Review Category : National Sports

Gabby Douglas Set to Judge the Miss America Pageant

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Gabby Douglas is going from being judged on her performance, to being a judge herself.

The Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast has signed on as one of the celebrity judges in the 2017 Miss America pageant.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Douglas will join an all-star panel of judges that includes singer-actress Laura Marano.

“Miss America has been such an amazing event for so many years and I am excited to have the opportunity to judge the competition this year,” Douglas says in a statement from the Miss America organization. “The contestants are a great example of strong women across America and I especially look forward to hearing the platforms that each of them will represent.”

The 2017 Miss America competition will air live from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall Sunday, Sept. 11 on ABC.

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Claressa Shields Says Her Historic Olympic Gold Medals ‘Not a Game’

ABC News(RIO DE JANEIRO) — Claressa Shields made history at the 2016 Olympics as the first U.S. boxer since 1904 to win two Olympic gold medals in the sport, and she wants everyone to know she’s not slowing down anytime soon.

“I wanted to let people know and let it be remembered that I am the two-time Olympic gold medalist,” Shields, 21, said on ABC News’ Good Morning America Monday of why she proudly held up her gold medal from London four years ago alongside her shiny new bling in Rio.

“I won the Olympics when I was 17, I won the Olympics when I was 21. This is not a game, this is not a joke. I can really fight,” she added. “I train hard and I got both my gold medals. It was a surprise for everybody, though. I even shocked myself when I pulled it out.”

Shields’ historic win didn’t come without its challenges, though. In between the London Olympic Games and the Rio Olympic games, she went an entire year without a coach.

“The separation of my coach, Jason Crutchfield … it taught me to be stronger by myself,” she explained.

“I went without a coach for one year where I was just training myself. And 2014 is when I decided we’ll go and make this quest for the Olympic Games, and I had just won a world championship and I did that training on my own,” she recalled. “So to get that 2016 Olympics and have all the support that I had was great, and I’m glad that I did it and, you know, maybe 2020, who knows.”

The Flint, Michigan, native now hopes to inspire younger children to know they can follow in her successful footsteps.

“Those kids who are like me and come from a similar background, to tell them that they can make it,” Shields said. “I want to start a few programs where I go and I speak and we actually have places for the kids to come. It’s not like an after-school program, but a program where they learn how to navigate their life out of school.”

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Scoreboard Roundup — 8/21/16

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

INTERLEAGUE

Milwaukee 7, Seattle 6

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Houston 5, Baltimore 3
Detroit 10, Boston 5
Cleveland 3, Toronto 2
Tampa Bay 8, Texas 4
Chi White Sox 4, Oakland 2
Kansas City 2, Minnesota 1
L.A. Angels 2, N-Y Yankees 0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado 11, Chi Cubs 4
San Diego 9, Arizona 1
N-Y Mets 2, San Francisco 0
L.A. Dodgers 4, Cincinnati 0
Atlanta 7, Washington 6, 10 Innings
St. Louis 9, Philadelphia 0
Miami 3, Pittsburgh 2

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Kevin Harvick Wins Rain-Delayed Race at Bristol

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(BRISTOL, Tenn.) — Kevin Harvick triumphed Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway on what was a rainy weekend.

He was victorious in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, which began Saturday night but was halted due to rain. He led for 128 laps.

It’s Harvick’s second Sprint Cup win of the season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher.

Here are the top 10 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, held at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Austin Dillon
5. Chris Buescher
6. Carl Edwards
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Jamie McMurray
9. AJ Allmendinger
10. Joey Logano

Here’s an updated look at the Cup standings:

1. Kevin Harvick — 762 points.
2. Brad Keselowski — 735 points.
3. Kurt Busch — 692 points.
4. Carl Edwards — 689 points.
5. Joey Logano — 684 points.
6. Kyle Busch — 674 points.
7. Denny Hamlin — 659 points.
8. Martin Truex Jr. — 630 points.
9. Jimmie Johnson — 612 points.
10. Matt Kenseth — 604 points.
11. Austin Dillon — 596 points.
12. Chase Elliott — 588 points.
13. Jamie McMurray — 583 points.
14. Ryan Newman — 576 points.
15. Trevor Bayne — 541 points.
16. Kasey Kahne — 537 points.

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Ryan Lochte Says ‘My Mistake Was Over-Exaggerating’

Clive Rose/Getty Images(RIO DE JANEIRO) — Embattled American Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte said in a new interview that his “mistake was over-exaggerating” the story about being held up at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. but he stopped short of admitting lying.

“I just over-exaggerate part of it, the very first part, I was very intoxicated,” he told Brazil’s main broadcaster Globo. “I was a a little frightened, having a gun pointed to you.

“My mistake was over-exaggerating what really happened,” he said.

