Category Archives: Sport

Victory caps team’s 50th season

Sidney Crosby is bringing the Stanley Cup back home to Pittsburgh for a second consecutive year. Patric Hornqvist scored with 1:35 left and Matt Murray made 27 saves for his second straight shutout as the Penguins became the NHL’s first team in nearly two decades to repeat as champions following a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 in Nashville on Sunday night. The Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98 were the last champions to defend their title, but the Penguins are the first to do it in the salary cap era, the AP reports. They will cap their 50th season with their names on the most famous silver cup in sports for the fifth time.

It is the third championship for Crosby and a handful of teammates from the 2009 title team, surpassing the two won by the Penguins teams led by current owner Mario Lemieux in the 1990s. “We knew it was going to be tough all year, but we just tried to keep with it,” says Crosby, who won his second Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP. “We had a lot of injuries and things like that. We just kept finding ways. That was really what we did all season, all playoffs. It’s great to be able to do it.” Nashville lost for just the first time in regulation on home ice this postseason. The game coincided with the final night of the CMA Music Festival, bringing more than 100,000 to downtown Nashville.

Alex Honnold scaled granite-face El Capitan in 3 hours, 56 minutes

A California rock climber has become the first person to conquer Yosemite’s El Capitan without using ropes, USA Today reports. Alex Honnold, 31, scaled the nearly 3,000-foot peak on Saturday going free solo, meaning he didn’t use ropes, harness, or other safety equipment. “This is the ‘moon landing’ of free-soloing,” fellow climber Tommy Caldwell tells National Geographic. It’s a particularly daunting prospect since the Guardian notes the granite peak is ranked as among the most difficult, with some hand-holds the width of raisins. After stunning the climbing world with other rope-free feats, Honnold had quietly trained for his latest exploit for more than a year. After spending the night in his van, Honnold pulled on a red T-shirt, nylon pants, and sticky-soled climbing shoes.

With chalk to keep his hands dry tucked in a bag around his waist, Honnold set off at 5:32am. He made the summit three hours and 56 minutes later. “So stoked to realize a life dream today :)” he tweeted. Caldwell and a National Geographic crew were along for the climb, which they filmed for a documentary. “Alex was on fire,” Caldwell tells the mag, which called the feat the greatest in the history of pure rock climbing. Honnold had ditched an earlier bid to climb El Capitan in November, saying it didn’t feel right. This time around, Honnold confesses he was “slightly nervous” at the bottom. “I mean it’s a freaking big wall above you.” But as he began his ascent, he adds, “the climbing just felt amazing.” (Tense moments when a 1,500-poundrock pinned this climber.)

There will be a rematch

Manny Pacquiao guaranteed a return bout with Jeff Horn Monday night, shelving calls to end a sterling ring career outright.

“There’s a rematch,” Pacquiao said after having late dinner at his mansion here.

Beaten by Horn in their showdown for the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown Sunday in Brisbane,
Pacquiao wants to exact revenge on the Australian, who roughed him up to earn a disputable unanimous
decision.

Horn said during the post-fight conference Sunday that he is willing to give Pacquiao a chance to regain the 147-pound crown anywhere, including the Philippines.

On Monday, however, when Horn was being feted in his hometown, he announced that if ever there will be a rematch, it should be held again n Brisbane.

Owing to the tremendous success of “Battle in Brisbane,” which reportedly enriched the city coffers by $25 million aside from gaining worldwide attention, Brisbane officials have endorsed Pacquiao-Horn II.

Informed of the development, Pacquiao said he won’t mind returning to Suncorp Stadium to seek revenge on Horn.

“Even in Brisbane, no problem,” said Pacquiao, who’s out for revenge. “There will be talks.”

One of the chief concerns is when will the bout be staged.

The original timetable is for Pacquiao to fight in November, but it still hinges on Pacquiao’s work as a senator and how swift negotiations between the Pacquiao camp and Horn’s handlers will be done.

Side issues include the fighters’ purses and the event’s coverage.

In the first fight, Pacquiao reportedly got $10 M and Horn $500,000. ESPN aired “Battle of Brisbane” on free television and posted viewership record.

