Every NFL team has opened training camp this week and the first preseason game is August 5. After an offseason filled with rumors of a possible exit, reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers is back at Packers camp and discussing a new contract. Deshaun Watson is at Texans camp, despite 22 active lawsuits against the quarterback for alleged sexual offenses. The league continues to grapple with COVID-19 and has instituted significant penalties and fines for outbreaks caused by unvaccinated players.
After removing herself from Tuesday's team final, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual all-around gymnastics competition. Biles has said the decision is to focus on her mental health. Jade Carey will take Biles' place in the all-around. Biles could still return for the individual event finals. There has been an outpouring of support and some criticism for Biles. Her choice challenges traditional competitive values of putting winning above self-care.
The day started with Alaskan teenage Olympic swimmer Lydia Jacoby shocking U.S. teammate Lilly King and the field in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke to win gold. It reached a climax when the Russian Olympic Committee topped Team USA in women's gymnastics for gold after Simone Biles withdrew following the opening rotation. In between, Naomi Osaka fell in the third round in women's tennis. Elsewhere, Japan won gold in softball and a Brit swimmer who overcame COVID-19 twice won gold.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles withdrew from the women's gymnastics team final after leaving the arena with a trainer. Initial reports cited an injury, but Biles clarified that she left due to mental health concerns. It is unclear if she will continue to compete in Tokyo. The Russian Olympic Committee went on to win gold and Team USA silver. Biles is the latest high-profile athlete to address the toll public scrutiny and expectations of perfection can take on mental health.
A 40-pound pipe bomb detonated at a concert during the 1996 Olympics, resulting in two deaths and hundreds injured. Within days, security guard Richard Jewell was investigated for the crime, months later cleared, and his ordeal was later made into a film. Eric Robert Rudolph was eventually convicted for this crime and other bombings in 2005. Read about details of the attack as well as lessons on event security and the media's coverage of Jewell.
With 11 Olympic medals between Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky, it seems anything short of a gold medal sweep in Tokyo would be a disappointment. The pair were favored to win an astounding 11 more gold medals in Tokyo. Though she received the highest aggregate score of any participating gymnast, Biles says she's feeling "the weight of the world" after Team USA finished second in qualifying. Ledecky lost for the first time in her Olympic career, taking silver in the 400-meter freestyle.
The structure of NCAA sports, especially college football, got a seismic shakeup today as Texas and Oklahoma are set to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. The two perennial powers and original members of the conference officially notified the Big 12 that they will not be renewing media rights when they expire in 2025. The next step will be applying for SEC membership. The move would make the SEC even more of a superpower with 16 teams and could spur further realignment.
We've come a long way from when Jim Thorpe won a gold medal wearing a shoe he fished out of a garbage can. Today, the tiniest measurements can separate a gold medalist from a last-place finisher in most sports. Shoe quality can be a difference-maker and athletes and manufacturers are constantly searching for a new edge. Learn about how Olympic footwear has evolved over the decades, why some shoes have been banned, and see the styles that icons wore during memorable moments.
The Americans' slow start was a distant memory after winning 10 medals on Sunday at the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. did the most damage in the pool, taking home six medals in swimming, including a first gold on Chase Kalisz's performance in the men's 400-meter individual medley. The developments were not all positive as the women's gymnastics team finished behind Russia in qualifying after a few stumbles from Simone Biles, and the men's basketball team lost its first Olympic game since 2004.
Americans are off to an inauspicious start at the Tokyo Games. Team USA competed in five of Saturday's seven events but failed to pick up a medal. China leads all nations with four medals. Alex Morgan and the U.S. women's national team gave the home audience something to cheer about with a bounce-back 6-1 win over New Zealand. And the U.S. women's water polo team posted a dominant 25-4 victory over Japan. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, including 14 athlete infections.
The Tokyo Olympics are estimated to be the most expensive on record, costing $20 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. The original forecast was around $7.4 billion. Economists argue that there are few, if any, benefits for host cities as every Olympics since 1960 has had major cost overruns. Despite billions spent on infrastructure, many venues fall out of use after the Games have ended. Dive deeper into the huge costs associated with the Olympics and how to possibly rein in spending.
Beginning next season, Cleveland's Major League Baseball team will go by a new name. The franchise announced Friday it will be known as the Cleveland Guardians. This will be the fifth name in the team's history and the first change in 106 years. The previous name, and "Chief Wahoo" logo, in particular, drew wide criticism for decades. Tom Hanks narrated a video for the announcement. Check out social reactions to the choice and logo and the next teams that are overdue for a similar change.
Tokyo's first Olympic Games since 1964 began with an opening ceremony that struck a more somber tone than nearly any other before it. U.S. first lady Jill Biden was among the less than 1,000 spectators on hand. Protests against the Games outside the Olympic Stadium marred the pomp and circumstances of the ceremony. Check out highlights from the spectacle including the return of Tonga's shirtless flag-bearer, a globe of drones and Naomi Osaka's cauldron-lighting.
Host Maria Taylor and ESPN officially parted ways following the NBA Finals. The move comes weeks after a 2020 phone call between ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols and an advisor to LeBron James was leaked. On the call, Nichols suggested Taylor was promoted because ESPN was “feeling pressure” about racial diversity. Nichols was removed from NBA Finals coverage and an executive has promised ESPN will drill deeper into diversity and inclusion issues. NBC has reportedly been interested in hiring Taylor.
A 50-point finale capped an all-time great NBA Finals for Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time, regular-season NBA MVP scored at least 40 points in three games to help the Bucks overcome a 2-0 series deficit while earning Finals MVP honors. The feat was made all the more impressive considering he had a significant knee injury prior to the Finals. Read about Antetokounmpo's place in NBA history, relive moments from the Finals, and see how Milwaukee celebrated its first title in 50 years.