When he was asked whether he thought he was lying, he said: “I wasn’t lying to a certain extent. I over-exaggerated what was happened.”

Lochte claimed during the games that he and three other swimmers were held up at gunpoint after leaving a party and one of the claims he made was that a gun was cocked and pointed at his forehead.

He has since back-pedaled on his story, telling NBC News’ Matt Lauer in a clip posted online that although a gun was drawn during the incident, it was not pointed at his head.

“That didn’t happen,” he said. “The gun was drawn but not at my forehead.”

Police said Lochte’s story was a fabrication and that the Olympians were not robbed and were not victims. Rather, they alleged that the Olympians vandalized a bathroom at a gas station and were confronted by armed security guards.

In the interview with Lauer, Lochte, who returned home to Charlotte, North Carolina, appeared to concede that he knew that the guards were demanding payment for the damage done, not robbing them.

“Yeah, so then we had to give the money,” he told Lauer. But he also said he “couldn’t answer” whether the men were being robbed.

Lochte, who said he “had too much to drink” that night, maintained that he and the other athletes were frightened because a gun was involved.

Police in Rio de Janeiro recommended that Lochte and his teammate James Feigen be charged with false reporting. Feigen donated approximately $11,000 to charity to avoid prosecution.

Lochte’s two other teammates, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, returned home after giving statements to police and allege that Lochte pulled a poster off the gas station wall, sparking a confrontation with armed guards.

In a previous statement, Lochte has apologized for his behavior in a statement and said that he was traumatized by being out in a foreign country with a language barrier and having a stranger point a gun at him and demand money.

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US Olympic CEO Promises Further Action on Lochte and Three Other Swimmers

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images(RIO DE JANEIRO) — U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun announced Sunday that further action is coming in the case of star swimmer Ryan Lochte and his three teammates whose story of a robbery at gunpoint grabbed headlines around the world.

Blackmun at a daily media briefing gave no specifics on what possible disciplinary action may be taken, but he made no effort to hide his frustration with the matter.

“They let down the other athletes; they let down Americans; and they let down our hosts in Rio,” Blackmun said of Lochte, a 12-time medalist, and the other three swimmers. “We are going to have further action on this when we get back to the United States.”

The Olympic committee CEO said, “The lesson learned [from the Lochte incident] is that you’re on a big stage. The things that you do are going to be magnified, and the mistakes that you make are going to be really … they’re going to have a light shine on them in a way that’s going to make it very, very difficult for you to overcome.”

Lochte originally said last weekend that he and his teammates were the victims of an an armed robbery.

But, according to police, the four swimmers vandalized a bathroom after a night of partying and armed guards confronted them and asked them to pay for the damage.

In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer Saturday, he said he “over-exaggerated” the story.

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Great Olympians Who May Not Return to Compete at 2020 Tokyo Games

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro officially end Sunday, and while some athletes will soon begin preparing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, that is not true for all.

Here are some of the great and notable athletes who may not return for another Olympics.

Gabby Douglas

U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas stole the show at the 2012 London games, becoming the first American to ever win gold in both the team and individual all-around at the same Olympics. But, Douglas’ experience in Rio de Janeiro didn’t go as smoothly. She first failed to qualify for the individual all-around competition and then finished seventh overall in the uneven bars final.

The 20-year-old was also criticized on social media for not placing her hand over her heart during the playing of the U.S. national anthem and later for appearing to not support teammates Simon Biles and Aly Raisman during their all-around final events.

“I have no regrets coming back for a second Olympic team,” she said after the uneven bars final. “It’s been an amazing experience. It’s been teaching me a lot.”

Douglas will walk away from Rio with a gold for the team all-around event for the second time in a row. Since gymnasts typically retire young, 20-year-old Douglas is not expected to return to the Tokyo games in 2020. But, teammate Raisman, 22, may make the trip. She told the Associated Press that she is in “even better” shape than in 2012 and that she gets “better with age.

Oscar Figueroa

Colombian weightlifter Oscar Figueroa made headlines after becoming the first from his country ever to win the gold medal for the 62 kilogram featherweight event.

After the first-place win, a visibly emotional Figueroa retired on the spot — removing his shoes and walking away from the platform after taking a moment to kiss one of the weights.

Rio marked the 33-year-old’s fourth Olympic games. In London in 2012, he won the silver medal in the 62 kilogram featherweight event.

Serena Williams

While tennis superstar Serena Williams hasn’t publicly ruled out a trip to Tokyo in 2020, it’s not inconceivable that the 34-year-old could skim what would be her fifth Olympic games.

In addition to her 19 Grand Slam titles, Williams has won the Olympics gold for the doubles competitions in 2000 in Sydney, 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. But, she was unable to extend her reign as Olympic singles champion after she was defeated by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in the third round. She was also knocked out of the doubles tournament alongside sister Venus.

