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Maryland native pulls perhaps biggest upset of Olympics to win gold

Maryland native pulls perhaps biggest upset of Olympics to win gold

In what may be the upset of the Olympics to date, wrestler Helen Maroulis defeated Saori Yoshida of Japan on Thursday to capture a gold medal in the 53kg classification. 

With the victory, Maroulis - a native of Rockville, Maryland - became the first American woman to win a gold medal in wrestling. 

A heavy favorite, Yoshida won gold at each of the last three Olympics and - prior to her defeat against Maroulis - had suffered just two losses in her illustrious international career. The 33-year-old claimed gold at 13 different World Championships dating back to 2002.

After her historic win, Maroulis spoke with CSN’s Sebastian Salazar - who is in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC Sports. Watch the video here.

Despite winning gold at last year’s World Championships in Las Vegas, Maroulis entered Thursday’s competition as somewhat of an underdog and had to win a qualification match against Ukraine’s Yuliia Khavaldzy just to enter the main draw. From there she rattled off three straight wins before defeating the legendary Yoshida by a 4-1 decision in the final.

Maroulis attended Montgomery County’s Magruder High School. 

Preparation for coronavirus: What the US Olympic and Paralmypic Committee is doing

Preparation for coronavirus: What the US Olympic and Paralmypic Committee is doing

DENVER (AP) -- It's a spreadsheet that covers 52 sports and nearly six dozen venues -- a laundry list of places around the globe where Olympic hopefuls were expected to be competing over the next few months.

With the threat of coronavirus hanging over the Tokyo Olympics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has been gathering information from the individual sports about their pre-Olympic schedules -- what events have been cancelled, moved or postponed, and what other events could be in the future.

There are no specific backup plans being made, the USOPC officials say, but it's a good list to have, as the Olympic qualifying season gears up and athletes start punching tickets for what they hope will be a trip to Japan. The marathon trials, for instance, are Saturday.

USOPC Chief of Sport Performance Rick Adams says in addition to collecting the logistical information, the federation is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security to get every update about coronavirus, how it is spreading and what can be done to avoid it.

Adams and others at the USOPC are keeping

-- IOC president Thomas Bach on Thursday said

as scheduled -- but not making knee-jerk reactions to the wild fluctuations of the news cycles.

“At this juncture, it's really about being on top of the information, being fact-based, communicating with athletes, NGBs and staying very focused on the preparations for Tokyo,” Adams said.

The U.S. will bring more than 500 athletes to the 17-day sports festival in Tokyo, many of whom will go to Asia early to train and acclimate. All the potential Olympians are ramping up their travel -- some competing in international events that carry Olympic ramifications, others using overseas competitions as a preseason of sorts in advance of trials that will be held in the U.S. over the summer.

Four years ago, with the Zika scare in full bloom in the run-up to the Rio Games, the USOPC improved upon its protocols in case an illness spread quickly, either before or during the Olympics.

It has access to a state-of-the-art testing system that can identify infectious diseases and possibly prevent their spread. That system, however, is not designed to detect coronavirus.

The USOPC also has extensive quarantine protocols that include sealed-off spaces both inside and outside of the Olympic Village where many of the athletes stay.

The federation's infectious disease advisory group -- filled with medical experts from around the country -- has been meeting to gather updates about coronavirus.

“They're advising us about new technology, treatments. best-care practices for patients, and helping us create strategies for containment,” said Bahati Van Pelt, the USOPC chief of athlete services.

Van Pelt says updates go to athletes via the Athletes' Advisory Council on a weekly basis, or whenever major updates become available.

All the information is designed to help the USOPC react to any changes in plans this summer, though Adams said the main plan is getting ready for whatever is in store in Tokyo this summer.

“It's situational, on a daily basis, and there's frequent communication," Adams said.

Among those the USOPC consults with: other national Olympic committees, Tokyo organizers, the IOC and global and domestic health organizations.

“We're aggregating and communicating frequently to make sure we can get the information out on a fact basis,” Adams said.

