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National

  • Japan to start from scratch on Tokyo Olympic stadium plan

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan scrapped the design of the Olympic stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Games because of soaring costs Friday and said it will reopen bidding for a new plan, in a stunning reversal that leaves the 2019 Rugby World Cup without a main venue.

    "We have decided to go back to the start on the Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium plan, and start over from zero," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after a meeting with Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee. "The cost has ballooned just too much."

    The government has been under mounting criticism as the estimated cost of the new National Stadium rose to 252 billion yen ($2 billion), nearly twice as much as the initial estimate of 130 billion yen.

    Abe said he secured the consent of Mori, a former prime minister, and instructed the sports and Olympics ministers to immediately prepare a process to choose a new stadium plan.

    "I have been listening to the voices of the people and the athletes for about a month now, thinking about the possibility of a review," Abe said. "We will minimize the cost as much as we can and make one that is best and realistic."

  • Tokyo Olympic venue shaping up as world's costliest stadium

    TOKYO (AP) — When the dust settles on the marquee venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, it could well be the most expensive sports stadium in the world.
    The latest cost estimate of 252 billion yen ($2 billion at current exchange rates) would push it beyond the current record-holder, the $1.6 billion MetLife stadium completed in 2010 for the New York Jets and Giants football teams.
    What is the money buying? The design of the stadium's ribbed roof on huge steel arches resembles a bicycle helmet. To support a natural grass field, the roof's southern end will be translucent to let in sunlight and underground will be soil ventilation and temperature control systems. Movable seats will bring the crowd closer for more intimate events, and this being Japan, the stadium will have earthquake-resistant features.
    While exchange rate fluctuations and inflation make comparisons tricky, it is safe to say that Japan's new National Stadium will likely to be the most expensive ever built, two sports economists told The Associated Press. The latest estimate was a 55 percent increase over an earlier one of 163 billion yen.

  • World Cup moments distanced women from FIFA scandal

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — For a few moments over the past month, the Women's World Cup seemed to push aside the FIFA scandal that is simmering a half planet away.

    Those moments came on the pitch: From upstart Cameroon crashing the party in the knockout stage, to England's fantastic run, to host Canada's tournament-opening victory on star Christine Sinclair's stoppage-time penalty kick.

    And of course, Carli Lloyd's hat trick in a 5-2 victory for the United States in the final against Japan.

    Despite the controversy over the artificial turf and questions about who would present the championship trophy, the Women's World Cup was a resounding success, setting records for attendance and TV ratings. The corruption case enveloping the sport's world governing body at least temporarily took a backseat to the Beautiful Game.

    In many ways, FIFA can thank the Americans.

    The second-ranked U.S. women started out the month-long tournament across Canada as one of the favorites, but there were questions along the way about a sputtering offense and U.S. coach Jill Ellis' tactics.

  • U.S. beats Germany, heads to WWC final

    MONTREAL (AP) — Carli Lloyd remembers putting the ball on its spot and shutting out the noise of more than 51,000 anxious fans.
    Then she blasted that ball into the back of the net.
    Lloyd’s penalty kick got the United States on the board, and the Americans went on to a 2-0 victory over top-ranked Germany in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday night.
    Lloyd’s penalty kick in the 69th minute went into the right side of the goal less than 10 minutes after Celia Sasic shot wide on a penalty kick for Germany.
    Kelley O’Hara came in off the bench and scored in the 85th minute, delighting the pro-American crowd.
    Hope Solo posted her fifth straight shutout, continuing a dominant run for the American defense.
    The United States also had several good scoring chances from the start.
    Julie Johnston missed on a header off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan’s breakaway in the 15th minute was stopped by goaltender Nadine Angerer.
    The U.S. will play the winner of No. 4 Japan, the defending champion, and No. 6 England in the final on Sunday.

  • U.S. reaches World Cup semis

    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The United States defeated China 1-0 on Carli Lloyd’s goal in the 51st minute Friday.
    The win sends the second-ranked Americans to a semifinal on Tuesday in Montreal against top-ranked Germany.
    Germany beat France on penalty kicks after a 1-all tie in the quarters.