After losing to Svitolina, ranked 20th in the world, Williams said “at least” she was able to make it to Rio. “That was one of my goals,” she said.

On Monday, tournament officials for the Western & Southern Open announced that Williams had withdrawn due to a shoulder injury. Despite these recent struggles, Williams is still ranked No. 1 in the world.

Michael Phelps

The greatest Olympian of all time was adamant that Rio would be his final games, but 31-year-old Michael Phelps made the same declaration after London in 2012, and some of his American teammates are skeptical on whether he’ll be able to resist a trip to Tokyo.

With 28 Olympic medals under his belt, Phelps may feel as if he has nothing left to prove. But teammate Katie Ledecky suggested that he may not stick to his retirement plans.

“Last time was his last, this time was his last, and I get to say I was on the same team twice when he retired,” Ledecky told The Washington Post. “Maybe there will be a third time. All records are made to be broken.”

Phelps leaves Rio with five gold medals and one silver from when Singapore’s 21-year-old Joseph Schooling beating him in the 100-meter butterfly.

Usain Bolt

On Sunday, the last day of the Olympics, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt turns 30 — not a bad way to celebrate an additional three gold medals to add to his resume.

After Rio, Bolt has made a good case for the world to consider him the greatest track athlete of all time. He obtained the elusive “triple triple,” defending the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×100-meter relay titles he won in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.

Bolt has previously insisted that Rio would be his last games, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to cancel his retirement. His longtime coach, Glen Mills, has told him that the older he gets, the harder he has to push himself, he said.

“My coach always says ‘Usain you can always go on to the 2020 Olympics if you want,'” Bolt said. “So this is why he tells me to stop talking about retirement and just take it a year at a time.”

Oksana Chusovitina

While most gymnasts retire in their late teens or early 20s, Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina proved that age is just a number by competing in the vault final at age 41.

She placed seventh, second to last, but her performance was amazing considering that her 17-year-old son is older than some of the elite gymnasts she competed against.

Rio marked Chusovitina’s seventh trip to the Olympic games. She won gold in Barcelona in 1992 as part of the team all-around event for the Unified Team of the former Soviet Union and silver at the 2008 Beijing games in the vault competition, representing Germany.

And, don’t count Chusovitina out just yet. Last weekend, she declared that she would be back to compete in 2020 in Tokyo, at the age of 45.

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What to Expect at WWE’s SummerSlam

Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sunday, WWE will present one of its signature events, SummerSlam, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In the pecking order of WWE pay-per-views, SummerSlam ranks just behind “The Grand Daddy of Them All,” WrestleMania.

But it has closed the gap in recent years and become nearly as important on the year-round wrestling calendar.

Finn Balor was selected to WWE’s “Raw” during the draft last month and now finds himself in a match with Seth Rollins for the newly created WWE Universal Championship. That Balor is in this position so soon after joining “Raw” is a sign that WWE is willing to add fresh faces to the main-event mix.

It would be a bold move to put the championship around Balor’s waist, especially at Rollins’ expense. Rollins was forced to vacate the WWE World Championship last year because of injury, and is primed for another lengthy title run.

But if Balor does win? Well, that would be the coup de grace, just like the name of his finishing maneuver.

In other big matches, Kevin Owens will be teaming with Chris Jericho to face recent arrivals Enzo Amore & Big Cass. Enzo is one of the best talents on the mic to come along in years.

He’s snappy (How you doin’?), he’s energetic (How you doin’?) and he’s engaging (How you doin’?)

How engaging? On Enzo and Cass’ first night on Raw, the crowd loudly chanted along with their catchphrases. It took just minutes for the duo to become bona fide studs on WWE’s flagship program, and you can’t teach that.

Fortunately for Enzo and his 7-foot-tall partner, they’re taking on two of the most entertaining heels in the company in Owens and Jericho.

Sasha Banks and Charlotte are two of the three Superstars who propelled the WWE women’s division to greater heights as part of the so-called Divas Revolution introduced last summer. (The third was Becky Lynch, who was separated from the other two when she was drafted to “Smackdown Live!”)

Banks, Charlotte and Lynch faced one another in what was arguably the best match at WrestleMania this year. Charlotte won that triple-threat bout, but after losing the WWE Women’s Championship to Banks on Raw a month ago, she seeks to regain the title at SummerSlam.

With Banks, Charlotte and Lynch in the early stages of their main-roster careers, plus the incoming wave of more female talent, as well as established stars like Paige (not on the SummerSlam card for violating WWE’s wellness policy), the long-term future of the women’s division is brighter than perhaps it has ever been.

Of course, SummerSlam isn’t just about the new additions. The most-hyped match on the card has been Brock Lesnar versus Randy Orton, two men who came up through the ranks together in the early 2000s but have never met in a pay-per-view event.

