• Holm on Rousey’s suicidal thoughts: “I’ve never been there”

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — While Holly Holm felt compassion after learning Ronda Rousey had suicidal thoughts following their bout last year, the UFC bantamweight champion is fairly certain Rousey wouldn’t want her sympathy.
    Holm stopped Rousey with a head kick in November after dominating their bout for a stunning upset.
    In a recent interview on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, Rousey said she had suicidal thoughts shortly after her title reign ended.
    “I don’t ever take anything like that lightly,” Holm said. “I’ve never been in that position. I’m probably the worst person to ask for advice on that. I definitely don’t want to sit here and say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ because I know for me, I (have) a competitive mind, and I’m confident that Ronda is the same, that you don’t really want sympathy from the one that created this. That almost makes it even more frustrating.”
    Rousey said the thoughts were only momentary, and she intends to fight again. She is expected to get an eventual rematch with Holm, who is preparing for her first title defense against Miesha Tate at UFC 196 in Las Vegas on March 5.

  • Udall secures safety provisions for youth sports

    WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations and Commerce committees, announced that the president has signed into law as part of the “omnibus” appropriations measure several sports safety provisions that Udall has championed to help protect youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries. Udall has led efforts in Congress to improve equipment safety standards and curb false advertising claims, focusing on ensuring parents, coaches and players have the information they need to make important decisions about how to prevent head injuries.

  • Skiers Cup riders announced for showdown

    Lausanne, Switzerland — The highly-anticipated roster of Skiers Cup team riders is finally available to the public after the two team captains have meticulously selected some of the finest riders in the world to compete on the slopes of Grandvalira, Andorra from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4. The sixth of edition of the Skiers Cup will take advantage of the picture-perfect freeride terrain of the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees.
    With a long history of progression and high-level freeskiing, this event takes a unique format where two continents (Europe vs. Americas) will face each other in two classic disciplines: big-mountain (freeride) and backcountry slopestyle (tricks off kickers and natural jumps). Team captains are sure to select riders that have the necessary skills to round-out a versatile team capable of excelling in both disciplines. The 16 riders comprising two teams face each other over two days, with one discipline per day, and two rounds per discipline for each pair of riders. The winners for each round will be determined and the points will be summed for a grand total of 32 possible points.

  • Olympic teams to swim, boat in Rio’s filth

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Athletes in next year's Summer Olympics here will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games, an Associated Press investigation has found.
    An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
    It is the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites.
    Brazilian officials have assured that the water will be safe for the Olympic athletes and the medical director of the International Olympic Committee said all was on track for providing safe competing venues. But neither the government nor the IOC tests for viruses, relying on bacteria testing only.
    Extreme water pollution is common in Brazil, where the majority of sewage is not treated. Raw waste runs through open-air ditches to streams and rivers that feed the Olympic water sites.

  • Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz and Biggio ready to enter Hall

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Three dominated on the mound, the other excelled at three positions up the middle. Together, pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and multi-talented Craig Biggio left a remarkable imprint on baseball.
    Playing through an era tainted by steroids and dominated by offense — compliments of bulked-up sluggers, a smaller strike zone and smaller ballparks — the trio of pitchers combined for 735 wins, 11,113 strikeouts and nine Cy Young Awards. And the indefatigable Biggio became the only player in major league history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs while being asked to play four positions in his 20-year career.
    All four, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, will be inducted Sunday in Cooperstown.
    "I don't condone anybody doing anything bad as far as cheating the game," said Martinez, who joins former Giants right-hander Juan Marichal (1983) as the only natives of the Dominican Republic elected to the hall. "How did I feel pitching in the juice era? I wouldn't want it any other way. For me, there's no crying. I mean, as far as the way I did compete, I know I did it right. I did it the right way."

  • Brady vows to fight on; Kraft says he regrets not doing so

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady vowed on Wednesday to fight his four-game "Deflategate" suspension, and team owner Robert Kraft opened training camp by saying he continues to "believe and unequivocally support" the three-time Super Bowl MVP.
    "It is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players, and a man for whom I have the utmost respect," Kraft said. "I was wrong to put my faith in the league."
    Taking the podium a day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Brady's suspension, Kraft said he didn't fight the team's penalty — a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks — because he thought the league would go easy on the star quarterback.
    Now, he said, he regrets his decision.
    "I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just," Kraft said, apologizing to fans and to Brady. "I truly believe that what I did in May ... would make it much easier for the league to exonerate Tom Brady. Unfortunately, I was wrong."
    The NFL Players Association said later Wednesday that it will file a lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota challenging the punishment.

  • Rockies, Blue Jays swap star shortstops

    DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays have swapped star shortstops.
    The teams confirmed the blockbuster trade Tuesday that sends Jose Reyes and right-handed pitchers Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco to the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki and right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
    Both shortstops have remarkably similar career statistics but also a history of injuries.
    Tulowitzki is a five-time All-Star and a career .299 hitter. He's hitting .300 this season. At 32, the speedy Reyes is two years older than Tulowitzki. He's a lifetime .291 hitter and is hitting .285 this season.
    Reyes, a four-time All-Star, is signed through 2017 on a $106 million, six-year contract he received from Miami.
    Before the 2011 season, Colorado made a big commitment to Tulowitzki by agreeing to a contract that guaranteed him $132 million over seven seasons from 2014-20. The deal included a $14 million team option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout.
    Combined with his previous deal, it meant the Rockies agreed to pay Tulowitzki $157.75 million over 10 years. The plan was to build around him and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who signed an $80 million, seven-year contract about the same time.

  • 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.