Sports

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Mets
May 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) watches his two run home run during the sixth inning against the Detriot Tigers at Citi Field. Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

Tomas Nido homered leading off the bottom of the 13th inning Saturday night as the New York Mets finally outlasted the Detroit Tigers, 5-4.

The Mets are 5-1 on a seven-game homestand. The Tigers have dropped 10 of 11.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out and failed to score in the bottom of the 11th before the Tigers did the same thing in the top of the 12th. Nido, who was the last player on the Mets’ bench when he entered in the 11th inning, capped a four hour and 11-minute duel when he hit his first walk-off homer off Buck Farmer (3-4).

Hector Santiago (1-0) tossed two innings for the Mets, who received two homers and four RBIs from catcher Wilson Ramos, who left for a pinch-runner in the 11th and was replaced by Nido. The two-homer game was the eighth of Ramos’ career and his first since last June 25.

Padres 19, Blue Jays 4

Austin Hedges hit his first career grand slam, Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers each homered twice and visiting San Diego set a franchise record with seven homers while defeating Toronto.

Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer also homered for the Padres. Hedges had five RBIs and Myers had four.

Right-hander Cal Quantrill (1-2) struck out nine in six innings to earn his first career win for San Diego. Quantrill, who is from nearby Port Hope, Ont., and the son of former major league pitcher Paul Quantrill, allowed three runs on two hits, both home runs, and two walks in his fourth career start.

Yankees 7, Royals 3 (Game 1)

Luke Voit’s two-run home run in the seventh inning helped lead New York past host Kansas City in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

With the win, the Yankees clinched the season series over the Royals for the fifth straight season. Since 2000, the Yankees have won 16 season series, with three splits and just one Royals series win (2014). The Yankees are 99-43 in the 2000s against Kansas City.

J.A. Happ (4-3) picked up the win after giving up three runs on four hits in six innings. Relying mostly on his fastball, Happ struck out 10 Royals.

Athletics 6, Mariners 5

Matt Chapman hit a home run, and Mike Fiers pitched six quality innings as Oakland defeated visiting Seattle for their eighth consecutive victory.

Domingo Santana hit two solo homers, and Mitch Haniger had one for Seattle, which lost its fifth in a row, eighth of nine and 20th of 25.

Chapman lined a solo shot over the wall in right-center field in the first inning against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-2). Seattle twice tied the score after being down a run, but the Athletics never trailed.

Cubs 8, Reds 6

Jason Heyward, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. each hit home runs, and Chicago Cubs outlasted visiting Cincinnati.

Anthony Rizzo also drove in a pair of runs for Chicago, which evened the series at one game apiece heading into Sunday’s finale. The Cubs improved to 18-9 at Wrigley Field. Tucker Barnhart, Derek Dietrich and Yasiel Puig each homered for Cincinnati.

The score was tied at 6 in the eighth when David Bote delivered a go-ahead double to deep center field with Almora at second base and Russell at first. Almora scored, and Kyle Schwarber followed with a sacrifice fly to send Russell home and increase the advantage to 8-6 entering the ninth.

Diamondbacks 10, Giants 4

Arizona put up double-figure runs for a second consecutive game, pummeling host San Francisco.

After an 18-2 romp of the Giants on Friday night, the Diamondbacks recorded 10 or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time since September 2017.

Ketel Marte hit the second pitch of the game for a triple and led off the third inning with a solo home run, his 11th of the season, highlighting a 13-hit attack one day after the Diamondbacks belted out 21 hits.

Cardinals 6, Braves 3

Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to spark St. Louis to a win over visiting Atlanta.

Gyorko’s homer, his first of the season, came against reliever Dan Winkler (1-1) and highlighted a four-run rally. It was the first home run for Gyorko since Aug. 20, 2018, when he went deep against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals tied the game earlier in the inning when Matt Carpenter beat the shift with an RBI single to left field that scored Paul DeJong. Carpenter was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Rays 6, Indians 2

Charlie Morton struck out a season-high 10 batters and Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham each belted a two-run homer as visiting Tampa Bay beat Cleveland. Brandon Lowe added his team-leading 11th homer to go along with an RBI double for the Rays, who handed the Indians their fifth loss in six games.

Carlos Santana belted a solo homer and Leonys Martin had an RBI single for the Indians, who saw manager Terry Francona ejected for the first time since 2016 after arguing a called strike on a pitch that hit Jose Ramirez in the sixth inning.

Morton (5-0) allowed one run on three hits in six innings to improve to 8-0 during an 18-start unbeaten streak that dates back to Aug. 17.

Phillies 7, Brewers 2

Jake Arrieta pitched eight innings to win his first start in nearly a month, and Philadelphia moved a season-high 10 games over .500 with a victory over host Milwaukee.

The Phillies won their third straight and for the seventh time in nine games to improve to 31-21.

Andrew McCutchen and Cesar Hernandez hit early solo homers, while Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto hit back-to-back homers in the ninth as Philadelphia totaled 12 hits. Jean Segura contributed a bases-loaded walk and extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the ninth.

Twins 8, White Sox 1

Ehire Adrianza went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, C.J. Cron also drove in four runs and Kyle Gibson allowed one run on five hits over seven innings to help Minnesota beat visiting Chicago for its fifth straight victory.

Cron finished 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Jonathan Schoop and Eddie Rosario each scored two runs, and Jorge Polanco also had two hits for Minnesota, which matched its longest winning streak of the season.

Gibson (5-2) won for the fifth time in his last seven starts, walking one and striking out nine to improve to 8-4 in 15 career starts against the White Sox.

Nationals 5, Marlins 0

Patrick Corbin, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract in December, pitched a four-hitter, and Yan Gomes hit a three-run double to lead host Washington to a win over Miami.

In his seventh year in the majors, this was just Corbin’s second career shutout and fifth complete game.

Corbin (5-2), who threw 116 pitches, allowed one walk and struck out five. He also induced three double plays and got first-pitch strikes on 17 of the 29 batters he faced. He got 21 called strikes and eight swinging.

(Field Level Media)

Source: OANN

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors
May 25, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on during the second half of game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven assists, and the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The Raptors won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will open the Finals on Thursday night in Toronto against the Golden State Warriors.

Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and four blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.

The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the lead had dwindled to five entering the fourth.

Serge Ibaka’s dunk tied the game at 78 with 10:31 to play, and Siakam’s jumper and VanVleet’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to give Toronto a five-point lead.

Lowry’s steal and Leonard’s dunk increased the lead to eight with 6:46 remaining.

The Bucks came back with a 7-0 run to pull within one point on Antetokounmpo’s layup with 5:19 to play.

Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer had Toronto ahead by four, but Lopez reduced it to two with a layup at 3:29. The Raptors went up by five on Siakam’s tip in with 2:06 to play.

Lopez made two free throws with 29.6 seconds to play, cutting the lead to three, but Milwaukee never had the ball within one possession in the closing minutes. Siakam made one free throw, and Leonard made two foul shots in the final seconds.

The Bucks were 6-for-9 from 3-point range to earn a 31-18 lead after one quarter.

Ilyasova’s 3-pointer with 7:48 to play in the first half put the Bucks ahead 38-23.

VanVleet’s 3-pointer with 2:28 to play in the half cut the lead to seven.

Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 1:32 left had the Raptors within five points, and VanVleet’s jumped reduced the lead to three with 1:07 left.

The Bucks scored the final four points of the half to lead 50-43.

A 3-pointer by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, before Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:26 left in the third trimmed the lead to five.

But Middleton made a hurried 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and, after Leonard missed a shot, Eric Bledsoe came back with a 10-footer to put Milwaukee ahead by 13.

Middleton’s 3-pointer had the lead at 14 with 3:46 left in the third. The Bucks worked the lead to 15 before the Raptors went on a 10-0 run, with Leonard scoring eight. The Bucks led 76-71 after three quarters.

(By Larry Millson, Field Level Media)

Source: OANN

The Best FIFA Football Awards
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – The Best FIFA Football Awards – Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain – September 24, 2018 Marta after winning the Best Women’s Player award Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

May 26, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil striker Marta is a doubt for their women’s World Cup opener against Jamaica next month after the country’s soccer confederation (CBF) said on Saturday she had picked up a hamstring injury in training.

Marta, named Women’s Player of the Year a record six times, picked up the injury at Brazil’s camp in Portugal and while the CBF did not clarify how serious the injury was coach Vadao told a Globo website she could miss their June 9 opener.

“Our worry is just about the first game,” he said, “and whether she has time to recover or not.

“She feels fine. We’ll wait a couple of days for the medical department to give me a more concrete appraisal.”

The absence of Marta, who has scored a record 15 women’s World Cup goals, would make Brazil’s life even more difficult at the June 7 to July 7 tournament in France, where they also meet Australia and Italy in the group phase.

The finalists in 2007 come into the tournament having lost their last nine matches, their worst ever run.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: OANN

French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 25, 2019 Switzerland’s Roger Federer attends a training session on the eve of the start of the tournament REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

May 26, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Roger Federer tops the bill at the French Open on opening Sunday when he makes his long-awaited return to the Parisian clay with a first-round match against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

The 37-year-old Swiss, whose one Roland Garros title came 10 years ago, has been absent from the claycourt Grand Slam since 2015 and says he has missed it.

“I’m very happy to be back, maybe a tiny bit more because when I have missed the last three editions, and when you miss something in life, you’re happy to be back there again.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will play in the third match on the revamped Court Philippe Chatrier, returns as the third seed behind world number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times champion Rafael Nadal, neither of whom are in action on Sunday.

The Swiss has played down his chances of winning the title, although 73rd-ranked Sonego, making his main draw debut at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying last year, should not cause him undue alarm as he reacquaints himself with his surroundings.

“Center court looks very different. There has been a lot of upgrades and investments made,” Federer said.

“But I feel it is still the old Roland Garros, it’s kept its flair and everything.”

A connoisseur of style, Federer will no doubt be interested to see the brand new Court Simonne Mathieu — set in the picturesque Serres d’Auteuil botanical gardens and flanked by greenhouses containing rare and exotic plants.

Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza will hope the beautiful setting will help her recover some form as the 19th seed christens the court against American Taylor Townsend.

Women’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber will hope the ankle injury that has ruined her preparation will not be factor as she opens proceedings on Chatrier against Anastasia Potapova.

Germany’s Kerber is seeking to win the only Grand Slam to elude her and is one of several women that could take over as world number one at the end of the French Open.

Another one, second seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, closes play on Chatrier against American Madison Brengle.

Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the young brigade being tipped as a title contender, will also get his tournament started when he takes on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.

Two Grand Slam champions will be on show on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Marin Cilic plays Italian Thomas Fabbiano while later last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens faces Misaki Doi.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
May 25, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) looks on from the dugout during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

The Houston Astros put star outfielder George Springer on the 10-day injured list on Saturday, a day after he strained his left hamstring while chasing a foul ball.

Springer had missed four games with a stiff lower back, then returned to action Friday in a 4-3 home win over the Boston Red Sox. But as he and two teammates chased a Xander Bogaerts foul ball in the eighth inning, Springer slid so that he wouldn’t collide with the wall and grabbed his hamstring.

He left the game then, limping off the field. He was 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly on the night.

“Going for the ball, giving it as much as I can, and the hamstring locked up,” said Springer, who led the American League in homers (17), and RBIs (43) while batting .308 in 48 games going into Saturday’s game.

–The San Francisco Giants called up outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 28-year-old made his major league debut after more than 700 games over six-plus seasons in the minors.

Yastrzemski started in left field and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a run scored in a 10-4 loss to Arizona.

–Dustin Pedroia left his rehab game Friday night because of discomfort, and the Boston Red Sox are bringing him back to the city for the team’s medical staff to look at his ailing left knee on Monday.

He had two at-bats for Double-A Portland on Friday before he pulled himself out of the game.

The second baseman, 35, has played in just nine games for the Red Sox in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

–The Philadelphia Phillies placed right-handed reliever Pat Neshek on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.

Neshek, 38, is 0-1 with three saves and a 4.67 ERA in 19 bullpen appearances this season. The move is retroactive to Friday.

The Phillies also transferred right-hander David Robertson to the 60-day injured list and called up right-hander J.D. Hammer from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

–The Diamondbacks recalled right-hander Taylor Clarke from Triple-A Reno and designated catcher John Ryan Murphy for assignment.

Clarke, 26, was brought up to start Saturday’s game at San Francisco and got the win, allowing three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA and one save in three appearances for Arizona this season.

Murphy, 28, is batting just .177 with four homers and seven RBIs in 25 games this season.

