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National

  • Wanted by the IOC: A city to host the 2026 Winter Olympics

    PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Wanted: A city to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

    Getting bidders for the Olympics used to be easy. But no longer, and particularly for the Winter Games.

    Six European cities pulled out of official bids or possible bids when the IOC sought candidates a few years ago for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

    Cities balked over soaring costs, political unrest or a lack of public support as expressed in referendums.

    That left the IOC with only two proposals, both from authoritarian governments that backed cities devoid of winter sports traditions: Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China.

    Beijing narrowly won, but that set off alarms at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    “The 2022 (bidding) certainly highlighted the problems we were facing in attracting cities, particularly winter cities,” IOC member and former vice president John Coates said. “We had to do something to address the cost of the games. Increased costs have forced our hand.”

    Coates said the International Olympic Committee is doing a “total rethink” over the way the games are presented to potential bidders, and how they’re sold to the public.

  • Mother, daughter boxers in West Texas battle for victories

    EL PASO, Texas — The sacrifice is impossible to measure as the hours pile upon hours, the sweat fills bucket after bucket and even a bit of blood and possibly a tear or two accumulate in the hard knock, unforgiving journey that is boxing.

    But both the pain and the joy are best when shared. And no one can share it like daughter and mother and grandmother. The sport has slowly, gradually built an indelible bond between three generations.

    The El Paso Times reports Kayla Gomez is but 14 years old, just an eighth-grade student at Bel Air Middle School. But she is already a five year veteran of the demanding sport of boxing and she has already won six national championships and earned a spot on the U.S. National Team. She dreams of going to the Olympics and then going pro.

    Crystal Aceves is 32 and is also a five year veteran of the sport ... bringing her daughter Kayla with her when they decided to get serious about boxing. And no sport demands that you be serious more than the sweet science. Aceves has competed in three national tournaments and has two-second place finishes and one-third place.

    Cindy Aceves is mother and grandmother and coach and travel partner and confidant for the two in their fistic quest.

  • Canada leads after opening day of figure skating team event

    Patrick Chan stood emotionless in the middle of the ice after a shaky short program, one the three-time world champion thought had doomed Canada’s chances in the team event at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

    His teammates picked him up in more ways than one.

    Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford responded with a strong pairs program to cover Chan’s missteps and give Canada the lead over the United States, while the rest of the squad lifted his outlook considerably with the positive way they greeted him when he finally skated off the ice.

    “It’s hard for figure skaters to think outside, and not think of individual performances,” Chan said. “The reaction when I got off the ice made me go from being poor to being fun and lighthearted, and I thought we carried that energy over to the pairs.”

    The powerhouse Canadian squad, which is expected to challenge the Russians for the gold medal, finished with 17 points on the opening day of the figure skating program. The U.S. wound up with 14 points, followed by Japan and the Russians with 13 points apiece.

  • UNM track star named national athlete of the week

    New Mexico track and field student-athlete Josh Kerr was named Monday as NCAA Division I Men’s National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

    Kerr, a redshirt sophomore from Edinburgh, Scotland, ran a personal-record time of 3 minutes, 54.72 seconds to win the elite Wanamaker Mile at the 2018 NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday at The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in New York City.

    Racing against a field that included six Olympians, Kerr showed off his middle-distance acumen on arguably one of the most prominent stages in all of track and field, earning his second career National Athlete of the Week honor.

    His time of 3:54.72 makes him the fifth-fastest collegian in the mile run in NCAA history with the sixth-fastest mile time in NCAA history.

    After opening the race in the back half of the 12-runner field, Kerr rallied over the final stages of the race, moving from eighth at 800 meters to second at the line. He finished the final 200 meters in 27.69 seconds, the best split by any athlete over the entire race.

    He also nearly caught the eventual Wanamaker Mile winner Chris O’Hare at the line, as O’Hare won in 3:54.14.

  • 32 Russians appeal to CAS seeking Olympic spots

    Six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn and three former NHL players are among 32 Russian athletes who filed appeals Tuesday seeking spots at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

    The 32 athletes all failed to pass the mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting — imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics — and weren’t invited to the games, which begin later this week.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it would likely hear the case Wednesday in Pyeongchang.

    If the Russian athletes force the IOC to invite them, it would mean the medal contenders in some sports change dramatically only days before the games open on Friday.

    CAS added that as well as short-track speedskating great Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin.

    Also on the list are former NHL players Sergei Plotnikov, Anton Belov and Valeri Nichushkin, who had been considered possible candidates for the Russian team in Pyeongchang.

    If figure skater Ksenia Stolbova is invited, she could compete as soon as Friday morning in the pairs short program component of the team event.