Back at home with his children, Pacquiao said he would rest for a while the Senate is on break. “I’ll relax first.”

But once the rematch deal is signed, Pacquiao will get to work and put his aging body in the best shape possible.

With his legacy secured, 11-time world champion in an unprecedented eight divisions, Pacquiao said it would be easy for him to walk away.

Closing his career, with a loss however, is unacceptable for Pacquiao. If he retires, it should be on a winning note.

Golfer Michael Buttacavoli withdrew from chance at US Open after his clubs misplaced

To compete in the qualifying rounds for the US Open, you sort of need your golf clubs—which is why one pro golfer is fuming at American Airlines for his now-squashed chances to make the cut. USA Today reports Michael Buttacavoli withdrew Monday from his last chance to play in the Open’s sectional qualifiers after the airline couldn’t track down a bag containing his clubs with priority tags. The 29-year-old, who’s on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica roster, had flown on a red-eye from Ecuador to Miami and was dismayed to find that even though he made it to his early-morning tee time at Florida’s Jupiter Hills Club, his clubs had gone missing, per Golf.com. “Thank u @AmericanAir,” a frustrated Buttacavoli sarcastically tweeted just before 6am local time Monday, letting the airline know he had to pull out of the competition.

AA offered to help track the bag down in a responding tweet, but Buttacavoli noted that ship had sailed. “It’s too late,” he retorted. “I already withdrew. You just needed to do your job in the first place.” The airline tried to apologize, saying, “This wasn’t the experience we had planned for you,” but Buttacavoli was having none of it. “Stop apologizing. Don’t need sympathy or u to be PC. Just do better,” he tweeted. He added it was too late to rent a set by the time he realized his clubs weren’t going to show up, though Golf Digest, which reports that Buttacavoli has made it to the sectional qualifying rounds three times before (but never to the Open itself), notes Buttacavoli could have asked his brother, who was caddying for him, to bring his own set. “It’s a challenge enough to qualify with your own golf clubs,” he says. American Airlines did eventually find his bag.

6th-place Kentucky Derby finisher skipped Preakness, gives trainer 3rd Belmont victory

The road to the winner’s circle in the Belmont Stakes ran through the Kentucky Derby, even if the Derby and Preakness winners skipped the final leg of the Triple Crown. Tapwrit overtook favored Irish War Cry in the stretch to win by two lengths on Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher his third career victory in the Belmont. He won in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches and in 2013 with Palace Malice. The first four finishers all followed a well-worn path: run in the Derby, skip the Preakness and come back fresh for the Belmont. Five of the last nine Belmont winners did just that. Tapwrit finished sixth in the 20-horse Derby after encountering traffic in what Pletcher described as “a sneaky good” race. “We felt like with the five weeks in between, and with the way this horse had trained, that he had a legitimate chance,” said Pletcher, per the AP. “I think that’s always an advantage.

Irish War Cry was 10th after pressing the early pace in the May 6 race. Patch took third in the Belmont after being 14th in the Derby. Gormley, ninth in the Derby, finished fourth Saturday. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Tapwrit ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.02 on his home track. Ortiz’s brother Irad Jr. won the race last year with Creator. “The distance, I was sure he could handle it,” Ortiz said. Tapwrit paid $12.60, $6.50 and $5 at 5-1 odds. Pletcher took two of the year’s three Triple Crown races, having saddled Always Dreaming to victory in the Derby. “The last five weeks have been the ultimate roller coaster,” he said. “We felt really good coming in that both horses were doing very well. We felt like both horses suited the mile and a half distance. Fortunately, it all fell into place.” Tapwrit, a 3-year-old gray colt, was purchased for $1.2 million, making him the most expensive horse in the field.

Surfing Orgs Fight Over Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Ending an argument we’re sure has happened at least once on a slow afternoon in a bar somewhere, a court will finally decide whether stand-up paddleboarding is closer to surfing or canoeing. The New York Times reports the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been asked to settle a dispute between the International Surfing Association and International Canoe Federation, both of which are fighting for control of the increasingly popular sport of stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP. The battle for control of SUP has become more urgent as the Olympics is considering adding it to future games.