Cubs stars Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel, Nationals' World Series hero Max Scherzer and other top players like Trevor Story and Joey Gallo could be on the move soon. The Dodgers, Red Sox, Mets, Astros, and White Sox are said to be among the contenders actively shopping while struggling traditional powers like the Yankees, Braves and Cardinals debate whether they should become sellers. Catch up on all the latest chatter and let experts sort fact from fiction ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.
The head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee said that cancellation has not been ruled out, just three days before the Games are set to begin. Organizers have said 71 people accredited for the Tokyo Olympics have tested positive for COVID-19. U.S. gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker is among that group. Spectators have already been barred from the Games. Toyota, one of the IOC’s top sponsors, won't air Olympic-themed ads on TV in Japan. Learn more about the very troubled path of these Games.
Seven Black head coaches will fill the eight vacancies in the NBA this offseason. In a league that features a majority of Black players, the under-representation in coaching was glaring. Heading into next season, 13 of the league’s 30 coaches will be Black, one will be Latino and one Asian American. There were just seven Black head coaches at the start of this season. The NBA has yet to see a female head coach hire.
Saturday's Nationals-Padres game was suspended when shooting outside Nationals Park caused echoes of gunfire inside the stadium. The gunshots came from at least one car toward another and there were three people wounded, according to police. One of the wounded was a woman attending the game. Her injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening. Players cleared the field and fans scrambled. Not knowing where the shooters were, some exited the stadium and some sought safety in the Padres' dugout.
Next Tuesday's game between the Orioles and Rays will feature an all-women broadcast team for the first time in MLB history. Orioles radio broadcaster Melanie Newman will do the play-by-play and Sarah Langs will provide analysis. Alanna Rizzo will report in-game while Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner will serve as studio hosts. In other broadcast industry news, NBC may make a big play for Maria Taylor, the host who was slighted by an ESPN colleague in a leaked tape.
Twelve-year-old Gui Khury made history on Friday night when he became the first skateboarder to land a "1080" on a vertical ramp. To land the trick, a skater makes three full revolutions (1080 degrees of rotation) while airborne. The performance made Khury the youngest gold medalist in X Games history. He accomplished the feat in front of Tony Hawk. The 53-year-old is widely regarded as the greatest skateboarder ever and came out of retirement to compete at the Vert Best Trick competition.
LeBron James adds a lead acting credit to his film resume as "Space Jam: A New Legacy" debuts on HBO Max and in theaters. The movie has been highly anticipated thanks to the legacy of the 1996 original "Space Jam." James' entertainment business, SpringHill Company, partnered with Warner Brothers on the film and is reportedly exploring a sale that values the business at $750 million. Nike is said to be interested. His expanding business empire has James closer to his goal of owning an NBA team.
The top editorial personality on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith, apologized after his commentary about Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani drew intense criticism. On Monday's "First Take," Smith questioned Ohtani's marketability as the face of Major League Baseball because the Japanese hitter and pitcher answers most questions asked in English through an interpreter. In a follow-up social media video, Smith said people were misinterpreting his words. He later posted a written apology on Twitter.
England lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy after missing the penalty shootout's final three attempts. The three players who failed to score in the shootout, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, faced racial abuse on social media. British police are investigating the “offensive and racist” posts. Boris Johnson, Prince William and England coach Gareth Southgate all condemned the behavior. The team made a strong stand against racism at the tournament, taking a knee before games.
Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and fellow Grand Slam winners Bubba Watson and David Duval have pulled out of next week's Open Championship. Seven players from the world's top 75 rankings will not be at Royal St. George's and in total, 13 golfers have withdrawn. Matsuyama tested positive for COVID-19 while in action this month. Watson said he was in close contact with someone who had a positive COVID-19 test. The tournament's strict virus protocols have been a contentious issue among players.
UFC's biggest star Conor McGregor lost to Dustin Poirier when UFC 264's main event was stopped with 10 seconds left in the first round after the Irishman's leg collapsed. UFC officials said doctors confirmed McGregor broke the tibia in his left leg. It is McGregor's second straight loss to Poirier and the second in sixth months. McGregor was ungracious in defeat and vowed "This is not over!" during his post-fight interview. He also made derogatory comments about Poirier's wife, Jolie.
Olympics organizers have banned spectators from the games in Tokyo after Japan declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country. TV audiences have grown desensitized to empty stadiums for sporting events during the pandemic. But can the Olympics remain a must-watch without the electric atmosphere fans can provide? What will the lack of ticket sales mean for the economics of the games? And, even without fans, what are the risks to athletes in Japan?
England aims to raise the nation's first international men's football trophy since the 1966 World Cup on Sunday during the Euro 2020 final against Italy. Stars Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have powered the Three Lions' run, but manager Gareth Southgate's nuanced approach has also been a difference-maker. His message of inclusion, respect, and humility, and his sense of history have set him apart from his predecessors and have prompted his countrymen to rethink what it means to be English.
The brashest and most successful personality in modern combat sports, Conor McGregor, could leave the octagon for good if he loses Saturday. The 32-year-old Irishman will face Dustin Poirier for the third time at UFC 264 for a chance to become the top lightweight contender. McGregor led Forbes' list of the highest-paid athletes in 2021 and has flirted with retirement multiple times already. A sixth MMA loss and another enormous payday may set McGregor on a fresh career path.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have won back-to-back Stanley Cups after beating the Montreal Canadiens in five games. It's the franchise's third title. Combined with the Buccaneers' Super Bowl win and the Rays' World Series run, teams representing the city of Tampa have captured three championships and MLB's American League pennant in the last nine months. On the other end, Canada's NHL title drought extends to 28 years. See how the Lightning and "Champa Bay" celebrated the latest title run.