Update on the latest sports
Bryant hailed as ‘true Olympic champion’ by IOC president
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – IOC President Thomas Bach is remembering basketball great Kobe Bryant, calling him “an outstanding and true Olympic champion.”
Bach says in a statement that Bryant, “embraced the power of sport to change people’s lives.”
Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others near Los Angeles on Sunday, helped the United States win Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games.
He also worked with the Olympic hosting bid for Los Angeles, the city where he won five NBA titles with the Lakers. When Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics, men’s basketball will be played at the Staples Center, where Bryant played with the Lakers.
College baseball coach dies in crash that killed Bryant
CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) – John Altobelli, the longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, was killed along with his wife and daughter in the helicopter crash Sunday that also took the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
Altobelli’s daughter Alyssa played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter.
Altobelli spent 27 seasons as coach at the community college and he was named a national coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
He led the team to more than 700 victories and four state titles.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN-KOBE BRYANT REACTION
Players pay respects to Kobe Bryant at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Nick Kyrgios (KEER’-ee-ohs) wore a Los Angeles Lakers No. 8 jersey to honor Kobe Bryant ahead of his match today at the Australian Open against top-ranked Rafael Nadal.
Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff had Bryant’s numbers 8 and 24, along with the inscription “Mamba Mentality,” on her shoes in a doubles match at Melbourne Park.
Bryant’s sudden death in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, has shocked fans and athletes around the world.
After Kyrgios’ four-set loss to Nadal on the main arena at Melbourne Park, one of the four most important venues in tennis, the 24-year-old Aussie wore one of Bryant’s No. 24 jerseys into his post-match news conference. Syrgios said, “When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day.”
Fans in the crowd also wore Bryant jerseys with the numbers 8 or 24.
Australian Open organizers also played a short video tribute to Bryant ahead of the Nadal-Kyrgios match, one of the most anticipated encounters in the two-week, season-opening major.
Steady Nadal beats animated Kyrgios in 4 at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Rafael Nadal is into the quarterfinals at the Australian Open after getting past home-favorite Nick Kyrgios (KEER’-ee-ohs) in four sets.
Kyrgios kept up a running patter with everyone – himself, his entourage, the chair umpire.
But Nadal was the better player as he moved closer to a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title.
He will face Dominic Thiem (teem) in the quarterfinals in a rematch of the last two French Open finals – both won by Nadal. Another men’s quarterfinal will be Stan Wawrinka against Alexander Zverev.
Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza reached the women’s quarterfinals, where no one who has won the Australian Open is left.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN-WTA COACHING
Women’s tennis tour to test coaching from stands this season
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – The WTA is going to test out allowing coaching from the stands at non-Grand Slam tournaments for the rest of this season.
The tour says the change amounts to letting coaches offer the sort of hand signals and simple instructions that happen currently even though they have been against the rules but are rarely penalized.
The new coaching policy will begin the week of Feb. 17 and be used at all WTA Premier and International tournaments. On-court coaching during breaks in the action will continue.