Sports Extra

Olympics

Pistorius charged with murder, and he’s the only suspect

PRETORIA, South Africa – Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs.

Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the house, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.

Hours later after undergoing police questioning, Pistorius left a police station accompanied by officers. He looked down as photographers snapped pictures, the hood on his gray workout jacket pulled up, covering most of his face. His court hearing originally was scheduled for Thursday afternoon but has been postponed until today to give forensic investigators time to carry out their work, said Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the prosecution.

South Africans were shocked at the killing. But while Pistorius captured the nation’s attention with his Olympic quest, police said there was a recent history of problems involving him. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said the incidents included “allegations of a domestic nature.”

“I’m not going to elaborate on it, but there have been incidents (at Pistorius’ home),” Beukes said. Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court, but Beukes said the 26-year-old Pistorius was at his home at the time of Steenkamp’s death, and “there is no other suspect involved.”

NHL at 2014 Sochi Games? Soon to be determined.

NEW YORK – A decision on whether NHL players will head to the 2014 Sochi Olympics isn’t likely to be reached this week.

Discussions were scheduled for Thursday and Friday between the NHL, the NHL players’ association, and officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee to see if it makes sense for North American professional hockey players to go to the Olympics for a fifth consecutive time.

MLB

Rockies get Rays’ Brignac, place a pitcher on the DL

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Colorado Rockies acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations.

Brignac bounced around between Triple-A Durham and the Rays last season. The 27-year-old was a second-round pick by the Rays in 2004.

The Rockies also placed left-handed pitcher Edwar Cabrera on the 60-day disabled list Thursday with a shoulder injury.

Soccer

USA drops to FIFA’s No. 32; Spain still the No. 1

ZURICH – The United States dropped four spots to No. 32 in FIFA’s February rankings after losing a World Cup qualifier at Honduras.

The ranking is the lowest for the Americans since they were 32nd in October. Since reaching a high of No. 4 in April 2006, the Americans have dropped as low as 36th last July and August.

Honduras moved up eight places to a tie for 51st.

World and European champion Spain leads the rankings, and African champion Nigeria moved up 22 places to No. 30 after its victory over Burkina Faso in last weekend’s African Cup of Nations final.

The top three spots were unchanged, with Germany second followed by Argentina. England improved two places to fourth after an exhibition win over 18th-ranked Brazil.

Italy dropped to No.5. The top ranked African country is No. 12 Ivory Coast, which lost to Nigeria in the quarterfinals.

Mexico leads the North and Central American and Caribbean nations at No. 15. Japan tops Asian nations at No. 28, down seven places.

Associated Press