<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usSat, 30 Jul 2016 01:27:34 -0400Sat, 30 Jul 2016 01:27:34 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Connecticut-Native Joins Team USA One Week Before Olympics]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 22:28:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/hartfield.jpg

While the Summer Olympics start in Rio de Janiero in one week, a Connecticut-native just found out on Friday he’s joining Team USA.

Mike Hartfield will compete in the long jump, something he picked up quickly at Manchester High School.

Hartfield says he's still wrapping his mind around everything.

He had placed 5th in the Olympic trials weeks ago after a 27 and a half feet jump. A spot on the team was not certain until Friday when a lineup shuffle meant Hartfield was going.

A call from Hartfield's coach changed everything on Friday.

"He's like congratulations. You're an Olympian and then I just started yelling," says Hartfield.

He may be training in San Diego but the excitement for the long jumper rippled all the way back to Hartfield's home state of Connecticut.

Thayer Redman was the 26-year-old's track and field coach at Manchester High School.

“Mike is extremely gifted but he walked through the halls of Manchester High like so many other kids. What he did was commit to it," says Redman.

Hartfield set records at Manchester and then at Ohio State University.

There were tougher challenges off the track: His mother suffered a stroke and his father passed away.

"As a track coach you see so many kids come through and to see him persevere through ups and downs, injuries and hardships, I'm just so happy for him," says Redman.

The incredible news for Hartfield comes on what happens to be his father's birthday.

The finals for long jump in Rio falls on the sixth anniversary of his dad's passing.

"If you want to talk about motivation, to really go out there and give it everything you have," says Hartfield. "I'm just so ready to go."

And in the stands will be a familiar face.

His former high school coach who realized by a fluke the kid had a gift is planning to go to Rio to watch.

"The whole town, now the whole state, we're rooting for Mike," says Redman.

"I appreciate all the love and support. And you know I'm going to try and bring that hard work back to Connecticut," says Hartfield.

Hartfield realized his talent by accident during a gym class when the track coach noticed he could jump.

His Olympic journey begins on Monday and his first day of competition is August 12th.

<![CDATA[Rewind: Janet Evans Left Stanford's Swim Team to Swim More]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:55:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Janet-Evans-1992-GettyImages-75942963.jpg

What could cause an honors student and 8-time All-American swimmer to quit her college swim team at the height of her talents?

For former Olympian Janet Evans, the decision to drop out of Stanford in 1991 was borne from ambition.

Evans earned World Records in the 400, 800 and 1500 meter freestyle by the time she was 15-years-old, and won gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics in the 400 and 1500 meter freestyles and the 400 meter individual medley, accomplishments that made her a highly prized college recruit.

When she signed a national letter of intent with Stanford in the spring of 1989, the Cardinal women were fresh off their second NCAA championship, and hadn’t finished lower than third in the nation since 1977.

A match made in heaven, right?

For a couple of years, it certainly was. Evans was named 1990 NCAA Swimmer of the Year en route to those eight All-American selections in her first two years as a collegiate athlete. But as a chance to defend her Olympic titles in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics approached, new NCAA rules cramped her style.

Motivated by a concern for academic proficiency, in the spring of 1991, the NCAA reigned-in the amount of time student-athletes could spend in organized practices. Under new rules, athletes were limited to 20 hours per week of in-season training, and just eight hours per week in the off-season, including a mandatory day off. For Evans, this represented a significant impediment: She averaged 30-35 hours in the pool per week year-round, and earned a 4.0 grade point average in the academic quarter before announcing her departure from Stanford.

"If these new rules would have been in effect when I got out of high school, I would never have gone to college," she said to the Associated Press.

Although NCAA officials insisted that the new rules were being misconstrued, Evans’s decision was final.

"I've heard that there were ways to get around it, but I just don't want to deal with that," Evans told the Los Angeles Times. "I really don't know why the NCAA did it. It's very restrictive. I didn't want to spend the rest of my career worrying whether I trained one hour too much."

Ultimately, both Evans and Stanford recovered from her departure unscathed.

Stanford went on to win five straight national championships from 1992-96 after Evans left, en route to an NCAA-leading eight titles.

Meanwhile, Evans competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games, winning a gold in the 800 meter freestyle and a silver in the 400 meter freestyle in Barcelona in 1992. She did not medal in the 1996 Atlanta games. Over the course of her career, Evans amassed a total of seven world records in three events. Her 400 meter freestyle record stood for 19 years; her 1500 meter freestyle time was unbeaten for 20 years; and her 1500 meter freestyle standard wasn’t bested for 21 years.

