Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Sumo-Injury-plagued grand champion Kisenosato retires
Sumo wrestling grand champion Kisenosato has retired following a third successive loss at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, his stable master confirmed on Wednesday. The 32-year-old was the only Japanese-born wrestler to currently hold the top rank of yokozuna.
Parry to referee Super Bowl LIII
John Parry will be the referee for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, the NFL announced Tuesday. It will be Parry's second Super Bowl as referee and third as an official. He refereed Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants' second victory over the New England Patriots, and was the side judge in Super Bowl XLI, when the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears.
Atlanta airport says ready for Super Bowl crush despite shutdown
Atlanta airport will be ready to field the tens of thousands of additional visitors expected for next month's Super Bowl despite the ongoing U.S. government shutdown, which has left critical airport personnel unpaid, a spokesperson said Tuesday. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), already the world's busiest, expects to see an additional 125,000 passengers ahead of the Feb. 3 game and is bringing in reinforcements to meet the additional numbers, said Elise Durham, the airport's director of communications.
Swimming: FINA clears swimmers to compete in independent events
FINA on Tuesday allowed athletes to take part in independent competitions in a bid to settle a financial dispute, but the world swimming federation said results from those events will require its approval to be considered as official. FINA has been under growing pressure from competitive swimmers, including Britain's Olympic and world breaststroke champion Adam Peaty, who are demanding a bigger financial share from the revenues the sport generates.
Japan's Olympic Committee head denies impropriety in 2020 bid procedures
The head of Japan's Olympic Committee confirmed that he had been questioned by French authorities in December on Tuesday but repeated his denial there was anything improper about Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Games and vowed to prove his innocence. French financial prosecutors investigating a multi-million dollar payment made by the bid committee to a Singaporean consultancy questioned Tsunekazu Takeda in Paris and he was placed under formal investigation for suspected corruption on Dec. 10, a judicial source told Reuters on Friday.
WADA will not get report until team out of Russia
Due to a threat of interference in the collection of doping data and safety concerns for their inspection team, the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) will not file a report until the Moscow mission is complete, said the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Tuesday. Following two days of meetings at WADA's Montreal headquarters the CRC had said it would submit a report on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA) code compliance status to the executive committee by no later than Thursday.
Ruthless Serena makes strong start in Melbourne return
Serena Williams made a ruthless start to her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title with a 6-0 6-2 victory over unseeded German Tatjana Maria in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday. The seven-time Australian Open champion was pregnant when she won the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park and showed she has lost none of her brutal power and athleticism in the match between the two mothers at Rod Laver Arena.
Venus Williams secures come-from-behind win
Venus Williams celebrated her 19th main draw appearance at the Australian Open with a come-from-behind 6-7(3) 7-6(3) 6-2 victory over 25th seed Mihaela Buzarnescu on Tuesday, marking a successful day for some of the sport's oldest active competitors. The 38-year-old, who is unseeded for the first time since 2014 and is the oldest player in the women's draw, will meet France's Alize Cornet in the second round.
NFL notebook: Eagles still committed to Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson didn't waste any time putting an end to speculation about the team's quarterback situation next year. "Carson Wentz is the quarterback going forward," Pederson said at a press conference Tuesday. "And in Nick (Foles') case, listen, we'd love to have everybody back throughout the roster, but as I've said many times, it's not about one guy, it's about the team, and we're going to do what's best for the team."
Kings G Shumpert prevented from entering Blazers’ lockerroom
Sacramento Kings guard Iman Shumpert was prevented from entering the Portland Trail Blazers locker room to confront Jusuf Nurkic after Monday night's game. Shumpert was still upset from a hard screen that Nurkic put on Shumpert in the first quarter of the Kings' 115-107 victory over the Blazers in Sacramento.