Tuesday’s Sports in Brief – News & Observer

OLYMPICS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A federal prosecutor looking into last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics says that many of the venues “are white elephants” that were built with “no planning.”

The scathing report offered at a public hearing confirms what The Associated Press reported several months after the games ended. Many of the venues are empty, boarded up, and have no tenants or income with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government.

“There was no planning,” federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri told the public hearing on the Olympics. “There was no planning when they put out the bid to host the Games. No planning.”

Rio de Janeiro spend about $12 billion to organize the games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance, and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.

The Olympic Park in suburban Barra da Tijuca, which was the largest cluster of venues, is an expanse of empty arenas with clutter still remaining from the games. The second largest cluster, in the northern area of Deodoro, is closed despite plans to open it as a public park with swimming facilities for the mostly poor who live in the area.

UNDATED (AP) — More than 80 American athletes have sent medals they won at the Rio Olympics to U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters to be shipped to games organizers, who will replace them due to flaking, black spots and other damage, the USOC said.

The Americans, including gold-medal wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis, are among at least 100 Olympians from across the globe with defective medals.

Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings is also among the group; she says her bronze medal is flaking and rusting, and USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman said some swimmers have damaged medals as well.

The USOC learned about the problems in December and reached out to all the American sports federations in January to begin the process.

Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said officials have noted problems with the covering on 6 to 7 percent of the medals.

SYDNEY (AP) — Rio Olympics 100-meter freestyle gold medalist Kyle Chalmers has withdrawn from July’s world swimming championships to undergo surgery for a worsening heart condition.

Chalmers has supraventricular tachycardia, or recurrent rapid heartbeat, that is normally not life-threatening but can impact on his quality of life.

The 18-year-old Chalmers said it was a difficult decision to miss the world championships in Budapest, but he did so with a longer-term view, setting his sights on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.

In April, he finished second to Cameron McEvoy at the Australian championships.

Swimming Australia head coach Jacco Verhaeren said athletes’ health and well-being were the priority.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett decided to stay at Xavier for his senior season instead of entering the NBA draft, a huge boost to a Musketeers team that reached the Elite Eight last season.

Bluiett was second in the Big East in scoring at 18.5 points per game last season. He had 19 games with 20 or more points, including 40 against crosstown rival Cincinnati.

He was at his best during Xavier’s NCAA Tournament run, which ended with its third appearance in the Elite Eight. He averaged 21.3 points, including 21 against Maryland, 29 against Florida State and 25 in a win over Arizona. The Musketeers lost to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.

With Bluiett staying, the Musketeers will have the key players from their tournament run back next season. Point guard Edmond Sumner tore an ACL on Jan. 29, didn’t play the rest of the season and declared for the NBA draft. Freshman Quentin Goodin took over at point guard and led the Musketeers’ run through the tournament.

PRO FOOTBALL

CHICAGO (AP) — NFL owners cut the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10 minutes during the regular season, but also gave players plenty of leeway to celebrate after a touchdown.

The two moves are expected to result in more tie games and much more elaborate end zone dance parties.

At their regularly scheduled spring meeting, the owners also decided to shift the 2021 Super Bowl to Tampa from Los Angeles, where construction delays have pushed back the expected opening of the new home for the Rams and Chargers. Those teams will now host the league’s showcase event in 2022.

Also approved at the meeting was the Oakland Raiders lease for a stadium in Las Vegas, where the team is expected to play the 2020 season.

UNDATED (AP) — Cortez Kennedy, one of the best defensive linemen of his generation and a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee despite rarely finding himself in the spotlight as a player, has died. He was 48.

Police in Orlando, Florida, say the former Seattle Seahawks star was found dead. Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio said the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown but that there is nothing suspicious about his death. An investigation is being conducted.

A star who spent his entire 11-year NFL career in relative obscurity playing in Seattle, Kennedy became the second Seahawks player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was an unmovable wall as a dominant defensive tackle, and a quiet, gentle soul away from the field never interested in finding himself in the spotlight.

PRO BASKETBALL

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Weltman is finally getting the chance to run his own team after more than two decades of toil in NBA front offices. Faced with the daunting task of remaking the Orlando Magic, he wasted little time in adding a familiar face to help him.

Hours after the Magic formally announced Weltman as their president of basketball operations, he named longtime NBA executive John Hammond the club’s new general manager.

The two worked together in Milwaukee years ago, though the tables were turned back then with Weltman reporting to Hammond.

Considering their history, if they didn’t come as a package deal, Orlando’s moves certainly have that feel to them.

Hammond replaces Rob Hennigan, who was fired last month after the Magic failed to make the playoffs during his five-year tenure. He will work under Weltman in a newly structured Magic front office that now features two well-respected, veteran executives that inherit a team that went 29-53 last season.

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