Evans’s attempt to make a comeback in the 2012 London games as a 40-year-old was met with enthusiasm, but she didn’t make it out of the U.S. Olympic Trials, and re-retired from competition permanently. She completed her bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Southern California in 1994, and is currently Vice Chair and Director of Athlete Relations in Los Angeles’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

Photo Credit: Sports Imagery/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[US Women's Gymnastics Team Hopes to Make History ]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:23:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-07-29-at-4.21.15-PM.jpg Only five women have the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the gymnastics competition in Rio. Earning that spot can be like stepping in to a new family.]]> <![CDATA[Simone Biles' Career Soars to Record-Breaking Heights ]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:19:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/biles_thumb.jpg Three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles has changed the standards in her numbers-driven sport. Her career is adding up to be one of the greatest in gymnastics history.]]> <![CDATA[In Women's Rowing, the US has a New Great Eight]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 13:00:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rowing_w_split.jpg

Quick, name the most dominant team in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

It might not be who you think.

The correct answer is the U.S. Women’s Eights Rowing team, which boasts a dynasty of 10 straight World Championship or Olympic titles heading into the August 8 start of competition.

Although Eleanor Logan of Stanford and Meghan Musnicki of Ithica college are the only two returning Olympians on the squad, other members of the team will bring differing sets of world-class credentials onto the water at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio.

Notre Dame’s Amanda Polk, Michigan State’s Emily Regan, Colgate’s Lauren Schmetterling, and the University of Washington's Kerry Simmonds and Katelin Snyder own shares of the World Record time of 5:54.160, set at the 2013 World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Tessa Gobbo won a NCAA championship with the Brown University in 2011, one of a record seven the Bears women have won since the NCAA founded the championships in 1997. Logan led Stanford to its lone NCAA championship in 2009, and Simmons’s Washington Huskies women’s team won three of the first five NCAA titles awarded. Snyder was coxswain on the Huskies’ storied men’s program, which has won seven of the last 10 Intercollegiate Rowing Championships. (Men’s rowing is not an NCAA sport.)

A dynastic team comprised of only two returning Olympians seems anomalous in its face, but it is a testament to the strength of the ultra-competitive world of U.S. Women’s Rowing. The nine women competing in Rio were culled from an original group of 28. And while this crop of Olympians own a combined 28 gold medals in World Championship and Olympic competition, women who have earned a total of 15 gold medals were left behind. The camaraderie amid the competition for an Olympic berth made for a bittersweet moment when the final team was finally announced.

"There was such joy, but also such sorrow. Everybody was competing for these spots—for years, really—but at the same time everybody is so close and so supportive of each other. To go to Rio without them is brutal," Snyder told Sports Illustrated.

The intensity of the success of the women’s team serves as inspiration for their male counterparts, who also train at the Finn M.W. Caspersen Rowing Center in Princeton, New Jersey.

"The hardest thing to do in sports is to win and then keep winning," U.S. Men’s rower Seth Weil told The Wall Street Journal. "They have built this culture that keeps them winning, and now it’s like a freight train."

According to USRowing.org, the physical demands of the 2,000-meter race are comparable to those endured by cross-country skiers and long distance speed skaters, and physiologists claim that rowing the 1.25 mile stretch is equal to playing back-to-back basketball games.

The Americans will face boats from Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania and Russia with the goal of bringing home the gold in the August 13 final.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USA Uniforms for Opening Ceremony Revealed]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 11:47:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/teamusa-opening-ceremony-uni.jpg

American athletes will walk into the Maracana stadium for the Olympic opening ceremony next week following the light on their flag bearer's jacket.

The uniforms by Polo Ralph Lauren revealed on "Today" Friday morning show an illuminated "USA" on the back of the flag bearer's jacket. The flag bearer will be announced sometime before the Aug. 5 ceremony.

Athletes will wear navy blazers that feature the USOC logo and the designer's famous polo pony. Underneath, they'll sport a red, white and blue T-shirt with broad horizontal stripes above white jeans.

Fencer Mariel Zagunis was chosen to carry the flag at the 2012 London Olympics, while runner Lopez Lomong led the Americans in to the stadium in Beijing in 2008.

Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren
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<![CDATA[NCAA Medal Count: How We're Keeping Track]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 08:32:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/Olympicmedals540189254.jpg

Michigan-Ohio State. Auburn-Alabama. USC-UCLA. To sports fans from these schools, the mention of the rivalry gets the blood boiling. And the hatred extends beyond football. 

This summer, it will extend all the way to Brazil.

More than 450 athletes and alumni from NCAA schools will compete in the Summer Olympics in Rio, igniting age-old collegiate rivalries in sports like wrestling, track and field, swimming and more.

Which means Michigan fans will want to know: Did we earn more medals than Ohio State? Rivals in Rio will answer that question.

After every medal is awarded during the Summer Olympics, Rivals in Rio will update its medal count, awarding schools the appropriate medal.

