Olympics

U.S. women's basketball rolls over Spain to earn 6th straight gold medal

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USA Today Images

U.S. women's basketball rolls over Spain to earn 6th straight gold medal

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Geno Auriemma and Diana Taurasi shared a long, emotional embrace. Mission accomplished.

The U.S. women's basketball team won a sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal in dominant fashion, routing Spain 101-72 on Saturday. Taurasi and the Americans played nearly flawless basketball in Rio, and were never challenged. They have won 49 consecutive games in the Olympics with only one of those decided by single digits.

With that kind of sustained success, no one wants to say this is the best women's basketball team ever assembled. They won by nearly 40 points a game, but fell short of the record 102.4 points the 1996 team averaged.

But if they aren't the best ever, they're close. There never really was any doubt that the U.S. would win the gold in Rio. The only question was by how much.

Still, closure to their journey Saturday had Auriemma and Taurasi both fighting back tears.

Unlike their semifinal win over France when the Americans looked discombobulated for a half, the U.S. was more fluid offensively. It helped having guard Sue Bird back in the lineup. The four-time gold medalist missed the semifinal game with a sprained right knee capsule. She wasn't 100 percent Saturday, but was good enough.

The U.S., which beat Spain by 40 in a preliminary round game, got off to a slow start and only led 21-17 after the first quarter. The Americans were up 27-24 in the second quarter before getting going.

Auriemma turned to something very familiar to him to spark the Americans

The UConn coach put his five former Huskie players on the court at the same time for the first time in the Olympics and that group started the 16-3 run that blew it open. Breanna Stewart got the spurt started with two free throws. Taurasi then hit consecutive 3-pointers -- her first points of the game -- as the Americans scored 10 straight.

By the time Lindsay Whalen's layup just beat the halftime buzzer, the U.S. led 49-32 and Spain had just two baskets in the final 6:55 of the half. Whalen finished the game with 17 points, tied for the team lead with Taurasi.

Spain never threatened in the second half. Auriemma started the fourth quarter with Bird, Taurasi and Tamika Catchings on the court and the game in hand. The three four-time Olympians have had a tremendous impact on USA Basketball over the past 12 years. He took the trio out together for one final time with 5:44 left in the game.

Auriemma had said from the start this group was on a mission that is now complete.

Even with the loss, Spain earned its first Olympic medal in women's basketball. The Spaniards have been on the rise lately, also winning a silver medal at the 2014 world championship. They are hosting the 2018 worlds.

But Saturday, just like the rest of this tournament, was all about the U.S.

No American team has been deeper with Catchings as its 12th player. They trailed for just over 11 minutes in the entire Olympics and the biggest deficit was just four points -- 6-2 to France. They never were down after the first quarter and with the exception of the semifinal win over France, all the games were pretty much after 20 minutes.

It's been quite a run for this edition of the U.S. women's basketball dynasty. This group of 12 has combined for 29 Olympic gold medals -- the most ever for any team.

This game marked the end of Catchings' Olympic career. She is retiring at the end of the WNBA season. Taurasi and Bird have hinted that this will be their final Olympics although both could still return in four years in Tokyo. The trio joined Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards as the only Olympians to win four gold medals.

Even if the three players don't wear the red, white and blue again, the future remains bright for the U.S. Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Stewart all won their first Olympic golds. Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Angel McCoughtry should be back in 2020 as well, providing a solid nucleus for USA Basketball to build on.

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

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USA Today Images

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles has reached an agreement with international Olympic leaders that will open the way for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games.

City Council President Herb Wesson's office confirmed the deal Monday.

Spokeswoman Caolinn Mejza says the pact is expected to be reviewed by the council later this week.

The agreement to be formally announced later Monday follows a vote earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee to seek a deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games.

Paris is the only city left to host the 2024 Games.

The arrangement would make L.A. a three-time Olympic city, after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.

L.A. and Paris were the last two bids remaining after a tumultuous process that exposed the unwillingness of cities to bear the financial burden of hosting an event that has become synonymous with cost overruns.

L.A. was not even the first American entrant in the contest. Boston withdrew two years ago as public support for its bid collapsed over concerns about use of taxpayer cash. The U.S. bid switched from the east to the West Coast as L.A. entered the race.

But the same apprehensions that spooked politicians and the local population in Boston soon became evident in Europe where three cities pulled out.

Uncomfortably for IOC President Thomas Bach, whose much-vaunted Agenda 2020 reforms were designed to make hosting more streamlined and less costly after the lavish 2014 Sochi Games, the first withdrawal came from his homeland of Germany.

The lack of political unity for a bid in Hamburg was mirrored in Rome and Budapest as support for bids waned among local authorities and the population. It was clear they did not want to be saddled with skyrocketing bills for hosting the Olympics without reaping many of the economic benefits anticipated.

Just like in the depleted field for the 2022 Winter Games which saw Beijing defeat Almaty, the IOC was left with only two candidates again.

With two powerful cities left vying for 2024, Bach realized France or the U.S. could be deterred from going through another contest for 2028 if they lost. Bach floated the idea in December of making revisions to the bidding process to prevent it producing "too many losers," building support that led to L.A. and Paris being able to figure out themselves how to share the 2024 and 2028 Games.

The dual award of the games relieves the IOC of having to test the global interest in hosting the Summer Olympics for several years until the 2032 Games are up for grabs.

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

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AP

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Lochte says he feels "a little hurt" after two men were arrested for allegedly rushing the stage following his performance on "Dancing with the Stars."

The two men, wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts, were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing, Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said.

They had rushed the stage while Lochte was getting his scores from judge Carrie Ann Inaba for his debut performance during Monday night's live installment of the celebrity ballroom dance competition.

"Hey, back off," Inaba said as the altercation was occurring off screen.

When the show returned, "Dancing with the Stars" host Tom Bergeron explained they were interrupted by "a little incident" and thanked the ABC series' security team "for staying in shape."

The two men were detained by security until police arrived to take them into custody, Los Angeles police spokesman Mike Lopez said. He did not have the men's names.

No one was injured or listed as a victim in the incident, Lopez said.

The swimmer told Bergeron that "so many feelings are going through my head right now." Lochte added that he was "a little hurt, but I came out here. I wanted to do something I'm completely not comfortable with, and I did."

ABC did not immediately return messages seeking comment about the incident.

During the episode, the Olympic medalist performed a foxtrot routine with professional partner Cheryl Burke to "Call Me Irresponsible." They received a combined score from the judges of 24 out of 40.

Lochte and teammates have seen scorn from some since they were involved in an early-morning drunken encounter during the Olympics last month at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They later claimed they were threatened and robbed. United States team officials banned Lochte for 10 months, requiring him to forfeit $100,000 in bonuses and miss the 2017 world championships.