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Anthony Rizzo Tweets Condolences Alarm Over Shooting At Alma Mater

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, an alumnus of the South Florida high school where officials say at least 17 people have died in a shooting attack, sent his condolences and encouragement Wednesday on Twitter while sounding a note of alarm.

Rizzo, who in November donated $150,000 to his alma mater, Stoneman Douglas High School, for the installation of lights for baseball and softball fields, said he hoped the people of Parkland, Florida, would come together in “this darkest of times.”

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Rizzo, 28, was selected out of Stoneman Douglas by the? Red Sox?in the sixth round of the 2007 draft.

The Broward County sheriff said a 19-year-old suspect was in custody and that investigators were starting to investigate the attack at the school.?

The suspect, a former student, was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons, Sheriff Scott Israel said. Most of the fatalities were inside the building though some were found fatally shot outside.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Us Veterans Can Enjoy Hockey Gold Before Deciding Futures

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Americans Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, twin sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan, Gigi Marvin and Kacey Bellamy have a luxury their predecessors lacked after finally capturing the nation’s first Olympic gold in women’s hockey in two decades.

Time to enjoy and celebrate the accomplishment. And no pressure for the three-time Olympians to decide quickly whether to try to play in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

At least not because of money. Women at the highest level of hockey in the United States no longer feel forced to choose between playing the game or paying the bills.

“It’s a decision based on whether I have the passion and the desire and skillset to continue to play, and I think that’s what we all strive for when that all came about,” Lamoureux-Davidson said Friday. “So to have that, I think it means the world to us that we can make that decision based on our love for the game, and we don’t have to make a decision now based on financial means.”

Winning the first shootout in an Olympic women’s final 3-2 Thursday to snap Canada’s golden run is only the latest accomplishment in an amazing year for the team.

Less than a year ago, they banded together and threatened to boycott the 2017 world championships in March, demanding more pay and treatment similar to what the men’s team receives. USA Hockey even reached out to other players, trying to cobble together a replacement team before both sides reached an agreement after pressure from 20 U.S. senators .

That deal netted the U.S. team $20,000 apiece for the gold medal captain Meghan Duggan said she slept with Thursday night, even if she only got a couple hours amid all the celebrating. The players also got a bump in pay up to $4,000 a month in the four-year deal with the ability to make around $71,000 annually and up to $129,000 in Olympic years with contributions from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

So rather than the need to go find a job to pay rent and buy food, the U.S. women can enjoy this golden victory with their families and friends here and once they return home. They’re reveling in this victory, so much that Duggan said they’ll decide whether to go to the White House if invited when that time comes.

The team is also celebrating how far U.S. women’s hockey has come since 1998, when the Americans won the inaugural Olympic gold at Nagano with stars like Cammi Granato, who was among those who lost a fight for better pay two years later. Julie Chu, a four-time Olympian who carried the U.S. flag at the closing ceremonies in 2014 at Sochi, also missed this chance.

Duggan said she and Brianna Decker spent about 45 minutes on the phone Friday with Chu.

“She was just incredible to talk to,” Duggan said. “She was crying on the phone. We were crying on the phone, and just what a moment. To share that with her it was fantastic.”

A.J. Mleczko won gold in 1998 and silver in 2002 for the U.S., and she told The Associated Press the money wasn’t on the minds of the players trying to erase the taste of silver after the painful loss in 2014 at Sochi. She said it’s amazing women can make a living doing what they love, just like the men.

“Now I look at what they can do from not just the money they’re getting just straight up from their contracts but now the endorsements,” Mleczko said. “They’re such a great group of ambassadors and I am so excited for the little girls out there and the little boys that can look up to them and say, ‘That’s what I want to do,’ and that is phenomenal.”

The U.S. appears to be in good shape with 20-year-old goalie Maddie Rooney coming through with spectacular saves for gold in her first Olympics. The U.S. under-18 team won the world championship in January against Sweden after knocking off Canada in the semifinals.

Lamoureux-Morando, who scored the tying goal to force overtime against Canada, said some players want to start families and will take a year to re-evaluate what comes next. Like her sister, she is married.

“If you still have a love and passion for the game, which I think we still will, we’ll continue to try and play and be on the team,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “But I think right now we’re just going to enjoy this win with our teammates. It’s a moment that it’s once in a lifetime. I think we’re going to cherish these next couple weeks, then kind of reevaluate down the road.”

Korea, which debuted at the Olympics with a historic combined team including 12 North Koreans, moved up from No. 22 to 17 in the new world rankings released after the U.S. victory. The IIHF announced Monday that the women’s Olympic tournament will be expanded to 10 times for 2022.

Knight said even with the recent growth, more resources are needed for other countries to get younger girls interested in hockey, even if that means offering support to bring girls over to the United States.

“I think that growth will be contagious around the world, and hopefully we can have more countries competing at the Olympics,” Knight said.