Since we know the questions will come, we want to explain exactly how we decide whether a college has earned a medal.

It's pretty simple: If an athlete plays (or played) a sport for a school, earned a degree from a school, or is still in high school but signed a letter of intent to attend that school, then that school will get credit for any medals won in Rio.

So Missy Franklin is competing for Cal, because she swam for the school for two years before turning professional. Katie Ledecky is competing for Stanford, because she signed a letter of intent to attend the school. Ryan Lochte graduated the University of Florida in 2007, so he's swimming for his Gators.

But Michael Phelps, who trained in Ann Arbor for years and has a Michigan block M tattooed to his hip, isn't representing the Wolverines: While he attended classes at the school briefly, he never swam for Michigan or earned a degree. 

What about team sports? If a team wins a medal, every school with a player on the team gets credit for that medal - but no school can receive more than one medal per team. So if the U.S. women's basketball team wins a gold medal, UConn, Tennessee, LSU, Delaware, Baylor, Louisville and Minnesota will each earn a gold medal - but only one each, even though the team has five players from UConn.

So check back here often during the Olympics game to see how your school is doing. And don't forget to talk trash to your big rival.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sue Bird]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 13:18:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16196698863464.jpg

Sue Bird played with the Huskies from 1998 to 2001, where she won two national championships.

During her senior year at UConn, Bird helped lead the team to an undefeated season. 

After UConn, Bird was selected with the first overall pick of the 2002 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm.

Bird has won two WNBA Championships with the Storm. 

This isn't Bird's first Olympics: she's a three-time gold medalist from the Athens, Beijing and London games. 

Team USA says Bird is the most decorated FIBA World Championship/World Cup athlete in history, male or female. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles Long Snapper Advances to 'AGT' Semifinals ]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 19:57:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/221*120/americas+got+talent+eagle.JPG The Philadelphia Eagles’ long snapper is stealing the show on "America’s Got Talent." NBC10’s Katy Zachary has an update on the Eagles’ magic man.]]> <![CDATA[Diana Taurasi]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:23:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diana_taurasi.jpg

One of the best players to ever come through Storrs, Diana Taurasi spent four years playing for Geno Auriemma at UConn.

She has three NCAA championships to her name and was also selected as the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player ins 2003 and 2004.

An Olympic veteran, Taurasi will be playing in her fourth Olympics in Rio. She won gold medals in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

She holds the U.S. Olympic record for most 3-point field goals in a game with eight, something she's accomplished three times, according to USA Basketball.

The Phoenix Mercury selected Taurasi as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft.

<![CDATA[Wrestler Jordan Burroughs Looks to Win Big in Rio]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 13:28:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jordan-Burrrough-GettyImages-520382788.jpg

Jordan Burroughs does not lack confidence — or ambition.

"I want to have exceptional goals," the Olympic wrestler said in a sponsored video posted on TeamUSA.org, the official website of the U.S. Olympic committee. In another, he said he wanted "to be the best wrestler of all-time."

The reigning Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, Burroughs, 28, is one of the favorites to win big in Rio.

He is not shying away from those expectations. Rather, Burroughs is embracing them — and the work required for ultimate success.

"You’re capable of doing amazing things," Burroughs told USA Today Sports. "I wasn’t groomed or created to be this until I realized that I could be this. And I just started working my butt off, and all [of a] sudden I started winning. And I haven’t looked back."

Just ask Mark Manning, who will coach Burroughs and the U.S. freestyle team in the Rio Games.

"Jordan and I have been together for a long time," Manning told the Lincoln Journal-Star, before adding, "With Jordan, we will stick to our plan and keep working, building his arsenal and helping any way we can. Not that he needs much motivation from anybody, because he is so determined to win this year and compete in the 2020 [Summer] Olympics [in Tokyo, Japan]."

Manning knows what he's talking about. He coached Burroughs at the University of Nebraska, where his star pupil won NCAA Championships in 2009 and 2011. Since leaving Nebraska, Burroughs has added three world championships to his Olympic gold medal.

"In the wrestling world, Jordan Burroughs is [Cleveland Cavaliers star] LeBron James. He’s [Golden State Warriors star Stephen] Curry. Everyone knows who Jordan Burroughs is, and he’s been wrestling with a target on him for a while, and people adapt. You never get used to the target, but it’s more natural for Jordan to know he’s the heavy favorite and everyone expects his best," Manning told the Omaha World-Herald in April.

"It’s going to be fun when he looks back 20 years from now at the legacy he’s left. But we’re in the midst of that right now, so it’s about just staying on that ride and taking each year for what it’s worth," he added.

Perhaps it is Burroughs who best summarized his "legacy" after qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Team at the Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City.

