion made her the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Kentucky's John Calipari raved about the development of highly touted freshman guard John Wall during media day for the Southeastern Conference. Hours later, a report surfaced that his prized recruit might not be eligible to play.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive told ESPN.com that he believes the NCAA's agents and amateurism group — not enforcement officials — are looking into the eligibility of both Wall and Mississippi State freshman Renardo Sidney.
ESPN.com reported that Wall's AAU coach, Brian Clifton, was a certified agent from 2007-2008. That would constitute Wall accepting illegal benefits from an agent under NCAA rules. If the benefits are more than $101, a student-athlete has to repay the value of the benefits and be subject to suspension for at least 10 percent of the team's regular-season games.
ORLANDO, Fla. — A fight over the shoes Michael Jordan's son will wear at the University of Central Florida could cost the school financially.
Freshman guard Marcus Jordan is refusing to wear shoes made by adidas, the brand the university has a contract with for all its sports. He says he will only wear his father's Nike Air Jordan shoes because they hold special meaning to his family.
The problem is UCF is in the final year of its contract with adidas that requires coaches and athletes to use the company's apparel and equipment. UCF says its five-year deal with adidas ends June 30, 2010.
— The Associated Press
There have been media reports that UCF is negotiating a new deal that could be worth up to $3 million and last up to six years.
UCF said in a statement that adidas was aware of the situation during contract renewal discussions. The university says it was "led to believe that there would be a workable solution to a unique situation."
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota is apologizing after its Goldy Gopher mascot poked fun at a Penn State football player who was praying before last week's game.
A video made before Saturday's game at State College shows Penn State defensive end Jerome Hayes kneeling in prayer in the end zone.
Goldy Gopher kneels in front of Hayes, according to the video posted on YouTube. When Hayes stands up, so does Goldy. The mascot tries to make some contact, but Hayes ignores him and trots back to the bench.
Minnesota spokesman Dan Wolter says the stunt was "plainly a mistake" and the mascot didn't intend to offend anyone or trivialize religion.
Penn State won the game 20-0.