#SportsReport: Biles To Skip All-Around; Ledecky Wins Gold In 1,500-Meter Freestyle
Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title. The American gymnastics superstar withdrew from Thursday's all-around competition to focus on her mental well-being. USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday that the 24-year-old is opting to not compete.
The decision comes a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she wasn't mentally ready. Jade Carey will take Biles' place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals. The organization said Biles will be evaluated before deciding if she will participate in next week's individual events.
In other Olympic news:
Katie Ledecky won the 1,500-meter freestyle, which made its Olympic debut for women this year. That helped the American star make up for what has so far been the worst showing of her Olympic career. Ledecky held off teammate Erica Sullivan to win the metric mile in 15 minutes, 37.34 seconds. The win came after Ledecky finished fifth in the women's 200 meter freestyle, losing to Australian Ariarne Titmus for the second time this week. Titmus set an Olympic record of 1 minute, 53.50 seconds to make it 2-for-2 against the American star, following up a thrilling victory in the 400 free. Ledecky wasn't even close in the 200, making the first flip in seventh place and never getting higher than fifth before finishing nearly two seconds off the pace. It was the first time she had failed to medal in an Olympic event.
Fiji has beaten New Zealand 27-12 to successfully defend the title it won when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The gold in Rio was Fiji’s first Olympic medal in any sport. Now the Pacific island nation has two. Jerry Tuwai was in the squad five years ago and he led Fiji in its title defense in Tokyo, where they continued their unbeaten streak in Olympic games. The silver medal was a vast improvement for New Zealand, which missed the podium in 2016 after an upset loss to Japan in its opening game and a quarterfinal loss to Fiji. All the medals went to the southern hemisphere, with Argentina beating 2016 finalist Britain 17-12 for the bronze. South Africa, the bronze medalist in Rio, beat the United States 28-7 in the playoff for fifth place.
Tennis player Novak Djokovic’s Golden Slam bid is alive and well. The top-ranked Serb beat training partner Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Games. Djokovic is attempting to become the first man to achieve a Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold in the same calendar year.
New U.S. beach volleyball partners Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne beat Switzerland 21-19, 23-21 to improve to 2-0 in the round-robin. They have one more match remaining, against Qatar on Friday night. The two victories should be enough to get Gibb and Bourne in the knockout round. The U.S. men's volleyball team has improved to 2-1 in pool play at the Olympics by beating Tunisia 3-1. The victory keeps the Americans in good position to advance to the quarterfinals as one of the top four teams in Pool B.
Jordan Montgomery stopped an eight-start winless streak by scattering five hits over five scoreless innings of the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Rays. Gio Urshela drove in two runs and Aaron Judge singled in his return from COVID-19.
Elsewhere in baseball:
Austin Riley launched a grand slam and a two-run homer to finish with a career-best six RBIs in the Braves' 12-5 dismantling of the Mets. Ozzie Albies and Abraham Almonte each belted a two-run homer and Dansby Swanson hit a two-run double for Atlanta, one day after the two teams combined for just three runs in a doubleheader.
The Mets' lead in the NL East remains 3 1/2 games over Philadelphia after Josh Bell and Juan Soto slammed three-run homers in the Nationals' 6-4 win at Philadelphia. Brad Hand notched his 21st save after blowing leads in the ninth inning of his previous two outings.
Omar Narvaez homered and had four RBIs as the Brewers ripped the Pirates, 9-0. Narvaez went deep to spark a three-run first before he added a two-run single that helped Milwaukee take a 8-0 lead by the second inning. Brett Anderson yielded three hits while striking out three and walking one over six innings as the Brewers improved to a major league-best 38-19 since May 22. Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has tested positive for the coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms. President of baseball operations David Stearns says Yelich and Jace Peterson have been place on the COVID-19 injured list, adding that Peterson was sidelined due to contact tracing and hasn't tested positive.
First baseman Joey Votto continued his power surge with two home runs and started a dazzling double play as the Reds tripped the Cubs, 7-4. Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez also went deep as Cincinnati stayed seven games off the NL Central lead.
Buster Posey scored the tiebreaking run on a throwing error by first baseman Cody Bellinger in the eighth inning, giving the Giants a 2-1 victory against the Dodgers and a three-game lead over Los Angeles in the NL West. Posey had two hits and an RBI for San Francisco, and Austin Slater also had two hits.
Fernando Tatis Jr. hammered a 440-foot, two-run homer and Manny Machado added a three-run shot as the Padres dumped the Athletics, 7-4. Adam Frazier had two hits and two runs in his San Diego debut, and Jake Cronenworth doubled home a pair in the Padres' five-run fifth.
Abraham Toro homered against the team that traded him across the diamond during batting practice, but the Astros held off a ninth-inning rally to beat the Mariners, 8-6. Yordan Alvarez was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and two runs scored as Houston expanded its lead in the AL West to six games over Oakland.
The Cardinals doubled up the Indians, 4-2 as Paul DeJong slammed a go-ahead, two-run homer and Adam Wainwright pitched seven innings of two-run ball. DeJong homered off Bryan Shaw with two out in the seventh, giving St. Louis a 3-2 advantage.
Eloy Jiménez logged his first big hit in two games this season, launching a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning that sent the White Sox to a 5-3 win versus the Royals. Jiménez connected for a 459-foot drive to left-center off Kyle Zimmer to cap a four-run rally that ended Kansas City's season-high, six-game winning streak.
Sandy León crushed a three-run homer and Sandy Alcantara pitched into the seventh in guiding the Marlins past the Orioles, 7-3. Lewin Diaz and Brian Anderson added solo shots in Miami's third straight win.