"The difference between legends and just great athletes is consistency. I really prepare for these moments," Burroughs told The Associated Press.

"The approach has always been to be the best in the world, one of the best ever," he continued.

Still, his greatness won’t transition to a post-amateur wrestling career with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Burroughs told FoxSports.com in September 2015 he "won’t ever join" the UFC.

It's a surprising stance since Burroughs' wrestling acumen could be monetized by the UFC. So why would he pass up the opportunity at, potentially, a lucrative job as a professional mixed martial artist?  

"It's never been my passion to pursue the UFC or that I like to fight. I don't think many guys like to fight, but it's everything that surrounds success in the UFC. It's notoriety, it's the celebrities sitting ringside in Vegas, it's financial incentive, it's being labeled as the toughest guy in the world and being respected and heralded on such a high level, but for me I'm passionate about the sport of wrestling. I want to win another gold medal," Burroughs said.

"I'm doing well financially. I think a lot of guys get out of wrestling for financial incentive to go to the UFC, but I'm doing well. I've got a home, I've got a wife, I've got everything I need," he said. "So realistically, I don't need to join the UFC for anything other than I'm passionate about it, which I'm not. So I'll just sit back from afar and enjoying watching it but not participating."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NCAA Stars Take Their Talents to Rio]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 15:56:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stewart-allen-kocian.jpg

Breanna Stewart and Devon Allen are already accustomed to big stadiums and bright lights. So at least in one way, it won't be a big deal when they walk into the Maracana for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics on Aug. 5.

They got plenty of experience playing in front of thousands of fans in person and millions on TV — and that was just in college. The Olympics have long been a competition at which college athletes have shined, and Allen and Stewart are just two of the biggest names among recent NCAA champions who will be competing in Rio starting Aug. 5.

Stewart won four national championships with the University of Connecticut’s basketball team, most recently in April. Despite joining a team full of experienced WNBA pros for the United States, Stewart could be a key player as a 6-foot-4 forward who can pass and shoot.

"It feels unbelievable to have the opportunity to play on the national team," Stewart told SI.com. "You can’t ask for a whole lot more coming out of college right away."

Allen’s NCAA titles have come on the track and he’s a medal contender in the 110-meter hurdles. But shortly after the closing ceremony, he'll head back to the University of Oregon and join the Ducks' football team as it tries to win a college football championship after coming close two years ago.

"It's something I've been dreaming about since I started running track," Allen told OregonLive.com. "It's surreal and it hasn't hit me yet but I'm sure it will hit me soon."

Allen is the only college football star who will be in Rio, but dozens of NCAA track and field athletes from various countries will compete, including decathlete Lindon Victor of Texas A&M, who will represent Grenada, and Filip Mihaljevic of Virginia, who will compete in the shot put for Croatia. Both won NCAA titles in their disciplines in the spring.

Competing for the United States are NCAA champions Jarrion Lawson of Arkansas (long jump); DeAnna Price of Southern Illinois (hammer throw); Clayton Murphy of Akron (1,500 meters); Courtney Frerichs of New Mexico (steeplechase); Maggie Malone of Texas A&M (javelin); Raven Saunders of Mississippi (shot put); Lexi Weeks of Arkansas (pole vault) and Kendell Williams of Georgia (heptathlon).

Impressive collegiate athletes will also participate in some of the Olympics' lesser-known sports.

Purdue's Steele Johnson will dive for the U.S. in the 10-meter individual and synchronized events. He won NCAA titles in the 1-meter and platform before taking this season off to prepare for Rio, but will return to West Lafayette and the 2016-17 season.

At the age of 19, West Virginia’s Ginny Thrasher already has NCAA titles in smallbore and air rifle. Shooting in front of Olympic crowds in Rio and being beamed around the world will be different from being on the range — or in the woods where she learned to shoot by hunting with her father and grandfather.

"It’s really overwhelming," Thrasher told The Washington Post. "I think once I get there and I see the Olympic village, it’ll hit me more than I’m actually a part of the Olympics."

Some of the best known Olympians haven't even gone to college yet. U.S. gymnast Madison Kocian signed a letter of intent to attend UCLA, while her teammate Laurie Hernandez made a verbal commitment to Florida. The U.S. women are strong contenders in Rio, meaning they could add a college championship to their Olympic ones.

Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE, Patrick Smith, Andy Buchanan/AFP (Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Athletes With NCAA Championships and Olympic Medals]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 14:36:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/Boudia-GettyImages-467137886.jpg Winning championships is the goal of every athlete. But very few can say they are both an NCAA and Olympic champion. Those who can are among the greatest athletes produced by the United States. Here are a few of those top competitors.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Northern Michigan: Greco-Roman Wrestling's Powerhouse]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 14:29:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/splitscreen-facial-hair.jpg

Many Olympic athletes toil for years for a chance at 15 minutes of worldwide fame. But the slog endured by Greco-Roman wrestlers is enough to make badminton players seem as recognizable as LeBron James.

