Woods to attend celebration
World No. 1 Tiger Woods has accepted an invitation to speak during US president-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration event in Washington today. “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” is the first of several events sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee for Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday. Woods is among several celebrities who will take part in today’s event at the Lincoln Memorial where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Others include Hollywood actors Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah and musicians Beyonce, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.
Bring it on: Lions’ Schwartz
Jim Schwartz faces the biggest challenge among the 32 NFL teams next season: Turning around a team that didn’t win a single game. Bring it on, the Detroit Lions’ new coach says. “There’s no better feeling in football than turning a situation around. That’s what drives me here,” the 42-year-old former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator said in his introductory news conference at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday. The Lions badly want the one-time Georgetown University economics major to come up with a formula to fix a franchise coming off the NFL’s first 0-16 season, an eight-season span that has been the worst in the league since World War II and a run of more than 50 years with only one playoff win.
New York splashes cash
More than US$400 million in tax-free bonds approved on Friday by the city of New York will help the New York Yankees and New York Mets complete construction of their new stadiums to open in April. The city Industrial Development Agency overwhelmingly approved the requests from the teams despite opposition from critics. The Mets asked for and received an additional US$88.2 million on top of the US$547 million they already received to build their new ballpark in the parking lot of their old stadium. The Yankees asked for an extra US$370 million after the club received US$942 million in tax-exempt bonds in 2006. With US$1.3 billion dollars going to the clubs during tough economic times, there were critics, but city controller William Thompson was the lone vote against the Yankees. The Yankees spent US$423 million this off-season to sign free agents C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
Gruden, Allen walk the plank
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen on Friday after the team collapsed following a 9-3 start and failed to make the NFL playoffs. Gruden, who led the Buccaneers to a victory over the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl, was Tampa Bay’s coach for seven seasons. Allen was general manager for the last five seasons in a reunion of a relationship that began when both were with the Raiders.
Demong wins in Canada
Bill Demong of the US narrowly beat Finland’s Anssi Koivurante to win a Nordic Combined World Cup individual start event on Friday at the 2010 Olympic venue in Whistler, British Columbia. In the first of two events this weekend, Demong won in 24 minutes, 38.9 seconds, with Koivurante finishing in 25:26.3. Koivurante leads the World Cup standings with 643 points, followed by Magnus Moan of Norway with 556 and Demong with 515.