By U.S. skiers Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn (above), World Cup races last Saturday that vaulted each to the top of their respective men's and women's overall standings. On the icy slopes of Alta Badia, Italy, giant slalom specialist Ligety, 26, won his third straight GS race with a combined time of 2:31.99, edging out Cyprien Richard of France by .14 of a second. Ligety, a 2006 Olympic gold medalist, now leads the World Cup standings by six points over Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland. Meanwhile, some 400 miles west, at Val d'Isere, France, U.S. teammate Vonn, 26, won her fourth career super combined, marking the second time this season that the two Americans have won on the same day. Vonn's victory came just one day after she became the first skier to be named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press, and it helped her regain the top spot in the standings from rival Maria Riesch of Germany.
By Connecticut's women's basketball team after the Huskies earned their 88th straight victory on Sunday, over No. 11 Ohio State, the record for most consecutive wins in NCAA basketball history, set from 1971 to '74 by the UCLA men's program. In front of 15,232 fans at the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden, the Huskies won with 26 points from junior guard Tiffany Hayes and 22 from senior forward Maya Moore, who became the school's alltime leading scorer earlier this month. The 81--50 victory was typical of the Huskies' record stretch, during which the two-time defending national champions (who last lost, to Stanford, in the 2008 NCAA tournament semifinal) have defeated their opponents by an average margin of 33.3 points. After their win coach Geno Auriemma said, "If we were breaking a women's record, everybody would go: 'Aren't those girls nice.' But because we are breaking a men's record, we have a lot of people paying attention." The Huskies were scheduled to face No. 22 Florida State (9--2), against whom they are undefeated in six games, on Tuesday with sole possession of the NCAA record on the line.
December 27, 2010
To a draw in the joint WBC and IBO light heavyweight championship fight in Quebec City last Saturday night, Bernard Hopkins (near right) and Jean Pascal. Hopkins, who at age 45 would have surpassed George Foreman as the oldest titleholder in history had he won, bounced back from two early knockdowns to dominate the 28-year-old Pascal in the later rounds. Although Hopkins edged out the Canadian on one judge's card, his comeback fell short of an outright win, and Pascal retained his belts in the draw despite appearing winded and worn down in the fight's last three rounds. "I was fresher," Hopkins said afterward. "Tonight you saw a young kid running from an old grandpa."
To the position of executive director by the NHL Players' Association, longtime baseball union chief Donald Fehr. The 62-year-old, who stepped down from his MLBPA position in June 2009, had been acting as an unpaid consultant to the NHLPA since late in '09 and officially took the reins last Saturday, making him the fourth man in five years to lead an embattled organization that had lacked an executive director for nearly 14 months. Known as the fierce negotiator who guided MLB players through the 1994--95 strike, Fehr is expected to carry hockey through to the next collective bargaining agreement, before the 2012--13 season.
By the Wizards to the Magic, troublesome guard Gilbert Arenas. The 28-year-old, who was suspended last season for 50 games after storing an unloaded gun in the Washington locker room and who earlier this year admitted to faking an injury in order to avoid a preseason game, was leading the Wizards with 17.3 points this season. But with the team in transition and intent on building around 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall at point guard, Washington opted last Saturday to send Arenas to Orlando in exchange for forward Rashard Lewis. (The swap completed a larger overhaul on Saturday for the Magic, which had shipped Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus, as well as cash and an '11 first-round draft pick, to the Suns for Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson.) "This is a new beginning for me," said Arenas, who spent seven-plus seasons with the Wizards. "A new city, new people, a new team. I get to start fresh."
On a warrant for a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from a Nov. 15 altercation, boxer Floyd Mayweather. Last Thursday's lockup marks the second arrest in four months for the undefeated fighter, who is alleged this time to have repeatedly poked a security guard in the face in a heated exchange over parking tickets near his home in Las Vegas. After being taken into police custody, Mayweather, 33, was held overnight without bail, prompting this reaction from his lawyer: "This is a misdemeanor," Richard Wright told the AP. "[The district attorney is] going out of his way to treat him differently than anyone else." Mayweather, a world champion in five weight classes, also faces unrelated felony coercion, grand larceny and robbery charges following an altercation in September with the mother of his three children. That case will go to trial on Jan. 24.
Cost of the autographed balls marking the end of his consecutive-games-started streak that were made available on Brett Favre's website minutes after he was put on the Vikings' Dec. 13 inactive list.
Age of Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom when he scored thrice on Dec. 15, making him the oldest player to notch his first career hat trick.
Players used by the St. John's women's basketball team in the final 2:13 of its 81--50 win over Southern Miss last Saturday, after its roster had been whittled down by injuries and fouls.
Consecutive losses through last Friday by the Cavs, the worst slump by an NBA team following a year in which it had won at least 60.
Yards covered by 313-pound Patriots guard Dan Connolly in his kickoff return against the Packers on Sunday, the longest ever by an NFL lineman.
Consecutive away games lost by the Lions before they beat the Buccaneers 23--20 to end the longest road losing streak in NFL history.
THEY SAID IT
Cowboys defensive end, recounting his teammates' reaction when Rex Grossman was named the Redskins' starting quarterback over Donovan McNabb for the teams' meeting on Sunday:
"Everybody started smiling."