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AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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Figure Skating Obstacles Bridged Kostner Savors Last Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Even during the dark days of a suspension, Carolina Kostner never lost the hope and resilience that has allowed the 31-year-old Italian to complete at a fourth Olympics in a sport where many fade in their 20s.

A bronze medalist at Sochi four years ago, Kostner failed to make the podium at Pyeongchang but said after her free skate on Friday that she had savored her final Olympic experience.

“Being part of such a high level of figure skating is for me a true honor,” she told reporters after finishing fifth. The Italians finished fourth in the team event.

“For us, Italy placing fourth in the team event with all these big strong nations was such an amazing accomplishment.”

In 2015, the five-time European champion was handed a 16-month ban for allegedly assisting her former boyfriend, Olympic race walker Alex Schwazer, with covering up his illegal doping.

“I never stopped believing in my abilities. I hope my passion and my journey can be an inspiration and motivation for people that face challenges,” she said.

“If you keep believing in yourself and keep on fighting — it’s not always easy but when you’ve passed a tunnel you always find light and sunshine.”

“I found an amazing high level in my skating that I thought wasn’t possible and I found… passion for the sport that I thought was not possible,” she added.

At a news conference after the competition, the top two medalists — both teenagers representing Olympic Athletes from Russia — said the indomitable Kostner had been an inspiration.

Figure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women Single Skating free skating competition final – Gangneung Ice Arena – Gangneung, South Korea – February 23, 2018 – Carolina Kostner of Italy competes. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson“I don’t know whether I will be able to skate at that age,” said 15-year-old gold medalist Alina Zagitova, who was eight months old in 2003 when Kostner competed in her first European championships.

NO RETIREMENT THOUGHTS

Silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva was more effusive.

Slideshow (5 Images)“Carolina is one of the people who motivates me. She is an example of perseverance, of a long-lasting athlete. I have trouble imagining how someone can stay in that shape for a very long time,” she said.

“When you see people like Carolina, you understand that if she can do something, then that something is possible. If you love what you do, you put all of yourself into it, like Carolina Kostner.”

Kostner is looking forward to the world championships, which will be held in Milan in March. More long range plans include possibly helping skating to grow in Italy so that young skaters will not have to leave home at 13 the way she did to train.

But retirement is still nowhere on the horizon.

“I don’t know yet, I think I will focus on worlds. Then decisions like that should never be taken in a hot moment, it will naturally come,” she said, citing the example of her cousin Isolde Kostner, an Alpine skier who won three Olympic medals.

”She stopped skiing shortly before the (2006) Olympics in Italy,“ Kostner said. ”Many did not understand why she wouldn’t pull through because it was in her home country, and she said you will strongly feel when it is time to stop.

“And I haven’t felt it yet,” she laughed.

Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber;

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Alpine Skiing Shiffrin Braced For Post-games Blues Before Resuming Speed Quest

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Mikaela Shiffrin is prepared for the post-Olympics letdown of a return to normal life but the American still has plenty to target over the rest of the year and is even looking further ahead towards her third Games in 2022.

The 22-year-old had a highly successful Games with a giant slalom gold and a silver in the combined, even if there was some disappointment with fourth in her defense of the slalom title she won as a teenager in Sochi four years ago.

Shiffrin said she had been through the emotional wringer in South Korea and hoped she could carry the passion for her sport back from Pyeongchang as she continues her pursuit for more World Cup titles.

“The… thing about these Olympics is everything after it feels like blargh!” she told reporters on Friday.

”The hardest thing about the Olympics is the incredible emotional value after it, like, what is my life worth meant for now that the Olympics is over?

”You came here because you are passionate and driven and working hard in your sport and you can leave here and take that same attitude for the rest of it.

“Take advantage of the Olympics and what you got out of it and move forward with a passion for your sport.”

With 10 World Cup race wins already this season, Shiffrin is well clear in her quest for a second straight overall crown, leads the race for the slalom globe that she has won for four of the last five years and third in the giant slalom standings.

“I‘m going back, I have two more race series left in the season, at least. I‘m really looking forward to it,” she added.

“I‘m a contender for the overall globe. I‘m not just a contender, I have a rather large lead actually, and also for the slalom globe and the GS globe, I really want to do my best to get that one. There’s a lot of things I want to accomplish.”

Shiffrin skipped the women’s downhill after the combined event was moved forward in Pyeongchang but said she would be looking to continue to improve in speed events to become a better all-round skier.

“Get more experience of my World Cup venues, just get more experience on my speed skis, to get more comfortable with that speed,” she said.

”Because you can have a lot of training and be in that speed mentality, it’s great and I can be really fast.

”But yesterday I saw that having even one day off of my downhill skis, and having one day when I didn’t ski that track, I wasn’t quite as comfortable as I was in my last training run.

“There’s a lot of things I have to learn in speed still…”

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