Notes: Iran’s athletes to face Israelis

Jacques Rogge holds a minute of silence, marking the 40th anniversary of deadly attacks on Israeli athletes.
odd andersonodd anderson/AFP/getty images
Jacques Rogge holds a minute of silence, marking the 40th anniversary of deadly attacks on Israeli athletes.

Iranian athletes will compete against Israelis at the London Olympics, according to the country’s chef de mission.

Iran has been criticized in the past because some of its athletes withdrew from events against Israelis at the 2004 Athens Games and 2008 Beijing Games.

‘‘We will be truthful to sport,’’ said Bahram Afsharzadeh, who is also the secretary general of the Iranian Olympic committee said.


Afsharzadeh, who was at times speaking through a translator, also said his team had no plans to boycott events because of the nationality of opponents.

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘We just follow the sportsmanship and play every country,’’ Afsharzadeh said.

Afsharzadeh spoke in the athletes village after signing the ‘‘truce wall,’’ a UN-backed initiative calling on warring parties around the world to end hostilities during the period of the games.

‘‘In sport and in Olympics, all the countries must [be] together with the teams in friendship,’’ Afsharzadeh said in English. ‘‘Solidarity for all the countries is very important.’’

Solemn tribute

IOC president Jacques Rogge paid tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed in Munich 40 years ago, leading a solemn minute of silence in the athletes village.


It was the first time the IOC has honored the slain Israelis in a ceremony inside an Olympic village.

Rogge has repeatedly rebuffed calls to hold a moment of silence during Friday’s Opening Ceremony of the Games. He said Saturday the opening was not the appropriate place to remember the Israeli team members killed by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

On Monday, Rogge chose a different venue and occasion to hold a special observance.

‘‘I would like to start today’s ceremony by honoring the memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals that have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village,’’ Rogge said. ‘‘The 11 victims of the Munich tragedy believed in that vision.

‘‘They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity. We owe it to them to keep the spirit alive and to remember them.’’


Rogge bowed his head as a crowd of about 100 people — IOC executive board members, dignitaries and Olympic athletes and officials — stood in silence for a minute.

A ho-hum rematch

The US men’s basketball team will face Spain Tuesday night in Barcelona in an Olympic tuneup pitting the teams that faced off in the gold-medal game four years ago in Beijing.

Spain’s players are excited about the game and will try to win, but not at the expense of their preparations for London.

‘‘It’s an exhibition game. I think both teams are going to try to [use] different lineups, going to try maybe different stuff, but at the end of the day you know you’re not going to show a lot of things to the other team,’’ Spain guard Jose Calderon of the Raptors said. ‘‘You’re not going to have a medal if you win or if you lost tomorrow.’’

The US held off Spain, 118-107, in Beijing to win gold in what US coach Mike Krzyzewski called ‘‘one of the great games in international basketball history.’’ The Americans pulled away after leading by just 4 with under 2½ minutes left to win their first major title since the 2000 Olympics and are ranked No. 1 in the world.

Spain is No. 2, and nobody would be surprised to see them play a gold-medal rematch on Aug. 12. That’s the one the Spanish are aiming for, they say, and won’t go all out for a victory Tuesday if it means giving away any secrets they would use when it counts.

‘‘It'll definitely be a great test,’’ Spain star Pau Gasol said. ‘‘We believe in our chances, but it’s just a friendly game. Obviously we'd rather lose tomorrow and win in London.’’

Kobe Bryant and Gasol are teammates with the Lakers, and Gasol said he’s looking forward to meeting up after they haven’t seen each other since their season ended in Oklahoma City in the second round of the playoffs.

Bryant said Gasol is like a little brother, and that big brothers don’t let little brothers win.

‘‘He doesn’t like to lose against anyone, but I'd like to maybe let him win tomorrow and maybe beat him in London,’’ Gasol said.

Opening secrets

Director Danny Boyle wants details of Friday’s Opening Ceremony to stay secret, and Games chief Sebastian Coe has pleaded for insiders to stop leaking details.

Good luck on that front, guys. A trickle of detail about the $42 million ceremony has become a torrent.

A prerecorded segment has been filmed inside Buckingham Palace, reportedly involving Queen Elizabeth II and Daniel Craig as secret agent James Bond. If rumor is to be believed, a stuntman dressed as 007 will parachute into the stadium to start the show. The opening sequence will evoke a pastoral idyll, the ‘‘green and pleasant land’’ described in William Blake’s poem ‘‘Jerusalem,’’ which is regarded as England’s unofficial national anthem. There’s a meadow, livestock, a farmer in his field — and a cricket match.

Fare competition

Police say a man jumped into the River Thames during an Olympic protest by drivers of London’s famed black cabs.

Several dozen cabbies drove slowly and tooted their horns Monday at Tower Bridge, angry that they are banned from the exclusive traffic lanes designated for Olympic athletes and officials.

The so-called ‘‘Games Lanes’’ around greater London are set to come into force Wednesday.

Metropolitan Police say the man jumped into the river but was swiftly pulled out by river police. They say it wasn’t clear if the man was a protester. The BBC, however, reported that he was a cab driver.