–The Chicago White Sox placed catcher Welington Castillo on the seven-day concussion list and promoted catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte.

Castillo left in the eighth inning of Friday’s 11-4 loss in Minnesota after taking two foul tips off his mask.

Castillo, 32, is batting just .176 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 26 games this season.

–The Los Angeles Angels placed right-hander Matt Harvey on the 10-day injured list due to an upper back strain.

The move comes two days after Harvey served up four homers and was hammered for eight runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

The poor outing leaves the 30-year-old Harvey with a 2-4 record and 7.50 ERA in 10 starts this season.

–The Oakland Athletics designated struggling right-hander Fernando Rodney for assignment.

Rodney had a 9.42 ERA during 17 appearances this season. Opponents batted .345 against him in 14 1/3 innings.

The 42-year-old Rodney ranks 18th in major league history with 325 saves. He is 48-68 with a 3.79 ERA in 913 career appearances since 2002.

–Gerry Fraley, a veteran sportswriter who covered the Texas Rangers for three decades, passed away on Saturday morning after a lengthy cancer battle. He was 64.

Fraley spent the bulk of his career covering sports for the Dallas Morning News, taking up the Rangers beat in 1989.

“He covered this sport with a passion and intensity second to none,” a statement from the Rangers read. “He was as thorough as any writer in the game as was evidenced in his numerous contacts with players, coaches, baseball executives and scouts, and umpires.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

PGA: Charles Schwab Challenge - Third Round
May 25, 2019; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Kevin Na walks to the 18th green atop the leaderboard by two strokes going into Sundays final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Kevin Na rebounded from a back-nine double-bogey to grab a two-stroke lead as Jordan Spieth moved into a tie for second after three rounds of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday.

Na shook off the double at the 11th hole to birdie the 13th on his way to a one-under par 69 at a Colonial Country Club layout made tough by breezy conditions.

While the birdies did not fall as frequently as they had on Friday when he shot 62, Na still had three in claiming the lead at nine-under 201.

Spieth continued his impressive putting to shoot 68 and tie with four others at seven under, Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (65), Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung (68) and Americans Jim Furyk (68) and Tony Finau (71).

Pan, who goes by the initials C.T., had grabbed the lead after Na’s double, but bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes.

Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, the second-round leader by a stroke, was never in contention after a first-hole bogey. He shot a four-over 74 to drop to four strokes off the pace.

World number three Justin Rose, the defending champion, also turned in a 74 to sit at five over par after 54 holes.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Carb Day
May 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves during Carb Day practice for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – If Tiger Woods can get back in the winners’ circle Helio Castroneves says he sees no reason he cannot return to Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and finally claim a place in the Brickyard’s most exclusive club.

In more than a century of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) only three men — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears — have won the 500 four times and with a win on Sunday Castroneves would become the first non-American to join that group.

Now on the downside of his career, the 44-year-old no longer drives full-time on the IndyCar Series but Roger Penske continues to give his long-time employee a competitive car and a chance to get his name on the Borg-Warner trophy again.

The bubbly Brazilian has always been a driver to take motivation from wherever he can find it and this week is drawing inspiration from Woods, who completed one of sport’s all-time great comebacks last month when he ended an 11-year major title drought with a stunning victory at the Masters.

“You know it took Tiger Woods 10 years to go back and win another big one so maybe it could be this year (for me),” said Castroneves. “You’re always looking for positive ways to look and I’m always a positive guy and realistic at the same time.

“I can only imagine how special it would be. At this point you can dream big but you still have to execute first.”

Castroneves was quick to put his mark on the Indy 500, winning on his Brickyard debut in 2001 and repeating in 2002.

It was seven years before he returned to Victory Lane in 2009 and he has not found his way back since, though he has twice come agonizingly close, finishing as runner-up in 2014 and 2017.

In 2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay denied Castroneves victory by 0.0600 seconds, the second-closest finish in race history.

Castroneves said it was the memory of 2017 that haunted him most, recalling how Japan’s Takuma Sato powered past him with five laps remaining then bravely fought off the Brazilian to take the checkered flag.

“It’s hard to forget the ones you’ve missed,” said Castroneves, who has looked right at home back in his Penzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, qualifying 12th fastest in the 33-car field.

“Obviously great memories of the ones that happened but the ones you’ve missed stay in your mind.

“I mean 2017 with Takuma was really tough; I did everything I could but he did a really great job.

“Hopefully I don’t have to think this year about being a close call and just make it happen.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis
FILE PHOTO: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Qatar Sports Investments, a state-backed body founded by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is in discussions to buy a stake in English soccer club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the talks.

The state-backed group, which owns French club Paris St Germain, was seeking as much as a controlling stake in Leeds United in a deal that would mark Qatar’s entrance to English football, FT reported.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” the report quoted a source as having said, adding that Qatar has been looking at entering English football for the last two years.

Leeds United is holding talks with at least six investors, including the Qatar group, according to the report.

Qatar Sports Investments and Leeds United did not return calls for comment on the FT report.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Drivers Meeting
May 25, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti drives a golf cart after attending the drivers meeting for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – In the run-up to the Indianapolis 500 the spotlight has been on Mario Andretti but come Sunday it is grandson Marco in the crosshairs as he attempts to lift a family curse by returning a member of the clan to Victory Lane at the famed Brickyard.

As usual there are no shortage of high-octane storylines at the sprawling 2.5-mile oval but Marco Andretti’s bid to end a 50-year Brickyard barren stretch for American motor racing’s first family has dominated conversation.

In over a century of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), it is doubtful there has ever been a more popular winner of what is unapologetically billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” than Mario Andretti.

On that Memorial Day holiday weekend in 1969 a dashing Andretti powered across the finish line to deliver a victory that still resonates today.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

The win was expected to be just the first of many at the famed Brickyard but a half-century later it stands alone.

Mario would never again reach Victory Lane and chug from the winner’s quart of milk.

Neither would his sons Michael or Jeff. Nor has his nephew John or grandson Marco, who will again carry the Andretti colours into Sunday’s race.

“Pressure? This is the biggest race in the world, with or without what’s going on,” said Marco, who qualified 10th and will start on the inside of Row Four. “I can’t even imagine if we were to book end it 50 years, it would be incredible.

“I think pressure is a good thing. I think you should be honored to carry pressure. It means you’re playing for something awesome.

“It’s almost 80 tries, we’re all still here and we’re able come back and keep trying to win it.”

Fernando Alonso’s attempt to complete motor racing’s Triple Crown of wins at Monaco, Le Mans and Indianapolis had taken some of the focus and pressure off of Andretti until the Spaniard’s qualifying flop last Sunday left the twice Formula One champion out of the race.

EXCLUSIVE CLUB

Charismatic Brazilian Helio Castroneves’s bid to claim a record-equalling fourth Indy 500 victory that would gain him entry in the Brickyard’s most exclusive club has been swept aside by a wave of Andretti nostalgia.

The possibility of Roger Penske adding an 18th win to his collection has also taken a back seat despite the captain rolling out an all-star stable including Castroneves, 2017 IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, reigning Indy 500 winner Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, who will start Sunday’s race from pole position.

Such has been their cruel misfortune that the thinking is there could be no other explanation for the Andretti heartbreak than a curse (there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the jinx).

Exactly what it is that so angered the racing gods is uncertain but the entire Andretti clan rejects the idea that there are malevolent forces at work.

Scoffing at any idea of a curse, Andretti, whose best Indy 500 finish came in his rookie year crossing second in 2006, will pay tribute to his grandfather by driving a car with the same day-glow red livery he used when winning in 1969.

Michael Andretti, winless at the Brickyard in 16 attempts as driver but five-times winner as a team owner, will put five cars on the grid including Marco and two former Indy 500 champions in Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

“I’ve had good shots to win the biggest race in the world and its eluded me numerous times,” said Marco, who has also had three third-place results. “I’m not going to change too much on the driver’s side for this race.

“Hopefully, our number is picked this year.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: ATP 1000 - Monte Carlo Masters
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 18, 2019 Germany’s Alexander Zverev celebrates during his third round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Germany’s Alexander Zverev did his French Open preparations a world of good by beating Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-3 3-6 7-6(8) in a grueling, rain-hit final at the Geneva Open on Sunday.

Top seed Zverev, looking for his first title win on clay since clinching the Italian Open last year, had endured a disappointing season so far and had not won a title since the ATP Finals in London in November.

The 22-year-old did not have it easy, taking two hours and 35 minutes to eventually get the better of his unseeded opponent in a match where both players had numerous match points. Two rain delays added to the drama.

Zverev was not as his best with eight double faults punctuating his victory, five of which came in the final set, and he converted only one of 12 break points over the course of the match.

Jarry, who beat Zverev in Barcelona on the same surface in a three-setter last month, fired six aces to Zverev’s three but there was nothing to separate the two players until the third-set tie-break.

With Zverev leading 6-5 in the final set, Jarry battled hard to ensure it went to a tie-breaker. The German then won two points off Jarry’s serve to take a 4-0 lead before Jarry saved three match points.

Zverev double-faulted at 6-6 to nearly hand his Chilean opponent the title but he kept his nerve to eventually win an exciting tie-breaker 10-8.

Zverev, the fifth seed at Roland Garros, takes on Australia’s John Millman in the first round of the French Open on Monday while Jarry starts the tournament against eighth seed and fellow South American Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2019 Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Ferrari messed up on the biggest stage of all on Saturday, leaving local hero Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix hopes in tatters.

With the 21-year-old Monegasque demanding answers after being left 16th on the starting grid, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto accepted the sport’s oldest and most successful team had, not for the first time, got their sums wrong.

“It is not a good day for us certainly,” the Italian told reporters in the team’s harbourside hospitality after a session that saw Ferrari’s qualifying blunder broadcast around the world.

“I think we made a mistake. It has been a misjudgment, a wrong evaluation of what we call the cut-off time.”

Leclerc had been told he did not need to do another lap in the first phase of qualifying, Ferrari believing his time was good enough for him to go through and that they could save a set of tyres.

It proved otherwise, with the drop triggered by his own team mate Sebastian Vettel, who had crashed in final practice, putting in a fast lap in the dying seconds to escape the bottom five and top the session.

Leclerc, pushed over the edge into the bottom five, was already in the garage and could do nothing.

“What happened today was the margin that we applied was not sufficient,” said Binotto, explaining that track conditions had improved significantly late in the session and the team’s calculations had not allowed enough for that.

Binotto said that, with dominant Mercedes having won the first five races in one-two formation and running away with both championships for the sixth season in a row, Ferrari had to be bold to close the gap.

“When you need to catch up, you need to take some risks as well,” he said.

“Today we took some risks to perform as well as we could in Q2 and Q3 (the second and third phases) against our competitors,” continued Binotto.

The risk, however, was also of not even getting to the later phases.

“We’ve got the right people,” added Binotto. “We’ve got the right procedures but we need to improve our tools. We are open to new opportunities of looking at what we did and how we may do it differently in the future.”

Leclerc, who had gone into the weekend hoping to become the first Monegasque to stand on his home podium since Louis Chiron in 1950, was stunned by the blunder that left him hoping for rain or chaos.

Monaco is famed as a circuit where overtaking is hard in the extreme, with the showcase race around the tight city streets one of the most watched but often processional and won by the driver on pole position.

“It’s disappointing to be out in Q1 in a Ferrari but even more so at home and even more on a track like this where you can’t overtake,” said the youngster.

“We can’t afford to do these things. It’s just a big, big disappointment.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2019 Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Ferrari messed up on the biggest stage of all on Saturday, leaving local hero Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix hopes in tatters.

With the 21-year-old Monegasque demanding answers after being left 16th on the starting grid, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto accepted the sport’s oldest and most successful team had, not for the first time, got their sums wrong.

“It is not a good day for us certainly,” the Italian told reporters in the team’s harbourside hospitality after a session that saw Ferrari’s qualifying blunder broadcast around the world.

“I think we made a mistake. It has been a misjudgment, a wrong evaluation of what we call the cut-off time.”

Leclerc had been told he did not need to do another lap in the first phase of qualifying, Ferrari believing his time was good enough for him to go through and that they could save a set of tyres.

It proved otherwise, with the drop triggered by his own team mate Sebastian Vettel, who had crashed in final practice, putting in a fast lap in the dying seconds to escape the bottom five and top the session.

Leclerc, pushed over the edge into the bottom five, was already in the garage and could do nothing.

“What happened today was the margin that we applied was not sufficient,” said Binotto, explaining that track conditions had improved significantly late in the session and the team’s calculations had not allowed enough for that.

