Armstrong stripped of award
Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his award in the Legion of Honor, the best-known recognition in France. Armstrong was given the rank of “Chevalier” — or Knight — in the Legion d’Honneur in 2005, the last year of his seven consecutive Tour de France victories. He was later stripped of those titles for doping. A Legion of Honor official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name, on Wednesday said she was unable to indicate when the decision was made to remove Armstrong’s award.
New delay hits Cup stadium
A second test event for the stadium hosting the opening match of the World Cup on June 12 has been put back three days to June 1, FIFA said on Wednesday. Organizers decided a new dress rehearsal was needed at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena after its first major test event, a Brazilian league match on Sunday, revealed a host of problems. The still-unfinished stadium has been plagued by budget overruns, construction delays and accidents that have killed three workers. “It [is] vital for us that all facilities will be tested under full match conditions, including the temporary seats and associated facilities,” FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke wrote on Twitter. Instead of a previously announced match between home team Corinthians and Cruzeiro on May 29, the stadium will now host Corinthians against Botafogo on June 1, said the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), switching the location with a second leg now scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in October. FIFA said in a statement the new event needed to draw more than 50,000 fans and test two extra seating areas that were not yet open at Sunday’s match because they had not received safety clearance from firefighters.
McIlroy breaks engagement
An emotional Rory McIlroy on Wednesday announced he had broken off his engagement and split with Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, only days after sending out the wedding invitations. The 25-year-old Northern Irishman and two-time major champion said the issuing of the invitations had made him aware that he was not ready for marriage. “The problem is mine,” McIlroy said through a statement issued by his Dublin-based communications consultants. The golden sporting couple’s high-profile breakup came on the eve of McIlroy’s appearance at the European PGA Championship. He later told a Wentworth press conference that he had never considered pulling out of the European Tour’s flagship event. “I want to drive straight into it and keep myself busy,” he said.
Deysel out for stamping
Sharks flanker Jean Deysel has been suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to stamping during a 30-25 Super Rugby win over the Crusaders in Christchurch, New Zealand, last weekend. Deysel was red-carded in the 16th minute for stamping on the head of Jordan Taufua after a tackle as the Durban-based Sharks defended their tryline. In a statement on Wednesday, competition organizers SANZAR said judicial chairman Jannie Lubbe suspended Deysel from all rugby until June 7, meaning he will miss at least two Super XV matches. Lubbe said stamping or trampling on another player “is an offense that cannot be tolerated in the game because not only is it totally against the spirit of the game, but it carries an inherent potential danger of serious injury to players, especially when contact is made in the head/face area.”
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first