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Olympics notes: Hope Solo downplays problems in Brazil

August 2, 2016 GMT

Hope Solo is blaming the American media for spreading fear about the Zika virus and other problems ahead of the Rio Games.

Hoping to lead the U.S. to its fourth straight women’s soccer gold medal, Solo had expressed her own concerns before the Olympics.

“We haven’t made it to Rio yet and I have no idea what to expect in Rio, but it’s been beautiful here,” Solo said ahead of Wednesday’s opener against New Zealand, to be played in Belo Horizonte.

“It’s a little bit unfortunate because I think the American media has been really tough on the people of Brazil,” Solo said.

The Americans are trying to win a soccer title for the second straight year following last year’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup. Solo, in her third Olympics, said it seemed problems in Brazil were being blown out of proportion by media in the U.S.

JORGENSEN BIG FAVORITE: Gwen Jorgensen is the first American to win back-to-back world triathlon titles.

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She spent three years on the swim team at Wisconsin, where she was an All-American and Big Ten track champion, and would parlay her master’s degree and CPA into a job at Ernst & Young upon graduation.

Then she got a call from Barb Lindquist, at one time the world’s top-ranked triathlete and a former Olympian. She told Jorgensen that she, too, could be a world-class triathlete if she took up biking and dedicated herself.

She gave it a shot in 2010 and realized Lindquist was right. A few years later qualified for the London Games.

A flat tire doomed her to a 38th-place finish and fed her fire to make amends in Rio de Janeiro.

Jorgensen, who’s from Waukesha, Wisconsin, has 17 career wins and 21 medals on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit.

FENCING FINDS STAR: In Ibtihaj Muhammad, a former Columbia High School star, fencing might have finally found an athlete whose story transcends the sport.

Muhammad will make history at the Rio Games by becoming the first American athlete to wear a hijab — a Muslim head scarf — while competing in the Olympics.

Muhammad’s Olympic goal — beyond winning a medal, of course — is to be a positive role model for the Muslim-American community.

CARMELO STARS: The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points and the U.S. Olympic basketball team wrapped up its unbeaten exhibition tour with a 110-66 victory over Nigeria.

The Americans forced the African champions to miss their first 22 three-point shots and held them to 4-for-29 behind the arc.

Klay Thompson had 17 points and Kevin Durant added 14 for the U.S., which went 5-0 and wasn’t tested during its easy pre-Olympic schedule. The U.S. played without starting point guard Kyrie Irving (left thigh).