Binotto said that, with dominant Mercedes having won the first five races in one-two formation and running away with both championships for the sixth season in a row, Ferrari had to be bold to close the gap.

“When you need to catch up, you need to take some risks as well,” he said.

“Today we took some risks to perform as well as we could in Q2 and Q3 (the second and third phases) against our competitors,” continued Binotto.

The risk, however, was also of not even getting to the later phases.

“We’ve got the right people,” added Binotto. “We’ve got the right procedures but we need to improve our tools. We are open to new opportunities of looking at what we did and how we may do it differently in the future.”

Leclerc, who had gone into the weekend hoping to become the first Monegasque to stand on his home podium since Louis Chiron in 1950, was stunned by the blunder that left him hoping for rain or chaos.

Monaco is famed as a circuit where overtaking is hard in the extreme, with the showcase race around the tight city streets one of the most watched but often processional and won by the driver on pole position.

“It’s disappointing to be out in Q1 in a Ferrari but even more so at home and even more on a track like this where you can’t overtake,” said the youngster.

“We can’t afford to do these things. It’s just a big, big disappointment.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Drivers Meeting
May 25, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; All 33 NTT IndyCar series drivers starting in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 attend the drivers meeting for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

The forecast for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 calls for an 80-90 percent chance of rain, with thunderstorms throughout the day.

“I would just tell everyone to remember: This is Indiana,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said Saturday, referring to the state’s unpredictable weather.

IndyCar President Jay Frye told reporters that the race, schedule to begin at noon ET, could start as late as 6 p.m. because of the amount of daylight at this time of year.

The Indy 500 has been pushed back to Monday three times in 102 previous races, most recently in 1997. That year, more rain delayed the finish to Tuesday, with Arie Luyendyk finishing first.

The race becomes official after 101 laps of the scheduled 200-lap race. The last time it was shortened was 2007, when winner Dario Franchitti completed 166 laps before rain moved in.

The 2 1/2-mile track was resurfaced last year with a new sealant that helps water run off the track rather than soak in.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: Miami Open
FILE PHOTO: Mar 21, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Bianca Andreescu of Canada hits a backhand against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania (not pictured) in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports -/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Injury breaks are not usually welcomed by tennis players but when Bianca Andreescu’s shoulder began troubling her in Miami it offered her the chance to take stock of a stunning breakthrough.

The 18-year-old Canadian became the first wildcard to win the Indian Wells title the week before — a feat that shook the tennis world and had Rod Laver remarking that a star had been born.

Andreescu has only played in two Grand Slams and at the start of the year said just making the French Open main draw was her goal. She will debut as the 22nd seed.

When she takes on 20-year-old Czech Marie Bouzkova it will be her first match on clay this season and her first anywhere since a sore shoulder forced her to retire in her last 16 clash with Anett Kontaveit in Miami.

It ended the incredible 10-match winning streak that has catapulted the Ontario-born Andreescu into the big time.

“I think the injury helped me in the way that I could have the chance to let everything soak in and spend time with my family and friends,” Andreescu, whose exploits have trumped those of compatriots and close friends Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, told Reuters in a phone interview.

“I have amazing family and friends and they really helped me stay grounded because the media when I got home were all over me. It was certainly a different feeling but I’m getting used to it slowly but surely.”

Andreescu says her shoulder is ready to go in Paris, having opted to skip the warm-up tournaments and head to Mallorca to tune up her claycourt game at the Rafael Nadal Academy.

“I’m completely healed,” she said. “It was a wide decision because if I had continued the tear could have got worse.

“The facilities at Rafa’s academy were amazing, really good physios, really good food, the people were nice and they accommodated me really well.

“On my days off I could just stroll around and get my mind off the game and focus on relaxing which was really helpful. It was a good two-week period and I feel that I needed that.”

Andreescu, who moved back to her parents’ native Romania soon after she was born, says her career has been a “crazy ride” since returning to Canada to become part of the development program that produced Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov.

“Happy days for Canadian tennis,” she said. “We are just feeding off each other’s success and energy. I played juniors with Felix and Denis, we grew up together and just seeing them, all of us doing well at the same time, it’s just incredible.

“Tennis Canada is doing a great job. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. I’m so grateful. I can’t begin to repay them.”

TITLE RUN

Andreescu’s title run in Indian Wells began slowly but she soon got on a roll, beating seeds Dominica Cibulkova and Qiang Wang before obliterating former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 6-0 6-1.

In the final she downed reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, banked the $1.3 million winner’s check and celebrated with a burger.

Her performances were likened to a more powerful version of Martina Hingis — full of variety and not just belting balls.

Naturally curious, Andreescu says finding different ways to win matches is her biggest strength.

“I’ve always been like, even as a junior,” she said. “I think I just get bored easy! I kept improving on that and its paying off. A lot of the players have only got one game style.

“I’m one of few that can give a variety of shots back and I think they don’t like that.”

Andreescu said her rise from ending 2018 ranked 178th to her current 22 is “a dream come true”.

“You get treated a bit differently, for sure,” she said. “And not having to go through qualifying for the French is so much better for body and mind.

“I can now use all my fuel for the first round.”

Unsurprisingly, she names Romanian Simona Halep as one of her inspirations, and said it was a chat with the current French Open champion in 2016 that launched her career.

“We shared a ride at the Rogers Cup in 2016 I asked her if she could give me one piece of advice. She told me I should stop playing juniors and focus on the pros.

“That was a really good decision.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Semi-final
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Semi-final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 25, 2019. France’s Lucas Pouille in action during his match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – A combination of injuries, a lack of confidence and poor results mean there is a little chance of a French player shining at Roland Garros this year let alone claiming a title that has eluded the country’s men since 1983 and the women since 2000.

When Lucas Pouille reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January, French hopes were raised that they might finally have a player who could be a force to be reckoned with at the majors.

Yet Amelie Mauresmo’s protege then went three months without winning a match until he claimed the title at a second-tier Challenger tournament in Bordeaux in May.

This, however, was followed by a second-round loss at the Madrid Open and a first-round defeat at the Italian Open for the world number 25.

Last year, none of France’s men went past the third round and only the 16th-ranked Gael Monfils appears to have a chance of surpassing that this season.

Yet the flamboyant Monfils, who won in Rotterdam in February, has been hampered by injuries, the latest being a knee problem.

Asked how he prepared for the French Open, Monfils said bluntly: “I rested. I had some MRIs, block tests to see what my body was doing, and then I started training.”

Tournament director Guy Forget put on a brave face when asked about French hopes at Roland Garros this year.

“They can play the surprise card. Because of their experience in the Grand Slams, Jo-Wil(fried Tsonga), Richard (Gasquet), Gael (Monfils) and even Lucas Pouille, can have hope,” said Forget.

Gasquet only returned to competition earlier this month after going under the knife to treat a hernia with Tsonga losing in the first round in Monte Carlo and Rome having struggled with long-term injuries.

“I know I have little chance to play a good tournament (at Roland Garros),” Gasquet admitted.

Forget did not mention the enigmatic Benoit Paire but the 30-year-old, who has not always seen eye-to-eye with French tennis authority, might be the country’s best hope.

He played superbly to beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime to claim the Lyon title on Saturday, his second claycourt title of the season.

On the women’s side, Caroline Garcia made the fourth round last year but had struggled to reach the latter stages in any tournament this season until she reached the final in Strasbourg, where she lost to Dayana Yastremska on Saturday.

Garcia knows all about the pressure of playing at a home Grand Slam but sees it as a privilege.

“Of course I look forward to the French Open, it’s the tournament I wanted to play when I was a kid,” the world number 24 told Reuters. “Sometimes there is more stress but I know the fans have my back. It’s the way I try to use it.”

(Additional reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Football - Women's Tournament Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics – Soccer – Victory Ceremony – Women’s Football Tournament Victory Ceremony – Corinthians Arena – Sao Paulo, Brazil – 19/08/2016. Christine Sinclair (CAN) of Canada and Sophie Schmidt (CAN) of Canada celebrate with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Fernando Donasci

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

(Reuters) – Christine Sinclair was named to her fifth women’s World Cup team on Saturday and will lead Canada in France where she will have a chance to also claim the career all-time scoring record on the sport’s biggest stage.

Sinclair, who is four goals shy of passing retired U.S. forward Abby Wambach’s mark of 184, has been a cornerstone of the national team for almost two decades, helping Canada to back-to-back bronze-medal performances at the 2016 and 2012 Olympics and fourth place at the 2003 World Cup.

The Canada squad features nine returning players from the 2015 World Cup, including midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who will be playing in her fourth showcase, and Olympique Lyonnais defender Kadeisha Buchanan.

The 22-year-old Buchanan, who recently signed a contract extension with the French and European champions, was a tournament all-star selection and named Best Young Player at the 2015 World Cup.

The fifth-ranked Canadians will be an interesting blend of experience and youth with midfielder Julia Grosso, forward Jordyn Huitema and fullback Jayde Riviere all 18 years old.

“We are going there to win it but we have been very good at taking things one step at a time,” said coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. “We didn’t look beyond the Algarve Cup and we didn’t look beyond matches against England or Spain; we only looked at what was right in front of us.

“Right now, there are three group matches in front of us and we are focused very clearly on Cameroon, New Zealand and Netherlands.”

Canada head to France unbeaten in 2019 with five wins and three draws, conceding just one goal.

The World Cup runs from June 7 to July 7 with Canada starting in Montpellier on June 10 against Cameroon.

Canada’s other group games will be against New Zealand on June 15 in Grenoble and Netherlands five days later in Reims.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Stephanie Labbe, Kailen Sheridan, Sabrina D’Angelo

Defenders: Allysha Chapman, Kadeisha Buchanan, Shelina Zadorsky, Rebecca Quinn, Jayde Riviere, Ashley Lawrence, Shannon Woeller, Lindsay Agnew

Midfielders: Julia Grosso, Desiree Scott, Gabrielle Carle, Sophie Schmidt, Jessie Fleming

Forwards: Jordyn Huitema, Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Adriana Leon, Jenna Hellstrom, Deanne Rose, Nichelle Prince

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Nigeria's Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women's first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Nigeria’s Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women’s first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

May 25, 2019

LAGOS (Reuters) – Defender Onome Ebi was named to play at her fifth women’s World Cup when she was included on Saturday in Nigeria’s squad for next month’s finals in France.

Ebi, 36, first competed at the 2003 women’s World Cup in the U.S. and then at subsequent editions in China, Germany and Canada.

She is the first African to achieve the feat.

Three-time African women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala will be the Super Falcons’ key player as they take on Norway in Reims on June 8 and then South Korea and hosts France in Group A.

She featured for Barcelona in the women’s Champions League final defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in Budapest last week.

The Nigerian squad features 15 foreign-based players in a much-changed look since Swedish-born coach Thomas Dennerby took over 18 months ago.

Nigeria have been past the first round only once in seven previous World Cup finals appearances.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi (both Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar), Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang), Faith Michael (Pitea IF), Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United), Rita Chikwelu (Kristianstand), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henana Huisanhang), Anam Imo (Malmo FC Rosengard), Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels), Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp), Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona), Chinaza Uchendu (Sporting Braga).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Nigeria's Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women's first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Nigeria’s Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women’s first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

May 25, 2019

LAGOS (Reuters) – Defender Onome Ebi was named to play at her fifth women’s World Cup when she was included on Saturday in Nigeria’s squad for next month’s finals in France.

Ebi, 36, first competed at the 2003 women’s World Cup in the U.S. and then at subsequent editions in China, Germany and Canada.

She is the first African to achieve the feat.

Three-time African women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala will be the Super Falcons’ key player as they take on Norway in Reims on June 8 and then South Korea and hosts France in Group A.

She featured for Barcelona in the women’s Champions League final defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in Budapest last week.

The Nigerian squad features 15 foreign-based players in a much-changed look since Swedish-born coach Thomas Dennerby took over 18 months ago.

Nigeria have been past the first round only once in seven previous World Cup finals appearances.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi (both Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar), Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang), Faith Michael (Pitea IF), Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United), Rita Chikwelu (Kristianstand), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henana Huisanhang), Anam Imo (Malmo FC Rosengard), Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels), Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp), Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona), Chinaza Uchendu (Sporting Braga).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Ice Hockey World Championships - Semifinals - Russia v Finland
Ice Hockey World Championships – Semifinals – Russia v Finland – Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia – May 25, 2019 Finland’s players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David W Cerny

May 25, 2019

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Finland ground out a shock 1-0 win over tournament favorites Russia to reach the world championship final on Saturday after their captain Marko Anttila scored midway through the third period in the Ondrej Nepela Arena.