    Some of the 32 Russians are already in Far East countries like Japan so they will be acclimatized and ready to travel to Pyeongchang if invited.

  • Georgia holds on this time to finish No. 1 in recruiting

    Georgia was not about to blow this lead.

    The Bulldogs, who let a 13-0 halftime advantage get away in a national championship game loss to Alabama, finished their 2018 recruiting class with a flourish and laid claim to the No. 1 ranking on national signing day.

    Georgia loaded up in the new early signing period and came into Wednesday’s start of the traditional signing period with the top-rated class, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings. Coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on the recruiting championship by flipping a pair of four-star linebackers, one who had been committed to Michigan (Otis Reese) and another who had been committed to Alabama (Quay Walker), and grabbing a highly touted wide receiver from Texas (Tommy Bush).

    Georgia also beat Miami and Alabama for star cornerback Tyson Campbell from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida.

    “It’s ridiculous,” said Mike Farrell, the national recruiting coordinator for Rivals. “The average star ranking is near historic levels.”

  • Prominent baseball agent suggests spring training boycott

    A prominent baseball agent says players are angered over the slow free-agent market and suggests they consider boycotting spring training.

    Brodie Van Wagenen, co-head of CAA Baseball, floated the idea in a statement released Friday, less than two weeks before spring training workouts are to start in Florida and Arizona.

    “The players are upset. No, they are outraged. Players in the midst of long-term contracts are as frustrated as those still seeking employment,” he said. “I would suggest that testing the will of 1,200 alpha males at the pinnacle of their profession is not a good strategy for 30 men who are bound by a much smaller fraternity.”
    J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Lance Lynn remain among the dozens of unsigned free agents.

    “There is a rising tide among players for radical change. A fight is brewing,” he said. “A boycott of spring training may be a starting point, if behavior doesn’t change. Players don’t receive their paychecks until the second week of April. Fine them? OK, for how much? Sue them? OK, they’ll see you in court two years from now.”

  • 28 Russians have Olympic doping bans lifted

    Twenty-eight Russian athletes had their Olympic doping bans overturned Thursday, throwing the International Olympic Committee’s policy on the country into turmoil.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling was set to reinstate seven Russian medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including gold in men’s skeleton and men’s 50-kilometer cross-country skiing.

    “This does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent, but in their case, due to insufficient evidence, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi are reinstated,” CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said in Pyeongchang.

    The IOC said it had taken note of the CAS decision “with satisfaction on the one hand and disappointment on the other,” adding the decision “may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping.”

    The 28 who had their bans lifted could now seek late entry into the Pyeongchang Olympics, but the IOC said “not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said the ruling “can’t fail to please us, and it confirms our position that the overwhelming majority of our athletes are clean athletes.”

  • Jones, Thome, Guerrero, Hoffman elected to baseball HOF

    Over 600 home runs. More than 600 saves. A .300 career average.

    In the age of baseball analytics, there’s still room in the Hall of Fame for big, round numbers you can count on.
    Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman were rewarded Wednesday, easily elected in the newest class headed for Cooperstown.

    “I don’t know how you tabulate or calculate WAR,” Jones said, referring to a sabermetric stat that didn’t exist for much of his career.

    “Yes, you can dig deeper,” he said. But he added: “What I want to see is batting average, on-base percentage, runs produced.”

    Designated hitter Edgar Martinez came close after a grass-roots campaign to promote him. Boosted by advanced metrics, he’ll get his last chance on the ballot next year.

    Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both tainted by the steroids scandal, edged up but again fell far short.

    A switch-hitter who batted .303 with 468 home runs, Jones was an eight-time All-Star third baseman for the Atlanta Braves.

  • Schwartz turned Eagles’ defense into one of NFL’s best

    Jim Schwartz inherited one of the NFL’s worst defenses and turned them into one of the best in less than two years.

    When coach Doug Pederson hired Schwartz to be the defensive coordinator in 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles were coming off three straight seasons ranked in the bottom four in yards allowed.

    Schwartz changed the scheme back to a 4-3 base and rebuilt the defense using many of the same players left from the old regime.

    He also brought a swagger that’s reflected in his players.

    Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, two-time Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Beau Allen, and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were part of the unit that struggled under former coach Chip Kelly and former defensive coordinator Billy Davis.

    But they’ve thrived under Schwartz because his system fits their skills.

    “He always puts us in great position to make plays,” Jenkins said.
    Schwartz made an immediate impact last season, helping the defense go from 30th in yards allowed and 28th in points to 13th and 12th, respectively.

    This season, they ranked fourth in both categories and had the league’s No. 1 run defense.