Simone Biles Wins Record 8th US Gymnastics Title, 10 Years After Winning Her First 

Simone Biles won a record eighth all-around title at the US Gymnastics Championships, a full decade after winning her first national title. 

This victory was made just weeks after Biles returned from a two-year break from competing to focus on her mental health, and solidified a successful comeback to the top of the sport for Biles. 

“It feels really special. I’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like I don’t think about numbers, I think about my performance. And I think, overall, I hit eight for eight. I guess it’s a lucky number this year.”

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Biles received a standing ovation after earning a 15.400 for her floor exercise, as well as a 14.850 on the Cheng vault, which was also the highest score of the night, as was her 14.8 earning on the beam. 

With a combined total of 118.450, she was able to slide into first place with Shilese Jones earning second place by just 3.9 points. 

“It’s really amazing. Everybody in here believes in me. So I just need to start believing in myself a little bit more, but it feels amazing and I love the fans, I love the crowd. It was really special.”

Biles also was victorious at the US Classic two weeks ago following her two year break. Biles started to take a break to focus on her mental health at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021.

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At the time, Biles revealed that she was experiencing “the twisties,” which is a mental phenomenon that impacts the way a gymnast perceives their positioning while in the air. Experiencing this phenomenon is very dangerous, as the technical work that goes into a gymnast’s routine is dependent on the individual’s ability to know how they’re moving and where they’ll end off. 

Shortly after her experience with “the twisties” she pulled out of the Tokyo Games, later claiming that the emotional toll of competing was what prompted her withdrawal. 

Now, Biles has made her return, and fans are ecstatic to see and hear that the record breaking gymnast is doing better mentally and feels confident being back on the floor. 

The victory on Sunday made Biles, who’s 26, the oldest woman to win a national title since the competition was taken over by USA Gymnastics in 1963, according to reports

Additionally, Biles has won 25 medals at world championships, including 18 golds, which is more than any man or woman has earned in gymnastics history. For now, Biles is keeping her plans to compete in the Paris Olympics to herself. 


NFL Broncos’ KJ Hamler To Step Away For Treatment Of Heart Issue 

KJ Hamler of the Denver Broncos’ announced this week on his Instagram account that he has been diagnosed with a “mild heart irritation” known as pericarditis. He will be missing some time with his team while he receives treatment with medication, but fully intends on coming back this season. 

“After feeling some chest pains while working out on the break before camp started, I got everything checked out and was diagnosed with mild heart irritation, called pericarditis. I’ve got a great treatment plan with medicine and am taking a quick break to get this all taken care of so I can get back to doing what I love,” Hamler said in his Instagram post.

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“I will be back on the field—better and stronger than ever—as soon as possible this season! I feel great physically and this is very frustrating for me to deal with. I know most of you have heard or know of my story and these past few years what I’ve been going through on and off the field.”

Hamler played seven games last season before being placed on injured reserve in December due to a hamstring injury. He only missed three games in 2021, and also suffered from a torn ACL and hip injury. 

“It’s tough to deal with this when I was ready for a breakout year, but adversity is nothing new to me. I have been through hell and back, but it’s hard to reach paradise if you don’t go through hell first.”

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I’ll get past this just like everything else on this journey! I will continue to elevate. I forever stand on business.

This is not a farewell, this is not a good bye, this is a see you soon as I take a break for my health,” Hamler continued in his post

Hamler opened training camp on the team’s non-football injury list, so he didn’t participate in any practice. 

“I’m so grateful for my teammates & coaches. Appreciate the support from the Broncos Country and encouragement I have been receiving. This is something to bring awareness to anybody. So anyone with chest pains please get checked out by your doctor!

Stay true, Be you, stand on Ten, Never bend,” Hamler concluded.


UFC’s Robbie Lawler Says He ‘Just Felt It Was Time’ To Retire After 22 Year Career 

Robbie Lawler will be competing for the final time on Saturday night at UFC 290, marking his 47th match over a long and successful 22 year career. 