Sunday’s gold-medal match will pit the Finns, who won their last world title at the same venue in 2011, against either Canada or the Czech Republic, who clash in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

The Russians steamrolled into the last four with eight straight wins and scored 40 goals in the process, but an ironclad Finnish defense stifled them out in a rugged contest.

Both goaltenders, Russia’s Andrei Vasilevski and Finn Kevin Lankinen, pulled off a string of superb saves before Anttila swept home a rebound after Vasilevski parried Henri Jokiharju’s fierce slap-shot.

Although they were on the back foot for long spells against the fast-skating Russians, Finland always looked more likely to score from lightning breaks and nearly did in the second period when Niko Ojamaki hit the post.

The Russians left an empty net in the last 90 seconds to deploy an extra forward but failed to pierce the Finnish armor as the outstanding Lankinen deflected everything the 2014 champions threw at him.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Ice Hockey World Championships - Semifinals - Russia v Finland
Ice Hockey World Championships – Semifinals – Russia v Finland – Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia – May 25, 2019 Finland’s players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David W Cerny

May 25, 2019

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Finland ground out a shock 1-0 win over tournament favorites Russia to reach the world championship final on Saturday after their captain Marko Anttila scored midway through the third period in the Ondrej Nepela Arena.

Sunday’s gold-medal match will pit the Finns, who won their last world title at the same venue in 2011, against either Canada or the Czech Republic, who clash in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

The Russians steamrolled into the last four with eight straight wins and scored 40 goals in the process, but an ironclad Finnish defense stifled them out in a rugged contest.

Both goaltenders, Russia’s Andrei Vasilevski and Finn Kevin Lankinen, pulled off a string of superb saves before Anttila swept home a rebound after Vasilevski parried Henri Jokiharju’s fierce slap-shot.

Although they were on the back foot for long spells against the fast-skating Russians, Finland always looked more likely to score from lightning breaks and nearly did in the second period when Niko Ojamaki hit the post.

The Russians left an empty net in the last 90 seconds to deploy an extra forward but failed to pierce the Finnish armor as the outstanding Lankinen deflected everything the 2014 champions threw at him.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Women's International Friendly - England v Denmark
Soccer Football – Women’s International Friendly – England v Denmark – The Banks’s Stadium, Walsall, Britain – May 25, 2019 England’s Jill Scott celebrates scoring their second goal with Rachel Daly Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – England beat Denmark 2-0 in their penultimate warm-up match before the women’s World Cup, with goals from Nikita Parris and Jill Scott in either half giving the Lionesses the win in Walsall on Saturday.

Phil Neville’s side initially struggled to keep the ball but had the chance to take the lead in the 17th minute when Ellen White was put through on goal on a counter-attack, only to see her effort go wide of the far post.

The hosts were also fortunate late in the half when Signe Bruun bundled the ball into the England net but the goal was disallowed for a handball.

Parris, who recently moved to Champions League winners Olympique Lyon, helped to settle the team’s nerves in first-half stoppage time when she pounced on a poor clearance at the edge of the box and her shot crept past goalkeeper Katrine Abel.

Skipper Scott made it 2-0 with a header from close range in the 59th minute after she made an unmarked run from midfield to get on the end of Beth Mead’s cross.

England play one more warm-up game against New Zealand on June 1 before heading to France for the World Cup where they will begin their campaign in Group D against Scotland on June 9 before taking on Argentina and 2011 champions Japan.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 25, 2019 General view of the car of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the garage during qualifying REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton celebrated an emotional pole position for dominant Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday with team mate Valtteri Bottas joining the Formula One leader in a front row sweep.

The pole, record-extending 85th of the Briton’s stellar career and second of the season, came with the sport mourning the death of triple world champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

The team look set to deliver a perfect tribute to the Austrian in Sunday’s race in the shape of a sixth successive one-two finish, with Ferrari out of sorts on a shambolic afternoon.

“This is definitely one of the best poles,” said Hamilton, who denied Bottas a fourth successive top slot with a last lap 0.086 quicker than the Finn’s best effort around the metal-fenced streets.

“This one’s for Niki,” added the five-times world champion, who leads Bottas by seven points in the standings.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified third and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will line up fourth after narrowly avoiding going out in the opening phase.

A glaring error by Ferrari denied Charles Leclerc the chance to shine at home, with the 21-year-old failing to make it through the first phase and qualifying only 16th after going fastest in final practice.

Verstappen’s team mate Pierre Gasly qualified fifth with Kevin Magnussen sixth for Haas and Daniel Ricciardo, last year’s winner for Red Bull, seventh in a Renault.

Toro Rosso had two cars in the top 10, with Daniil Kvyat eighth and Alexander Albon 10th. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz lines up between them in ninth.

Vettel’s last-ditch effort to lift himself into the second phase saved the German’s skin but plunged Leclerc, whom Ferrari had thought was safe and had not sent out for one final lap, into the bottom group.

“I asked whether they were sure,” the dejected Monegasque told Sky Sports television, adding it was hard to understand or accept the failure.

“They told me we think we are (OK). And I said shouldn’t we get out again? There was no real answer.”

Leclerc said his best hope now was for rain to turn the race, so often a procession in Monaco’s tight streets, into a lottery on Sunday.

“I’ll have to take a lot of risks I think, even risking to crash, but at the end that’s the only thing we need to do now, to try and be extreme in our overtaking because this is a track where it’s basically impossible to overtake,” he said.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Formula E - Berlin ePrix
Motorsport – Formula E – Berlin ePrix – Berlin-Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany – May 25, 2019 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi celebrates winning the race with the trophy on the podium

May 25, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi gave Audi a home win in Formula E’s Berlin ePrix on Saturday, his second victory of the season, to put the heat on championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished third.

Former champion Di Grassi moved up to second overall in the standings and six points behind Frenchman Vergne, who has 102 after 10 races.

Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi, who had started on pole position for Nissan at the Tempelhof airport circuit, was runner-up.

Di Grassi took the lead on the third lap, diving down the inside of Buemi, and stayed ahead to secure a back-to-back win for Audi in Berlin after last year’s success with Daniel Abt.

The Brazilian also took a point for the fastest lap.

Techeetah’s Vergne, last season’s title winner in the all-electric series, started back in eighth place but came through the field aggressively to stand on a podium of Formula E champions.

His German team mate Andre Lotterer dropped to third overall after retiring in the pits with a battery problem.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NFL: Super Bowl LIII-Los Angeles Rams Press Conference
FILE PHOTO: Jan 31, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) answers questions from the media during press interviews at Marriott Atlanta Buckhead. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – Aaron Donald is already the most fearsome defender in the NFL but the sting of a Super Bowl loss that kept him from making good on a promise to his young daughter has the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle determined to come back better next season.

The moment that stuck with Donald most from that Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots in February did not happen in the game but rather in the immediate aftermath as his opponents brought their families onto the field to celebrate.

As Donald returned to the Rams locker room his daughter was reduced to tears since the result meant she was not able to play with her dad in the shiny confetti that cascaded from the rafters and coated the field.

“My main thing is I got to hold up to that promise. I told her she was going to be able to play in that confetti with her dad after we win,” Donald told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“So we are going to get there and we are going to win it this time … definitely more motivated than ever.”

The two-times reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, whose dominance has redefined his position, is so set on improving that he dismissed suggestions that he take two weeks off after the Super Bowl and was in the gym four days later.

Donald, who has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his five NFL campaigns and in 2018 came up two sacks shy of tying Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5, is convinced that he has another level to his game.

“People are probably going to think I’m just talking, but I honestly feel like I haven’t played my best yet,” said Donald, who is working with DICK’S Sporting Goods on their National Runner’s Month campaign for May.

“I feel like there is a lot more room for improvement. I did a lot of good things last season that I get to build off but I also did a lot of things that I could clean up to make myself that much better.”

For all his dominance, Donald was largely held in check in his maiden Super Bowl appearance where he was limited to five tackles and one quarterback hit in a 13-3 loss.

Still, Donald is convinced that he and his young team mates will benefit from the experience of having played on the NFL’s biggest stage and will find a way to win should they make a return trip to the championship game.

“Experience is everything in this league,” said Donald.

“The more experience you got the more things you are able to go through, and the ups and downs through a season that you had I don’t think it can do anything but make you that much better.”

The 28-year-old former first-round draft pick has yet to watch a replay of the Super Bowl but plans to do so ahead of the 2019 season and break down each play to determine how he could have had a greater impact.

Donald promises to be more prepared than ever when the 2019 NFL regular season begins in September and had one simple message to the other 31 teams.

“They ain’t seen the Rams’ best football yet,” said Donald. “There’s a lot more to come.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 25, 2019 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Local hero Charles Leclerc was fastest for Ferrari in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday while team mate Sebastian Vettel crashed, with mechanics hurrying to repair the car for qualifying.

Leclerc lapped the tight street circuit with a best lap of one minute 11.265 seconds, 0.053 faster than Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who was fastest in both Friday sessions, was third for Mercedes and 0.213 off the pace.

The Mercedes cars took to the track with their ‘halo’ devices painted red in a tribute to triple champion Niki Lauda, the Mercedes non-executive chairman who died on Monday.

Vettel locked up and crashed nose first into the barriers at Sainte Devote, with his damaged car swiftly craned off the circuit.

Ferrari said the car had been fixed and the German, a four-times world champion and double winner in Monaco, would be fine for qualifying.

While Leclerc’s time delighted the crowd, with plenty of support on a sunny afternoon in the principality, the 21-year-old was summoned to stewards and reprimanded for an infringement of the virtual safety car procedure after Vettel’s crash.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth fastest with team mate Pierre Gasly fifth.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Colorado Rockies
May 24, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) watches his two run home run in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Coors Field. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

Trevor Story hit two home runs, including a two-run, walk-off homer in the ninth inning, and the Colorado Rockies rallied to beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 on Friday night in Denver.

Nolan Arenado also homered twice for the Rockies, and Scott Oberg (2-0) pitched the ninth to get the win.

Keon Broxton, Dwight Smith Jr. and Renato Nunez went deep for the Orioles, who have lost seven straight. John Means scattered seven hits over his five innings for Baltimore, giving up three runs.

Ryan McMahon started the rally in the ninth with a single off Mychal Givens (0-3). One out later, Story homered to right to win it. It was the second walk-off homer of his career.

Astros 4, Red Sox 3

Wade Miley worked six strong innings, Jake Marisnick clubbed a home run, and Houston capitalized on spotty defense from visiting Boston in the opener of a three-game series between the last two World Series champions.

Miley (5-2) was strong early and resilient late, striking out five of his season-high eight batters during his first trip through the Red Sox order.

In his rematch with Red Sox ace Chris Sale, Miley allowed one run, four hits and two walks on 102 pitches, including 61 strikes. He struck out eight batters. The Red Sox committed three errors behind Sale (1-6), who gave up four runs, two earned, in six innings.

Dodgers 10, Pirates 2

David Freese hit a grand slam, and Cody Bellinger cracked his 18th home run as visiting Los Angeles clobbered Pittsburgh in a faceoff of sluggers and early MVP contenders in Bellinger and the Pirates’ Josh Bell.

Bellinger, who entered the game hitting .394, was 1-for-5 with the homer, a two-run shot. Bell, who began the game with a .339 batting average, went 1-for-4 with a double.

The Dodgers, who have won eight straight games against the Pirates, piled up 13 hits. Los Angeles starter Walker Buehler (5-1) allowed one run and five hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and one walk.

Reds 6, Cubs 5

Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to give visiting Cincinnati its first lead of the game, and the bullpen made it hold for a win against Chicago in the opener of a three-game series.

Willson Contreras gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead in the eighth with a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single on an 0-2 pitch from David Hernandez (1-2).

Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 11th save. Steve Cishek (1-2) was three outs from his fifth save for Chicago, but he walked Joey Votto to start the inning before Suarez hit his towering blast to center.

Twins 11, White Sox 4

Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler each hit home runs as Minnesota became just the second team in major league history to reach the 100-homer mark in the first 50 games of the season, helping produce a win over Chicago in Minneapolis.

The Twins, coming in off their second eight-homer game of the season in a 16-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, increased their 2019 total to 101. They joined the 1999 Seattle Mariners (102) as the only teams in major league history to hit the century mark in their first 50 games.

Minnesota, which improved to a major-league-best 34-16, has scored 300 runs this season and has produced at least 10 runs in a game six times. Jose Berrios (7-2) picked up the victory, overcoming a four-run second inning that saw Chicago bat around. He gave up just the four runs (one earned) in 6 2/3 innings.

