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►  G-MAC, MEC Partner For 2018 Swimming & Diving Championship

The Great Midwest Athletic Conference and the Mountain East Conference have announced a partnership to host a men’s and women’s swimming and diving championship beginning with the 2017-18 season. The partnership will establish a NCAA conference championship event for men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams for members of both conferences.
“The swimming and diving partnership with the Mountain East provides the conferences the ability to enhance the championship experience for the leagues’ student-athletes,” said Great Midwest Commissioner Tom Daeger. “We are appreciative of MEC Commissioner Amos and all involved in the creation of the expanded championship. It is an example of the collaborative spirit in Division II and we are excited to work with the MEC staff as we build this event. We are confident the unification of the two leagues’ programs in the pool will provide a highly competitive atmosphere as student-athletes compete for their respective league titles.”
“We are very pleased to announce this partnership that will provide a championship experience for our MEC student-athletes and the G-MAC’s in men’s and women’s swimming,” said MEC Commissioner Reid Amos. “With this partnership, the MEC will now offer championship opportunities in 19 sports and we hope to continue to expand our championship profile. On behalf of the MEC, I would like to thank G-MAC Commissioner Daeger and members of both conferences who have engaged in this highly cooperative effort for the benefit of our collective student-athletes.”
The top 24 individuals in each event will advance to the championship. The meet will include preliminaries with the top eight finishers advancing to finals, excluding the 1,000-meter freestyle and 1,650-meter freestyle which will feature timed finals. Twenty-four places will be scored with each conference naming a team champion in addition to crowning an overall G-MAC-MEC champion. The top three in each event from each conference will be recognized as all-conference performers.
Great Midwest men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams consist of Alderson Broaddus University, Davis & Elkins College, Hillsdale College (women), University of Findlay, Malone University and Ursuline College (women).
Participating MEC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams include Fairmont State University, Notre Dame College, Urbana University and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The inaugural championship will take place at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio, on February, 14-17, 2018. Malone University will serve as the host institution for the four-day event.

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►  Michael Phelps’ Next Opponent Has Never Heard of Him

Is he high>? Mashable reports Michael Phelps will race a great white shark for Discovery Channel’s inescapable Shark Week. The mechanics of the race are unclear—Mashable is concerned the shark won’t understand it’s supposed to race the Olympian, not eat him—and a press release for the special, Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White, states such a race has never before been attempted. Discovery is billing it as a battle between “one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet” and “our greatest champion to ever get in the water.“ And sure, Phelps has 23 Olympic gold medals and 39 world records, but a great white shark has approximately 300 teeth.

For the Win reports Phelps has already completed a week of filming in South Africa for Shark Week, so apparently they figured out that whole don’t-get-an-American-sport-hero-eaten-for-ratings thing. And Phelps seems to have had a pretty great time, saying: “Sharks are like my no. 1 favorite animal in the world; being able to see them face to face was pretty cool.” He added on Instagram that he’s “always wanted” to get “in a cage and dive with great white sharks.“ Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White airs July 23 on Discovery. A second special, Shark School with Michael Phelps, in which the Olympian gets real close to a hammerhead shark, will air July 30.


►  After 41 Years, McDonald’s Makes a Change

The year 2018 will mark the first time since 1976 that you won’t see the McDonald’s logo plastered across Olympic venues, reports USA Today. That’s because McDonald’s has negotiated an early end to its corporate sponsorship agreement with the International Olympic Committee, which was scheduled to run through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Effective immediately, McDonald’s is no longer one of the IOC’s top sponsors, though it signed an eight-year sponsorship extension in 2012, per the AP. The company is believed to have paid about $25 million per year to call itself the Olympics food retail sponsor, reports Reuters.

It’s not cutting ties completely, however. Under the change announced Friday, McDonald’s will keep domestic marketing rights in South Korea for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, per a release. It will also keep restaurants in the Olympic Park and Olympic Village in 2018. Last year, McDonald’s announced it would review its Olympic sponsorship deal, citing a new advertising rule that allowed non-official sponsors to benefit. In a statement, the company says it will “focus on different priorities … as part of our global growth plan.“ The BBC notes Budweiser, Hilton, and AT&T have also ended Olympic partnerships recently.

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►  No. 11 West Virginia gets huge Big 12 win at Texas

Kennedy McCoy ran for two touchdowns and No. 11 West Virginia’s defense withstood a final pass attempt into the end zone to earn a tough 24-20 win over Texas on Saturday that kept alive the Mountaineers’ Big 12 championship hopes.

Skyler Howard passed for 269 yards and a touchdown for West Virginia (8-1, 5-1, No. 16 CFP), which allowed Texas running back D’Onta Foreman 167 yards rushing but kept him out of the end zone.

Texas’ last shot to win came on the final play when Texas (5-5, 3-4) quarterback Shane Buechele lobbed a pass high into the end zone but it floated too far and incomplete. Game officials checked replay to see if West Virginia’s defense had too many players on the field but confirmed the play and the game was over.

The win sets up a big game next week at home for the Mountaineers against Big 12 leader Oklahoma. The Mountaineers have not yet won a league title since joining the Big 12 in 2012.

Foreman’s 11th consecutive 100-yard game tied former Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell’s Texas school record.

The Mountaineers came in with the Big 12’s best defense and lived up to the billing. Most of Foreman’s yards came early and the Mountaineers pounded him and Buechele in the second half. The West Virginia offense had four turnovers, three by Howard, but the defense surrendered just seven points off those.

The Mountaineers return home next Saturday to host Big 12 leader Oklahoma in a game with huge implications for the league title.


►  NFL Might Shorten Games to Woo Back Viewers

Are fewer ads and faster games in the NFL’s future? Commissioner Roger Goodell said they very well could be while addressing the league’s falling television ratings Thursday. The New York Times reports ratings are down by double digits, and while Goodell is largely placing blame on the presidential election and changing methods of watching games, he noted that fans are annoyed by long games, frequent commercials, and video reviews. An average NFL game last season lasted 3 hours and 8 minutes; that’s up six minutes from 2008. Goodell said potential solutions include taking fewer commercial breaks and changing when they occur and somehow speeding up video reviews. “We want to take as much what we call dead time, non-action out of the game,“ he said.

