Wednesday sports in brief | Raleigh News & Observer


China will take part in the men’s hockey tournament at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Beijing after initially fearing the team would be embarrassed at home against an NHL-level competition.

The International Ice Hockey Federation confirmed China’s participation on Tuesday, avoiding what would have been an unprecedented withdrawal by a host nation team for performance reasons. The IIHF has spent the past few weeks reviewing the eligibility of players to represent China.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday said Australia would join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games on human rights grounds.

Morrison said it was no surprise that Australian authorities are boycotting the event after the country’s relationship with China has broken down in recent years.

He said Australian athletes would still be able to compete.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – The world has been concerned about the safety of tennis player Peng Shuai in China for five weeks.

The International Olympic Committee admitted that it could not even give certainties on his case. The IOC’s two video calls with the Grand Slam doubles champion are the only reported contacts Peng has had with people outside of China since November 2.

On that date, she posted a social media message alleging that she had been sexually assaulted by a former senior Communist Party official. It has largely disappeared from public view since.

The IOC says it is pursuing “quiet diplomacy” with China. Critics say it allows for a cover-up by China ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told a press conference “we cannot provide you with absolute certainty on anything”.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Portland Trail Blazers goaltender CJ McCollum has been diagnosed with a collapsed right lung and will be sidelined indefinitely.

McCollum was injured in the final quarter of the Blazers’ 145-117 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

He was listed as probable with a rib contusion for Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, but did not play in the 102-90 loss. The team say McCollum’s condition was revealed by a CT scan.

He’s averaging 20.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season.


NEW YORK (AP) – Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza was suspended for six games without pay by the NHL on Tuesday for kneeling Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk.

In the third period of Sunday’s game between the Jets and the Maple Leafs, Pionk received a knee-to-knee hit over Toronto’s Rasmus Sandin. Sandin skated off the ice after the hit on his right knee. Pionk was suspended for two games on Monday.

After the hit on Sandin, Spezza dug his left knee into the face of Pionk, who was stickless and on his knees trying to clear a puck.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The NCAA on Tuesday released revisions to its streamlined constitution proposal, including some clarifications on the role of the Board of Governors.

Passing a revised constitution at the NCAA convention in January is the first step in a two-phase process that will allow each division of the association to govern itself. The larger goal is to transfer power from the NCAA to conferences and schools.

Among the revisions to the 18 1/2 page draft was a clarification to note that the Board of Governors, composed primarily of university presidents, will approve “media rights contracts and revenue generating agreements in consultation.” With the governing bodies of each division. .

In addition, the proposed constitution will explicitly state that the board will consult with the governing bodies of the divisions when assessing the performance of the President of the NCAA. The consultation of the board of directors with the divisional bodies aims to promote transparency.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio State has hired defensive coordinator Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day announced Tuesday that Knowles will take over as defensive coordinator on January 2. Day said Ohio State (12-2) will continue preparations for the Rose Bowl with the current staff intact.

Knowles, 56, was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which recognizes the nation’s best assistant coach, after the No.9 Cowboys finished third in the nation in total defense (278.4 yards per game) and in the top 10 in several defensive categories.

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mark Whipple has stepped down after three seasons.

The team made the announcement on Tuesday, a day after Pitt’s quarterback Kenny Pickett was named one of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

Whipple spent three seasons with the Panthers and put together one of the fastest growing attacks in the country in 2021. No.12 Pitt finished the regular season 11-2 and won his first Conference title. Atlantic coast behind an attacking 43 points on average, third among FBS teams behind Western Kentucky and Ohio State.


Major League Soccer clubs are required to interview at least one black candidate when hiring for athletic positions as part of diversity hiring policy updates announced by the league.

The new requirement requires that at least two non-white applicants be interviewed for any open sporting / technical position with clubs and one of the applicants must be black.

Previously, the league’s hiring requirements called for only one “miscellaneous” candidate to be interviewed for vacant positions.

Teams that do not follow the new policy face fines, including $ 50,000 for a first offense and up to $ 100,000 for a second offense.


MEXICO CITY (AP) – Tyson Fury’s next defense for his world heavyweight title is expected to be against another Briton.

Dillian Whyte was declared Tuesday by the World Boxing Council as Fury’s mandatory challenger.

Fury retained his WBC belt by beating Deontay Wilder in October to complete their trilogy.

Whyte holds the interim WBC title and withdrew from his scheduled fight with Otto Wallin in late October, citing a shoulder injury. By then, the WBC had already announced plans to order Fury to defend his belt against his interim defending champion.

If the fight with Fury is secure, it would be Whyte’s first shot at a world title.


Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx will be the next coach for the USA Basketball national team, a person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been publicly announced. USA Basketball will hold a press conference Wednesday in Minnesota.

The WNBA coach has been an assistant on the last two Olympic teams. She will be the first professional women’s basketball coach to lead the team since Anne Donovan was on the field for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. UConn’s Geno Auriemma was the coach of the 2012 and 2016 Games. Dawn Staley of South Carolina led the Americans to a seventh consecutive gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

– By basketball writer Doug Feiberg.


STORRS, Connecticut (AP) – UConn star Paige Bueckers suffered a fracture just below her left knee and will be out for up to two months, the school said Tuesday.

The college basketball player from last season dribbled the field with less than 40 seconds left in Sunday’s 73-54 win over Notre Dame when she tripped and fell awkwardly. She had to be taken out of court.

The school said an MRI and CT scan showed she had a tibial plateau fracture, which is a fracture of the shin bone that extends into the knee joint. Her recovery time is estimated to be six to eight weeks.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Amanda Cromwell was hired Tuesday to coach the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Cromwell, 51, a former United States national team player, spent nine seasons coaching at UCLA and led the Bruins to the national championship in 2013, her first year. She led UCLA to three College Cup appearances and four Pac-12 titles.

Pride has been on the hunt for a manager since Mark Skinner stepped down in July to become manager of women’s club Manchester United. Becky Burleigh was interim coach for the remainder of the season, which Pride finished 7-10-7.


MIAMI (AP) – Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky were honored as Male and Female Athletes of the Year at USA Swimming’s annual Golden Goggle Awards on Tuesday night.

Dressel was named Athlete of the Year after winning gold medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics.

Ledecky won two gold and two silver medals in Tokyo, becoming the most decorated individual gold medalist in Olympic history.

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