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.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.