Traditional freestyle powers like Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Arizona State won’t be represented in Rio, but thanks to a U.S. Olympic training site established in 1999 on its Milwaukee, Michigan, campus, the University of Northern Michigan will compete in three different weight classes in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Greco-Roman wrestling forbids holds below the waist, as well as the use of one’s legs to trip opponents or otherwise execute takedowns. As opposed to freestyle, the prettier and more popular of the wrestling styles, Greco-Roman’s practitioners in the U.S. don’t have opposing teams, tournaments or championships. They have wrestling.

"Unlike other college programs, which operate under the umbrella of the NCAA and compete in the more mainstream freestyle wrestling, the Greco-Roman specialists here train in virtual anonymity. There are no dual meets against top programs like Iowa or Penn State. There are no NCAA titles to be won. The Northern Michigan wrestlers are preparing, quite simply, to become Olympians," New York Times sports reporter Scott Cacciola wrote in 2013.

Northern Michigan alumni Robby Smith (130 kg), Ben Provisor (85 kg) and Andy Bisek (75 kg) will all compete in Greco-Roman wrestling in Brazil. Because of their sport’s unique place in American athletics, the long winters training in remote Marquette bring the fellow Wildcats together.

"It’s definitely a different breed of wrestler. Everybody wrestling on the senior level of Greco is a little bit different. We make it work," Bisek told the Cedar Rapids Gazette in April. "We believe in everybody on the team."

The teammates' lone rivalry may be in the facial hair department.

Bisek, nicknamed "The Cowboy," sports a magnificent mustache that has taken on such a life of its own, it's become part of his Twitter handle, @biseks_stache. Smith, meanwhile, enjoys a full and lustrous face of hair, which has inspired a "Fear the Beard" rallying cry.

Bisek, Smith and Provisor aren't the only athletes whose road to Rio passed through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Freestyle wrestlers Helen Maroulis (53 kg) and Adeline Gray (75 kg) both graduated from nearby Marquette High School and train at the University of Northern Michigan Olympic Training Site.

Additionally, a trio of Northern Michigan alumna who train at the school's facility will represent the U.S. in sports other than wrestling. Mikaela Mayer will participate in her first Olympics, fighting as a lightweight boxer; Sarah Robles will compete in her second Olympics as a weightlifter in the 75+ kg field; and first-time Olympian Kelly Allen of nearby Iron Mountain, Michigan, will represent the red, white and blue in the paracanoe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maya Moore]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:23:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/maya_moore.jpg

Maya Moore spent four years at UConn, losing only four games in her entire college career.

She was a part of the squad that put together a history streak of 90-0 over three seasons, which included NCAA championships in 2009 and 2010.

Moore was named that National Player of the Year in 2009 and 2011.

In 2012, Moore was a key component for the gold-medal winning USA Basketball team in the London Olympics. She is one of only eight players to have won an Olympic gold medal, World Championship gold medal, NCAA title and WNBA championship (Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi and Kara Wolters are the others).

The Minnesota Lynx made Moore the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 WNBA Draft.

<![CDATA[Former Bulls Player Lists Chicago Home for $4.1M]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:23:38 -0400 has listed his home in Lincoln Park for $4.1 million. Dunleavy played three seasons with the Bulls but was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month. ]]> has listed his home in Lincoln Park for $4.1 million. Dunleavy played three seasons with the Bulls but was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month. ]]> http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bulls+house+1.jpg Former Chicago Bulls player Mike Dunleavy has listed his Lincoln Park home for $4.1 million.

Photo Credit: Redfin.com]]>
<![CDATA[Top NCAA Athletes Competing Against Team USA]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 12:30:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jahvid+Best_1.jpg Some of the best current and former college athletes will be competing at the Summer Olympics in Rio — and not everyone is playing for Team USA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fencer to Make History by Wearing Hijab in Rio Games]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:16:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Muhammad-GettyImages-545537568.jpg

Athletes competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics share a common goal: to leave Brazil with a medal. But fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad also sees the games as an opportunity to teach Americans about the Muslim faith.

"I feel like I've been blessed to be in this position, to be given this platform," Muhammad, a Duke graduate, told The Associated Press in March

"When I think of my predecessors, and people who've spoken out against bigotry and hate, I feel like I owe it not just to myself but to my community to try to fight it. There are people who don't feel safe going to work every day, that don't feel safe being themselves. I think that's a problem," she said.

Muhammad, who grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey, will be the first American athlete to compete in the games while wearing a hijab, the head scarf required of Muslim women.

