The International Olympic Committee agreed Tuesday to allow Iraq to participate in the Beijing games, reversing itself after Baghdad pledged to ensure the independence of its national Olympics panel.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee agreed Tuesday to allow Iraq to participate in the Beijing games, reversing itself after Baghdad pledged to ensure the independence of its national Olympics panel.
The decision followed last-minute talks between Iraqi officials and the IOC ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to submit competitors’ names for track and field events. The Olympics begin Aug. 8.
Iraq is now expected to send two athletes to Beijing to compete in track and field. The decision came too late for five other hopefuls in archery, judo, rowing and weightlifting. The deadline to submit names for those sports expired last week.
Iraq’s National Olympic Committee was dissolved by the Baghdad government in May, prompting the IOC to suspend the Mideast country from the Olympics for political interference.
The IOC had insisted the old committee be reinstated even though four members were kidnapped two years ago. Their fates remain unknown.
The agreement worked out Tuesday calls for Iraq to hold free elections for its national Olympic committee under international observation.
“The National Olympic Committee will have fair elections before the end of November,” said Pere Miro, head of the IOC’s department for relations with national Olympic committees.

Gibson dies at 69
BOSTON (AP) — Russ Gibson, a catcher on the Boston Red Sox team that went to the 1967 World Series, has died. He was 69.
He died Sunday after a long illness, the Red Sox said. On the same day that Gibson died in Swansea, Mass., Dick Williams, the manager of that team, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Gibson was a rookie on the 1967 team whose season was called the “Impossible Dream,” having reached the World Series after finishing ninth in the 10-team AL in 1966. The Red Sox lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Donaghy sentanced
NEW YORK (AP) — Disgraced ex-NBA official Tim Donaghy admitted that he’d brought shame on his profession Tuesday as a federal judge sentenced him to 15 months behind bars for a gambling scandal that still has the league on the defensive.
U.S. District Judge Carol Amon sentenced Donaghy to prison time plus three years of supervised release, saying he’d let the sport down by taking thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on games — including ones he refereed.
“The NBA, the players and the fans relied on him to perform his job in an honest manner,” Amon said. Donaghy listened with his arms folded but showed no emotion.
He told the judge that “I’ve brought shame on myself, my family and the profession.”

NASCAR apologizes
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR apologized Tuesday for the tire fiasco that ruined its prestigious race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and vowed to avoid a repeat.
A durability issue with the tires Goodyear brought to Indy forced NASCAR to call cautions every 10 to 12 laps on Sunday to slow the action and force teams to change their tires before they failed. The longest run under the green flag was 13 laps, and Jimmie Johnson claimed the victory at the end of a seven-lap sprint to the finish in the second-slowest race in the 15 years NASCAR has competed at the Brickyard.
The drivers were disgusted, fans were frustrated and NASCAR is still trying to figure out why things went so wrong.
“I can’t say enough how sorry we are and it’s our responsibility being NASCAR that we don’t go through this situation again,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition.

Petrino suspends two
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino suspended linebacker Freddy Burton and wide receiver Marques Wade for the season’s first two games, after both were arrested on drunken driving charges.
Petrino issued a statement Tuesday, suspending the two from the Razorbacks’ opener against Western Illinois and the team’s second game against Louisiana-Monroe.
“While the athletic department policy in development for addressing these types of issues calls for a one-game suspension, I felt that a two-game suspension was appropriate in both of these cases,” Petrino said. “I want to continue to send the strong message that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated in this football program.”

NBA sells out in London
LONDON (AP) — Tickets for the NBA preseason matchup between the Miami Heat and the New Jersey Nets in London are sold out — nearly three months before the game.
Tickets to the Oct. 12 game at the 16,500-seat O2 Arena went on sale March 31 and were all taken by late last week, organizers said Tuesday.
It’s the second straight year that the NBA Europe Live game at the venue has sold out. The Boston Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 92-81 in a preseason game last year.
This year’s game is one of four in Europe. The Heat and the Nets first meet in Paris on Oct. 9 before the rematch in London.
The New Orleans Hornets and the Washington Wizards play in Berlin on Oct. 14 before meeting in the final of the four-game tour in Barcelona, Spain, three days later.