Lawler is a former UFC welterweight champion and a soon-to-be UFC Hall of Famer. He announced his plans to retire from MMA following his upcoming match with Niko Price. Lawler admitted that there wasn’t a specific moment that led him to the announcement, he just felt it was time for him to hang up the gloves. 

“It’s just a feeling I got over time. I’ve been doing this a long time, accomplished a lot, just felt it was time.”

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Lawler has been involved in MMA since he was a teenager, and since his professional debut in 2001, he’s competed every year, except for 2018, which is an amazing accomplishment for professionals in UFC. 

Lawler says the unknown is always scary, especially when leaving something he’s been involved in for two decades. 

“I would say there was fear, because it’s freaking unknown. I’ve been training and competing my whole life, even when I was supposed to be in high school or middle school. I’m concentrating on how to get better at wrestling or football or whatever, fighting, when I should be doing my homework. That’s where I’ve always been.”

“One thing that I feel I’m going to get out of this is I’m going to actually just be able to train for fun again, which is huge,” Lawler explained. 

“My body feels better when I’m training for fun. When I’m training for a fight, it just doesn’t feel as good as it used to and I don’t have to recover now,” he stated. 

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“I can actually torture myself, which seems weird, but that’s my goal: To torture myself, to beat myself down, and that’s how I gain strength. Now, since I’m older, I can’t recover as fast. So now I’m going to be able to torture myself a little bit more and give myself more rest.”

Lawler is also fully intending on remaining involved in the realm of MMA in the future, he just will be doing the work outside of the cage. 

“I’m definitely going to be around the sport. This sport has given so much to me. The reason that I am where I am today and been able to last this long is because of all the people helping me,” Lawler said. 

“So I’m going to give back, all these little tidbits I’ve learned over time and we have a really good gym at Kill Cliff FC, and just being able to help guys get stronger so that they can make money and compete at a higher level, and that’s what I feel martial arts is about. Giving back and showing techniques.”

“I think it could [get emotional], and it has come up, but I try not to because it’s a lot. I’ve been freaking doing this a long time,” Lawler concluded.


Paris Olympic Organizers Being Investigated On Suspected Corruption Case 

According to officials, French investigators searched the Paris Olympic organizers’ headquarters on Tuesday as a part of corruption investigations into contracts linked to the Games.

The Paris organizing committee released a short statement confirming that the search at their headquarters was underway in the suburb of Saint-Denis, and did not comment further. 

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The Tuesday search is also linked to two preliminary investigations related to the Olympics, that before this point have not been made public. According to an official with the financial prosecutor’s office, one previous probe was opened in 2017, and the other began last year. 

The Olympic Games have dealt with a multitude of corruption allegations throughout the past decades. 

For Paris 2024, the Games are being seen as a celebration of openness after two Olympics were closed off by the pandemic. 

Organizers and Paris officials have stressed their commitment to transparency and social justice initiatives. The opening ceremony will be outdoors along the Seine which will be free for up to half a million people. The Games are currently scheduled to occur from July 26th to August 11th 2024. 

The anti-Olympics group Saccage 2024, argues that the Games cause ecological and social damage, and have claimed that they are “very pleased” hearing the news of the recent raids in Paris, according to ESPN.

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“For us, an event of Olympic proportions cannot be held without corruption. It’s the size of the event that makes it necessary, whatever the country.”

The prosecutor’s office has stated, according to ESPN, “the probe opened in 2017 is looking into suspected embezzlement of public funds and favoritism, and concerns about an unspecified contract reached by Paris organizers.”

The 2022 probe followed an audit made by the French Anti-corruption Agency. The prosecutor’s office has also stated that this case targets a suspected conflict of interest and favoritism involving contracts reached by the organizing committee and the public body in charge of Olympic infrastructure.

The IOC said in a statement it was “informed by the organizers that they are cooperating with authorities.”

IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters early Monday the meeting “of course will be about Paris, where we have some good news after the visit of the coordination mission and after my visit to France, to President Macron, and also the organizing committee.”