    Turf troubles

  • Big nights for the biggest markets in NBA draft

    NEW YORK (AP) — From coast to coast, the NBA draft was a big night for the biggest markets.
    The Los Angeles Lakers tabbed their next potential superstar in D’Angelo Russell.
    The New York Knicks landed a pair of players in the first round, selecting Kristaps Porzingis and later acquiring the rights to Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant.
    Both teams are coming off their worst seasons in their histories and hoping the turnarounds started Thursday.
    Russell is ready to do his part.
    “I’m here, and I’m ready to make an impact right away,” the Ohio State point guard said.
    A little surprised to go second after Duke center Jahlil Okafor had long been considered the player at that spot, Russell received big cheers when Commissioner Adam Silver called his name.
    The boos were loud and long two picks later when the Knicks took the 19-year-old Latvian forward. But the announcement of the Grant trade had New York fans who packed Brooklyn’s Barclays Center roaring in approval of Phil Jackson’s moves.
    Porzingis had said repeatedly he hoped to be picked by the Knicks — including to Grant.
    “I kind of smiled and laughed and shook my head, not realizing that I’d be his teammate a few hours later,” Grant said.
    ___

  • Okafor, others to get their answers in NBA draft

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor’s wait is almost over.
    The NBA draft is Thursday night, and the Duke big man will be one of the top picks. He said Wednesday he wished he already knew his destination.
    “I’d be able to sleep better at night if I did. I have no idea,” he said. “It’s been a long process, a lot of fun, but I’m ready for it to be over with so I’ll know where I’m going to be playing.”
    He’s had it much easier than many fellow draft candidates. He worked out for just Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers, who own the top two selections.
    But Okafor and fellow center Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky were on TV so much that there wasn’t much left for them to show teams, anyway. Even while finishing up his pro season in Spain, Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis was able to evaluate them.
    “They are good players,” he said, “very athletic, very big, so they’re very talented.”
    Philadelphia picks third for the second straight year, followed by New York and Orlando. Sacramento, Denver, Detroit, Charlotte and Miami round out the top 10.
    Here are some things to watch at Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

  • Manziel says 'Johnny Football' overtook him

    BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Football became more than Johnny Manziel could handle.
    "It just overtook who I was as a person," the Browns quarterback said Wednesday.
    Speaking to the media for the first time since spending 10 weeks in a rehab facility, the polarizing Manziel said he's hoping to move past a regrettable chapter in his life. While he didn't divulge the reasons for his stay in a Pennsylvania substance-abuse facility, Manziel acknowledged he got caught up trying to live up to a persona he helped create.
    "I think at times Johnny Football probably took over me a little bit and I bought into that," Manziel said following the team's second mandatory mini-camp practice. "I didn't do my best to hush things down, push down the hype. At times I welcomed it with immaturity and just accepted that a little bit — and that's my fault."
    One of the changes the former Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M intends to make is scrapping his trademark money sign, when he rubs his fingers together after a big play.
    "The money sign will not be back," he said. "I will not be making it out there."

  • Deep and versatile, Warriors show how to build a champion

    CLEVELAND (AP) — Andre Iguodala was more than just a key player on a team that beat LeBron James and Cleveland.
    Turns out he used to beat up on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
    "We beat the first unit more times than they beat us, and I think it was by a landslide," Iguodala said.
    So good, so deep that the MVP of the NBA Finals never started a game all season, the Warriors built the kind of squad that can compete for many NBA titles.
    And when they were in trouble trying to win this one, down 2-1 in the series, they inserted Iguodala into the lineup. He responded with the same defensive effort he had been providing against James along with unsuspected offense, including 25 points Tuesday in the Game 6 clincher.
    "He was great the entire series. But he saved this season for us," Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "I always say Andre's a pro's pro. He's a professional guy, and it showed, and that's why he's the MVP of this series, and that's why we're champions."
    One of the reasons, anyway.

  • Chicago Blackhawks win 3rd Stanley Cup title in 6 years

    CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Crawford threw his gloves off and ditched his helmet as the Chicago Blackhawks poured onto the ice and swarmed the goaltender at one end of the frenzied United Center.
    And just like that, the celebration was on. The marquee at Wrigley Field had a congratulatory message for the Stanley Cup champions, and there were fireworks and honking horns all over Chicago.
    Call it a Windy City party 77 years in the making.
    Duncan Keith scored in the second period and led a dominant defense that shut down Tampa Bay's high-scoring attack, and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 on Monday for their third NHL title in the past six seasons.
    Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, helping the Blackhawks clinch the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938. Crawford, who was pulled from Chicago's first-round series against Nashville, had 25 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout.
    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the Blackhawks a dynasty, and the delirious crowd of 22,424 agreed wholeheartedly.
    "We won it for each other, for the city," captain Jonathan Toews said. "In so many ways, winning a championship like this in our home city, I think it really transcends the sport. Everyone wants to be a part of it. It's amazing."