Review Category : National Sports

IOC Upholds Olympic Ban on Russia’s Track and Field Athletes

iStock/Thinkstock(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that it has upheld the ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Russia’s track and field athletes.

Meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne, the IOC said that the widespread doping allegations in Russia casts “very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence” on Russian athletes and every athlete from the country who wants to compete in the Olympics will have to undergo an individual doping evaluation from an independent lab before being allowed to compete.

Although some Russian media and officials had pinned hopes on the IOC intervening in the ban, most indications were that the Olympic body would affirm the IAAF decision. On Saturday, the IOC released a statement that it “fully respected” the IAAF decision and said it accepted the IAAF’s right to determine athletes’ eligibility to compete.

Many Russians feel the doping investigations and the Olympic ban are part of a political campaign to punish Russia. The country’s sports minister told Interfax that athletes were “hostages of these political decisions, and of the pressure that’s being exerted on the country.”

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Friday called the IAAF decision “unfair.”

The ban comes amid suggestions that all Russian athletes, including those outside of track and field, could be banned from the Rio Games if a new World Anti-Doping Agency investigation finds that a doping coverup took place at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

Ahead of the meeting, Russian officials warned that they were not hoping for anything from the IOC summit. Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, in an interview with the news agency Interfax, said he was not expecting “any kind of decisions” from the IOC, which he said was not empowered to lift the bar on Russia’s track and field athletes.

On Friday, the IAAF said that it was keeping a “very tiny crack” open for clean Russian athletes to still compete in Rio, but it was insistent it would not be under the Russian colors. The body said a very small number of Russian athletes could be permitted to compete under “a neutral flag” if they can prove they were not “tainted” by the systemic doping in the country and were also able to present clean tests taken outside of Russia. Some Russian officials have expressed hopes that the IOC might somehow act to widen this opening.

The IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, has previously suggested athletes with an independently proven test record could be allowed to compete as individuals. Some Russian athletes have said they would consider this option, although others have already ruled it out, including the two-time Olympic champion, pole-vaulter, Elena Isinbaeva.

Russia’s track and field athletes were first suspended in November, after the World Anti-Doping Agency published a damning report accusing the country of running a sprawling coverup of doping, supported by the F.S.B. security service. The country committed to fixing its anti-doping procedures, but after a six-month evaluation, an IAAF commission found a “deep-rooted culture of doping” still existed in Russia and that it was still too difficult to be sure which athletes were not part of it.

While they waited to learn their fate, Russia’s track and field athletes were competing today at the country’s national championships, which coincided with the IOC meeting. Held in the sleepy provincial city of Cheboksary, about 400 miles from Moscow, the event is normally the final qualifying event for Russia’s Olympic team selection.

In light of the ban though, pained uncertainty hung over the event. Athletes, with the words “Fair Play” printed on their competition numbers, pressed for qualifying results in front of a small crowd.

“You can probably compare it to the explosion of an atom bomb, just without human casualties,” said Lyukman Adams, a triple jumper, who won a silver medal at the 2014 European Championships. “One thousand four hundred days of preparation and in one day it’s all finished.”

Sergey Shubenkov, the world champion in the 110m hurdlers, told reporters he was trying not think about the ban while he ran. “I’m concentrating on my race,” he said, after completing a qualifying heat.

Shubenkov, who has run the hurdles in under 13 seconds, was among Russia’s best medal hopes.

Adams, echoing several other Russia athletes, said Russia’s track and field federation should now appeal the IAAF ban in court.

There are indications that the track and field ban could yet become a complete ban on Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics. On Monday, Craig Reedie, WADA’s president hinted the body was considering recommending all Russian athletes be barred if a new investigation into allegations of a cover up at the Sochi Olympics showed them to be true. Reedie said he inclined to create a “precedent-setting” opportunity if that happened, the Guardian reported.

In Cheboksary’s stadium, spectators seconded those views.