Padres 6, Blue Jays 3

Hunter Renfroe hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning, and visiting San Diego defeated Toronto. Matt Wisler (2-1) pitched one-third of an inning to get the win.

Toronto reliever Daniel Hudson (3-2) walked Manny Machado with one out in the eighth and threw errantly to second on Eric Hosmer’s comebacker to put runners at the corners for Renfroe, who hit his 12th homer this season.

Robbie Erlin pitched a perfect eighth for the Padres. Craig Stammen came in for the ninth to earn his second save of the season after pitching around a hit batter and striking out one.

Phillies 6, Brewers 4

Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-4 with a home run, lifting Philadelphia past host Milwaukee in the opener of a three-game series. Andrew McCutchen and Scott Kingery each added two hits, including an RBI double apiece, to help the Phillies win for the sixth time in eight games.

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff lasted only three innings as he allowed five hits and four runs. Vince Velasquez (2-2) tossed two scoreless innings, and the Philadelphia bullpen blanked Milwaukee for six innings.

Orlando Arcia and Christian Yelich each homered for the Brewers, who got two hits apiece from Ryan Braun and Yasmani Grandal.

Braves 5, Cardinals 2

Dansby Swanson hit two home runs, and Atlanta beat host St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 for their eighth win in 10 games.

Swanson launched a solo homer in the sixth inning, part of back-to-back home runs with Freddie Freeman. He added a two-run shot to dead center field in the eighth, giving him 10 homers this season and three over his past three games.

The two-homer game was Swanson’s first since August 2018 at Pittsburgh. The consecutive homers by Freeman and Swanson marked the second time in three days the Braves have gone back-to-back.

Tigers 9, Mets 8

JaCoby Jones collected a career-high four RBIs, when his two-run double in the seventh inning gave visiting Detroit the lead for good in a wild win over New York.

The Tigers snapped a nine-game losing streak and ended the Mets’ four-game winning streak. Jones, who also had a two-run homer in the second, entered Friday with three career three-RBI games.

His go-ahead double off Drew Gagnon (3-1) provided the final lead change in a hectic sequence in which the Mets took the lead three times and the Tigers tied the score twice between the fourth and sixth. Buck Farmer (3-3) earned the win despite allowing one run in the sixth.

Indians 3, Rays 1

Roberto Perez’s infield single plated the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth inning as host Cleveland snapped a season-high four-game losing skid with a victory over Tampa Bay.

Jordan Luplow belted a solo homer, and Shane Bieber struck out 10 in a no-decision for the Indians, who evened their four-game series with Tampa Bay at one victory apiece.

Avisail Garcia had an RBI single in the first inning, and Tommy Pham doubled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games for the Rays, who have dropped three of their past five games.

Nationals 12, Marlins 10

Juan Soto and Matt Adams hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to lift Washington to victory over visiting Miami, snapping a five-game losing streak.

With Washington trailing 9-8, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon walked with one out against Nick Anderson (1-2) before Tayron Guerrero came on to face Soto, who lifted a three-run shot to left center on a 100 mph fastball. Adams followed with his 100th career homer to right-center.

The Marlins had taken the lead on Starlin Castro’s single in the top of the eighth. Eaton and Anthony Rendon also homered for Washington.

Yankees at Royals, ppd.

Kansas City’s scheduled home game against New York Yankees was postponed Friday due to the expectation of heavy rains in the evening.

The teams will make up the contest as part of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

(Field Level Media)

Source: OANN

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
May 4, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) dribbles the ball past Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker (17) during the second quarter in game three of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is unlikely to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday against either the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks.

Durant has missed the past five games with a right calf injury and he told reporters on Friday that he was initially worried that he had torn his Achilles tendon.

“I’ve seen the clip on the screen and it’s like ‘That’s the Achilles, that’s the Achilles,’ ” Durant told reporters. “Obviously, everybody is going to be a little nervous until someone reassured me that it’s not.”

The news was better for Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala (left calf) and big man DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps). Coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala will be available for Game 1. Cousins scrimmaged on Friday and also has a chance at being ready for the opener.

–The NBA free agency period will open six hours earlier this summer, the league and the National Basketball Players Association announced.

Teams and free agents now will be able to open their negotiations on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET instead of July 1 at 12:01 a.m. The two sides may talk solely to schedule meetings beginning June 29 at 6 p.m. ET but can’t talk numbers until 24 hours later.

The 2019 free-agent class has a number of big-name players, including Golden State stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard (Toronto), Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler (Philadelphia), Kyrie Irving (Boston) and Khris Middleton (Milwaukee).

–The Portland Trail Blazers and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the end of the 2023-24 season, ESPN reported.

Olshey, 54, joined the team as general manager in June 2012 and was promoted in 2015. The Trail Blazers have made the playoffs six consecutive seasons and advanced to the Western Conference finals this season for the first time since 2000.

Olshey’s first task will be to secure the Portland futures of guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, both of whom he selected in the draft.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Pittsburgh Pirates
May 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Khris Davis (2) at the batting cage before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

The Oakland Athletics placed designated hitter Khris Davis on the 10-day injured list on Friday, retroactive to May 22, because of a left hip/oblique injury.

In a corresponding move, they recalled outfielder Skye Bolt from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Davis sustained the injury in Pittsburgh on May 5 and has been in and out of the lineup, playing in seven of the 15 games since then. The seven-year veteran led the majors with 48 home runs last season and is hitting .248 with 12 homers and 29 RBIs this season.

Bolt, 25, made his major league debut with the A’s during three games in Pittsburgh from May 3-5. He was sent back to Las Vegas on May 7 and is batting .311 with six home runs and 30 RBIs in 34 games in Triple-A.

–The Arizona Diamondbacks placed left fielder David Peralta on the 10-day injured list due to a right shoulder injury. The move is retroactive to Wednesday.

Arizona recalled Kevin Cron — the minor league leader with 21 homers — and outfielder Tim Locastro from Triple-A Reno. The Diamondbacks also optioned right-hander Jimmie Sherfy to Reno.

Peralta, 31, is batting .309 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 46 games. Cron, 26, has never played in a major league game despite hitting more than 20 homers in five straight seasons. He is the younger brother of Minnesota Twins first baseman C.J. Cron.

–The New York Mets agreed to a minor league deal with veteran right-hander Ervin Santana, and multiple reports indicated outfielder Matt Kemp also signed a similar deal.

Santana went 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA for the Chicago White Sox earlier this season. He served up six homers in just 13 1/3 innings before being designated for assignment. After clearing waivers, Santana chose to become a free agent. The 36-year-old still must pass a physical to make the deal official.

Kemp, 34, started the season with Cincinnati and was released on May 5 after batting .200 with one homer and five RBIs.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos
Sep 9, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Adam Jones (24) celebrates after a game winning interception in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones announced his retirement from the NFL after 12 seasons.

“I stand tall and proud as I announce that this beautiful life-changing ride that I have been on in the National Football League has come to an end, I’m officially hanging my cleats up, with no regrets!” Jones wrote in a statement released Friday by his agent, Peter Schaffer.

Jones, 35, has a history of arrests and was plagued by legal issues throughout his career. The NFL suspended him for the 2007 season following a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club that left a man paralyzed. A member of Jones’ entourage was identified as the shooter.

The Tennessee Titans selected Jones with the No. 6 overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, and he played in 30 games over his first two seasons. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2010-17) and Denver Broncos (2018).

–Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is happy to have a “clean start.”

Fournette was a major disappointment in 2018 for a team that greatly underachieved with a 5-11 mark one season after reaching the AFC Championship Game. But he has had time to decipher his poor campaign and feels he is back on track.

“I’m happy, especially the way I’m here working with my team right now,” Fournette told reporters Friday after Jacksonville’s third organized team activity. He rushed for just 439 yards and five touchdowns in eight games last season after having 1,040 yards and nine scores in 13 games as a rookie in 2017.

–Kevin Dyson may have come up a yard short in one of the greatest finishes in Super Bowl history, but he never let up on his pursuit of education — his own and that of others.

Nearly 20 years after nearly climbing to the top of the football world, Dyson is sitting atop the academic world at a middle school in Tennessee. As the principal.

Interim Williamson County superintendent Jason Golden on Friday announced that Dyson, 43, is the new permanent principal at Grassland Middle School in Franklin.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

PGA: Charles Schwab Challenge - Second Round
May 24, 2019; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Jonas Blixt plays his shot from the fairway on the 18th hole during the second round the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Jonas Blixt soared into the lead with an eye-catching eagle at the 17th hole and held on for a one-stroke advantage over Kevin Na and Tony Finau after the second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday.

Blixt holed out from 132 yards at the 17th to shoot a bogey-free six-under-par 64 before windy conditions hit Colonial Country Club.

A closing par left the Swede on nine-under 131 and gave him the 36-hole outright lead for the first time in 185 starts on the PGA Tour.

Na (62) and first-round leader Finau (68) shared second at eight-under 132.

Na, playing in the morning like Blixt, started off with an eagle at the first and added six birdies.

Finau finally provided some competition in the afternoon, despite increasing winds, with three birdies and a bogey in his last nine holes.

Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini (66) held fourth at six-under with former champion Jordan Spieth (70) in a group of five at five under.

Spieth, often missing fairways, wound up with five bogeys before collecting birdies on two of his final three holes.

He also had a 50-foot birdie putt at the 10th and a 46-footer two holes later.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: OANN

Soccer: U.S. Women's National Team World Cup Media Day
May 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Carli Lloyd , Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe take questions during the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup media day at Twitter NYC. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The 1999 U.S. women’s team may defy comparison in the eyes of many soccer fans but, 20 years after their famous World Cup triumph, the challenges they faced are all too familiar with pay and conditions still at the top of the agenda.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has boosted the prize money for this year’s women’s World Cup to $30 million but that figure is dwarfed by the roughly $448 million on offer at the men’s tournament in Russia last year.

“For the resources and for the ability that FIFA has to implement that change (more investment), they’re not doing nearly enough,” co-captain Megan Rapinoe said on Friday. “I hope that it’s just so much better (in 20 years) than it is now.”

The success of the 1999 team, playing in front of huge home crowds, turned players like Mia Hamm into household names and inspired a generation of girls and female athletes, even if the promise of widespread gender parity in sports remains elusive.

In March, the U.S. women’s squad sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination, saying the sport’s national organizing body paid them less than the men’s team despite their superior performance and provided them with sub-standard facilities.

Julie Foudy, a midfielder on the 1999 team, told Reuters earlier this week that she was “frustrated” there was still a need to pursue the dispute.

“It’s exhausting to keep fighting that fight and especially (for them) to do it right before a World Cup,” Foudy said.

All 23 members of this year’s squad spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Mexico, part of a farewell series of friendlies ahead of next month’s tournament in France where they will be defending the title they won in 2015.

“I think it’s pretty clear women in sport have not been treated with the same care and financing that men’s sports has,” said Rapinoe.

Despite the frustration over the progress made by the women’s game since the U.S. beat China 5-4 on penalties to win the 1999 World Cup, that triumph continues to resonate.

Co-captain Alex Morgan, who has drawn comparisons to Hamm, said the 1999 team were very influential in her development.

“The ’99ers had a huge impact on me and growing my passion to want to play, and being good friends with a lot of them now, I still draw a lot of inspiration from them,” she said.

The U.S. launch their title defense against Thailand on June 11 in Group F which also features Sweden and Chile.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
FILE PHOTO: May 4, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) looks on during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets in game three of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is unlikely to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday against either the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks.

Durant has missed the past five games with a right calf injury and he told reporters on Friday that he was initially worried that he had torn his Achilles tendon.

“I’ve seen the clip on the screen and it’s like ‘that’s the Achilles, that’s the Achilles,’” Durant told reporters. “Obviously, everybody is going to be a little nervous until someone reassured me that it’s not.

.”.. I started walking and I realized I could put some weight on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I was pretty relieved.”

Asked to compare the current injury to previous calf injuries he’s sustained, Durant said that this one was much different.

“This is worse,” Durant said of the injury sustained against the Houston Rockets on May 8 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

The news was better for swingman Andre Iguodala (left calf) and big man DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps).

Coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala will be available for Game 1. Cousins scrimmaged on Friday and has a chance at being ready for the opener, as well.

Meanwhile, Durant is miffed at the recent narrative that the Warriors are a better team without him. Golden State is 5-0 since losing the 10-time All-Star.

Durant was averaging 34.2 points in the postseason prior to the injury against the Rockets.

“It’s hard to get away from that because I watch the games (when Golden State is on the road) and I saw the lead-up to the game and I saw everybody talking about it,” Durant said. .”.. As a player, I think about that and I’m just like ‘That’s not true, that’s not the facts’ when it comes from a basketball perspective.”

