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Simone Biles carries US women's gymnastics team to record-tying fifth world championship

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CristiNistor/iStock(NEW YORK) — If you look up “fierce” in the dictionary, you’re likely to find the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. Same goes for five-peat.

For the fifth consecutive time, the team came out on top at the world championships — finishing almost six full points ahead of second-place Russia.

Despite some setbacks — like 16-year-old Sunisa Lee’s fall off the balance beam and 16-year-old Grace McCallum’s pirouette error on the uneven bars — Team USA was led to gold by 22-year-old Simone Biles.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist proved to still be unstoppable with her athleticism and skill.

Over the weekend, Biles stuck not one but two signature jaw-dropping moves: the double-double dismount on the balance beam and triple-double on the floor.

Both are performances that people are still buzzing about and that the International Gymnast Federation even found controversial for the added safety risk.

Nevertheless, the now most-decorated female gymnast in history will have one of the two moves named after her. She holds an astounding 15 world championship gold medals, and 21 world championship medals total.

The fifth consecutive world championship win ties a record set by Romania from 1994 to 2001.

Biles will defend her women’s individual all-around title on Thursday.

And the Tokyo Olympics are now just 10 months away.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 10/8/19

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Tuesday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Tampa Bay 4, Houston 1

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Connecticut 90, Washington 86

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Carolina 6, Florida 3
Dallas 4, Washington 3
Anaheim 3, Detroit 1
Nashville 5, San Jose 2
Los Angeles 4, Calgary 3
Boston 4, Vegas 3

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

China hits NBA with broadcast blackout after Adam Silver discusses Hong Kong controversy

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mphillips007/iStock(BEIJING) — China’s state-run broadcasting network ordered a blackout Tuesday of all NBA preseason games set to be played in the country in response to league commissioner Adam Silver voicing support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s right to exercise his freedom of expression on the Hong Kong protests.

The apparent retaliatory move by China came in the aftermath of a controversy that erupted over a tweet by Morey last week supporting pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

“The long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and in this case, Daryl Morey as general manager of the Houston Rockets enjoys that right,” Silver said during a news conference in Japan, where the Rockets are scheduled to play two preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers this week. “I understand there are consequences. We will protect our employees’ freedom of speech.”

Silver said that while he regrets that Morey’s tweet upset the Chinese government and millions of NBA fans in that country, “we are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.”

In an earlier statement, Silver said, “It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.”

Shortly after Silver’s comments, China’s state-owned broadcasting network CCTV announced it is immediately suspending plans to broadcast a series of NBA preseason games scheduled to be played in China later this week as part of an effort to use basketball to bridge cultural differences between the United States and China.

“We have noticed that Adam Silver, the NBA president who is participating in the event in Japan, responded to the Houston Rockets general manager Morey’s announcement of inappropriate Hong Kong-related remarks,” CCTV officials said in a statement. “We [are] strongly dissatisfied and opposed [to] Adam’s claim to support Morey’s free expression of rights. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech.

“To this end, CCTV Sports Channel of the Central Radio and Television General Administration decided to immediately suspend the current broadcast arrangements of the NBA preseason [China Games] and immediately investigate all cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA,” the statement said.

The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers are scheduled to play games this week in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China.

Morey took down a tweet with an image reading, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” within hours of posting it as caused an outcry from China.

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey said in a subsequent Twitter post. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.”

On Sunday, China’s consulate general in Houston urged the Rockets to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes” made by Morey.

Morey’s tweet prompted an angry response from several Chinese companies that sponsor the Rockets, including sporting goods manufacturer Li-Ning and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, which both announced they are suspending their relationships with the Rockets.

CCTV and internet giant Tencent — who inked a five-year, $1.5 billion deal in August to stream NBA games in China — both said they will not show Rockets games.

Former Rockets’ star Yao Ming, the catalyst behind the team’s enormous popularity in China and the current president of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), announced the CBA would be suspending its relationship with the Rockets.

“For those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business,” Silver said in his statement Tuesday.

American basketball has a long history in China, dating back to the 1800s when the game was introduced to the country through the YMCA. The NBA is the No. 1 sports league in China and big business for the league with at least 25 marketing partnerships and 200 NBA stores.

The Nets majority owner, Joe Tsai, the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, posted an open letter to NBA fans on Facebook on Sunday expressing his views on the controversy. Tsai wrote that Morey should have understood he was broaching a “third-rail issue” in China with his tweet, but conceded that the NBA executive has a right to “freely express” his opinion.

“The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable,” Tsai wrote.

During his news conference, Silver expressed support for Tsai’s “right to respond” to Morey’s “right to freedom of expression.”

“I can tell you, at least speaking for the United States, I think there’s far more understanding of the complexity of the issues in Hong Kong than there was heretofore,” Silver said. “Sports often serves that purpose that takes people who might not otherwise pay attention to issues in society and … shines a light on them.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

NBA commissioner weighs in on China, Hong Kong controversy

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Scott Evans / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — NBA commissioner Adam Silver has voiced his support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, whose pro-Hong Kong tweet set off a firestorm of debate.

At a press conference in Japan Tuesday, Silver said the NBA will protect its employees’ freedom of speech.

“The long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community,” the commissioner said.

Overnight, Silver also released a statement:

I recognize our initial statement left people angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the NBA stands for. Let me be more clear.

Over the last three decades, the NBA has developed a great affinity for the people of China.  We have seen how basketball can be an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties between the United States and China.

At the same time, we recognize that our two countries have different political systems and beliefs.  And like many global brands, we bring our business to places with different political systems around the world.

But for those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business.

Values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA — and will continue to do so.  As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game.

In fact, one of the enduring strengths of the NBA is our diversity — of views, backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and religions.  Twenty-five percent of NBA players were born outside of the United States and our colleagues work in league offices around the world, including in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei.

With that diversity comes the belief that whatever our differences, we respect and value each other; and, what we have in common, including a belief in the power of sports to make a difference, remains our bedrock principle.

It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues.  It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.

However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues.  We simply could not operate that way.

Basketball runs deep in the hearts and minds of our two peoples.  At a time when divides between nations grow deeper and wider, we believe sports can be a unifying force that focuses on what we have in common as human beings rather than our differences.

The backlash began when Morey tweeted an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” last week, supporting pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. Morey deleted the tweet but it prompted Chinese state television and internet giant Tencent — who inked a five-year, $1.5 billion deal in August to stream NBA games in China — to announce they will not show Rockets games.

Furthermore, former Rockets star Yao Ming announced that the Chinese Basketball Association, which he is president of, is suspending its relationship with the Rockets.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

High school football player's 1-handed catch goes viral

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33ft/iStock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — This high school football player just pulled off a pro move that would make Odell Beckham Jr. jealous.

Craig Richardson Jr. from North East High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, pulled off an impressive outstretched one-handed catch during a home game against Dundein on Friday.

His older brother Keith Harrington, who currently plays college football for Washington State University, filmed the play and shared the video on Twitter with the caption, “I swear my lil brother might be the best player in high school football.”

Since he posted it, the video has been viewed over 31,000 times and retweeted by athletic film site Hudl and House of Highlights.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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