Goodell also took the opportunity Thursday to address complaints about poor officiating in the NFL and Donald Trump. The commissioner said the league doesn’t need officials who are full-time employees because other leagues have them and there are still blown calls, the Washington Post reports. He said video replay could be the answer, but then you run into the problem of slow, overlong games again. As for Trump, Goodell said the president elect’s statements on women will make it harder for the NFL to prevent domestic violence among its players, according to USA Today. He said he’s had a hard time explaining Trump’s comments to his two daughters.


►  WVU Coliseum upgrade project nearly complete

If all goes according to plan, the $23 million renovation project going on inside the WVU Coliseum will be completed well before the start of Big 12 play this season.

“We’re looking at having everything completed around the games scheduled on December 10,” said April Messerly, WVU’s associate athletic director for Facilities and Operations.

In conference action, the WVU women’s basketball team will host its first Big 12 game January 4, against Baylor. The men’s team will host TCU on January 7.

By that time, the Coliseum — first opened in 1970 — will have a much different look, including 43 high definition TVs in an expanded concourse, easier-to-locate section numbers in the seating areas and more restrooms.

Construction is still ongoing, so many of the planned changes are yet to be completed, as the WVU men’s basketball team hosts Mount St. Mary’s, at 7 p.m. today, in its season opener.

But all four gates will be open today, Messerly said, with the Gold Gate serving as the main entrance for fans who are not WVU students.

The $23 million project is funded through bonds that are partially guaranteed by annual Big 12 Conference revenues earned by WVU, as well as WVU’s multimedia contract with IMG.

The WVU men’s and women’s locker rooms were also renovated through private donations.

“They just finished them two days ago,” WVU men’s head coach Bob Huggins said. “They look great.”

Other points to know about the renovations include:

— An increased number of concession stands will up the Coliseum’s points of sale from 21 to 40 throughout the arena. Beer will now be sold to the general public at games. Beer sales will conclude at the end of halftime. All the concession stands but one will be open for today’s game.

— 107 women’s toilets were added, while 26 men’s urinals and seven additional men’s toilets were added. “No more troughs,” Messerly said. “That’s a big thing.”

— The Hall of Fame plaques were removed and will be returned to the honored athlete or the athlete’s family. WVU Hall-of-Famers will be recognized digitally, at the team’s new Hall of Fame room in the Coliseum. It is still under construction. Jerry West’s memorabilia will also be on display in the Hall of Fame room.

— Future renovations will see the Coliseum weight room removed, which will make room for floor-level suites and a media workroom.

— New concession-stand items include walking tacos, pulled-pork sliders and loaded pepperoni rolls, as well as previous offerings.

— Messerly added all classrooms have been removed and once all renovation projects are completed, the Coliseum will be closed during business hours, except for the Gold Gate, which is where the new ticket office will be.


►  Women Make History in Big-Wave Surfing Contest

Charging into violent waves at a Maui surf break known as “Jaws,“ a group of women made history Friday as they competed for the first time in the World Surf League’s big-wave surfing competition. The female competitors paddled into mountains of turquoise water towering more than 30 feet, but the wind shifted at the start of the first heat and several were pummeled by an unexpected breaking wave, the AP reports. Women have pushed for years to be included in big-wave surfing competitions, though organizers of some events argue that conditions at famous breaks are too dangerous for women. Competitor Bianca Valenti called Friday a big step forward for women in the sport.

“It’s the least we can do to speak to the election the other day,“ she told the AP. “I watched Hillary’s concession speech and what she was saying—how important it was for women to really stand up now more than ever to break the glass ceiling—and that really resonated a lot.“ There are 12 women and 24 men competing in separate events at the perilous Hawaii break, where competitors’ training regimes include building up the ability to hold their breath underwater for four minutes in case they are pinned under by crashing waves. Two women were taken to the hospital with knee injuries during Friday’s first heat, and Valenti’s surfboard broke in half during the second heat when she wiped out on a wave. Paige Alms, a surfer from Hawaii, also had a few humbling wipeouts, but won the competition.

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►  West Virginia notebook: Depth at cornerback tested

After losing senior Maurice Fleming to a first-half suspension after a targeting call last week against Texas Tech, West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) went into Saturday’s game with TCU already down a man at corner.

But when junior Elijah Battle was tossed for another targeting call with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, West Virginia was stretched even thinner, giving the Mountaineers a bit of a scare.

“It limited us,” defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “We were only one guy with a tweaked shoulder, hand or anything from not being able to run any nickel package or anything.”

While Battle was limited to watching the game through the glass doors of the WVU weight room, the Mountaineers had senior Nana Kyeremeh fill his spot for the last 10 minutes of the quarter. Battle, who has come on in recent weeks as a major contributor, will be suspended for the first half of next week’s game with Oklahoma State.

So once again, WVU will be down a corner and because of a play coaches and players thought was a questionable call.

“You can probably slo-mo every single tackle, and there’s probably some sort of contact with the head,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I get the rule. I support it. We teach hard on getting the head up and getting the head to the side, but there’s things that happen so quick it’s unavoidable.”


In a rush

Although Gibson’s 3-3-5 scheme has helped West Virginia best utilize its speed and athleticism on defense over the last several years, one element often has been missing: a consistent pass rush.

That hasn’t been the case since the beginning of Big 12 play as WVU’s defense has notched at least three sacks in all three games. On Saturday, WVU’s pressure corralled speedy TCU quarterback Kenny Hill, hounding him into an ineffective game.

Improved coverage on the back end has allowed Gibson to be more aggressive calling blitzes in recent weeks, but much of production has come from the WVU defensive line winning individual battles. Two of WVU’s three sacks Saturday came from the three men up front.

“(Gibson) has been putting those guys in a lot of great positions, and you know he’s getting guys like Noble (Nwachukwu), Christian (Brown) and Darrien (Howard) in one-on-one situations,” junior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton said. “I don’t like many guys to be able to block those guys one-on-one. It comes down to man in front of me versus me, and our guys have been winning those battles.”


‘Just a great catch’

West Virginia managed to make big plays in all three phases Saturday, but the flashiest came late in the second quarter. On WVU’s last drive of the first half, quarterback Skyler Howard floated a deep pass over the middle of the field, where sophomore Jovon Durante made a spectacular diving, rolling grab between two defenders, catching the ball by its tip.