Kevin Durant Signs Lifetime Endorsement Deal With Nike

Kevin Durant and Nike have come together for a lifetime endorsement contract, making Durant just the third NBA player to receive a deal of this size; Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the other two players with deals. 

The Phoenix Suns’ 13-time All-Star player has had an ongoing relationship with Nike since around 2007; the two have released 15 different sets of shoes with a 16th set on the way. 

“When I first signed with Nike, I couldn’t have dreamed of how far we’d go in this partnership,” Durant said in a statement.

“We’ve done amazing work creatively and philanthropically. We’ve traveled the world together and built a business that will now last forever. I’m excited for the future and honored to be in rare company with this deal.”

According to both parties, the lifetime deal will include apparel such as shoes, along with other “community and philanthropic collaboration focused on grassroots basketball.”

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According to Durant, “It means a lot man, it’s a dream come true. It’s something that I’ve been working towards since I was a kid and having a partnership with Nike. To be in that company is a blessing. Looking forward to what we can do in the future.” 

Durant’s time in the NBA has been multifaceted, playing for Seattle, to Oklahoma City, to Golden State, to Brooklyn, and now to Phoenix. As a 19-year-old entering into the NBA in 2007, Durant claims he always knew he would find success thanks to his hard work and dedication.

“I did think that if I stay focused and stay locked in to what I know I can do, I could do some big things and I can have a huge partner like Nike,” Durant said. 

“It’s just a matter of staying focused and having that endurance to keep getting up and doing this every day. So yeah, I had confidence that I could do so. But I had to put in a lot of work to get here.”

Durant joined the Phoenix Suns in a midseason trade with the Brooklyn Nets. 

John Slusher, the Nike executive vice president of global marketing, stated that “as one of the best basketball players in the world, Kevin Durant has been an important part of the Nike family for the past 16 years.” 

“We look forward to continuing to serve the next generation of athletes together,” Slusher concluded.


Sacramento Kings Investigating ‘Racial Bias’ Allegations After Rapper E-40 Ejected From Playoff Game 

The Sacramento Kings are currently investigating allegations of “racial bias” from rapper E-40 after he was kicked out of his seat from a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors. 

E-40 said in a statement that he was consistently heckled throughout the game on Saturday, as well as one individual in particular who he “addressed in an assertive but polite manner” before security guards intervened and ordered him to leave the arena. 

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“Unfortunately, it was yet another reminder that – despite my success and accolades as a musician and entrepreneur – racial bias remains prevalent. Security saw a disagreement between a Black man and a white woman and immediately assumed that I was at fault.”

The Kings have stated that they are currently investigating the circumstances that led to the ejection of E-40.

“The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made,” the team said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, E-40 was allegedly standing and blocking the view of fans behind him and received a warning after several complaints. E-40 then allegedly refused to comply, leading to security officials escorting him out of his seat. 

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An individual familiar with the situation who spoke to AP but chose to remain anonymous, alleged that E-40 was actually never given a warning by security regarding “excessive standing.”

“It’s unfortunate. I love 40. He’s been our biggest supporter for years. I hope they right that ship because he deserves to be there by our bench. In my time knowing him, he’s always been respectful. He’s always been considerate of those around him. Very weird to see, and I hope it’s resolved,” Warriors Klay Thompson said. 

E-40 is known publicly as a major Warriors fan, and was a part of the delegation that visited the White House in the beginning of the current season.


2024 Paris Olympics Planning On Keeping Athletes Cool Without Air Conditioning 

According to reports, the Paris Olympics is currently trying to plan a way to keep the athletes of the 2024 Games cool without the use of air conditioning. 

According to organizers, as reported by AP, the current plan is to use a water-cooling system under the Athletes Village. They compared it to the current system used for the Louvre Museum, which helped keep the space cool during record-breaking heat waves last year. 

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Organizers are working to make an air conditioner-less cooling system work as a means of cutting the carbon footprint of the Paris Games overall. The current goal is to cut the carbon footprint by half and put on the most sustainable Olympic Games in history. 

By installing special technology that utilizes natural resources to keep everyone cool, even if a heat wave occurs, is how organizers plan to accomplish this goal. 