A three-time All-American at Duke in fencing, the 30-year old Muhammad is ranked second in the nation in the sabre — and 12th in the world, according to her profile on the USA Fencing website

In three years at Duke, Muhammad compiled a 127-15 record while earning bachelor degrees in international relations and African American studies.

"She always had the raw talent. Everyone who watched her fence could see that," Blue Devils fencing coach Alex Beguinet told Duke Magazine in June.

That "raw talent" was also harnessed by coaches at the Westbrook Foundation, a non-profit that introduces fencing to metropolitan area New York City kids. Coaches Peter Westbrook and Akhi Spencer-El expect Muhammad's competitiveness to be on display for the world to see in Rio.

"Don’t be fooled by that pretty face," Westbrook, who won the bronze medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, told The Associated Press in March.   

"She has something in her that it takes in real champions, that unbelievable will to win. She is able to dig five stories deep to pull something out. And when she loses? Oh my God."

Muhammad's determination is not limited to the piste. She has used social media to chronicle disturbing incidents in which she was the victim of prejudice.

In March, she tweeted that a volunteer at South by Southwest had asked her to remove her hijab, even though she was to speak at the event, according to the Chicago Tribune. A few weeks later, in April, Muhammad posted a photo on Twitter of a man in New York City who she said asked if she was planning to "blow something up," ESPN reported.

Muhammad's Olympic inception coincides with the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president. Part of Trump’s platform has called for barring Muslims from the United States, a philosophy that baffles Muhammad.

"I'm excited to provide a different image of what people are used to seeing from a Muslim woman. I don’t want to see the same image every time of Muslim women on TV," she told the Charlotte Observer

"It’s not representative of the Muslim women that I know living in the States. What I see is very narrow. It may be a woman in all black, or a woman in a burka. As Muslims, we have conservatives and we have liberals and everyone in between. You can’t paint us all with one broad stroke. That can be frustrating," she added.

Without mentioning Trump by name, Muhammad questioned his ideology. 

"My family has always been here. I'm American by birth. This is part of who I am and it is all that I know," Muhammad said. "So when I hear someone say something like, 'We’re going to send Muslims back to their countries,' then I’m like: 'Where am I going to go? I’m American.'"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[In Rio, Georgia Golfers Are the Ones to Beat]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:41:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bubby-Waston-GettyImages-580018286.jpg

Men’s Olympic golf will tee off Aug. 11 for the first time in 112 years, as a field of 60 led by three Georgia college players vies to bring home the first gold medal since the 1904 games in Saint Louis.

But amazingly, the golfer positioned at the top the Olympic rankings barely saw the golf course his senior year in college.

Although coming off a campaign that earned him an All-American Honorable Mention nod his junior year, top-ranked Olympian Bubba Watson only played in one tournament for the Georgia Bulldogs during his final amateur season in 2001.

"The only time in NCAA history that a team had five guys make third team All-American or higher was that 2001 team. That’s how good that team was. Bubba was sitting there as your sixth guy," Georgia coach Chris Haack told Augusta.com in 2013.

Watson isn’t the only Team USA golfer to play for a school in the Peach State: Seventh-ranked Patrick Reed has two Georgia universities on his resume, and Matt Kuchar, the eighth-ranked player in the Olympics, also hails from a Georgia school with a proud golf tradition. Kuchar’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets boast individual NCAA champions in 1927, 1934 and 2002, and the team finished as runner-up to the national champions in 1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005.

In thinking of powerhouse college athletic programs, Augusta State University isn't the first to come to mind. But if the sport is golf, and the program is in the shadow of the world's most famous golf course — Augusta National — bigger isn't necessarily better.

Golf may be Augusta State's only Division I sport, but the teams are good — the men won back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011, the first to do so since the Houston Cougars in 1984 and 1985, according to USA Today.

Reed made integral contributions to Augusta's teams, though not without controversy. The Jaguars' 2010 championship came at the expense of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the team that third-ranked Olympian Rickie Fowler played for just a couple of years prior. In 2011, Augusta State beat Watson's alma mater, in-state rival Georgia, the school from which Reed had transferred for the 2009-10 school year after a checkered freshman year with the Bulldogs.

Although participating countries can send up to four golfers to Rio, Olympic golf's reboot is a purely individual competition, so players searching for extra motivation may have to rely on school spirit rather than flag-waving.

Notable international golfers to attend U.S. universities include Belgium's 23rd-ranked Thomas Pieters, who won the individual National Championship in 2012 for the Illinois Fighting Illini with a four-under 208. Team honors went to the Texas Longhorns led by American Jordan Spieth, one of the many male golfers conspicuously absent from the Rio games. South African Brandon Stone, ranked 29th, and Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas, ranked 48th, also attended Texas.