Durant, who could leave as a free agent after the season, also feels outsiders are trying to drive a wedge between him and his teammates.

“It’s been that way since I got here, It’s the Warriors and K.D. I understand that,” said Durant, who joined the Warriors in the summer of 2016. “I feel the organization knows exactly what I’ve done on and off the court to become part of this culture and stamp my flag on this organization.

“The last two years, I’ve done pretty much everything that they asked me to do from player, ambassador to the community to working hard every single day in shootarounds and practices.

“I know what I bring to the team but I also know a lot of people on the outside don’t like to see us together. I get it.”

Star guard Stephen Curry said he doesn’t understand why there isn’t a general feeling of happiness when a team or players do well.

“We’re a great team because everybody in the room who put on the uniform goes out and competes at a high level,” Curry said. “We look out for each other. There is sacrifice. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning.”

Toronto holds a 3-2 lead in the East and can close out its series on Saturday when it hosts the Bucks.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Soccer: U.S. Women's National Team World Cup Media Day
May 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; The U.S. Women’s National Team tale a photo with USWNT Foosball table during the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup media day at Twitter NYC. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Few of the 24 women’s World Cup teams arriving in France for next month’s tournament will bear the weight of expectation quite like reigning champions the United States.

The three-times winners will be aiming not only to retain the trophy they won in 2015 but also build on their legacy as soccer’s dominant women’s team and further cement their role as leaders in the fight for gender equality.

In March, they sued the U.S. Soccer Federation with allegations of gender discrimination with all 28 members of the squad named as plaintiffs in federal court.

But if the pressure on the squad in the build-up to the World Cup is beginning to grate on the players at all, 36-year-old co-captain Carli Lloyd is not showing it.

“Physically, this is the fittest I’ve ever felt, sharpest I’ve ever felt,” 36-year-old midfielder Lloyd said at a media event on Friday. “I feel at ease, I feel calm, I feel hungry, I feel motivated and I just feel excited.”

Lloyd, along with striker Alex Morgan, 29, and attacking midfielder Megan Rapinoe, 33, are among the veterans critical not only on the pitch but off it, as the U.S. bring new faces to the World Cup stage, said head coach Jill Ellis.

“It falls on those players to share their experiences, make sure there’s a push when there needs to be a push and make sure there’s an arm around the shoulder when that’s needed as well,” said Ellis, who oversaw the World Cup triumph four years ago.

MORE EXPERIENCED

The trio of co-captains bring a welcome dose of stability to the team, which failed to medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“When you look at 2016, we had a lot (of the) players that we have now but those are players that barely had 10 caps on the team up to that point. Now I think (the team) is a little more experienced,” said Morgan, who was in the 2011 and 2015 squads.

“I understand that when you look at literal terms yes we’re defending champions, but I don’t feel like going into this tournament we’re looking at defending anything because this is four years we’re talking about. There’s so many things that can change.”

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn, another stalwart at 33, said the current U.S. team was full of younger players, alongside the more experienced squad members, and they would all be looking to make their own history at the tournament in France.

“This team is (a) new identity. It’s revamped, it’s got a very young, energetic, majority to it,” said Sauerbrunn. “It’s a new team, we’re going to try to create our own legacy.”

Much is expected of 21-year-old forward Mallory Pugh, while 26-year-old defender Crystal Dunn has plenty to prove, having been the last player cut from the 2015 World Cup squad.

The Americans are overwhelming favorites to top their World Cup group, having been handed a favorable draw that includes long-term rivals Sweden alongside Chile and Thailand, who the U.S. will play in their first match on June 11.

“All of us are solely focused on the first game against Thailand and, you know, in a major tournament like this, you can’t get too far ahead of yourself,” said Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the first 16 minutes of the final four years ago.

“It’s just kind of weathering the storm. Winning, whether that’s pretty, ugly – just finding a way to win.”

The World Cup kicks off on June 7 when hosts France face South Korea at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Niki Lauda, President of Niki low cost airline and former World Champion Formula One driver, answers journalists questions at the Vienna international Airport
FILE PHOTO: Niki Lauda, President of Niki low cost airline and former World Champion Formula One driver, answers journalists questions at the Vienna international Airport, December 15, 2010. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

May 24, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – The heartbreak of Niki Lauda’s death has washed over the Indianapolis 500 paddock this week but there are no formal tributes planned to honor the three-times Formula One world champion, IndyCar said on Friday.

Although Lauda never raced IndyCar, the Austrian touched many lives across the North American racing scene, from team owner Roger Penske to the polesitter of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud.

Lauda, one of the sport’s greatest heroes, died on Monday in hospital in Zurich at the age of 70, plunging Formula One into a week of mourning in the run up to Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Ferrari said they would honor their late champion, who won two of his titles with the Italian team while McLaren, with whom the Austrian won his third title in 1984, said they would also have something on their cars.

Mercedes, where Lauda was non-executive chairman, will wear black armbands and have a tribute on the famed Silver Arrows cars.

IndyCar told Reuters it currently has no plans to pay homage to Lauda during Sunday’s pre-race ceremonies and is not aware of any team preparing tributes.

While the outpouring of grief has been more private at the Brickyard, it is no less heartfelt.

Penske, who owns IndyCar’s most successful outfit and operated a Formula One team in the mid-1970s racing against Lauda, told Reuters he was devastated by news of the Austrian’s death.

“I’ve known Niki for so many years and he has always been a winner,” said Penske, whose last victory as an F1 owner came in 1976 on Lauda’s home track at the Austrian Grand Prix.

“He’s a guy you could call anytime and he has been a friend and it is just so sad to see him leave the sport and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Pagenaud, who drives for Penske and will start Sunday’s race from pole, said on Twitter that Ayrton Senna may have been his childhood idol but he always felt more like Niki Lauda.

“Niki Lauda was a pure example of hard work pays off! My Hero and I wish I was a Senna but I often think I was born more like a Lauda! Thank you Niki,” tweeted the Frenchman.

Bravery is the currency that will get you onto Victory Lane at the Brickyard and for many of the 33 drivers on the starting grid on Sunday there was none braver than Lauda.

The Austrian suffered horrific injuries in a fiery crash at the Nuerburgring in 1976 yet weeks later was back in his Ferrari.

Canadian Robert Wickens, who was left paralyzed in a near fatal crash at an IndyCar race at Pocono last year has used Lauda as motivation to get back on his feet and into a race car.

In contrast, Dario Franchitti, a three-times Indy 500 winner, said it was Lauda who convinced him not to return to the cockpit after a 2013 crash left him with fractured vertebrae, a broken ankle and a serious concussion.

“I was fortunate to spend a little bit of time with him, he gave me some advice about the temptation to get back in a racing car and he put it in his usual blunt way and I took that advice,” said Franchitti.

“When I was a kid, when I was five-years old, I wanted to be Mario Andretti and Niki Lauda that was my dream.

“Spending that time with him was special.”

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins
FILE PHOTO: Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs down the field during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is happy to have a “clean start.”

Fournette was a major disappointment in 2018 for a team that greatly underachieved with a 5-11 mark one season after reaching the AFC Championship Game. But he has had time to decipher his poor campaign and feels he is back on track.

“I’m happy, especially the way I’m here working with my team right now,” Fournette told reporters Friday after Jacksonville’s third organized team activity. “It’s a new year. We have a new team. We’re focused, and we have new players. It’s a new year for us. So it’s a new everything. It’s a clean start for a lot of us guys.

“We’re not focused on the past. The past’s the past. Some things I did, whether it was offseason and I admitted to, yeah, I was wrong. We moved on. We’re in a good place right now.”

Fournette rushed for just 439 yards and five touchdowns in eight games last season after having 1,040 yards and nine scores in 13 games as a rookie in 2017.

An early-season hamstring injury derailed Fournette and he ended up missing seven games because of ailments and another due to a suspension.

The bad fortune continued into the offseason when Fournette was arrested and charged with speeding and driving with a suspended license.

But in terms of offseason workouts, Fournette decided not to train in his hometown of New Orleans. He instead worked out at the University of Wyoming where Ben Iannacchione works as the director of sports performance.

Iannacchione worked at LSU when Fournette was the Tigers’ star tailback.

“I kind of put a lot on myself this offseason, like getting my body right,” Fournette said. “Just mentally coming back ready to play football. No distractions. Leaving the outside stuff where it’s at. I think that’s one of the biggest things that us players have a problem with.

“We face a lot of problems, you know what I mean? We have a lot of issues ourselves. And if we’re not right with ourselves and then we come out on this field, we’re not going to be right in the game.”

That was certainly an issue for Fournette last season. His suspension was for leaving the bench and getting in a fight with Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Shaq Lawson. He also was caught on video yelling at a fan in the stands during a December loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin publicly ripped Fournette — and fellow running back T.J. Yeldon — for appearing disinterested during the season finale against the Houston Texans. Fournette was inactive due to a foot injury.

Jacksonville is looking for a bounce-back season from Fournette and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is interested in making him the focal point of the attack.

“I’m going to call it what it is: He’s going to be a major reason for where our offense goes,” DeFilippo told reporters. “I’m not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense. The harder he works, which he is right now, I think that’s not only going to be good for our offense but good for our team.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: LPGA: ANA Inspiration - First Round
FILE PHOTO: Apr 4, 2019; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Michelle Wie tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC – Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Former U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie has pulled out of next week’s major tournament because of continuing wrist problems, she said on Friday.

“While I’m making progress with my recovery, I have decided to withdraw from the U.S. Women’s Open,” Wie announced in a statement.

The 2014 champion underwent surgery on her right hand in 2018 but problems returned this year.

“It was a difficult decision to make because the U.S. Open was one that I was looking forward to playing in all year, but my recovery and health is the priority,” the 29-year-old said.

Currently ranked 46th in the world, Wie tied for 23rd in the Honda LPGA Thailand, withdrew in the middle of the first round of the HSBC Women’s World championship and missed the cut in the ANA Inspiration, shooting 74-77.

She has no timeline for returning, but hopes to do so this season.

The U.S. Women’s Open begins on May 30 at the Country Club of Charleston, South Carolina.

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn is the defending champion.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: ATP 1000 - Monte Carlo Masters
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 18, 2019 Germany’s Alexander Zverev celebrates during his third round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Alexander Zverev continued his preparations for the French Open by sealing a hard-fought 7-5 6-7(6) 6-3 victory on Friday over Argentine Federico Delbonis to reach the Geneva Open final.

Zverev, whose form on clay has been patchy so far this season, takes on Chilean Nicolas Jarry on Saturday in his first ATP title clash on the surface since last year’s Italian Open.

Jarry earlier defeated Moldova’s Radu Albot 6-3 6-4 after saving four out of five break points in the contest. The world number 75 is seeking a first tour-level trophy in his second final.

“I am very happy with the win. I am very happy to be in the final and give myself an opportunity to win a tournament here,” Zverev, whose last title was at the ATP Finals in London in November, said.

“I made 15 aces so my serve was doing alright … Delbonis beat great players on this surface already, he has done well on this surface and I think winning against him is a good win.”

Zverev lost his only previous clash with Jarry in the second round of the Barcelona Open last month.

The world number five faces Australia’s John Millman in the opening round at Roland Garros, which begins on Sunday.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Carb Day
May 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indycar drivers practice during Carb Day for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – IndyCar will use an “Aeroscreen” to provide cockpit protection from next season, with the Red Bull Advanced Technologies-designed system giving cars a jet fighter appearance, the U.S. open wheel series announced on Friday.

Indycar believes the Aeroscreen concept is better suited for their series, considered the most dangerous form of open-wheel racing, than the halo system used in Formula One.

The Red Bull design will consist of a polycarbonate laminated screen with an anti-reflective coating, an anti-fogging device and possibly tear-offs.

The titanium framework will mount in three areas around the cockpit.

IndyCar races on street and road courses and ovals, like the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, where cars sometimes race wheel-to-wheel at speeds reaching close to 230 mph.

The full screen concept is designed to allow drivers to survive incidents like the one that killed Justin Wilson in 2015, when a piece of debris struck his helmet during a race.

“Since the first prototypes were developed and demonstrated in 2016, the potential of Aeroscreen to improve the safety for drivers in the event of frontal impacts in the cockpit area of cars has been clear,” said Christian Horner, Red Bull Advanced Technologies CEO and Red Bull Racing team principal, in a statement.

When Formula One made the halo mandatory in 2018, racing traditionalists were critical that it changed the look of cars.

IndyCar said it took aesthetics into consideration and believes it has hit on an eye-pleasing design that will be the new industry standard for driver protection.

