The world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, won his first race in nine months Thursday at the Golden Gala in Rome. Bolt needed a late kick to capture the 100 meters in 9.91 seconds, edging former world record-holder Asafa Powell, who was timed in 9.93, and European champion Christophe Lemaitre, who finished third in 10.00.
Bolt had not competed since he was beaten by Tyson Gay in Stockholm in August, ending the Jamaican's two-year unbeaten streak. The triple Olympic and world champion then cut short his season because of back and Achilles tendon problems.
CYCLING: Eros Capecchi won a three-way sprint to the line to take the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia, while Alberto Contador retained the overall lead. The Italian won the 93-mile stage that began in Morbegno in 3 hours, 20 minutes, 38 seconds. Marco Pinotti was second and Kevin Seeldrayers third in the same time.
Riders return to the mountains on Friday with a 129-mile stage from Bergamo to Macugnaga that features two major climbs. The 21-stage Giro finishes in Milan on Sunday.
OLYMPICS: South Africa's Olympic committee president ruled out a bid for the 2020 Summer Games after the government said it was not the right time. Gideon Sam said that his committee would bid only if the government gave its backing, and that the project "was off the radar for now" after South Africa's cabinet said it preferred to focus on national priorities.
COLLEGES: The NCAA rejected Southern Cal's appeal to reduce sanctions imposed on its football program, keeping in place some of the harshest penalties leveled against a school in 25 years.
USC must serve the second year of its two-year postseason ban this fall, making the Trojans ineligible for the first Pac-12 title game or a bowl game. USC also will lose 30 scholarships over the next three years, giving it 15 available scholarships per season - 10 below the normal yearly limit - until 2015.
Athletic director Pat Haden said he was disappointed by the NCAA's final ruling on its nearly unprecedented sanctions for misdeeds surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush.
Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers standout Franco Harris, a product of Mount Holly, N.J., has been selected for induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Harris will join 12 others in a star-studded induction class that includes John Travolta, Tony Bennett, Joe Theismann, Martha Stewart, Queen Latifah, former Gov. Brendan Byrne, Mary Higgins Clark, Leon Hess, and Bruce Willis.
Penn senior defenseman Brett Hughes has been named an NCAA Division I all-American in men's lacrosse, as well as a scholar all-American.