Padraig Harrington, the 43rd-ranked competitor out of Ireland, attended Dublin Business College, which may or may not have helped him out-earn in-family rival Dan Harrington, a World Series of Poker stalwart who has career winnings in the millions of dollars.

Both Padraig and Dan Harrington are also distant cousins of former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington, who earned All-American honors with the Oregon Ducks, winners of the 2016 NCAA men’s golf champion.

Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Breanna Stewart]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 20:07:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Stewart-AP_447032369589.jpg

Breanna Stewart spent four years playing at UConn and won a national championship in all four years.

In 2016, Stewart became the first-ever unanimous Associated Press Player of the Year. She won the award in 2014 and 2015 as well. She is also the only four-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player in NCAA history.

Although this is her first Olympics, Stewart is no USA Basketball rookie. She won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2014 FIBA World Championships and has twice been named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.

Seattle made Stewart the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft. She is averaging 19.2 points per game for the Storm.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[US Women's Basketball Team Has a Decidedly UConn Flavor]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:24:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GenoStewart-GettyImages-468853790.jpg

Coach Geno Auriemma wanted to have the best talent available to him.

So it was no coincidence that when the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team was constructed, those in positions of responsibility within basketball operations were able to find a five-person unit with whom Auriemma had long-standing ties.

When the team attempts to win its sixth straight Olympic gold medal in Rio, the squad will have a decidedly University of Connecticut flair. 

Five members — Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart — played for Auriemma at UConn. All won titles with the Huskies. Bird, Charles and Moore each won two titles; Taurasi was a three-time National Champion while Stewart won championships in all four of her years at Storrs, Connecticut.  

"They’re on the team because they’re really good," Auriemma said at the White House in May, according to USA Today. "They’re five of the best players in the world, and no matter who is coaching, they’d be on the team. I’m just fortunate enough to be the one coaching them."

The five are significant components for their WNBA squads. Bird (12.5 points and six assists per game) and Stewart (19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game) play together on the Seattle Storm; Charles averages 21.4 points and 9.6 rebounds for the New York Liberty. Moore has complied a 19.4 points /5.2 rebounds/4.4 assist slash line for the the Minnesota Lynx, while Taurasi, a star for the Phoenix Mercury, is averaging 18.9 points and 4.3 assists.  

Four of the five have represented America in Olympic competition. 

The Rio Games will be the fourth Olympics for Bird and Taurasi and the second straight Olympics for Charles and Moore

Stewart is the only member of the Huskies' Olympic outfit to never participate in the games, according to her Team USA profile. It bears noting that she's 21 and was selected first overall by the Storm in April.

"Well, first of all when I saw that [U.S. Women's Basketball National Team Director Carol Callan] was calling, I had a mini heart attack. Because I'm like, 'What's going to happen? I don't know! I don't know!' And then I answered it. … When she congratulated me, I was speechless. I did not know what to say," Stewart told The Hartford Courant after the Olympic team was announced in April.

"I've had a lot of great things happen throughout my career, but when you look at this and when you look at the opportunity to be able to go to the Olympics, that was my biggest goal in basketball," she said.

"It was the highest goal that I had set for myself. … Winning a fourth national championship, getting drafted, going to the Storm, and now this." Stewart added. "It's really amazing. I can't wait to get going and see what happens."

While his most recent star is looking forward to Rio, Auriemma’s focus is twofold:

Winning gold and enjoying the Olympics.

"It's only one game, it's not best of five, it's not best of seven. You have to play great every night and all it takes is one night where the other team plays better and you come home with something less than a gold medal," Auriemma told the Courant in July. 

"The [2012 London Summer Olympics] I was so fixated on, 'We have to win the gold medal, we have to win the gold medal,' and probably didn't really experience as much as I could have throughout the rest of the tournament," he said. "Going in this time, I want to do a much better job of playing it one day at a time and taking it one day at a time."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[North Carolina, Duke Basketball Stars Join Forces in Rio]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:49:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CoachK-GettyImages-583560292.jpg

As he picked up the phone and began punching numbers, the Team USA men's basketball coach had a feeling of uncertainty.

After all, Mike Krzyzewski had made a similar call years ago, only to hear Harrison Barnes turn down his pitch to play for the Duke University Blue Devils.

This time, Krzyzewski was offering the former University of North Carolina star a spot on the U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball team.

And this time, Barnes, freshly signed to a four-year, $94.438 million contract by the Dallas Mavericks after spending four seasons with the Golden State Warriors, agreed.

"I thought you were going to say no again," Krzyzewski told Barnes, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Perhaps more than agreeing to play for the all-time winningest men’s college basketball coach, it can be argued Barnes said yes to finally being teammates with Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving.