“I just had to make a play on the ball,” Durante said. “Once I saw the ball in the air, I fought back inside and I caught the ball, and when I rolled over I just had the ball in my hands. It was just a great catch on my end.”

Saturday’s three-catch, 40-yard effort was another productive outing for Durante, who has gotten increasingly comfortable at his new spot in the slot. Durante was moved inside after spending his freshman season on the outside, where he flashed big playmaking potential but struggled with drops.

Durante’s emergence in the slot has given Howard another reliable target. In three Big 12 games, Durante has 14 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown.


►  Wickline adds veteran influence to WVU coaching staff

When West Virginia hired longtime line coach Joe Wickline as its offensive coordinator in January, eyebrows were raised.

Wickline had been fired a month before from his position as co-OC at Texas, and West Virginia already had an established offensive line coach in Ron Crook. And what was the point of hiring an offensive coordinator, when coach Dana Holgorsen was never going to cede play-calling duties anyway?

But despite these concerns, Wickline has found his niche in the WVU coaching staff, playing a key role in game-planning and shoring up fundamentals.

“We had our offense pretty much set, as everybody knows,” Holgorsen said. “We needed help with game-planning, we needed help with pass protection and tight ends, stuff like that. He’s brought exactly what I thought he would, and it’s worked out good.”

No. 10 West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) will visit Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) on Saturday.

After an 8-5 finish and the departure of top offensive assistant Lonnie Galloway last season, Holgorsen decided he needed a veteran set of eyes on his offense. He called Wickline, with whom he spent a year as an assistant to Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State in 2010. It took a little while for Wickline to get adjusted to the younger Holgorsen as his boss.

“At the beginning, I think we probably both wondered if we’d ever make it,” Wickline said. “... Now, he’s my boss.”

Although he’s still serving as a position coach, working specifically with fullbacks and tight ends and aiding Crook with tackles, Wickline’s main role is as the old hand in a relatively young WVU offensive staff.

Wickline has been an assistant coach since 1982, with many of those years in the Big 12 at Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas. While Wickline isn’t calling plays, he still is having an effect on how WVU attacks defenses.

“After a while — I’m not trying to say that I’m old — but you see things start to cycle sometimes,” Wickline said. “Part of the chess game is understanding where we’re at, who we’ve got and what we’re trying to get done.”


►  Singer: Anthem Performance Axed Because of My Shirt

Philadelphia 76ers national anthem singer Sevyn Streeter says she was told by the team she could not perform because of her “We Matter” jersey. She was scheduled to sing before the Sixers’ season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday, but she tells the AP that just minutes before her performance, she was told she would not sing. “I’d say two minutes before we were about to walk out ... the organization told me that I could not wear my shirt while singing the national anthem at their game,“ the R&B singer says. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.“

The Sixers, who had a member of their dance team sing the anthem, declined to say why Streeter’s performance was canceled. Streeter has written songs for Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, and other stars. She says she was very hurt by the NBA team’s actions. “I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart,“ she says. “Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that.“ This isn’t the first time the Sixers were dragged into a national anthem controversy. A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami did so while kneeling at midcourt.


►  Ex-Hoosier Says Bobby Knight Squeezed Players’ Testicles

Bobby Knight, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, is famous for his temper. But an autobiography published this month by one of his former players contains disturbing new details of the ways in which Knight allegedly abused the student athletes playing for him, Deadspin reports. Todd Jadlow, who played on the 1987 Indiana University championship team under Knight, writes that Knight punched him in the back of the head on one occasion and broke a clipboard over his head on another. He claims Knight would constantly grab and squeeze players by the testicles. According to WTHR, Jadlow has photos of bruises he says Knight left on his sides and claims he was once threatened by Knight over his facial tic. He writes that the coach made two players run sprints for hours while barking like dogs.

Jadlow says one player in particular got it the worst. He says Knight called this player a “#####” and had an underling decorate the player’s dorm room with pictures of vaginas. Jadlow claims Knight threw tampons at the player and put his hands around his neck. “If he did those things today, he would be in jail,“ Jadlow says. Despite all this, Jadlow still “reveres” Knight. “I’m a Knight guy,“ he says. “I’m proud to have played for him and love him like a father.“ While the accusations against Knight will get the attention, Jadlow: On The Rebound is mostly about Jadlow’s battles against addiction, which led to him losing custody of his daughter, spending 20 months in custody, and contemplating suicide, the Indiana Daily Student reports. He’s now the head of a recovery foundation.

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►  Ryan Lochte Engaged to Playboy Model

Ryan Lochte is in the headlines for a decidedly more pleasant reason than his Rio debacle and ensuing Dancing With the Stars debacle. The swimmer proposed to Kayla Rae Reid in Malibu on Sunday, and she apparently said yes. He shared a photo on Instagram of the two of them kissing, Reid with a huge engagement ring on her finger, captioned “#thelochtes”; Reid followed up with her own kissing photo, in which she dubbed herself “speechless.“ TMZ reports Lochte has been dating the Playboy model since March, though People notes that for a while, he was denying they were together even while she was in Rio to support him at the Olympics.


►  Restaurant’s Wager Costs It 50% Off Customer Tabs

No one expected the University of Michigan to blow out Rutgers so utterly and completely during Saturday night’s football game—least of all the Ann Arbor location of one of the country’s most high-end restaurants. Now in its Monday morning quarterback role, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is likely regretting its promotion from last week in which it said it would offer fans a percentage off of their meals equal to the point differential in the final score of the game, the Detroit Free Press reports. “Attention #UMfootball fans! When Michigan wins, you win!“ read the Friday Facebook post announcing the deal.

Except that final score turned out to be Wolverines 78, Scarlet Knights 0, the largest spread in more than 70 years, meaning … 78% off of everyone’s tab? The Free Press notes the restaurant took somewhat of a preemptive strike with the offer, which allowed for only a 50% reduction on the bill, doesn’t include booze, and can’t be piggybacked onto other offers. The specially priced porterhouses, filets, and strips will be grilled up through Thursday, though the restaurant notes on Facebook there’s no more availability.