Shohei Ohtani smacked his major league-leading 36th home run, one of the few highlights for the Angels in a 12-3 loss to the Rockies. Brendan Rodgers and pinch-hitter Sam Hilliard homered to back six effective innings from Austin Gomber as Colorado improved to 11-37 on the road.
The Rangers' 12-game losing streak is over after All-Star slugger Joey Gallo hit his first home run since the break to lead a 5-4 victory against the Diamondbacks. Gallo's three-run blast put Texas ahead to stay, and he also had two assists.
Miguel Cabrera hit a run-scoring single in the 11th inning to complete the Tigers' comeback in a 6-5 victory at Minnesota. The Twins were two outs from a win until Eric Haase tied the game with a grand slam in the top of the ninth.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays were rained out in Boston, creating a day-night doubleheader Wednesday at Fenway Park.
In MLB news:
Nationals manager Dave Martinez says Stephen Strasburg will have season-ending neck surgery on Wednesday, ending another frustrating year for Washington's 2019 World Series hero. The three-time All-Star right-hander felt discomfort after a 27-pitch bullpen session last week and saw a specialist on Monday. Strasburg made just five starts this season, going 1-2 with a 4.57 ERA. Meanwhile, Nationals All-Star shortstop Trea Turner left Tuesday's game against the Phillies in the first inning after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Yankees have dealt relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds for a player to be named. Cessa is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 29 appearances this season, but Wilson has struggled while recording a 7.50 earned run average over 21 outings. Yankees All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge and backup catcher Kyle Higashioka have been reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list. Judge started Tuesday's game against Tampa Bay.
Trevor Bauer's administrative leave was extended by 10 days through Aug. 6 by Major League Baseball and the players' association. The extension comes as the sport's investigators continue to check into allegations of sexual misconduct against the Dodgers pitcher. Bauer was placed on seven days' paid leave on July 2 under the joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy adopted by MLB and the players' union in 2015.
Texas and Oklahoma have made a request to join the powerhouse Southeastern Conference. A day after the Big 12 schools notified the league that they would not be extending an agreement that binds conference members to 2025, the schools publicly stated for the first time they want to join the SEC. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey says his league will consider the request in the "near future." The SEC would grow to 16 teams with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma, half of which have won at least one national championship in football since 1980.
Meanwhile, the University at Albany football team has been picked to finish last in the eight-team Colonial Athletic Association. Senior running back Karl Mofor was named a preseason all-conference selection after leading the league in rushing average in the spring. He says the preseason coaches’ poll result will be a motivator.
"It's just extra motivation. The last time were picked to finish second to last, and we finished second. So this year, we're picked to finish eighth, we'll just try to do the best we can to prove that wrong," he says.
UAlbany begins play September 4th at North Dakota State before opening at home September 11th against Rhode Island.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was seen arriving at Lambeau Field this morning, a day after NFL Network and ESPN reported the reigning MVP was closing in on a deal that would keep him with the Packers this season. Rodgers didn't participate in organized team activities this spring and skipped the Packers' mandatory minicamp. His future with the Packers had seemed tenuous after ESPN reported in the hours leading up to the NFL draft that he didn't want to return to Green Bay.
In other NFL news:
Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis says the team will be in new hands by this time next year. Ellis says the trust that runs the team will either select Pat Bowlen's 31-year-old daughter Brittany Bowlen or sell the franchise altogether.
Ron Rivera opened Washington's training camp expressing frustration about a lack of vaccinations among players. Rivera says he believes Washington is now over 50% of players fully vaccinated. Only five NFL teams are at less than 70% of players who have either received one vaccination shot or both.
All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard has joined the rest of the Miami Dolphins reporting for training camp after he sat out mandatory minicamp. Howard wants to renegotiate the $75.25 million, five-year extension he signed two years ago and there had been speculation he might hold out. Howard had 10 interceptions last year, the most in the NFL since 2007.
First-round pick Rashawn Slater signed his contract with the Chargers as players reported for training camp. The 13th overall pick in the draft in April is expected to be the Chargers' left tackle for the season opener.
Patrick Mahomes has become part of MLS club Sporting Kansas City's ownership group. Mahomes also is a part owner of baseball's Kansas City Royals and his fiancée, Brittany Matthews, is a co-owner of the women's soccer club Kansas City NWSL.
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin has re-signed with the only NHL team he has ever played for, inking a five-year, $47.5 million deal. The superstar Russian who captained the Capitals to their only Stanley Cup championship in franchise history three years ago is now under contract through the 2025-26 season. The 35-year-old Ovechkin is 164 goals shy of Wayne Gretzky's all-time NHL record and needs to average 33 goals over the length of his new contract to break the mark.
In other NHL activity:
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog is staying with the team after signing an eight-year, $56 million contract late Tuesday night. That left Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer and Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton as the top unsigned prizes when the free agent market opens today.
The Golden Knights have traded reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Blackhawks. The return of a minor leaguer Mikael Hakkarainen indicates it was a salary dump. Fleury counts $7 million against the salary cap next season.
The Blackhawks also acquired forward Tyler Johnson and a 2023 second-round pick from the salary cap-strapped Lightning. Tampa Bay received defenseman Brent Seabrook, who will spend the remaining three years of his contract on long-term injured reserve.
Among other goalie moves around the NHL, Vancouver's Braden Holtby and San Jose's Martin Jones will become free agents after going on buyout waivers.
The league says bipartisan legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to former Bruins forward Willie O'Ree has passed the U.S. Senate. O'Ree was the first Black player to compete in the NHL and played pro hockey for 22 seasons.
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