“There’s no chance of us going to the Olympics, because nobody wants us there,” said Andrei Foren, who was watching his daughter train at the stadium, wearing a T-shirt branded with a photograph of Putin sailing a speedboat. “They’ve united against us.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Dwyane Wade Talks ESPN’s Body Issue, Insecurities and Marriage

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Dwyane Wade is a three-time NBA champion married to one of the most accomplished women on the planet and an icon trying his hands at several successful business ventures.

But the 12-time All-Star is still human and, like everyone else, has insecurities.

It was just announced that Wade, 34, will be on the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s Body Issue, and you’d think that for someone who has dominated in front of millions of fans, posing sans clothes would be a piece of cake. But you’d be wrong.

Wade — one of the most in-demand athletes on the planet — was approached about the issue, focused on self growth and empowerment, several times. He passed without a second thought for almost seven years.

“It wasn’t like even, ‘Maybe,'” he told ABC News. “It was like, ‘Absolutely not’ every time. I just wasn’t comfortable with the notion of posing naked in front of a photographer. It never was something I thought I wanted to do…. A lot of people say, ‘You’re a professional athlete, how could you not embrace your body?’ But it was from a lot of insecurities in my life growing up in a kid.”

The Chicago native spoke about “feelings inside that people don’t get to see” that stem from his upbringing, “being from the broken home that I was from.”

“Even though you become great at a sport, people cheer you on, those insecurities don’t necessarily wash themselves away,” he said.

Wade “still doesn’t know” what changed his mind this year, but he has an idea of where some of this personal growth has come from — his wife, Gabrielle Union.

“When I got married to my wife … I would never walk around on vacation with my shirt off. I would always have something on, something covered and she was like, ‘What are you doing, you weirdo?'” he said. “It took me a few years, even by myself in the house walking around naked.”

Over almost two years of marriage, Wade said his relationship with his actress, model and activist wife has solidified his view of the “purpose” of such a union, “to help each other grow as people.”

“I think we’ve both done that for each other,” he said. “I get to see a different side of her no one else does and her insecurities, and she gets to know mine as well. We go out and are public figures, so we share that [with the world] but we don’t share it all…. I think that’s one of the things that drove me to be in a relationship with her and even get married…. I felt that she has been helping me be a better person.”

But Union, 43, is also Wade’s “best friend,” and he knows the two will always be connected in that way.

The shoot itself is something Wade describes as “one of the most uncomfortable shoots I’ve ever done,” but added that ESPN went above and beyond to make him feel better about the situation.

“When I got done, I felt still uncomfortable and when it comes out, I think I’ll still be uncomfortable, but inside, I felt this sigh of relief that I once again overcame something that I feared and I tried something that I never thought I would six or seven years ago,” he said.

As Wade transitions into the next stage of his career, he’s begun to expand his interests outside of basketball. His appearance in the Body Issue is connected with a new line of underwear, the Wade X Naked collection — another milestone for a man who never saw himself working in such a capacity.

He knows “you never replace 20,000 people screaming your name,” but “I’m doing everything to work on the future, things that are coming that I want to do and things that I didn’t even know I wanted to do.”

One of Wade’s role models outside the game is Magic Johnson, who has made as big, if not a bigger, name for himself post-basketball through TV, franchise ownership with Starbucks and much more. He’s one of the most successful businessmen on the planet. He’s also an NBA legend.

“I don’t know what I want to do when I’m done, but I know when I’m done, there’s gong to be a lot of options ’cause I’m going to make sure I put myself in the right position,” he said.

ESPN The Magazine Body Issue hits newsstands on July 8.