Water Aerobics at GSC

The Free Press WV

A water aerobics class will again be held at the Glenville State College pool, located in the Health & Physical Education Building on the main campus.

The hour-long classes are scheduled for Thursdays beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Community members are welcome to participate; the pool entry fee is $3 per person.

GSC faculty, staff, and students are admitted for free with a valid campus ID.

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►  WVU’s Howard says rib injury no concern for Saturday

During his tenure as West Virginia’s starting quarterback, senior Skyler Howard often has been a lightning rod for fan criticism despite putting up respectable numbers.

After a rib injury forced him to the sidelines for a few series in West Virginia’s opener against Missouri, and his backups committed turnovers, Howard figures to be more popular. And coach Dana Holgorsen said he hopes his backups learned an important lesson.

“I think what they learned is you’re only a play away,” Holgorsen said. “They need to be more ready. They need to be on the sideline, engaged, ready to go with their helmets on, and if I say, ‘Get in,‘ they need to get in there and know exactly what I want.”

Howard went down attempting to slide late in the first half, suffering a “shift” in his ribs from which Holgorsen said many players would not return. Sophomore William Crest entered the game and lost a fumble on his second snap. Crest was replaced by Chris Chugunov, who threw an interception on his next series.

Howard returned and played the entire second half in a 26-11 win. On Tuesday, he ruled himself fit to start Saturday’s game against Youngstown State. Holgorsen said Howard’s injury is the type that will cause him relatively constant pain over the coming weeks, although Howard continues to downplay his soreness.

“It’s nothing that I haven’t dealt with throughout last season and really throughout any football season that I have played in,” Howard said. “Yeah, I’m sore. That’s part of playing ball.”

Although Howard said he is set to go, his injury might affect the offensive game plan. Holgorsen said he expects he might be forced to call fewer quarterback runs, which have become a staple of the offense since Howard became the starter.

Howard ran the ball seven times for 35 yards against Missouri, including a 20-yard burst on West Virginia’s second play from scrimmage, but Holgorsen refrained from calling quarterback runs between the tackles after Howard’s injury.

It has become Holgorsen’s custom to run Howard up the middle early in games so his quarterback can take a hit and get going, but whether the coach does that against Youngstown State will depend on how much pain Howard is in. Still, despite the ache in his ribs, Howard is preparing to take the ball if needed.

“I’m a quarterback, not a running back,” Howard said. “I’ll run when needed. Going into my senior season with the backup situation and all of that, I feel like that was an emphasis. But then again, I have to go out there and play ball. Sometimes I’m going to do what I do and run around. It’s (Holgorsen’s) call, ultimately.”


►  Holgorsen, WVU not taking Youngstown State lightly

After starting off its 2016 season with a comfortable win over Missouri, it might be easy for West Virginia to overlook its next opponent, Youngstown State, an FCS squad that finished with a 5-6 record in 2015.

But coach Dana Holgorsen has seen too many FBS teams lose to lower-division opponents — and he’s well aware that the Penguins, led by former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, have been a nuisance to Power 5 teams in recent years.

His message to his team this week is simple: ride the momentum from Week 1, and stay on your guard Saturday.

“I think just building on a win is the biggest thing we have to do,” junior guard Kyle Bosch said. “Coach Holgorsen brings it up all the time. We’re not going to fear our opponent, but we’re going to respect our opponent.”

Three FCS teams sprung upsets against Power 5 teams in the opening week of the season, including Northern Iowa’s 25-20 win over one of West Virginia’s conference rivals, Iowa State. Youngstown State last beat an FBS team in 2012, when it went to Heinz Field and took out Pitt, 31-17.

The Penguins have been competitive against Power 5 teams recently, suffering a 28-17 road loss to Illinois in 2014 and nearly knocking off Pitt last season in a 45-37 shootout.

West Virginia has scheduled an FCS opponent in every year of Holgorsen’s tenure as coach, and while he has so far avoided a lower-division upset, they all haven’t been romps. Holgorsen recalls being booed at halftime in his second game as coach while trailing Norfolk State, 12-10, and West Virginia needed a 17-0 second-half run to survive a major scare from William & Mary in 2013.

Holgorsen will have to be doubly cautious against Youngstown State, as its tendency to slow down the game, and Pelini’s defensive mind, will limit the amount of chances the Mountaineers will have to pull away.

“Our opportunities aren’t going to be great,” Holgorsen said. “They aren’t going to come in here and do what Missouri did and run 100 plays and have 15-16 possessions. They’re going to limit how many snaps we can get with what they do defensively. They’re only defending about 55 snaps a game at Youngstown. We better take advantage of our opportunities.”

Holgorsen believes his team will have to get its damage in against the Penguins backups.

“They’re scholarship players, but their depth is what usually gets them more than anything,” Holgorsen said. “When the second-teamers get in there over the course of the game, we have to be really on guard with that.”


►  Herd needs to take care of business in week one

On paper Saturday’s season opener for the Herd should not be much of a battle. Morgan State lost its first game of the year, 54-21 to Holy Cross, in which it allowed nearly 500 yards of total offense.

So, Saturday’s match up with the Herd should be a cakewalk for Marshall.

Right?

Don’t tell Herd offensive coordinator Bill Legg that.

“Holy Cross has a good team. That’s a good Patriot League, 1-AA team. They’ve got some smart kids who adjust on the run,” said Legg.

“I’ve got a couple of friends of mine who coach up there and I talked to them before the season started and they felt like they had a chance to have a good team because they had a lot of experience. You add smart, tough and experience and you give yourself a pretty good chance to be good at any level.”

Doc Holliday is certainly not letting his team buy into the idea that Morgan State will just roll over for the Herd.

“Every week somebody gets beat that shouldn’t, just ask Virginia, who lost to Richmond a week ago,” reminded Holliday.

In some instances the Bears were their own worst enemy in the season opening loss, racking up 14 penalties for 115 yards.

It has been a long nine months for Morgan State, which is just two years removed from winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Head Coach Lee Hull left the program in February to become the receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

Then in April, Morgan State was one of five programs in the country banned from postseason play by the NCAA for failing to meet a satisfactory score in the Academic Progress Rate. Additionally, the bears lost four hours of practice time and one day of practice per week during the season. The team also loses four hours of practice time out of season and spring practices are prohibited.