Krzyzewski had recruited Barnes and Irving with the idea they would be the cornerstones of the Duke team beginning in 2010, but Barnes settled on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels

Barnes played 75 games spanning two seasons with the Tar Heels before opting to ply his trade in the NBA. He averaged 16.3 points per game and 5.5 rebounds for teams that reached the Elite Eight in both of his two years at Chapel Hill.

Following a loss to second-seeded Kansas in the 2012 Midwest Regional Final, Barnes announced he was leaving North Carolina for the NBA.

"Chapel Hill is a special place. Over the past two years I've enjoyed every single moment of my Tar Heel experience. The road we took to reach the Elite Eight in 2011 and again in 2012 were great team accomplishments. I am thankful to UNC fans, my teammates, and to have played for Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams and the entire coaching staff. Now it's time for the next course of my journey," Barnes said in a statement when he, John Henson and Kendall Marshall announced their decision to opt out of North Carolina. 

Irving, meanwhile, played under Krzyzewski for all of 11 games at Duke before the Cavaliers made the point guard the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Irving suffered a toe injury in the Blue Devils’ 83-48 win over Bradley, which sidelined him until the NCAA Tournament

A few weeks after Duke’s season-ending 93-77 loss to Arizona in the the 2011 Sweet 16, Irving announced he was leaving to go pro.

"It was a great experience playing for Coach K. He taught me a lot about the game. Even when I was hurt, I learned a lot. Also a special thanks goes to the medical staff for getting me back on the court for the NCAA Tournament and my teammates for sticking with me throughout the entire year. Duke offered me an experience I could never have imagined," Irving said in a statement released by Duke.

"This was a special year for me. I love everything about Duke and I'm going to miss it. Duke has a special place in my heart. Even though I'm leaving this year, Duke will always be in my mind and my heart. I'm going to miss putting on that No. 1 jersey," he added.

A little more than five years after saying goodbye to Krzyzewski, Irving will once again be able to call him his coach.

And now he’ll be able to play with Barnes, whom he plans on reminding — along with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson — about the Golden State Warriors' seven-game loss to Irving and the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

"There will be a few jabs thrown," Irving told ESPN Radio’s "Mike & Mike" radio show, according to CBS Sports. "There are three Warriors on this team, and I am the current champion, so I will be throwing it in their faces."

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trinity Coach Headed to Olympics]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:15:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trinity_Coach_Headed_to_Olympics_1200x675_732401731638.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Future Olympic Hopeful in the Pool]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:11:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Future_Olympic_Hopeful_in_the_Pool_1200x675_732523587689.jpg Carl Bishop, of Cheshire, hopes to one day swim in the Olympics.]]> <![CDATA[Eagles' Nigel Bradham Arrested for Assaulting Miami Hotel Worker: Police]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 23:44:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Nigel+Bradham+Mug1.jpg

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and former Florida State University star Nigel Bradham was arrested following an incident at a Miami Beach hotel.

Bradham, who plays for the Eagles but lives in South Florida during the offseason, turned himself in to Miami Beach police on Monday after allegedly assaulting a worker at the Hilton Bentley hotel last Thursday.

According to a Miami Beach Police incident report, the 26-year-old was among a group of six people who started arguing with the employee over the time it took for the worker to bring them an umbrella they had paid for. The verbal argument escalated to a physical altercation.

The worker, 50-year-old Jean Courtois, told NBC 6 he needed a drill to fix the umbrella but apparently wasn't moving fast enough for Bradham.

"I saw the drill, then I'm going to try to take the drill to come to fix the umbrella for them," Courtois said. "He say 'hey, I pay my money for me to set up for me to fix the chair for me. You don't want to fix the umbrella for me.' Then I say 'ok, I'm going to try to take care of it for you.' Then he hit me in my head."

A glass bottle was allegedly broken over Courtois' head, causing cuts and lacerations, including one to the back of his head, the incident report charges. Courtois said his nose is broken and his left eye is swollen shut as a result of the attack.

An arrest report claims Bradham "without provocation, struck the victim in the nose with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground."

The six people then fled the scene, running toward Ocean Drive and entering a vehicle before speeding away, authorities said. A phone was discovered at the scene, which was turned over to police as evidence along with a receipt showing Bradham paid for the umbrella with his credit card.

The Eagles said in a statement that the team is aware of the incident and have been in contact with Bradham and the "proper authorities."

"Due to the ongoing legal process, we will have no further comment at this time,” the Eagles added.

Cars were parked in the driveway at Bradham's home in Miramar Tuesday but no one answered the door.

Bradham was an All-ACC linebacker during his senior season at Florida State before being drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2012. After four seasons, Bradham signed a two-year deal with the Eagles earlier this year.

It was not immediately clear if Bradham had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Miami Beach Police]]>