2.28.20 Rick Horrow sits down with MiLB owner Josh Solomon

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USA TODAY Sports

2.28.20 Rick Horrow sits down with MiLB owner Josh Solomon

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick Horrow sits down with MiLB owner Josh Solomon and takes you through the top sports business stories of the past week.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

As the NFL Combine gets underway, the NFL Playoffs might get wilder. The NFL and NFLPA are working on an agreement to add one regular game to the NFL season and restructure the postseason to add a seventh team from each conference for a total of 14, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. If finalized as part of the NFL's new CBA, this format change, which would also eliminate one preseason game, would mark the first playoff expansion since 1990, when the league went from 10 teams to 12. The proposal would eliminate the first-round bye for the No. 2 seeds, so the playoff structure would look like this: six wild-card games (up from four), four divisional-round games, two conference championships, and the Super Bowl. Six wild-card games would see the NFL dominating an entire weekend as college basketball does during March Madness, and college football and the NFL combine to do throughout the fall. Last Friday, NFL player reps chose not to vote on a new labor deal approved by the owners. The current CBA expires after the 2020 season, which officially begins March 18. Objections to an expanded regular season are considered the main stumbling block for player approval.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens LA leads off with SportBusiness 50 symposium and luncheon. This weekend, the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Championships return to Los Angeles and Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. But before the action on the pitch kicks off in earnest, World Rugby and local Southern California sports business dignitaries will come together for SportBusiness 50 Los Angeles: Lessons and Leadership from Legends of the Game. Los Angeles is the epicenter of sports innovation, technology, and globalization, providing the newest in entertainment via the $6 billion SoFi Stadium; mega-events like Super Bowl, Final Four, college football National Championship, mega-regional and amateur events, and 2028 Olympics. Accordingly, joining moderator Rick Horrow at the Friday lunchtime event are FOX Sports RSN General Manager and LA84 board member Lindsay Amstutz, Olympic gold medal rugby coach Ben Ryan, Irish national rugby team captain Bryan Driscoll, and SoFi Stadium lead architect Mark Williams of HKS. You might know Dignity Health Sports Park as the home of the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy and the temporary home of the Los Angeles Chargers. After this weekend, with over 40 international games providing more than eight hours of play each day, along with global entertainment and cultural programming, you’ll know it for rugby.

 

World TeamTennis locked in sponsorship agreements for its inaugural All-Star Weekend February 29-March 1. Deals include a presenting sponsorship from Barefoot Hard Seltzer, the official hard seltzer of WTT. Additional sponsors include official jewelry partner John Hardy, along with partnership agreements with Tennis Clash, Har-Tru Sports Coatings, and PIVOT tennis. “It is a testament to the continued growth of World TeamTennis and the high-level of players committed to compete in our inaugural All-Star match on CBS, that we’ve been able to accrue such a terrific lineup on sponsors, including presenting sponsor Barefoot Hard Seltzer, for this sold-out event,” said WTT CEO and President Carlos Silva. Held at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA, the summer home of the WTT San Diego Aviators, the World Team Tennis All-Star Weekend includes a Saturday night players party and Sunday morning clinics with the pros. Sunday afternoon matches showcase WTA and ATP stars such as the Bryan Brothers, Madison Keys, Sam Querrey, CoCo Vandeweghe, Ryan Harrison, Taylor Townsend, Taylor Fritz, and tennis legend Rod Laver.

Honda Classic kicks off with a huge party, celebrating philanthropy and PGA stars. The biggest golf party of the year in South Florida kicked off last Thursday night with an actual big party. We are just days away from the Honda Classic, with the biggest names in golf teeing off at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. "Florida's always been in my mind the kick-off to golf," Honda Classic Executive Director Ken Kennerly told WPEC CBS 12. "And to lead the Florida swing like we do, it's terrific." With the Honda Classic being awarded the PGA’s Fan First award this past offseason, it’s fitting that the community surrounding PGA National gathered for a pre-party, celebrating the great golf community, and the millions of dollars Honda Classic Cares has raised for South Florida children's charities. "It's all about giving back," said Kennerly. "And we take care of 150 children's charities each and every year. For us, it's a special time of the year. But what's more important to us is how this community rallies around us each and every year."