Reuters Sports News Summary
Should 2009 champion Rafa Nadal win the Australian Open for a second time the Spaniard will become the first man to claim 21 Grand Slam titles, nosing ahead of great rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer. For athletes, boarding the plane to Beijing is already a win With just over a week until the Winter Games begin, teams are frantically trying to ensure that athletes stay virus-free to get past Beijing's strict checks and make it to the start line as the highly infectious Omicron variant threatens to dash Olympic dreams.
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
NBA-Statue of Kobe and Gigi Bryant placed at crash site on anniversary
A sculpture of NBA great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant was brought on Wednesday to the helicopter crash site where they perished alongside seven others on a hillside near Los Angeles two years ago. The 160-pound (73-kg) bronze statue depicts the pair wearing basketball uniforms and sharing a loving glance as Gigi holds Kobe's hand as it rests on her shoulder.
NFL-Long-time Steelers QB Roethlisberger announces retirement
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement on Thursday after a decorated 18-season NFL career during which he won two Super Bowl championships. The 39-year-old Roethlisberger, a tough-as-nails competitor who was the heart and soul of the Steelers offense, retires as the longest-tenured player in franchise history.
Reports: Broncos pick Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett; could Aaron Rodgers follow?
Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett agreed to become head coach of the Denver Broncos late Wednesday night. Per multiple reports, Hackett scratched a second interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars after it become clear he was a match with Denver, where Vic Fangio was fired by general manager George Paton. The Broncos and Hackett are finalizing a contract Thursday, per the reports.
Cross-country skiing-Norway's Krueger tests positive for COVID
Double Olympic champion Simen Krueger on Thursday became the latest Norwegian cross-country skier to test positive for COVID-19 after a coach and two other skiers received positive results earlier in the week. The Norwegian ski federation announced at a media conference on Thursday that the 28-year-old, who won gold in the 30km skiathlon and the 4x10km relay in Pyeongchang, had no symptoms but had tested positive.
American Danielle Collins showed she will provide a formidable obstacle to home favourite Ash Barty's hopes of winning the Australian Open with a crushing 6-4 6-1 defeat of Poland's Iga Swiatek to reach her first Grand Slam final on Thursday. After Barty's demolition of American Madison Keys earlier, the 30th ranked Collins produced an equally dominant display to give former French Open champion Swiatek no chance.
Tennis-History in the making as men's semi-finalists vie for glory
An Australian Open that began with an unprecedented saga involving reigning champion Novak Djokovic will finish with a historic flourish on Sunday with all four men's semi-finalists having the chance to write their names into the record books. Should 2009 champion Rafa Nadal win the Australian Open for a second time the Spaniard will become the first man to claim 21 Grand Slam titles, nosing ahead of great rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer.
For athletes, boarding the plane to Beijing is already a win
With just over a week until the Winter Games begin, teams are frantically trying to ensure that athletes stay virus-free to get past Beijing's strict checks and make it to the start line as the highly infectious Omicron variant threatens to dash Olympic dreams. Several teams have reported positive cases of COVID-19 amongst their athletes and coaching staff this week just days before their scheduled departures for China, throwing careful preparations into disarray.
NBA roundup: Hornets score franchise-record 158 points in victory
Kelly Oubre Jr. connected on 10 shots from 3-point range on his way to 39 points and LaMelo Ball had a triple-double as the record-setting Charlotte Hornets overwhelmed the Indiana Pacers in a 158-126 rout Wednesday night at Indianapolis. The Hornets set a franchise single-game record for points while establishing an NBA season high. The Hornets' all-time record had come this season in a 146-143 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Nov. 27. The Memphis Grizzlies previously held the 2021-22 mark thanks to a 152-79 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 2.
Tennis-Djokovic set to return next month in Dubai
Novak Djokovic is set to return to action in Dubai next month for the first time since he was deported from Australia over his COVID-19 vaccination status ahead of the Melbourne Park Grand Slam. The 34-year-old Serb, who is unvaccinated, was deported after an 11-day rollercoaster involving two visa cancellations, two court challenges and five nights in two stints at an immigration detention hotel where asylum seekers are held.
Amid pandemic and protest, Olympics return to a changed China
The Beijing Winter Olympics kick off in a week, putting sports at centre-stage following preparations that have been clouded by diplomatic boycotts and the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the Games into a tightly sealed bubble. Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, and some venues from 2008 will be re-used, including the Bird's Nest stadium, where the opening ceremony will again be overseen by famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
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