“I want the Paris Games to be exemplary from an environmental point of view,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Outside of the Olympics, Mayor Hidalgo has had the plan to tackle climate change through multiple action plans that will, ideally, reduce Paris’ greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050.

Compared to a conventional project, the carbon impact will be reduced by 45% for the Athletes Village during the construction phase and over the entire Olympic cycle,” she said.

Between July to September 2024, the Athletes Village in Paris will host around 15,600 athletes and sports officials, as well as 9,000 athletes and teams during the Paralympics. 

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Organizers have been studying heatwave patterns block by block in the Athletes Village to prepare for next years Games. Their methods include simulations where heatwave conditions are recreated to see how successful their cooling system will be at combating high levels of heat. 

“The geothermal energy system will ensure that the temperature in the athlete apartments in the Seine-Saint-Denis suburb does not rise above 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) at night, including during a potential a heat wave,” said Laurent Michaud, the director of the Olympic and Paralympic Villages.

He continued to explain that “organizers have conducted tests in rooms that are located on the highest floors of the residences and are facing south and exposed to direct sun on two sides. [We’ve] also considered directions of winds in the region and the water temperature in the Seine. [We also] have worked closely with France’s national weather agency to develop temperature forecasts.”

“Despite outdoor temperatures reaching 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit), we had temperatures at 28 degrees (82 degrees Fahrenheit) in most of these rooms. In other rooms, we clearly had lower temperatures,” Michaud told The Associated Press

“In addition to the underfloor cooling, the insulation built into the buildings will enable residents to keep the cold obtained during the night throughout the day,” Michaud said. 


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Wins First Daytona 500 In Record Breaking 212 Lap Race 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr has won the Daytona 500 in a record breaking, nail biting race on Sunday. The race went into double overtime with 212 laps, in what’s now being referred to as the longest running of “The Great American Race.” 

Stenhouse won with JTG Daugherty Racing, marking the third win in his career, and the first win for a single-car team in the Daytona 500 since Wood Brothers Racing and Trevor Bayne in 2011, according to reports

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JTG Daugherty Racing is owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter, as well as former NBA player Brad Daugherty; who’s the first Black car owner to win the race. Jodi Geschickter is also one of the first women car owners to win the Daytona 500. 

Mike Kelley, the crew chief working with Stenhouse for the race, discussed how he motivated Stenhouse to compete and win the race. 

“I just wrote him a note that only he would see. It was on top of the roll bar in front of him, and it just said, ‘We believe.’ That’s been our motto the whole offseason — that we believe. We’re trying to get people to believe in Ricky Stenhouse Jr. again.”

According to ESPN and their Stats & Information research, “Stenhouse’s only other victories came in 2017, at Talladega and the summer race at Daytona. His 199-race winless streak was the fourth-longest span between wins in Cup Series history.”

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“I think this whole offseason, Mike just preached how much we all believed in each other. They left me a note in the car that said they believe in me and to go get the job done,” Stenhouse said. 

“Man, this is unbelievable. This was the site of my last win, back in 2017. We’ve worked really hard. We had a couple shots last year to get a win and fell short. It was a tough season, but man, we got it done, Daytona 500.”

Kyle Larson congratulated his friend Stenhouse after jumping out of line too early in his own attempt to win:

“Happy that Ricky won. I’m super happy. That’s all I could think about after I crashed, waiting to hear that he won. He’s one of my best friends, so I was like yelling into my helmet when I helped push him to the lead there. I was hoping it was going to stay green so it would have been me or him win,”  Larson said.


Buffalo Bills Damar Hamlin Raising Funds For First Responders

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is continuing his recovery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after suffering from cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals last week. 

Now, Hamlin has announced his plans to raise funds to benefit the first responders and hospital that has aided him in his recovery. Hamlin took to Twitter to announce the sale of T-shirts in which the proceeds will be given to first responders and the UC Trauma Center. 

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“We all won. I want to give back an ounce of the love y’all showed me. Proceeds of this shirt will go to first-responders and the UC Trauma Center. Go get yours!”

Hamlin included a link to the website in which fans can choose from three different T-shirt options, all of which feature Hamlin’s hands in the shape of a heart and “Did We Win?” in big print. 

The T-shirt also features a hospital tag ID bracelet on Hamlin’s right wrist. The question “Did We Win” is what Hamlin asked his team of medical professionals after waking up last week following his cardiac arrest last Monday. 

Every NFL team honored Hamlin in this past weekend’s final slate of regular season games. Players, coaches, and team personnel were sporting T-shirts that had “Love You Damar” printed on them along with his jersey number, 3. 

Teams also painted the 30-yard line in red within their hosting stadiums. 

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During the first quarter of last week’s Monday Night Football contest, Hamlin, 24, suffered cardiac arrest after completing his tackle of Tee Higgins, the Bengals wide receiver. After standing up following the tackle, Hamlin almost immediately collapsed. 

Hamlin had to be resuscitated by medical officials on the field following his collapse. Afterwards he was transported to UC Medical Center and was listed as being in critical condition for days following the cardiac arrest. 

Medical officials stated last Thursday that Hamlin was awake and “had made substantial improvement. As he recovered, he continued to show his support for his team during the season finale of regular games against division rival New England Patriots. 

Hamlin continuously tweeted from his hospital bed during the game up until the Bills defeated the Patriots 35-23. 

Following his charity announcement, fans raised more than $8.5 million for the Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, surpassing their initial goal of raising $2,500. 


Brittney Griner’s Nine Year Sentence Upheld by Russian Court

Brittney Griner, an American basketball player currently serving a nine-year sentence in Russia for drug charges, has had her appeal against the sentence dismissed by a Russian court.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested on Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport when cannabis oil vape cartridges carrying less than a gram of hashish oil were discovered in her luggage. She was convicted in August for “drug smuggling” and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Officials believe that the lengthy sentence was politically motivated by the collapse of U.S. and Russian relations after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The White House called the legal proceedings a “sham.” Elizabeth Rood, a high-ranking U.S. diplomat who was present at the hearing, also called the penalty “excessive and disproportionate.”

Her case has been referred to the State Department’s office under the label of hostage affairs.

Griner was legally prescribed the oil for pain management by her doctor in the U.S. She apologized for possessing it in her appeal, admitting she had packed the cartridges by accident while rushing to pack her luggage. During the U.S. basketball offseason, she had wanted to travel to Russia to play club basketball.

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In July, shortly before pleading guilty, Griner had written to President Joe Biden expressing her distress and calling for help from the government.

“I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments. I’m terrified I might be here forever. I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home.”

The state prosecutor arguing against her case called the continuing sentence “fair.” Alexander Boykov, the athlete’s lawyer, stated that “no judge, hand on heart, will honestly say that Griner’s nine-year sentence is in line with Russian criminal law.”

“Brittney is [a] very strong person and has a champion’s character. However, she of course has her highs and lows as she is severely stressed being separated from her loved ones for over eight months.”

Russia and the U.S. have discussed the possibility of a prisoner exchange between the two countries. There is speculation that the White House may offer up Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the “merchant of death.”

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying Griner was being “wrongfully detained under intolerable circumstances” and reaffirmed that President Biden had demanded her immediate release.

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“President Biden has been very clear that Brittney should be released immediately. In recent weeks, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to engage with Russia through every available channel and make every effort to bring home Brittney as well as to support and advocate for other Americans detained in Russia, including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan. The President has demonstrated that he is willing to go to extraordinary lengths and make tough decisions to bring Americans home, as his Administration has done successfully from countries around the world. The Administration remains in regular touch with representatives of the families, and we continue to admire their courage in the face of these unimaginable circumstances.”

The sports star spoke to the appeals court remotely from a detention center located in a town near Moscow.

“I really hope that the court will adjust this sentence because it has been very very stressful and very traumatic…I’ve been here almost eight months and people with more severe crimes have been given less than what I was given.”

Though she is still imprisoned, she is grateful for the people working toward her release.

“Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me.”