It all adds up to an unenviable situation for interim-coach Fred Farrier but Holliday isn’t buying that Marshall can simply show up on Saturday and win.

“They have some guys who can run at the receiver position. They have a back, who is not their starter, that was, at one time, a 1,000 yard rusher and player of the year in the conference. They have some good skill kids and if we don’t execute they will create problems for us,” said Holliday.

So long as Marshall executes on Saturday, the Herd should not have any problems with the Bears.


►  Sources: Lochte in Line for Long Suspension

Ryan Lochte has been hit with a 10-month suspension for his foolish behavior in Rio, sources tell USA Today, CNN, and other outlets. The punishment handed down by the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and USA Swimming also includes a ban from 2017’s world championship meet in Budapest, sources say, meaning he won’t compete in another world championship until 2019, when he will be 35. Police in Rio have charged Lochte with filing a false robbery report over his claim to have been robbed at a gas station after a drunken night out with teammates.

The sources say the suspension will be publicly announced on Thursday, along with lesser punishments for fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen. Lochte’s suspension is longer than the six months Michael Phelps received in 2014 for his second DUI arrest, and sources tell TMZ that some USOC members think Lochte is being too harshly punished. Lochte, who will appear in the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars, has lost several major sponsors over the Rio episode, though he has gained sponsorship from Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops, which says it is “forgiving to your throat” and the public should forgive Lochte, the Guardian reports.


►  Soccer Player’s Anthem Protest Foiled—by Opposing Team

If Megan Rapinoe had planned to take a knee during the national anthem in her Wednesday night game against the Washington Spirit, the owner of that women’s soccer team effectively squelched that plan. Per the Washington Post, Spirit owner Bill Lynch, an Air Force veteran, made sure the anthem was played at Maryland SoccerPlex only after his team and Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign FC headed to the locker room after warmups, a preemptive strike against Rapinoe’s anticipated repeat of her protest at a Sunday night game (a show of support for the 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick). “We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise,“ the Spirit said in a statement, referencing its last regular-season home game that could help earn it a first-place slot.

The statement went on to say that although Rapinoe is “an amazing individual with a huge heart,“ the Spirit didn’t want her “hijacking” the game for her “personal—albeit worthy—cause,“ nor to “subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent.“ Rapinoe, for her part, said after the game she was “saddened” by the song subterfuge and called it “f—-ing unbelievable” and “incredibly distasteful, four days before [the anniversary of] one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say I tried to hijack this event.“ One other person not aware in advance of the Spirit’s plans, per the Post: National Women’s Soccer League Commissioner Jeff Plush, who says he was “disappointed” by Lynch’s move. Meanwhile, Rapinoe’s team issued its own statement that said it will “continue to encourage” its players to take part in any pre-game ceremonies, but that they’re free to do so “in a manner consistent with their personal beliefs.“ (More Rapinoe reaction in the Post.)


►  NFL Could Disappear, and Sooner Than You Think

Football fans are no doubt thrilled that the new season starts Thursday night. They’ll be less thrilled to read Austin Murphy’s doomsday scenario in Sports Illustrated, written from a not-too-distant future in which the NFL ceases to exist. A sample from the piece datelined with the year 2036: “Long believed to be invincible, that cash-minting colossus collapsed in the late 2020s under the weight of litigation, insurance woes and the dramatic decline in youths taking up the sport,“ he writes. “The cancellation of hundreds of high school programs—the result of exorbitant insurance after a succession of lawsuits—starved colleges of players. No longer nourished by its once reliable feeder system, the league’s days were numbered.“

Farfetched? It may seem less so after Murphy returns to the year 2016 and interviews critics who think the league is destroying itself by not taking brain injuries seriously enough. In fact, he writes that the single biggest threat to the NFL may come from “concerned mothers.“ One surprising part of the story comes from his interviews with four sports economists who generally agree that predictions of economic catastrophe if the league goes down are overstated. As one puts it, “the NFL cartel is a self-contained, risk-free economic island ... disconnected from the cultural fabric and the economic grid.“ Click for the full story, in which rugby and something called the Virtual Football League try to fill the NFL void in Murphy’s futuristic world.


►  Tim Tebow Is Officially a Baseball Player

Tim Tebow has indeed found himself a career in baseball—but it’s not the major league deal he was hoping for. The New York Mets have signed the former NFL quarterback to a minor league contract, reports NBC New York. He’ll join the Mets’ instructional league, which runs from September to October in Port St. Lucie, Fla., per ESPN. That’s typically where teams put players in the “earliest stages of development” so it’s “far, far away from hitting the majors,“ reports CBS Sports. But Tebow, who performed for scouts from 28 MLB teams last week, isn’t afraid of failure. “I just want to be someone to pursue what I believe in, what I’m passionate about,“ he said.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Why Gymnast Gabby Douglas Is ‘Heartbroken’

Gabby Douglas conceded Sunday she hadn’t performed as well during the 2016 Olympics as she had hoped, especially considering her gold-winning turn at the 2012 Games. But just as confusing and “hurtful” to the 20-year-old gymnast, per the Washington Post, was criticism about everything from the look on her face as she watched teammates compete to how she hadn’t placed her hand over her heart while the national anthem played during a medal ceremony Tuesday—leading her to stay away from online “negativity” while in Rio, an emotional Douglas said after a disappointing uneven-bars routine over the weekend. “When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand up on my heart or me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me, and it doesn’t really feel good,“ she said.

The remark about her hair referred to backlash she faced in 2012, when many chose to focus on her appearance rather than her multi-gold-medal performance. Her mom, Natalie Hawkins, tells Reuters that Douglas is “heartbroken” about recent accusations, including that she’s “unpatriotic” (Douglas already apologized for the national anthem kerfuffle on Twitter). “I don’t think respecting your country or your flag boils down to whether you put your hand over your heart or not,“ Hawkins says, pointing out her family’s military history. “It’s in your actions towards your country.“ A Los Angeles Times editorial also supports Douglas, saying she has nothing to apologize for on the patriotism front and noting, “Our Constitution allows us to express patriotism, or not, as we see fit. That’s something worth being patriotic about.“


►  First the Medal, Then the Ring

Love is in the air at the Olympic diving pool. He Zi of China settled for silver in women’s 3-meter springboard on Sunday before accepting another prize: an engagement ring. Boyfriend and fellow diver Qin Kai surprised her with a marriage proposal as she stepped off the medal podium. A serious-looking Qin got down on bended knee and appeared to speak at length to He before opening a small box. Qin took out the ring and after she solemnly nodded yes, Qin slipped it on her finger. He clapped her right hand over her eyes and Qin presented her a red rose encased in glass. The crowd cheered its approval. The other divers stopped what they were doing and watched in amazement. Qin thrust both arms triumphantly as they left the podium, reports the AP.

