“He can do anything he wants, like having his ear pierced or a weird hair cut. That’s exactly what I want to be. For me, tennis is just a job.” — Chinese tennis player Li Na, on why U.S. great Andre Agassi is her role model.

*****

“We had to leave it all on the track. “I knew it would be a hard race because Jeremy was always going to bring his A game. I just had to bring my A-plus game.” — American LaShawn Merritt, after he beat defending Olympic and two-time world champion Jeremy Wariner to the Beijing Games 400m gold.

*****

“If people want to issue the blame to me that’s OK. I can take whatever it is that people are going to dish out.” — U.S. sprinter Lauryn Williams on a botched baton handover that saw the women’s 4x100m relay squad fail to reach the final.

*****

“It’s extra sweet this win because it is the 40th anniversary to the day of the Russian invasion in 1968.” — Czech athlete Barbora Spotakova, whose Olympic women’s javelin triumph came on a black anniversary for the Czech Republic.

*****

“If this doesn’t make people forgive me and stop talking about all that, I don’t know what will.” — Canadian Eric Lamaze, winner of the Olympic individual show jumping gold in Hong Kong, on his banishment from the national team in the 1990s after he tested positive for cocaine.

*****

“The four cases tested positive for the same substance. I don’t know if we can say it’s a trend but it contributes to the seriousness of the case.” — Sven Holmberg of the International Equestrian Federation, on the fact that four show jumping riders were suspended after their horses tested positive for banned capsaicin, a numbing agent derived from chilli peppers.

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