“This car we kind of reversed engineered it where we did aesthetics first and performance second so…it has a fighter jet look to it,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye.

IndyCar has been working on a cockpit protection system and last year conducted testing with a windscreen concept, including on-track sessions where it was determined that additional work was needed before implementation.

Data from these tests was passed onto Red Bull Advanced Technologies for the development of the current design.

“We the drivers at IndyCar always wanted to make sure that if we did run something that it was going to be something great, not something rushed, something that hadn’t been tested well,” said IndyCar veteran Scott Dixon, winner of the 2008 Indy 500 and a five-time series champion.

“We’ve seen other versions of this but I think this covers all the bases.”

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: ATP 1000 - Madrid Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Madrid Open – The Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 12, 2019 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the final against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

May 24, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic believes he is peaking at the perfect moment to win four successive Grand Slam titles for the second time in his career by capturing the French Open.

The Serb became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams simultaneously when he won the French Open for the first time in 2016.

Now he stands on the cusp of doing it again, less than a year after many predicted his best days were behind him after his struggle to recover from elbow surgery.

After a dip in form following his Australian Open triumph this year, the 15-times Grand Slam winner has impressed on the European claycourts, winning the Madrid title and reaching the final in Rome where he was beaten by French Open holder Rafael Nadal.

He arrived at Roland Garros in peak condition and high on confidence.

“This is the tournament I was preparing for, so to say, for last couple of months I wanted to peak in this tournament and this is where I want to play my best tennis,” Djokovic told reporters on Friday.

“I’m sure I’m not the only one, but there’s extra motivation and incentive to win Roland Garros because of the opportunity to hold all four slams, something I did three years ago, and that gives me enough reason to believe I can do it again.”

Last year in Paris Djokovic showed glimpses of his best form before falling to Italian Marco Cecchinato in the quarter-finals — then angrily walking into a press conference saying he was considering skipping Wimbledon.

Instead he regrouped and took the title a few weeks later on the London lawns, before winning the U.S. Open and this year’s Melbourne title to reach 15 Grand Slam titles — five behind the mark of Roger Federer.

The 32-year-old said he had tweaked his strategy in recent months to peak at the Grand Slams.

“Because at this stage of my career, those are the ones that matter the most for me,” Djokovic added.

“Those are the tournaments where I want to play my best. So we try to obviously set up a training schedule that would allow me to reach the top of my potential physically, emotionally, mentally for the Grand Slam.”

Djokovic said Nadal was the favorite to claim a record-extending 12th title in Paris.

“I think it wouldn’t be fair to pick anybody else but him as the main favorite, because he has won this tournament so many times,” he added.

“He’s lost, what, two times in his career on Parisian clay? So lots of respect for him. We had a good match in Rome. He was a better player. Was just too strong.”

Djokovic faces a tricky opener against Poland’s 43rd-ranked Hubert Hurkacz with a possible second-round against Sam Querrey, the American who beat him at Wimbledon three years ago.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru and Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
FILE PHOTO: Dec 24, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4) run onto the field before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remains upbeat about signing quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term deal after the sides exchanged contract proposals.

Prescott said Thursday his representatives countered the original contract offer from the Cowboys.

“We never really know where we are with anybody until we get one done,” Jones said. “But we’re moving along satisfactorily with all of our contract negotiations.”

Jones told Cowboys Hall of Famer Michael Irvin on the Rich Eisen Show in early May that he was confident the deal with Prescott, entering his fourth NFL season, would get done.

“We are sold on Dak,” Jones said. “We do want to have him for the long term. We think he is worthy of investing in for the long term. …

“When you look at the snaps he has had, the situations he has been in and how he has got here and you see he has performed, we see real upside in Dak. You don’t have it all yet. We love the way he logically progresses through a game. You see when the going gets tough when he’s got to come from behind when he turns it loose a little bit. You see him make those plays. He emboldens me to make a deal with him that puts him here for the long term.”

Dallas is installing a tweaked offensive system after Scott Linehan was replaced as coordinator by Kellen Moore. Prescott said he notices changes that are beyond subtle shifts.

“You’ll definitely notice it because we’re presenting it different,” Prescott said. “I can’t tell you we’re gonna have whole new offensive plays and things like that, but they’ll definitely be presented in different ways. And that’ll be a big help for us.”

The Cowboys selected Prescott, a Mississippi State product, in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has started every game in three seasons, leading the team to 32 wins and two NFC East titles.

Prescott, who turns 26 in July, has completed 66.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 10,876 yards with 67 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks
FILE PHOTO: May 23, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives for the basket as Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends in the fourth quarter in game five of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks went from a 2-0 series lead to a 3-2 deficit and face elimination Saturday in Toronto. The MVP candidate had a message for Milwaukee fans on Thursday night after the Raptors took a third consecutive game in the best-of-seven series.

“We’re not gonna fold,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’re the best team in the league. We’re gonna go in, give it everything we got. We can’t fold. We’re gonna come back to Milwaukee being pissed.”

After the 105-99 loss Thursday in Game 5, Antetokounmpo received treatment for a right ankle injury. He said there was no particular play when his ankle was hurt, but added it wouldn’t be a problem when the team takes on the Raptors in Toronto in Game 6.

“I just want to win,” Antetokounmpo said. “I think we had a chance to win it, but we didn’t. Obviously, I’m pissed. I am not gonna lie to you. We got two more games to go.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer took Antetokounmpo out of the game with 1:12 remaining. He said he noticed the injury when Antetokounmpo attempted a backcourt steal against Kawhi Leonard.

Budenholzer said the Bucks will all be ready to roll Saturday.

“I think we talk about the character of the group and the toughness and competitiveness of the group,” Budenholzer said. “It’s first of four. We’ve got to go to Toronto, get a game, and I think the group will be ready. They’ll fill their cup up and be ready to go.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

ATP 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2019 Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates after winning his third round match against Croatia’s Borna Coric REUTERS/Matteo Ciambelli

May 24, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Having won 20 grand slam titles during a glittering career, one might think that Roger Federer has seen it all.

Yet the 37-year-old Swiss admits he is stepping into the unknown as he returns to the French Open after a three-year hiatus.

The former world number one won his only Roland Garros title back in 2009, and he wanted to give it another go after skipping the last three editions of the claycourt major.

Asked if he thought he could lift the Musketeers’ Cup on June 9, Federer replied: “I don’t know. A bit of a question mark for me. Some ways I feel similar to maybe the Australian Open in 2017. A bit of the unknown,” Federer told reporters on Friday referring to his comeback to the season’s first major in 2017 after being out of action for six months.

“I feel like I’m playing good tennis but … is it enough against the absolute top guys when it really comes to the crunch? I’m not sure if it’s in my racket.

“But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys. But first I need to get there and I know that’s a challenge in itself. Yeah, it’s definitely going to be an exciting tournament mentally to go through.”

Federer will kick off his campaign against Italian Lorenzo Sonego and has a relatively easy path until the quarter-finals, where he could meet Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas before a potential semi-final against 11-time champion Rafael Nadal, whom he has never beaten at the French Open.

Federer won the title in 2009 after Nadal had been beaten by Swede Robin Soderling midway through the event. Federer then defeated Soderling in the final to complete his career slam.

Looking back to that tournament 10 year ago, Federer said he was happy he managed to handle the pressure as expectations could have crushed him following Nadal’s exit.

“This is where these expectations started when the journalists started saying it’s this year or never,” he explained.

“From then on, the next nine or 10 days felt like

forever. (When) Soderling had beaten Rafa… I knew that instead of the tournament becoming easier, it was going to become more difficult because of the pressure,” added the Swiss, who was stretched to five sets in his fourth round and semi-final matches after news of Nadal’s demise had already hit the headlines.

“But it was nevertheless interesting and I felt better,

and I feel proud that I was able to manage the pressure.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

WTA Premier 5 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 18, 2019 Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova celebrates after winning her semi final match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari REUTERS/Giuseppe Maffia

May 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Second seed Karolina Pliskova wants to ensure she is battle-ready when the French Open begins by choosing reigning champion Simona Halep as her pre-tournament practice partner.

The powerful Czech is being tipped as a potential champion this year after winning in Rome last week — her biggest claycourt title to date.

And she can think of no better preparation than trading shots with Romanian Halep, who claimed her long-awaited first Grand Slam title by outlasting Sloane Stephens last year.

“I always enjoy to play with her, it’s a guarantee that the practice is going to be a good level, because she always plays good. She always fights in the practice,” the 27-year-old Pliskova told reporters on Friday.

With Halep in the top half of the draw and Pliskova at the bottom she will at least be spared having to face her new hitting buddy competitively until the final.

Although a potential second-round clash against former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova promises to be a real scrap.

Apart from a run to the semi-finals in 2017, Pliskova’s French Open record is mediocre, but she says having Spanish former runner-up Conchita Martinez in her coaching set-up is helping her master the slower surface.

“I feel confident after I made the title in Rome, so there is no reason why I should not be feeling great,” she said.

“I think she understands my game well, so that’s why everything is working. Conchita, she has good influence on me, so she’s helping me, especially now on the clay.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

WTA Premier 5 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2019 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her second round match against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova REUTERS/Matteo Ciambelli

May 24, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka believes she is finally getting to grips with claycourt tennis as she is about to start her first grand slam as the top seed at this year’s French Open.

The world number one from Japan has won the last two majors — the U.S. and Australian Opens — but she has yet to claim a title on the slowest surface.

“Definitely for me I feel like I should be an all-court player. Honestly, it’s been a bit of a ride trying to figure out how to play better on clay throughout these years, but I think this year I have been playing well,” Osaka told reporters ahead of the May 26-June 9 tournament at Roland Garros.

“So I’m really excited to see what happens here.”

Osaka reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart and the quarter-finals in Madrid and Rome on the red dirt this season.

Looking to improve her claycourt skills, she spent a bit of time at 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal’s academy.

“I was able to go there for a little bit in between Germany and Spain. It was really nice,” she said.

“Everyone is very nice and helpful. And then I met Rafa. So that was really cool.”

Her claycourt results and her recent success at the majors have boosted her confidence.

“I don’t want to be here thinking I want to get to the

quarters,” she said even though her best result at the French Open was reaching the third round in 2016 and last year.

“I have never been that far here before, but my end goal is to win, of course.”

Osaka will start her campaign against Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova before a potentially explosive second round clash against two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka or 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko.

Serena Williams, the 23-time major champion, could be her quarter-final opponent while defending champion Simona Halep is a potential semi-final obstacle.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: WTA Premier Mandatory - Madrid Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier Mandatory – Madrid Open – The Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2019 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her round of 32 match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo REUTERS/Susana Vera

May 24, 2019

By Ossian Shine

Want to know who will win the women’s French Open? Stick a pin in the draw. That cliche has seldom rang more true than at this year’s Roland Garros, where no players stand out and few seem to be hitting form in the run up to the year’s second major.

The nine women’s claycourt tournaments so far this season have had nine different champions, and with nobody able to dominate, who will win the French is pure guesswork.

“Anything can happen… it’s hard to pick a winner,” three-times champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario told Reuters recently. “It’s an unusual situation… quite open. Anything can happen in two weeks.”

Certainly if top seed and world number one Naomi Osaka is going to add to her U.S. and Australian Open titles, she will have to do it the hard way.

Assuming she navigates past Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round, the Japanese star will face either former world number one and grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka or dynamo 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Neither one is a player Osaka will relish meeting in a second round match, especially not on the Parisian clay, a surface on which she is still learning.

“Naomi looks to have staying power and she has become a huge star,” the 1991 and 1992 men’s champion Jim Courier said.

“Clay is not the surface that matches her style the best but she can beat anyone if she’s sharp. She certainly knows how to close a tournament out so she’ll have no fear if she goes deep at Roland Garros.”

FIGURE OUT CLAY

Osaka herself knows she needs to figure out clay, and fast. “Honestly, it’s been a bit of a ride trying to figure out how to play better on clay throughout these years,” she said at Roland Garros on Friday.

“But I think this year I have been playing well. So I’m really excited to see what happens here.”

Neither is world number two Karolina Pliskova a natural claycourter, but victory in Rome, where she beat resurgent Briton Jo Konta in the final, provided a nod to her Paris credentials.

A better bet, perhaps, may be Simona Halep, though. The Romanian defending champion is yet to win a title this year, but punched deep in Madrid this month, reaching the final, before a limp display in Rome.

She is the most comfortable on clay of the big guns, and is fancied by France’s Marion Bartoli, a former Wimbledon champion who knows Roland Garros well.

