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Originally published August 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 2, 2008 at 12:30 AM

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Olympics | Former Gov. Locke to join in torch run

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will carry the Olympic torch through Chengdu next week, showing support for the earthquake victims in Washington state's sister province of Sichuan.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will carry the Olympic torch through Chengdu next week, showing support for the earthquake victims in Washington state's sister province of Sichuan.

Chengdu is the last leg of the journey before the torch reaches Beijing days before the opening ceremony.

Locke, who makes his torch run on Tuesday, said he's honored to have been asked and hopes "to emphasize the concern and sympathy and desires of American people to help out" following the May 12 disaster.

The earthquake, centered about 50 miles northwest of Chengdu, killed nearly 70,000 people and left 5 million homeless. The number of homeless equals more than 80 percent of Washington state's population, Locke said.

Locke, a partner in the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, said he's also traveling to Beijing to represent several companies, including a Seattle environmental technology firm that he hopes could help China address problems like the algae buildup along the coast in Qingdao.

The first Chinese-American governor was invited to attend the opening ceremony in Beijing. Locke said he had to decline because of a long-planned family vacation.

Swimmer Hardy withdraws

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Swimmer Jessica Hardy withdrew from the U.S. Olympic team Friday, four weeks after testing positive for a banned substance at the Olympic trials.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Hardy's decision, saying she did so "in the best interests of the team."

"While some might have chosen to exhaust their legal options to try to force their way into the games, Jessica instead chose to put her team's interests ahead of her own," said Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of USADA.

Hardy, 21, tested positive for a low level of clenbuterol, a prohibited anabolic agent, at the trials. She qualified for the Olympics in the 100-meter breaststroke, 50 freestyle and 400 free relay.

Hardy's withdrawal allows USA Swimming to place swimmers already on the team in her open events, according to executive director Chuck Wielgus.

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Rebecca Soni will swim the 100 breast, and Kara Lynn Joyce will swim the 50 free, he said.

There was an opportunity for Tara Kirk to replace Hardy in the 100 breast — the Bremerton native finished third in the race won by Hardy at the trials — but USA Swimming did not submit her name as an alternate on its roster.

U.S. men look ready

MACAU — With Kobe Bryant defending the way he did last summer and Dwyane Wade soaring again, the U.S. men's basketball team has easily won its first three exhibition games.

"I think we're in pretty good shape defensively," forward Carmelo Anthony said after the Americans defeated Lithuania 120-84. "Offensively we're tuning some things up. We've got two more games before the real deal starts."

Wade scored 19 points, Dwight Howard had 17 and LeBron James 15 for the U.S., which raced to a big early lead, then pulled away again after Lithuania got within single digits early in the second half. Bryant finished with 13 points, nine during the big U.S. first quarter.

Notes

Scott Thorman had an RBI double in the 10th inning to lead Canada to a 4-3 victory over the U.S. in Cary, N.C. The game was the first of four pre-Olympic tuneups between the teams before they head to Beijing.

• U.S. gymnast Tim McNeill received a warning for getting a prescribed anti-inflammatory shot without the proper clearance from anti-doping authorities.

McNeill tested positive May 24 at the U.S. championships for a glucocorticosteroid, a cortisone-like drug that is only allowed during competitions with an exemption, according to USADA. Olympian Morgan Hamm had a positive test for the same anti-inflammatory that day, and also drew a warning from USADA.

• Italian fencer Andrea Baldini, considered a gold-medal candidate, will miss the Beijing Olympics after testing positive for a diuretic during last month's European Championships in Ukraine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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