The couple’s teammate, Shi Tingmao, won her second gold in Rio, adding the individual 3-meter title to her earlier victory in synchronized springboard. Shi totaled 406.05 points. Shi and He were tied after two rounds before Shi took the lead for good on her third dive. He finished second at 387.90. Tania Cagnotto of Italy earned bronze at 372.80. He carried the red rose container to the medalists’ news conference along with her silver medal. She said the couple has been dating for six years and Qin’s proposal was a surprise. “He said a lot of things,“ He said, describing Qin’s speech. “He made a lot of promises, but the most important thing is this is the guy I can trust for the rest of my life.


►  In Winning 100 Meters, Usain Bolt Does the ‘Unreal’

“Unreal,“ proclaimed ESPN. Usain Bolt on Sunday won an unprecedented third Olympic gold in the 100 meters, defeating Justin Gatlin of the US by .08 seconds. Bolt became the first person (man or woman, notes the New York Times) to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles, blowing down the straightaway in 9.81 seconds for his seventh overall Olympic gold. American Justin Gatlin, Bolt’s closest pursuer over the past four years, finished second, .08 seconds behind. Andre de Grasse of Canada won the bronze, reports the AP. The fastest Bolt has ever run the 100 meters is a world-record time of 9.58.

Bolt came into the Olympics not having run a 100 since June 30, when he pulled out of Jamaican national championships with a bad left hamstring. The rehab began immediately, and on a muggy Sunday night in Rio, the shining star of track and field showed no signs of distress. After a typically clunky burst out of the starting block, he started pulling away from Gatlin with about 30 meters left. “As we’ve seen so many times before in major finals, his rivals were tightening up and Bolt was flowing,“ observes the Guardian. He’s not done. Qualifying for the men’s 200, his favorite race, starts Tuesday, with the relay on Friday. The Times reports one of his big remaining goals is to break the 19-second mark in the 200 meters; his world-record time is 19.19. He’s won all but five of his 74 races since 2008.


►  Phelps Will Owe $55K in Taxes on Rio Medals

Michael Phelps is taking home five golds and one silver from the Rio Games, along with a hefty tax bill. The US Olympic Committee awards $25,000 for each gold medal, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze—and the IRS then takes its cut. Depending on their tax brackets, athletes owe up fo $9,900 per gold, $5,940 for silver, and $3,960 per bronze, reports USA Today. It figures Phelps will owe about $55,000, though his net worth of $55 million means it probably won’t pinch much. That’s not as true for lesser-known athletes, and CNN Money reports that legislation is in the works in both the House and Senate to make the winnings tax-exempt.


►  After Olympic Loss, Swimmer Dares Mention Her Period

On Sunday, Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui did something kind of extraordinary: She told a TV interviewer she was menstruating. After China finished 4th in the 4x100 relay, Fu was seen holding her stomach, and when asked if she was feeling ill, she put it plainly: “Because my period came yesterday, I’m feeling a bit weak, but this is not an excuse.“ Quartz explains how major such a simple statement is: Not only did she break “a great sporting taboo,“ “it was the first time many Chinese people realized it is possible to swim while being on your period.“ That it came from Fu made it all the more impactful. China has, in the last week, fallen for the 20-year-old.

Amid a sea of elite athletes whose “vocabulary is often robotically limited by the state parlance,“ as the AP puts it, Fu has emerged as the foil. An hour-long live-stream she did last Wednesday—during which she burped and ate cupcakes, reports Quartz—has been watched a staggering 11 million times, reports CNN. Her post-race facial expressions and comments are winning over the public. As for her period comment, the BBC reports it drove a lot of social media chatter—about Fu and about tampons, which are a rarity in China: A 2015 survey found 2% of women there use them, compared to four out of every 10 US women. (A US startup has gotten $1 million in funding for a product that it calls an anti-tampon.)

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  WVU football player faces DUI charges in Morgantown wreck

A West Virginia University Mountaineer offensive lineman is free on bond following a crash that resulted in charges.

Adam Panky, 22 of Hamilton, OH, was charged with driving under the influence after emergency officials and Morgantown police were called to a wreck near the 300 block of Stewart Street.

Just after midnight Sunday, they discovered a 2008 Chrysler Sebring overturned with Panky still inside.

He received minor injuries, cuts and lacerations to the face but was not transported to the hospital.

Morgantown Police Department charged Panky with DUI .147.  He was released on a $250.00 bond.

It is illegal to drive in West Virginia with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Panky “started all 12 games at left guard in which he played in 2015” according to WVU athletics.

He was a redshirted freshman in 2012.  He has been a starter as a sophomore and junior.


►  Rio still struggles with litany of problems through 1st week

Rows of empty seats, green water, controlled explosions, stray bullets, the killing of a young policeman in a favela, muggings of team officials, an attack on a media bus, spotty weather, snarled traffic, long travel distances and lack of a Carnival atmosphere.

Halfway through the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is still struggling with a litany of problems that have underlined the challenges of taking the games away from their traditional territories, and made clear they may not go to untested regions again in the near future.

The athletes and sports competitions have risen to the occasion, the Brazilians have been welcoming and friendly, and TV pictures beamed around the world have featured Rio’s beautiful scenery and backdrops at their best.

Overall, though, Olympic officials and veterans say Rio has been beset by so many organizational issues that South America’s first games have been more of a disappointment than a delight.