The anticipation for anything Brock Lesnar does in the WWE is strong. He’s the closest thing to appointment television that the company has.

He’s a special attraction who operates on a different level than most other wrestlers: He works a limited schedule; he’s allowed to use profanity (albeit censored profanity); and, in an era where managers are virtually extinct, he has one of the best in WWE history by his side, Paul Heyman. (The man can get the crowd to eat out of the palm of his hands simply by saying, “My name is Paul Heyman.”)

Inside the ring, Lesnar kicks butt, and it’s so much fun to watch. One more thing about Brock Lesnar: He almost never loses. His last defeat in singles action came last year at SummerSlam, at the hands of the Undertaker (and that was after a low blow). It’s hard to imagine he’ll fall to Orton on Sunday, even if Orton hits his famed move, the RKO.

Dolph Ziggler’s chances of winning the WWE World Championship from Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam are much less certain. Ziggler has repeatedly climbed the WWE ladder through the years, only to slip back down. Indeed, that’s been the talking point for his feud with Ambrose. Ziggler has shown great fire in his interactions with Ambrose. Will it translate into a championship victory?

Roman Reigns has seemingly lost his momentum since he was suspended in June for a wellness policy violation. This year’s WrestleMania ended with Reigns holding the WWE World Championship over his head after defeating Triple H in the main event.

Since his suspension, however, he was pinned at Battleground in a three-way match with Ambrose and Rollins; lost to Balor on the night Balor debuted on Raw; and is now facing Rusev for the United States Championship.

Not to slight the United States Championship or Rusev, a strong heel and a valuable asset to WWE, but it does feel like a step down for Reigns to pursue a secondary title, given his recent history. Then again, John Cena took the United States Championship from Rusev just last year.

Ah, yes, John Cena … how did it take this long to mention his name? It’s a testament to how intriguing the SummerSlam lineup is. Cena is continuing his rivalry with AJ Styles, who launched his WWE career at the Royal Rumble in January and has given Cena a new and innovative opponent to work with. Styles triumphed against Cena in a singles match at Money in the Bank in June. The expectation is for Cena to avenge that defeat at SummerSlam.

Rounding out the SummerSlam card: The New Day versus Styles’ old stable mates, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, for the WWE Tag Team Championship; The Miz versus newcomer Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship; and a women’s tag match that’s been revised because of a wellness policy violation by one of its participants, Eva Marie.

The pregame/kickoff show will feature Cesaro versus Sheamus in the first match of a best-of-seven series; Sami Zayn and Neville versus The Dudley Boyz; and a 12-man tag match.

WWE has also announced an appearance by former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who cost Cena his match against Rollins at last year’s SummerSlam with a chair to the gut (and received an Attitude Adjustment from Cena the next night).

SummerSlam may not be the Super Bowl of wrestling. But this year’s edition does offer a strong enough card – with strong enough talent and strong enough story lines – to lay the groundwork for the road to next year’s WrestleMania in Orlando, Florida.

SummerSlam airs on the WWE Network Sunday beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

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Ryan Lochte Says Gun Being Pointed at His Head ‘Didn’t Happen’

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Embattled American Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte said in a new interview that he “over-exaggerated” the story about being held up at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.

“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it,” he told NBC News’ Matt Lauer in a clip posted online. “I over-exaggerated that story.

“If I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Lochte claimed during the games that he and three other swimmers were held up at gunpoint after leaving a party and one of the claims he made was that a gun was cocked and pointed at his forehead.

“That didn’t happen,” he said. “The gun was drawn but not at my forehead.”

Police said Lochte’s story was a fabrication and that the Olympians were not robbed and were not victims. Rather, they alleged that the Olympians vandalized a bathroom at a gas station and were confronted by armed security guards.

In the interview, Lochte, who returned home to Charlotte, North Carolina, appeared to concede that he knew that the guards were demanding payment for the damage done, not robbing them.

“Yeah, so then we had to give the money,” he told Lauer. But he also said he “couldn’t answer” whether the men were being robbed.

Lochte, who said he “had too much to drink” that night, maintained that he and the other athletes were frightened because a gun was involved.

“It’s how you want to make it look like,” he said, according to the interview. “Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us paying for the damages like, we don’t know. All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”

Still he expressed contrition at the result, saying he was “embarrassed.”

“I let my team down,” he said. “I learned my lesson.”

“I’m not done with this sport,” he said.

Police in Rio de Janeiro recommended that Lochte and his teammate James Feigen be charged with false reporting. Feigen donated approximately $11,000 to charity to avoid prosecution.

Lochte’s two other teammates, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, returned home after giving statements to police and allege that Lochte pulled a poster off the gas station wall, sparking a confrontation with armed guards.

In a previous statement, Lochte has apologized for his behavior in a statement and said that he was traumatized by being out in a foreign country with a language barrier and having a stranger point a gun at him and demand money.

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