“Simona is really a clay court player,” Bartoli said. “Her game is tailored for this surface. For her the main thing will be to control her emotions because she is the defending champion and it will be the first time she will feel that pressure.

“She is the favourite for me to win again – though Petra Kvitova is a real contender too.”

Halep’s conqueror in Madrid, Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens is winning plenty of admirers and has risen to fourth in the world on the back of some great performances. Already this year, in addition to Halep, she has beaten Osaka, Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens.

“Kiki has really surprised me,” former champion Kim Clijsters told Reuters. “Not just recently, but over the years to stay and keep improving and build her level mentally and be a very big contender now to win a Slam.”

SERENA INJURY

With 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name, it would be foolish to dismiss Serena Williams. But after she withdrew from Rome with a knee injury, question marks remain.

“Hopefully Serena is healthy enough to play,” Martin Blackman, general manager for player development with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), told Reuters. 

“She’s such a professional that she doesn’t play unless she’s healthy, especially Grand Slams. So if she does, I think with every match that she wins she becomes a bigger and bigger threat.”Few would disagree. Last year, in only her third tournament back after giving birth, Williams reached the last 16 before injury struck.”She can challenge, oh yeah,” Clijsters said. “She has so much experience in knowing what she needs to do, how she needs to feel, even when she’s not playing her best or not feeling so great.”She still wants to keep improving and that’s something that I really admire about her. She is not coming to the French Open to go shopping and show her family Paris, she is there to try to win the tournament and she is capable of doing that.”

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Rafa Nadal of Spain hits a return against Fabio Fognini of Italy during their men's singles semifinal match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Rafa Nadal of Spain hits a return against Fabio Fognini of Italy during their men’s singles semifinal match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

May 24, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal will have to get used to new surroundings as his favorite hunting ground, the court Philippe Chatrier, has been revamped ahead of the May 26-June 9 French Open.

The Spaniard, chasing a record-extending 12th French Open title, has already practiced on the new main court, which has been extended by 10 meters and features new seats before getting a retractable roof in 2020.

But he is not bothered by the changes after court Philippe Chatrier was 80% rebuilt.

“The feeling with the ball, the feeling with the court, personally I had the same feeling on court. No, no, I don’t see a difference in terms of game experience,” Nadal told reporters on Friday.

“I think the wind is going the same way, and the feeling on court is exactly the same. Then of course it is a different court, and especially is a little bit different looking from behind the royal (officials’) box. For me, that’s the main difference.”

Nadal had reason to be concerned after failing to win clay court titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona or Madrid, but he got back to winning ways just in time for Roland Garros when he prevailed at the Italian Open last week.

He now heads into his first round against a qualifier with a positive mindset.

“I feel myself playing well, being honest, and my goal is just to keep playing at that level, because these things always that I can improve, small things, and just working on small things,” the second seed explained.

“But in general terms, it is just about being healthy, main thing, and then just compete well and be fresh mentally and physically.”

A usually slow starter at Roland Garros, Nadal is expected to face two qualifiers in the first two rounds and things should only get really tough in the semi-finals, where he could face either Roger Federer or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Source: OANN

ATP 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 19, 2019 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the final against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Matteo Ciambelli

May 24, 2019

By Martyn Herman

(Reuters) – For the first time in four years the big three in men’s tennis will all be present at the French Open, all striving to etch another remarkable storyline in the red Parisian dirt.

That Spain’s undisputed king of clay Rafael Nadal is hunting a record-extending and almost unbelievable 12th Roland Garros title is remarkable in itself.

But then world number one Novak Djokovic arrives on the cusp of becoming the first man in the professional era to twice hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.

And then there is Roger Federer, back from his self-imposed French Open exile since 2015, aiming to reclaim the title for a second time, a decade after the first.

As befitting this old city steeped in stories for the ages, the plotlines at this year’s tournament run far deeper than the ambitions of the central characters.

A new order has emerged with fearless Greek Stefanos Tsistipas jumping to the head of a queue of hungry young talents seeking to barge the establishment to one side.

The 20-year-old Athenian has wins over both Federer and Nadal this year and will arrive without any of the mental baggage collected by so many others who have tried and failed to knock Nadal off his throne.

Austrian Dominic Thiem, who Nadal beat to win an 11th title last year, is knocking loudly on the door, while Germany’s Alexander Zverev, Russian duo Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov and exciting Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime will add to the rich mixture.

Throw in rejuvenated former champion Stan Wawrinka, the one-man circus that is Australian Nick Kyrgios and the mercurial Italian Fabio Fognini and the next fortnight is unmissable.

Nadal’s stranglehold on the French Open is one of the most incredible dominations ever in sport — he has lost just two matches at Roland Garros since winning on debut in 2005.

NADAL VULNERABLE

This year injuries have hampered him and when he lost semi-finals in three successive claycourt events, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, it seemed he was vulnerable.

He swept to the title in Rome, though, last week against Djokovic and, as usual, he will start as the man to beat as he seeks an 18th Grand Slam title, two short of Federer’s record.

“I think he is peaking involuntarily, and he has going to be so much better come the quarter-finals or semi-finals than he is now,” former champion Mats Wilander, working as an analyst for Eurosport told Reuters.

“Maybe his claycourt season has been more of a rollercoaster ride this year but at the same time you can get away with that at the French Open over five sets.”

Twelve months ago Djokovic, who turned 32 this week, arrived in Paris in a strange funk, still grappling with his game.

A quarter-final exit sparked a dramatic return to his best though and the Serb went on to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open, taking his Grand Slam haul to 15.

A slight dip followed his Melbourne success but after winning the Madrid title this month he will arrive in Paris confident of repeating his “Djoker Slam” of 2016. Victory over Andy Murray in the Roland Garros final meant he became the first man to hold all four majors at the same time since Rod Laver in 1969.

“That would be unbelievable, for me that would be a bigger deal than Rafa winning 12 French Opens,” Wilander said.

Federer made his French Open debut in 1999 and but for Nadal would have bagged more than the one title he managed in 2009 when he beat Robin Soderling in the final to complete his career Slam.

The Swiss is 38 in August and this could be his final shot at repeating that feat.

As story twists go, that would take some beating.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: WTA Premier Mandatory - Madrid Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier Mandatory – Madrid Open – The Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 11, 2019 Romania’s Simona Halep in action during the final against Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens REUTERS/Sergio Perez

May 24, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Most defending champions would start a grand slam with added pressure but Simona Halep declared she would kick off her French Open campaign knowing that she’s ‘done it already’.

The third-seeded Romanian lifted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup last year after coming off second best at two previous Roland Garros finals.

“It’s much better and much easier, because I have the title already. Doesn’t matter anymore what is going to happen,” the 27-year-old told reporters on Friday ahead of the May 26-June 9 claycourt tournament.

“Everything comes now as a bonus. So I will try just to give my best and to see if I’m able to do it again.”

Halep, who lost in the 2014 and 2017 finals in Paris, will kick off her campaign against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and appears to have an easy path to the quarter-finals, where she faces a potential clash with Czech Petra Kvitova.

“I will try to do things (like) a kid, enjoying the time. I wanted this badly, and I wanted so much that now having it, I just want to be happy and to smile,” said Halep, who has not gone past the fourth round in a grand slam since she triumphed here last year.

“Yesterday when I had the chance to touch the trophy again (at the draw ceremony), I wanted to take it home, but I was not able to do that.”

On clay, she reached the final of the Madrid Open before losing in the second round of the Italian Open last week.

“I played so well in Fed Cup (against France). I really felt the game, and I was really confident after that tie. Also disappointed that we couldn’t win the match, but still gave me a lot of confidence,” she said.

“And then going to Madrid which is maybe my favorite tournament, because I won twice there, and I played two finals, even if I didn’t win the final, I felt that my level is very high.

“I have confidence. I don’t count Rome this year.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing By Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Azerbaijan Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – April 27, 2019 Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

May 24, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg can expect to be back on full power from Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix after Renault fixed a fundamental engine problem that has slowed them in recent races.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul told reporters the engine was now back at the level seen at the start of the season and Renault hoped to be able to match the top teams at least on power.

“There will be another step from this weekend onwards, so basically we are back to the competitiveness level of the engine at the season start, which was really strong,” he said.

“From our analysis we see we are now the same level as Ferrari and Mercedes in the race, and behind Ferrari in qualifying.”

Abiteboul said Hulkenberg’s retirement in Bahrain, the second race, was due to a conrod (connecting rod) failure inside the engine that had meant a massive reduction in power for subsequent races.

A revised engine was introduced for Spain, the race before Monaco, but still with some restrictions pending assessment.

“In five weeks we managed to identify the problem…come up with a new design, source new parts, test the parts, sign off parts on complete cycles, and build new engines in enough quantity for ourselves and McLaren in time for Spain,” said Abiteboul.

Renault, fourth overall last season, had trumpeted a big step forward in engine performance over the European winter but the boss said reliability had been sacrificed.

“This winter we were given the opportunity to properly focus on power gain, and competitiveness. What it meant was we consciously decided to focus on performance to the detriment of reliability,” he explained.

“It means that a number of engines that should have been used on the dyne to secure reliability were actually used to develop performance.

“So what it meant was a very good start in terms of engine power, but reliability that was below standard,” he said.

The problems have had a big impact on track, with Renault eighth out of 10 teams while new signing Ricciardo, last year’s winner for Red Bull in Monaco, has finished only once in the points.

On the chassis side, Abiteboul said Renault were still playing catch-up.

“We’ve grown up massively in Enstone (the factory), moving from 450 to 750 (people), but frankly our practices, our organization, our processes are the same today as they were when we were 400, or even as we were maybe back in 2005,” he said.

Organizational changes have been made and the team have targeted next month’s French Grand Prix at Le Castellet for signs of clear progress.

“We are committed by Paul Ricard to have all the problems and all the delays that have been hurting us at the start of the season sorted out,” said Abiteboul.

“Our collective response to the situation is to come up with sufficient lap time improvement to put us clear of the midfield, which was our target for the season.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

Olympic Evaluation Commission visits Sweden
FILE PHOTO: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Octavian Morariu is pictured during the Olympic Evaluation Commission visit to evaluate the Stockholm-Are candidacy to hold 2026 Winter Games, in Falun Sweden March 14, 2019. Ulf Palm/TT News Agency via REUTERS

May 24, 2019

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee on Friday heaped praise on two remaining candidate cities for the 2026 Winter Olympics, with Italy’s Milan/Cortina bid recording stronger local support than Sweden’s Stockholm/Are proposal.

The IOC Evaluation Commission issued its report following inspection visits to both bidders earlier this year.

“Both projects prioritize legacy and sustainability by capitalizing on winter sports tradition and experience, with first-rate, established World Cup venues, knowledgeable and passionate fans, volunteers and event organizers,” said evaluation commission chief Octavian Morariu.

The two bids are the last remaining after Swiss city Sion, Japan’s Sapporo, Austria’s Graz and 1988 hosts Calgary in Canada all withdrew last year, scared off by the cost and size of the Games or strong local opposition to the Olympics.

Turkey’s Erzurum was eliminated from the bidding process by the IOC, which has introduced reforms in recent years to cut bidding costs and organization budgets to make the Games attractive to potential hosts again.

Some 80% of venues in both of the 2026 bids are either existing or temporary structures in an effort to keep construction costs associated with the Games low. The IOC said this had reduced budgets by 20% compared to the 2018 and the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“The two candidates have aligned their concepts with their context and local long-term goals. All of this led to massive cost savings and a more sustainable hosting model that is the new reality for the Games,” Morariu said.

It has not been an easy process for Milan and Stockholm though, with both having to wait until late to receive much-needed government guarantees and support.

The evaluation commission said the City of Stockholm would not be signing the host city contract should it be awarded the Games. Are would do it instead.

In past bid processes, when the Games were still a highly valued asset for cities, such refusals would equal early elimination from the bid process.

The commission, however, noted in its report Sweden’s ability to host global winter sports events.

“The candidature features established and iconic World Cup

and World Championship venues,” it said.

“Sweden is a winter sports country with a long tradition and experience in organizing snow and ice events, and benefits from professional venue operators and a solid network of volunteers and passionate fans, all of which would ensure an unforgettable experience for the athletes.”

But the IOC recorded low support for the Games there, with only 55% in favor across Sweden and 54% in Stockholm.

The figures for the Milan/Cortina bid stood at 83% support in Italy and 87% in Milan, demonstrating what the IOC said was “the public’s enthusiasm for the project.”

The IOC will elect the winning bid at its session on June 24 in Lausanne.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN


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