“It has been along the lines of what experienced Olympic observers and organizers would have expected,“ said Dick Pound, the IOC’s longest-serving member, in an interview with The Associated Press. “Then you add the political and corruption issues, and they didn’t have a chance to get everything done the way they would have liked to.“

IOC vice president John Coates told the BBC: “This has been the most difficult games we have ever encountered.“

Seven years ago, the International Olympic Committee selected Rio over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago as the 2016 host city. Rio won because IOC members were convinced the time had come to go to South America. Back then, Brazil was a rising economic and political star on the world stage.

Today, Brazil is mired in a crippling recession, its suspended president is facing impeachment, and many politicians and business leaders are locked up in a massive corruption scandal. Budget cuts and cash flow problems forced Olympic organizers to scale back.

“There were two or three other candidates in that (2016) race that would have done a much better job,“ Pound said. “There is a reason the games haven’t been held here before. Every day is a challenge.“

In many parts of Rio, it’s hard to tell the city is hosting the Olympics. Dressing up the venues with the “look of the games” branding — logos, banners and other designs — has fallen short after a Ukrainian supplier failed to deliver.

“The good part is that the Brazilian fans are great and the Brazilian people are as helpful as can be,“ Olympic historian David Wallechinsky told the AP. “The negative part is they are simply not prepared. They had seven years. They should have been able to get it together. They just didn’t.“

Wallechinsky, who is attending his 17th Olympics, added: “The negative part combines the last-minute preparedness of Athens 2004 with the incompetence of the organizers of Atlanta 1996 — the worst of the two.“

Rio organizers remain publicly upbeat.

“We need to finish what we have started,“ Rio organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said Saturday. “I’ll be glad to come to you after the games and give you a full detailed report on everything we did well and everything that we did wrong. But we have a lot of celebrate.“

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said: “I think we’ll look back on these games as being a really good thing for the Olympic movement.“

The games have gone forward without any major disruption. Security is tight throughout the city, and more than a dozen Brazilians have been arrested after declaring loyalty to Islamic State.

Among the problems that have surfaced so far:

• An Olympic security officer was fatally shot after taking a wrong turn into a dangerous slum.

• Two Australian rowing coaches were attacked and robbed by two assailants, one with a knife, in Ipanema, and Portugal’s education minister was held up at knifepoint on a busy street nearby.

• Stray bullets have twice landed in the equestrian venue at the Olympic complex in Deodoro.

• Two windows were shattered on a bus carrying journalists; Rio organizers blamed rocks, some claimed it was gunfire.

• A German Olympic canoe coach, Stefan Henze, suffered life-threatening head injuries when a taxi he was riding in crashed into a concrete barrier near the Olympic Park.

• Bomb squads set off several controlled explosions after finding unattended bags at venues and across the city.

• The water at the diving and water polo pool turned green. Organizers blamed a contractor for mistakenly dumping hydrogen peroxide into the pool. “The embarrassment won’t last forever,“ Andrada said.

• Some venues, including the track and field stadium for Friday’s opening day of athletics competition, have been plagued by empty seats and small crowds. High ticket prices and lack of interest among Brazilians in some sports have been blamed.

• Because of a shortage of concession stands at some venues, organizers have had to open the gates to let fans out to find food and water.

Sergio Praca, a Brazilian political scientist, said his friends tell him: “‘We’ve always known it was going to be a disaster in organization, but now that the games are started, let’s just make the best of it.‘ I think we as Brazilians never overestimated our capacity or organize anything.‘“

The situation looks more stable for the coming Olympics, with the next three in Asia — the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea; the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

Four cities are bidding for the 2024 Olympics — Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Budapest, Hungary.

Several cities and countries are already mulling bids for the 2026 Winter Games, including Switzerland; Italy; Calgary; Stockholm; Oslo; and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Africa is the last of the five continents represented by the Olympic rings that has yet to host the games. South Africa could potentially make a bid for the 2028 or 2032 Games.

Adams, the IOC spokesman, said spreading the games around the world remains the goal.

“It’s important,“ he said, “that the Olympics isn’t just a kind of little European or American club.“


►  One for the Ages: Phelps Nabs 23rd—and Final?—Gold

Standing atop the medal podium for the 23rd time, Michael Phelps teared up, bit his lip, and gave a little nod. This was how he really wanted to go out. On top of his game in the water. Totally content away from the pool. “It turned out pretty cool,“ Phelps said, another gold medal around his neck. “It’s just a perfect way to finish.“ Phelps put the United States ahead to stay on the butterfly leg of the 4x100-meter medley relay, reports the AP, giving the most decorated athlete in Olympic history his 23rd career gold medal Saturday night. If that was the end, and Phelps insists it is, the numbers are simply astonishing. No other Olympian has more than nine gold medals. With 28 medals in all, he’s 10 clear of anyone else. “It’s not even once in a generation,“ said his coach, Bob Bowman. “It might be once in 10 generations that someone like Michael Phelps comes along.“

One night after his only setback of the games, an upset loss to Joseph Schooling in the 100 fly, Phelps was back on top. At age 31, he leaves Rio with five golds and a silver. “I wouldn’t change anything,“ he said. “This is the best place I’ve ever been in my life.“ In the stands, his fiancee, Nicole Johnson, bounced along to the music with their son, 3-month-old Boomer, cradled in her arms. Phelps is eager to spend a lot more time with them. He plans to marry Johnson after the Olympics and said he wants to watch his son grow, maybe even dole out a swimming lesson or two. And what if Boomer wants to take all those medals to show-and-tell someday? “I might let him take one,“ Phelps said with a grin. “Maybe a bronze,“ Bowman chimed in.


►  Ryan Lochte Robbed at Gunpoint in Rio

American swimmer Ryan Lochte had a brief brush with becoming the late American swimmer Ryan Lochte early Sunday, he tells NBC News, when he and three other swimmers were held up at gunpoint while returning from a party in Rio. Men posing as cops pulled over their taxi, he says. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground—they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so—I’m not getting down on the ground.“

That turned out to not be the wisest course of action: “And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, “Get down,“ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.‘ He took our money, he took my wallet—he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.“ Per the US Olympic Committee, the other swimmers were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen. “All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities.“ Lochte’s statement ends some confusion after his mother told USA Today that he was robbed, and the IOC denied the incident happened.


►  Simone Biles’ 3rd Gold Is a First for the U.S.