ABC News and ESPN are both part of Disney Co.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Scoreboard Roundup — 6/20/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Chi. White Sox 3, Boston 1/10 innings
Cleveland 7, Tampa Bay 4
Detroit 8, Seattle 7/12 innings
Texas 4, Baltimore 2
Houston 10, Anaheim 7

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Pittsburgh 1, San Francisco 0
Colorado 5, Florida 3
Arizona 3, Philadelphia 1
St. Louis 3, Chi. Cubs 2
Los Angeles 4, Washington 1

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Weapons and Drug Charges Dropped Against University of Alabama Football Players

iStock/Thinkstock(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — Two University of Alabama football players will not be prosecuted for weapons and drug charges.

The Ouachita Parish (La.) district attorney’s office said in a filing Monday that there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute for the charges for left tackle Cam Robinson and for safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones, according to ESPN.

Robinson faced charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and illegal possession of a stolen firearm, and for Jones, possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

The two football players were arrested on May 17 in Monroe, Louisiana, after police said they found a bag of marijuana and a stolen handgun.

“I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning,” district attorney Jerry Jones told KNOE-TV.

The University of Alabama has not yet announced any punishment for Robinson and Jones.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Serena Williams Comes Clean About Her Cameo in Beyonce’s ‘Sorry’ Video

Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Serena Williams surprised a lot of folks, including her close friend and fellow competitor Caroline Wozniacki, when she popped up in Beyonce’s music video “Sorry.”

“I’ve known Bey for a long time,” Williams told WSJ., the Wall Street Journal’s magazine.

In the video, Williams dances alongside the pop star.

The tennis star confessed to the magazine, which features her on the cover, “I got really sore from dancing!”

She added that she had to stay mum about the project for months.

“If you tell me, ‘Don’t say anything,’ I won’t say anything,” Williams said.

Wozniacki can vouch for that. “She really kept it a secret,” said Wozniacki, who didn’t know about Williams’ involvement in the video until she saw it.

“Sorry,” about an apparently unfaithful man and his mistress, is best known for its line, “He better call Becky with the good hair.”

Although Williams was happy to appear in the video for the song, her favorite song to dance to is far more vintage: “Conga,” by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Exclusive: Dwyane Wade Calls LeBron James’ Finals Win ‘Phenomenal’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — LeBron James was able to bring an NBA championship to Cleveland Sunday night, ending the city’s 52-year drought without a major sports title.

It wasn’t the first win in the NBA finals for King James, who won two rings with the Miami Heat, but this victory was different as James, 31, brought the title to his hometown and the city he came back to for this very reason.

Dwyane Wade, James’ teammate in Miami during those title years in South Beach, spoke to ABC News Monday about being there to root on his dear friend and former colleague.

James poured his heart out on live TV after the win, yelling to the crowd, “This is for Cleveland,” while crying tears of joy and claiming a finals MVP trophy.

Wade, 34, couldn’t be prouder, adding he’s personally gone to the finals every year since 2006, “to feel what it’s like to get there and be in the finals. I want to visualize myself being there … being a fan of the game, a game 7, that’s what you play all year for. For that moment.”

Wade said James bringing the trophy to his hometown was “phenomenal.”

“To watch two teams put it all out on the line, the energy of the crowd, the atmosphere … [and] being able to watch Lebron, he’s one of my best friends, knowing that he came back from 3-1, it’s never been done,” Wade said about the intense final game of the series.

Salute to my brother @KingJames .. 3x Champion!!! #Brotherhood

— DWade (@DwyaneWade) June 20, 2016

The biggest blessing of all, of course, was “to win a championship in Cleveland,” Wade said.

“They hadn’t won a championship in 50-plus years, to bring that first championship to his team, to that city to that organization, was for me a cool moment to be there,” he added.

After the game, Wade let James bask in the glory, adding “it was his moment, it was about him.”

“In the arena, in that moment, I wanted to let him enjoy that,” he said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Cleveland Cavaliers Announce Championship Parade and Rally

Jason Miller/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — The 2016 NBA Champions won’t stop partying anytime soon.

The Cavaliers have announced they will celebrate their historic championship win in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday with a parade and a rally.

