Katie Chin | Daily TrojanThis past week, Whittingham moved into the fourth position in all-time career digs at USC and is expected to move into third before she graduates.“She is a walk-on and she is setting records,” head coach Mick Haley said. “That is pretty darn special.”Whittingham is an inspiration to all walk-on athletes of what they can accomplish through hard work and perseverance. On top of that, she is also a leading force on the court for her teammates as her experience, her attitude and her presence on the court are something they have come to rely on.“She is such a calming force and is never freaking out,” freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier said. “You just have to look to the veterans on the court and she keeps me in check.”Being chosen as captain is not something that Whittingham takes lightly either. Part of her impact on the court is through the younger players that have the chance to learn from her. However, she also feels as if she is constantly learning from them too, while helping to continue to build the legacy of USC’s program.“I really pride myself in being a calming force out there,” Whittingham said. “Any way that I can help others and that they can help me in return is something that is really important.”This season, Haley and the team had a taste of what it will be like without her, as she suffered an injury to her right knee that kept her off the court for a week. While a week is a small period of time in the grand scheme of injuries, not having the staple of their defense was felt by everyone.“There is no question it is a big difference not having Taylor out there,” Haley said. “If Taylor could have been playing with us against UCLA and Washington, we feel like we would have had a much better match in each of those situations and possibly could have won.“We want to have her in there even if it is one-legged,” Haley said, laughing.Her time out of the games was not much easier on Whittingham, as she always wants to be on the court making a difference. She had a lot of praise for the strength coaches helping her to get back so quickly — with a lot of rehab and icing — but also lauded her teammates for adjusting to her abrupt absence.“It was hard being on the sidelines, just wanting to contribute and help my team,” Whittingham said. “It was definitely a quick change and something they didn’t expect, but I think they did a great job when I wasn’t out there.”Her drive to make a difference is one of the many reasons she has been named a candidate for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award — an award for NCAA Division I senior athletes who excel both on and off the court in the community, the classroom, their character and competition. Whittingham is the fourth candidate from USC to be nominated and the last since All-American libero Natalie Hagglund in 2013.Whittingham’s list of accomplishments in her time at USC is impressive given the countless hours she puts into the gym and school at the same time. She has a 3.00 cumulative GPA in both her major, communication, and minor, consumer behavior, has led the Pac-12 in digs in both the 2014 and 2015 season and is a three-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week winner.Off the court, she has participated in service projects at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and served as a counselor for USC’s annual inner-city outreach program. She was also a counselor for the Girl Scouts program in 2014-2015 and even found time to go to China with the Pac-12 All-Star Team in the summer of 2016 to put on free volleyball clinics.With all she has done for both the women’s volleyball team and the school itself, Whittingham has certainly established a legacy at USC. Whittingham’s influence and leadership are things that will stay with this team even after she is gone.
FILE- In this Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 file photo, Russia’s gold medal winner Alexander Legkov gestures to the crowd during the flower ceremony of the men’s 50K cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday, Nov. 1st, 2017, cross-country skier Alexander Legkov has been disqualified from all his events at Sochi. Legkov won an individual gold medal and relay silver. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)GENEVA — In a landmark verdict that indicates Russia conspired to run a doping program at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a cross-country skier who won a gold medal was disqualified by the IOC on Wednesday.All results for Alexander Legkov in Sochi were wiped from the record and he was banned for life from attending another Olympics.ADVERTISEMENT However, McLaren’s investigation said the Russian doping program was enabled by the country’s government, anti-doping agency and testing labs, plus sports governing bodies.The second cross-country skier who was disqualified and banned, Evgeniy Belov, did not win a medal.Lawyers for the two skiers disputed the IOC panel’s ruling while accepting a doping program was in place.“So there is neither Prof. McLaren’s assertion nor proof that individual athletes have really participated in the system that has undoubtedly existed,” German law firm Wieschemann said in a statement.Russia’s sports minister during the Sochi Olympics, Vitaly Mutko, told the Russian state news agency Tass that the IOC ruling “inspires great alarm and bewilderment.”“The correct and just decision is to file an appeal with CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport),” said Mutko, who is now a Deputy Prime Minister and heads the organizing committee for soccer’s 2018 World Cup.The two skiers’ cases are the first from Sochi to be judged by the IOC panel created to verify McLaren’s work. The Canadian law professor had himself been appointed by WADA to examine claims by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s WADA-authorized drug-testing laboratories.Rodchenkov, who is now in a witness protection program in the United States, said he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the Sochi lab with help from what he believed was the Russian security service.The verdicts announced Wednesday were the first from six cross-country skiers scheduled to have hearings at IOC headquarters this week. They include Maxim Vylegzhanin, who won one of his three silver medals in the Russian sweep of the 50-kilometer event.“Additional decisions from these first hearings will be communicated in the coming days,” the IOC said.Other cases involving Russian athletes in different Winter Olympic sports have also been handed over to the IOC panel, chaired by Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald.“The Oswald Commission has announced that all hearings for active athletes who could qualify for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be completed by the end of November,” the IOC said. The IOC panel did not give details of the evidence Wednesday. McLaren has said that glass sample bottles were scratched when broken into, and in some cases clean urine used to cover up doping was tampered with, revealing unnatural levels of salt and even DNA from the wrong gender.Legkov’s gold medal was a marquee Russian success at the Sochi Olympics, which was a national priority for President Vladimir Putin and cost $51 billion to prepare for and host.The cross-country skier won gold in the individual 50-kilometer freestyle race in a Russian podium sweep on the last day of competition. The Russian trio received their medals in the main Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony. Legkov had earlier taken silver in the 4×10-kilometer relay.Legkov said last year he had never failed a doping test, claiming he was tested so often that he couldn’t have doped without being caught.“You’d have to be a complete kamikaze to do that in Russia if you’re an athlete representing our nation,” Legkov said then.ADVERTISEMENT Spurs bring back Tony Parker after rehab stint in G-League Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set MOST READ The 34-year-old Legkov also has two medals from the world championships — a silver and a bronze in relay races — plus nine individual victories on the World Cup circuit. He now faces a ban by the International Ski Federation.Skiing’s governing body said its doping panel will wait until the IOC gives all six verdicts, which it expected next week. FIS set a target of Nov. 24 — when the cross-country World Cup season starts — to make progress.Legkov also threatened to file a libel lawsuit against Rodchenkov, the former lab director who is the key witness to the Sochi conspiracy claims.At his news conference last year, Legkov spoke alongside then-Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh, who stepped down after he was accused by McLaren of helping to cover up doping.The Russian government says it has never supported drug use by athletes.Russia now risks losing its place atop the Sochi medal tables, with second-place Norway set to be upgraded for medals in each of the men’s cross-country ski events affected by doping. Norwegians Petter Northug and Martin Johnsrud Sundby could each be awarded two medals.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? 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Jetstar Asia outperformed other Qantas businesses in January this year by almost doubling the number of passengers carried for the month compared to the corresponding period last year.A preliminary monthly report released by Qantas found that Jetstar Asia welcomed a 48 percent increase in passenger movements during the month, up from 219,000 to 324,000.The budget airline’s Australian domestic operations climbed by 4.3 percent from 962,000 to 1,003,000 while its international business escalated by 18.4 percent from 377,000 to 446,000 passengers.The Australian flag carrier’s domestic operations also picked up in January this year by 2.2 percent from 1,251,000 to 1,278,000.In total the Group including Qantas International and QantasLink saw a 8.3 percent increase in passengers for the month. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J