Simone Biles’ golden run in Rio is picking up steam. So, surprisingly, is Great Britain’s. Biles added a third gold medal to her rapidly rising haul on Sunday, easily capturing the women’s vault final. The 19-year-old, who helped the “Final Five” to team gold and also dominated the all-around competition last week, averaged 15.966 on her two vaults on Sunday to become the first American woman to win the event at the Olympics. Minutes later, British star Max Whitlock earned his second gold of the day—and the second ever for his country in gymnastics—when he won the pommel horse to back up his victory earlier in the afternoon on floor exercise, reports the AP.

While the day may belong to Whitlock, the games belong to Biles. Her score was more than .7 better than silver medalist Maria Paseka and bronze medalist Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland, showcasing the gap between Biles and the rest of the world. Going last among the eight female finalists, Biles drilled her Amanar—a round off onto the block followed by 2 ½ twists—and put up a 15.9 to take the lead. Needing only to land her second vault to win, Biles was near perfect. Her score of 16.033 for her “Cheng” was the best of the night. Biles’ three golds in Rio are also the most by a female gymnast from the US in one Olympics. She will get a chance to stand atop the podium again when she competes in the balance beam finals on Monday and the floor exercise final on Tuesday.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Rio Olympics Table Tennis Has a Ball Problem

You know what they say: That’s the way the ball bounces. Or maybe that’s the way the ball bounces. And that ball just broke in half instead of bouncing at all. The New York Times reports complaints are flying fast and furious among table tennis players at the Rio Olympics due to balls that break easily or bounce unpredictably. “I think this ball is very bad,“ a player from Qatar said after losing his match. But the complaints aren’t just sour grapes. His victorious German opponent said the ball “makes it almost impossible to compete.“ “The quality is not good,“ adds another player from Austria.

Table tennis players are using a new type of ball this Olympics. Previous balls were made out of celluloid, but those were incredibly flammable and had to be transported by hazmat truck, Inverse reports. While the new non-celluloid balls can be moved by airplane, they also break more easily. By the end of the first day of the Olympics, at least 18 of the new balls had been broken. One player tells the Times they also seem to get softer as the match goes on. “You can never get used to it,“ he says. The new balls are also allowed to be an extra 0.1 millimeter across. Players say that small change results in balls that move slower and spin less. At least they’re not competing in a green pool.


►  Hope Solo Proves Herself a ‘Pure Loser and Lout’

Goalkeeper Hope Solo had some thoughts on the Swedish team that knocked the US women’s soccer team out of the Rio Olympics on Friday. “A bunch of cowards,“ she tweeted. Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post had some thoughts of her own. She calls out Solo for a lack of composure and grace and for her “irradiated blot-out-the-sun ego.“ While Solo looks to place blame for the historic loss elsewhere, Jenkins knows exactly in whose direction to look. She points out Solo gave up three goals in regulation over the past two matches, not to mention the winning penalty kick on Friday, all while “undermining [the team’s] collective equilibrium.“

Jenkins says Solo has a history of bringing “nasty unwanted drama” to Team USA. Winning has made it less of an issue, but no longer. She says it’s fitting that the conservative game plan that so frustrated Solo came from current Sweden coach and former US coach Pia Sundhage, who had to put up with so much from Solo over the years, including Solo lashing out after being benched, testing positive for drugs, and engaging in a very public feud with Team USA legend Brandi Chastain. In defeat Friday, Solo finally exposed herself for the “pure loser and lout” she is, Jenkins says. Read the full piece HERE .


►  Phelps Stunned in Final Solo Race

Michael Phelps is used to being in a league of his own. So it was strange to see him, after what he insists was his final individual race as an Olympian, crowding onto a medal stand with two other swimmers. And it wasn’t even the top step. In a changing of the guard that left him totally at peace, Phelps was beaten Friday by a 21-year-old who grew up idolizing the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. Joseph Schooling of Singapore built a big lead in the 100-meter butterfly and easily held off one of Phelps’ patented comebacks, leaving him at 22 gold medals with one race, a relay, left to go, the AP reports.

And that race will be his final event, Phelps insists. No more comebacks. “I’ve been able to do everything I’ve ever put my mind to in the sport and after 24 years in the sport, I’m happy with how things finished,“ says the 31-year-old, who is a father to 3-month-old Boomer and will soon be marrying his fiancee, Nicole Johnson. But this being Phelps, he had to do something out of the ordinary, even in defeat. He was part of the first three-way tie for silver in Olympic swimming history, joined on the next-highest step by longtime foes Chad le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary. They all touched in 51.14 seconds, which was actually faster than Phelps’ gold medal-winning time in 2012.


►  Katie Ledecky Makes History With 4th Olympic Gold

Katie Ledecky came into the Rio Olympics facing enormous expectations. Some athletes might’ve buckled under the pressure. She seemed to thrive on it. The 19-year-old from suburban Washington capped off one of the greatest performances in Olympic history with her fourth gold medal and second world record, shattering her own mark in the 800-meter freestyle Friday night, the AP reports. Ledecky and Debbie Meyers are now the only female swimmers to sweep the three longest freestyle races. Meyers took the 200, 400, and 800 at Mexico City in 1968.

Ledecky also followed fellow swimmers Amy Van Dyken and Missy Franklin as the only American women to win as many as four golds in a single Olympics. Along with her individual golds, Ledecky also topped the podium with the 4x200 relay. “I’m just proud to be part of that history,“ says Ledecky, who broke down in tears on the medal stand, relishing her accomplishments and surely thinking about all the work she put in to make it there. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of our sport and I have to wait another four years to have that moment and I just wanted to enjoy it,“ she says. “The memories mean more than the medals to me.“


►  1st U.S. Olympian to Compete in Hijab Gets Medal

US fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad came to the Rio Olympics determined to show the world that sports is a place where Muslim-American women can excel. Muhammad will return to New Jersey with proof that she was right. The AP reports Muhammad, who became the first US Olympian to wear a hijab during competition, won a bronze medal Saturday along with her teammates—Monica Aksamit, Dagmara Wozniak, and Mariel Zagunisin—the women’s team sabre event. The US beat Italy 45-30 to clinch third place and the first women’s medal in fencing for the Americans in Rio.

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