This after the team finally returned home Monday afternoon after their historic 93-89 win, showing off the Larry O’Brien trophy to hundreds of fans at Atlantic Aviation in Cleveland.

“Our fans, they ride or die, no matter what’s been going on, no matter the Browns, the Indians, the Cavs and all other sports teams,” said LeBron James, NBA Finals MVP, according to ESPN. “They continue to support us. And for us to be able to end this — end this drought — our fans deserve it. They deserve it. And it was for them. It’s going to be the biggest party Cleveland has ever seen.”

The Cavaliers also made a stop in Las Vegas after their victory in Oakland, California, where they partied at the XS Nightclub at the Encore casino.

The win marked the first time any NBA team had overcome a 3-1 deficit to become champions, and it was the city of Cleveland’s first major title since 1964.

🏆#OneForTheLand pic.twitter.com/LFhfbDMJQ5

— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 20, 2016

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Celebrities Congratulate Cleveland Cavaliers for Winning NBA Finals

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It was a history-making night when LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

In Sunday night’s Game 7, James scored 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to give the Cavs their first NBA Championship.

Many celebrities — including those who hail from the Ohio city — expressed their excitement on social media.

Here’s who took to the web to congratulate James, 31, and his team:

LeBron James with this championship sealed his legacy as one of the five greatest players to ever play this game!

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 20, 2016

CHAMPIONS!!!! From CLEVELAND!!! #CAVS Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! ❤️🙏🏻🍾

— Drew Carey (@DrewFromTV) June 20, 2016

Wow. One of the best finals ever. So proud of King James. Salute Warriors Happy Father’s Day to all.

— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) June 20, 2016

Lebron did it. Everybody be quiet.

Goodnight.

— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 20, 2016

Congrats #Cavs and #Cleveland #NBAFinals #nailbiter

— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) June 20, 2016

“I don’t know why the man above makes me take the hardest road.” @kingjames, making me cry. Congrats #Cleveland.

— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) June 20, 2016

The monkey’s off. #Believeland

— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) June 20, 2016

WEEPING TEARS OF JOY!!! #Cleveland YOU DID IT !!! @KingJames YOU DID IT!!!! 🍾🏀🏆🎉🎉🏀💥🍾🏆👑👑👑👑👑💋💋💋

— Darby Stanchfield (@darbysofficial) June 20, 2016

watch me go off off off!!!!!! Kongrats to da King and da BOYZ!!!!

— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) June 20, 2016

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Filling-In After Injury, Sam Hornish Jr. Wins at Iowa Speedway

Allen Kee / ESPN(NEWTON, Iowa) — The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was off this week, but XFINITY Series racing went on at Iowa Speedway.

Sam Hornish Jr. won the American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen on Sunday leading in 183 of the race’s 250 laps.

Hornish was competing in his first NASCAR race of the year, filling in for the injured Matt Tifft in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. It was Hornish’s fourth career XFINITY win and first since 2014.

The XFINITY Series stops next at Daytona International Speedway on July 1 for the Subway Firecracker 250 powered by Coca-Cola.

Sprint Cup racing returns next weekend with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Scoreboard Roundup — 6/19/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

INTERLEAGUE

Texas 5, St. Louis 4
San Francisco 5, Tampa Bay 1
Houston 6, Cincinnati 0

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Kansas City 2, Detroit 1/12 innings
Anaheim 2, Oakland 0
Cleveland 3, Chi. White Sox 2/10 innings
Baltimore 11, Toronto 6
Boston 2, Seattle 1
Minnesota 7, N.-Y. Yankees 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Los Angeles 2, Milwaukee 1
San Diego 6, Washington 3
Atlanta 6, N.-Y. Mets 0
Florida 3, Colorado 0
Arizona 5, Phildelphia 1
Chi. Cubs 10, Pittsburgh 5

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS

Cleveland 93, Golden State 89, Cleveland wins series 4 games to 3

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →