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This summer, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest injustice and discrimination. Since then, other athletes have followed suit.

And on Monday night, on an NBA court, another person joined in the protests Kaepernick inspired. This time, it wasn't someone listening to the anthem — it was the woman singing it.

South Carolina, California, and Virginia are among the states that snapped up high-profile sporting events after the NCAA decided to relocate seven championship events from North Carolina over the state's transgender law.

The events include early rounds of March Madness; North Carolina had already lost the NBA's All-Star Game because of its controversial HB2 law that limits civil rights protections for LGBT individuals.

The international Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced tennis star Maria Sharapova's two-year doping ban to 15 months.

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer has died at 87.

He died Sunday evening at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside, a tertiary care hospital in Pittsburgh. NPR confirmed his death with UPMC's media relations manager, Stephanie Stanley. The United States Golf Association announced Palmer's death via Twitter.

Palmer won 62 PGA Tour events, fifth on the all-time list. He won golf's biggest titles: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open. He won seven majors in all.

The Miami Marlins ace pitcher José Fernández died in a boating accident early Sunday morning. He was 24 years old.

"The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández," the team posted in a statement on Twitter. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time. Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled." Neither the team nor the league announced when the game would be rescheduled.

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

The WNBA playoffs open Wednesday night with a pair of games showcasing the league's revamped playoff format. First up will be the single-elimination games as fifth-seeded Indiana hosts No. 8 Phoenix and seventh-seed Seattle is at No. 6 Atlanta. Sports Commentator Art Thiel says the new "one-and-done" format could actually be a boon for the Seattle Storm.

What's The Secret To India's Paralympics Success?

Sep 16, 2016

Deepa Malik was about to make history. Seated in a custom-made chair on a hot day in Rio, Malik — paralyzed from the chest down — held a 6.5-pound shot put between her neck and right shoulder. She took a deep breath and hurled the shot 15 feet across the throwing circle. The throw got Malik a silver at the Paralympic Games in Brazil this past Monday — and made her the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics medal.

Saying it wants to make football safer for current and future athletes, the NFL is pledging to spend $100 million for "independent medical research and engineering advancements." A main goal will be to prevent and treat head injuries.

Announcing the pledge Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it is in addition to the $100 million the league already committed toward medical research of brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the progressive degenerative disease that has been found in football players.

The NCAA announced Monday evening that it would relocate seven championship sporting events out of North Carolina during this school year, citing the state's HB2 law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT individuals, WUNC's Dave DeWitt reports.

The events moving out of state include first and second rounds of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship — part of the Road to the Final Four — originally slated to be in Greensboro, DeWitt reports.

A Paralympian Cyclist Gears Up For Rio

Sep 1, 2016

On a muggy afternoon in Atlanta, Jennifer Schuble, 40, hops on her bicycle and clips into the pedals. She zooms around the steep banks of a velodrome. She drafts behind her coach, who's on a motorcycle, holding the pace steady at 30 miles per hour.

The Olympics are over in Rio de Janeiro, which means it's now time for the 2016 Paralympic Games, which begin Wednesday in the Brazilian city. There have been issues in the run-up to the Paralympics, with organizers announcing some cutbacks due to funding shortages. But thousands of athletes will be there as planned.

Fresh off the Olympic Games, Brazil now hosts the Paralympic Games. Athletes from the Northwest are packing up this week to fly south to compete in sports such as wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball -- and goalball.

Forget Hawaii or Fiji. The spot that's really got surfers talking these days is a secluded pond more than 100 miles from the ocean, in California's Central Valley.

"It's just an amazing, amazing wave," says Robert "Wingnut" Weaver, a longboarder from Santa Cruz, Calif., and one of just a handful of surfers who have ridden the wave. "It's mind-blowing."

As players rose to stand for the national anthem at the 49ers-Packers game on Friday night, 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick pointedly remained seated.

His gesture was to protest the treatment of African Americans and minorities in the United States, as he told after the game. Kaepernick has remained sitting during the anthem "in at least one other preseason game," according to the site.

This has been an Olympics of questions: Will everyone who goes to Rio get Zika? Can they survive the polluted water — or the polluted air? Will criminals ruin the games? Are Rio and its venues chaotic? And what is up with that green water?

Those are some of the questions I was asked by friends, colleagues and NPR's audience after I got to Rio. Several times, I gave a joking answer that was only half-joking: that the Rio Olympics are like a three-week Mentos commercial.

One of the last medals awarded at the Rio Olympics went to a 21-year-old middleweight boxer from Flint, Mich.: Claressa Shields.

It was gold. With that Sunday victory, Shields became the first U.S. boxer ever to win back-to-back gold medals.

On the podium, after the medal was slipped around her neck, she reached into her pocket, pulled out her gold medal from the 2012 London Games and draped that one over her head, too.

Saying it can't condone Ryan Lochte's behavior during Rio's Summer Olympics, swimwear company Speedo is ending its sponsorship deal with the decorated American swimmer.

The announcement comes after Lochte and three other swimmers were caught in an embarrassing episode in which Lochte claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint — a story that Rio de Janeiro police and U.S. officials found to be a fabrication.

Eight more Olympic medalists with ties to our region stood on the podium this weekend before Brazilian music brought the Summer Games to a close in Rio de Janeiro.

After several close games along the way, the U.S. men's basketball team was all business on Sunday as they routed Serbia, 96-66, in the gold medal game that brought down the curtain on the competition in the Rio games.

Kevin Durant led the way, hitting three-point bombs, driving for dunks, handing out assists and making steals on defense. After a close first quarter, which ended with the U.S. up 19-15, the Americans blew the game open in the second frame.

Durant had 24 points by the half and the U.S. had a 23-point lead, 52-29.

American boxer Claressa Shields has successfully defended her London 2012 gold in the women's middleweight division, beating the Netherlands' Nouchka Fontijn in a unanimous decision Sunday. Shields also becomes the first U.S. boxer, male or female, to win two Olympic gold medals.

"Oh my God, I feel like I'm dreaming right now, somebody pinch me, oh my God," Shields said after the fight, according to the Olympic News Service." She added, "You know not everybody can be an Olympic gold medallist. I'm a two-time Olympic gold medallist. Oh my god, I can't believe I just said that."

It's a story that might sound familiar: A promising U.S. men's 4x100m relay team was disqualified from a marquee race because of a bad baton exchange. Team member Tyson Gay calls it both weird and bad luck.

In fact, in a post-race interview that lasted less than 3 minutes, Gay used the word "weird" no less than seven times to describe how this race went for the Americans.

The U.S. women's water polo team dominated Italy in a 12-5 win in their gold medal match Friday to become the first women's team to win gold at consecutive Summer Olympics.

It's the most goals ever scored in a women's water polo final, and the widest margin of victory, according to the Olympic News Service.

The Paralympic Games in Rio next month are being scaled back because of financial problems and some countries may not be able to send athletes as planned, the head of the International Paralympic Committee said Friday.

Oregon's Ashton Eaton successfully defended his Olympic decathlon title Thursday night at the Summer Games in Rio. Eaton stayed on top of the leader board for nearly all of the two-day, ten event test of speed, strength and stamina.

In a dazzling display of his all-around athleticism, American Ashton Eaton ran faster, jumped higher and threw farther than his decathlon rivals to become one of the few men in Olympic history to repeat as winner of the 10-event competition.

Eaton, 28, has dominated the challenging event throughout the decade, and led almost start to finish in the two-day competition on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday night, India didn't stay up late to watch the Olympics. Its team hadn't won any medals yet. And the sports where there was a chance of medalling — like field hockey and rifle shooting — didn't result in any trips to the podium.

American Ashton Eaton may be the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder in the decathlon, but there's still one thing that makes him nervous during his two-day, 10-event competition: the pole vault.

Eaton, 28, is the heavy favorite to win the decathlon at the Rio Games. The decathlon, which ranges from sprints to the 1,500 meters, from the shot put to the high jump, is being held Wednesday and Thursday. And ever since American Jim Thorpe won the 1912 decathlon, the winner has customarily been described as the "world's greatest all-around athlete."

One story that's simmering at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has to do with sex: in particular, the controversy over intersex athletes, who are anatomically and genetically ambiguous.

At issue: Is it fair to allow those athletes, who often have high levels of testosterone, to compete with women?

Much of the attention has focused on South African runner Caster Semenya, the favorite to win gold in the women's 800 meters on Saturday. Semenya has been identified as intersex in many media reports, though she has never confirmed that or spoken about it.

Americans Simone Biles and Aly Raisman became the first U.S. gymnasts to win gold and silver in the women's floor exercise Tuesday, beating out six other elite gymnasts to put an exclamation mark on a stellar Summer Olympics in Rio.

Great Britain's Amy Tinkler, 16, won bronze.

"I'm a little bit relieved because it's been a long journey," Biles said after winning the final women's event in Rio.

She's enjoyed all of her time in Rio, Biles said, but she also admitted to being a little worn out.

There were medals a-plenty for Northwest athletes competing at the Summer Olympics in Brazil this weekend. One runner from Portland missed out on the podium in a dramatic race, but got kudos afterwards for sportsmanship.