The ISA argues SUP is performed on a board, like surfing; it also claims it’s been holding SUP competitions for years, Deadspin reports. The ICF counters that SUP uses a paddle. “Propulsion using a paddle is basically canoeing,” the ICF secretary general says. “Standing up or sitting down is irrelevant.” But the ISA claims the ICF is trying to jump on the bandwagon. “We have a track record of doing this,” Reuters quotes the ISA president as saying. “At the ICF now there is an interest of how they can be part of the popularity of the sport.” The ISA calls itself “the historical rightful custodian” of SUP, and the ICF claims its opponent has rejected all offers of compromise. No date has been set for the court’s decision.

Cyclist Tried Poop Doping

 It probably won’t ever become the focus of a hit sports movie—not even if they call it Poosiers—but “poop doping” is a real thing and could possibly give competitive cyclists an edge. That’s according to microbiologist and mountain biker Lauren Petersen, who tells Bicycling magazine that after being sick for more than a decade with Lyme Disease, in 2014 she gave herself an at-home fecal transplant from somebody who happened to be another racer. Petersen says she not only felt much better after the stool transplant, she upped her training to five days a week and was winning races within months, though her experience proves correlation, not causation. “I wondered if I had gotten my microbiome from a couch potato, not a racer, if I would I be doing so well,” says Petersen.

Petersen—who says the procedure was “not fun” but “pretty basic”—says she started collecting stool samples from top racers and found that a microorganism called Prevotella was found in almost all top racers but less than 10% of the general population. She is now doing more research into Prevotella, which is believed to help muscle recovery. Other experts, however, are skeptical, telling the Washington Post that it is far too early to draw conclusions—and warning that “bacterial doping” at home could be very dangerous. (Petersen herself acknowledges the risk and isn’t endorsing it.) At the Big Lead blog, Tully Corcoran argues that if poop doping is what cyclists really want to do, we should “all just go ahead and let them, for crying out loud.” (Researchers believe fecal transplants could also help with weight loss.)

WBO fight goes to the end, Australian Jeff Horn gets unanimous decision

  It went all the way and ended in a contentiously bitter loss, the opposite of the outcome Manny Pacquiao’s handlers predicted for his WBO welterweight world title fight against Jeff Horn. Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach tipped a “short and sweet” knockout win for the 11-time world champion in Sunday’s so-called Battle of Brisbane, but Horn got a unanimous points decision in his first world title fight—delighting the 51,000-strong crowd at his hometown Suncorp Stadium, a record for Australian boxing. The 38-year-old Philippines senator arrived in Brisbane a week ahead of the fight with a chartered plane carrying more than a hundred supporters and as the hot favorite to beat Horn, reports the AP. He leaves without the WBO belt. All three judges awarded it to Horn, with Waleska Roldan scoring it 117-111 and both Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan scoring it 115-113.

Some critics slammed it as a hometown decision, saying statistics had Pacquiao landing twice the number of power punches as Horn. “That’s the decision of the judges. I respect that,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying by ESPN. “We have a rematch clause, so no problem.” But Pacquiao’s conditioning trainer, former Australian heavyweight Justin Fortune, was critical of the referee and the judging. “Manny lost the fight, but Jeff Horn looks like a pumpkin. Those scores, that card? It should be the other way,” he said. Roach had said earlier in the week that he’d think about advising Pacquiao to retire if he lost the fight, but they’re already considering a rematch. Pacquiao’s camp had talked about a rematch with Mayweather if he got past Horn, hoping to avenge his loss on points in the 2015 mega fight. That seems to be a distant chance now.

Kevin Durant passes on about $4 million of his $28 million salary next season to have room to keep Andre Iguodala and others

 Kevin Durant is set to make a new contract deal and stay with the Golden State Warriors, but the new NBA champions did lose a legendary player on Monday, June 19 (Tuesday in Manila time).

Multiple reports said Durant, the Most Valuable Player of this month’s NBA Finals triumph over Cleveland, will opt out of his contract but re-sign with Golden State in a money-saving move under NBA salary cap rules.

But the Warriors lost Jerry West, a member of the team’s executive board who on Monday was named a consultant to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 79-year old Hall of Fame guard was an iconic star for the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA’s logo is designed around his silhouette.

Durant, who joined the Warriors last July after finishing his contract with Oklahoma City, plans to decline his player option for the 2017-18 campaign and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, according to reports.

The 10-year NBA veteran would then re-sign with the Warriors, the move enabling the team to have more money for contracts with forward Andre Iguodala and other players.

Durant was to be paid about $28 million in salary next season, but he will take about $4 million less than the maximum deal he could have been paid.

That will better enable the Warriors to keep together the championship roster that includes Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Georgian center Zaza Pachulia and reserves.

Durant won his first NBA crown and helped Golden State claim a second in 3 seasons by averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the best-of-7 NBA Finals, which the Warriors won over Cleveland in 5 games.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry becomes a free agent, but has taken less than maximum money in recent years to set up an expected 5-year deal worth $205 million. Curry made $12.1 million last season.

West said his two-year deal to return to Los Angeles came down to being wooed by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers and executive vice president Lawrence Frank.

“For them to want me to come here and maybe think I can help, I am really flattered,” West said. “I think they want to establish their own identity in this town and that is what to me is most important, establish their own identity and ability to win at the very highest level.”

West spent the past 6 seasons with the Warriors. The two-time NBA executive of the year was Lakers general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations for 18 years during which the team won four NBA crowns. He also served as the president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002-2007, the team making its first 3 playoff appearances during West’s tenure.

As a player, West was a 14-time All-Star who went to the NBA Finals 9 times but won only once. He averaged 27 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds for his career.

2 German Triumphs

Germany’s players were still embracing on the field, some minutes away from lifting the Confederations Cup trophy, when the congratulatory messages started to pour in. They came from some of the country’s most famous, most decorated players, winners of the World Cup and the Champions League: Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos, Jérôme Boateng and a host of others.

Some, like Kroos, expressed their delight at Germany’s defeat of Chile in St. Petersburg — victory in the country’s first appearance in what may yet be the last iteration of this tournament — without words, communicating their happiness instead exclusively through emojis.

Other players were only a little more garrulous. “How great is that?” asked Mats Hummels. “What a triumph, what a squad,” said Ilkay Gundogan. Thomas Müller advised his countrymen, presumably based on his own experiences, to make sure they “have fun while celebrating.”

None of those players were on the field in Russia, waiting to take to the podium. Like Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira, Marco Reus, Julian Weigl, André Schürrle and many others, they had not been included in Joachim Löw’s squad for the competition. They were all watching, from home or from holiday, as their country proved its soccer resources run so deep, so wide, that it can triumph without them.

As Löw was quick to point out as he reflected on Germany’s victory, winning the Confederations Cup, even with “such a young side,” does not mean that the Germans, the current World Cup champions, are certain to retain their crown when they return to Russia next summer. Nor does the European Championship won by its under-21 team last week in Poland mean that Germany can be assured of success in the senior continental tournaments in 2020 or 2024.

Major competitions do not subscribe to such straightforward logic. In the international game, more so even than at club level, tournament soccer is more complex, more chaotic than that.

In the concentrated, intense span of a World Cup or a continental championship, the fleeting and the unforeseen take on an outsize significance. One bad game, after all, is all it takes, and years of preparation can be wasted.

A raft of injuries, or poor form, might take hold. A referee — even one with a video monitor — might make a mistake. A rival — Brazil or Argentina, Italy or France — might build a momentum so impressive it takes on the air of destiny. The best team in the world does not always win the World Cup; the best team in the world that month ordinarily does.

Whether Germany wins twice on Russian soil in two years, though — and it is worth noting both that no winner of the Confederations Cup has ever won the subsequent World Cup, and that a World Cup winner has never repeated since Brazil in 1962 — should not detract from the broader pattern its latest gilded summer has brought to the surface.