UNDATED (AP) — The first U.S. male gymnast to win a world championship gold medal has died.The family of Kurt Thomas says he died Friday at age 64. He had a stroke May 24, caused by a tear of the basilar artery in the brain stem.After competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Thomas won the floor exercise in the 1978 world championships for the first U.S. men’s title. He successfully defended the floor exercise title and won the horizontal bar in the 1979 worlds.Thomas lost a chance for Olympic gold when the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics. He then turned professional, starred in the 1985 movie “Gymkata” and worked as a television commentator.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Five-time season champion Scott Dixon took the checkered flag at Texas Motor Speedway, his fourth win at the 1 ½-mile, high-banked oval. The 39-year-old New Zealander raced to his 47th career victory and matched A.J. Foyt’s record of 18 seasons with a win.Dixon sped off following a restart with three laps left. He surged ahead following a caution caused when young teammate Felix Rosenqvist crashed. Dixon finished 4.4 seconds ahead of Simon Pagenaud (PA’-zheh-noh).Defending IndyCar champion and polesitter Josef Newgarden finished third.GYMNASTICS-OBIT-THOMASKurt Thomas dies Associated Press June 6, 2020 VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEWSUNDATED (AP) — Some NFL players say they’re scared about returning to practices and games during the coronavirus outbreak.But they also say they trust the health protocols the league’s medical staff is developing so that practices can resume, and games can return. Those safeguards will certainly include frequent tests for COVID-19.The offseason programs have all been conducted remotely since the NFL shuttered team facilities in March in response to the pandemic.Coaches have been allowed back into the buildings but players who aren’t recovering from injuries likely won’t be allowed back until training camps begin in July. In other news concerning the coronavirus pandemic:— Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were among the clubs who stepped up their preparations for the Premier League’s return by holding practice matches on Saturday. Man. U held an intrasquad match and Arsenal rolled past second-tier Charlton, 6-0. Clubs are attempting to build up players’ fitness before the league resumes on June 17 following a 100-day suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.— The pandemic caused a delay to the Spanish League season with 11 games remaining, but it also allowed Barcelona striker Luis Suárez to rejoin his team when the schedule resumes on June 13. Suárez had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Jan. 12 and hasn’t played since. The club said Saturday that he will be available for Barcelona’s first match in almost three months, at Mallorca.NBA-NEWSCoaches speak out on Floyd…More negotiations scheduled before season resumes Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB PROPOSALAnalysis shows a lot of money at stakeNEW YORK (AP) — There’s a lot of money at stake as Major League Baseball and players continue to battle over plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season. “When you sit down and listen, you realize there’s a lot of injustices taking place across a broad spectrum. As a representative of our sport and just a citizen, it’s really time to listen.AMERICA PROTESTS-BRONCOSBroncos march for FloydUNDATED (AP) — Broncos coaches and players marched and spoke out against racism and police brutality at a protest in downtown Denver on Saturday.The players wore black shirts with the fist of power image and “Justice for George Floyd” emblazoned on the front. The words, “If you ain’t with us, you against us” were inscribed on the back. The season is set to resume July 31, with playoffs starting in mid-August and leading up to an NBA Finals that could stretch until Oct. 12.The NBA has told teams that playoff seeding will be based on winning percentage, and that any tiebreakers necessary after that will follow the usual procedures.Elsewhere in the NBA:— The Chicago Bulls’ new top basketball executive isn’t ready to make any announcements about the coaching staff. Arturas Karnisovas still has not met in person with head coach Jim Boylen. And that’s something he would like to do before going public with any decisions. Boylen’s future is the biggest issue hanging over the Bulls, whose season ended when the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team format to restart the pandemic-interrupted season next month in Orlando. The Bulls have missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. Boylen has a 39-84 record in just under two years.NASCAR-RACIAL TENSIONS NASCAR looks to steer clear of protests over George FloydHAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — The only African American driver in NASCAR’s Cup series is expressing frustration that so many drivers were reluctant to speak out concerning the outrage over the death of George Floyd.Bubba Wallace said on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast that “a few drivers — a very few — have given their opinion on the day’s matter” and said he appreciated that. Wallace added that “the silence from the top drivers in our sport is beyond frustrating” … saying, “everybody thinks redneck, Confederate flag, racists”, and that he hates it because he believes that NASCAR can be so much more.Wallace said he encouraged other drivers to take up the cause in a sport with a checkered racial history. Fans have an affinity for displaying Confederate flags, and driver Kyle Larson was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing two months ago for casually uttering a racial slur during a virtual race.Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson reached out to Wallace to ask what he could do, saying that’s a big question for him right now. Head coach Kirk Ferentz made the announcement Saturday night and called it “a defining moment” for Iowa’s football program in a video posted on the team’s Twitter account. Ferentz said he saw difficult and heartbreaking posts on social media and appreciated the former players’ candor. He added that he has been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program.Dozens of former players took to social media in the past few days to detail the troubling issues they allege they saw and experienced while playing at Iowa.INDYCAR RESUMESDixon wins IndyCar openerFORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — IndyCar was finally able to begin a schedule delayed three months by the coronavirus. All wore face masks in accordance with coronavirus mitigation efforts. Most of the players’ masks were black with the phrase “I can’t breathe” in white lettering.Safety Kareem Jackson was instrumental in organizing the team’s appearance at Civic Center Park on the 10th day of demonstrations sparked by the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.COLLEGE FOOTBALL-IOWA-RACISM ALLEGATIONSIowa football assistant placed on leaveIOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave after several black former players posted on social media about what they described as systemic racism in the program. Update on the latest in sports: An analysis by The Associated Press has determined the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers would each save more than $100 million as part of management’s proposal when compared to the players’ plan.Set to earn $36 million each, Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole would get $25.3 million under the union’s plan and $5.6 million under the teams’ proposal.The Yankees would pay players $155 million under the union’s plan and $48 million under management’s proposal.MLB has proposed a six-tier sliding scale of cuts starting at 10% and rising to 90% for the amounts of salaries above $10 million, followed by prorating based on an 82-game season. Players proposed prorating for a 114-game regular season schedule stretching through October without any further salary reductions.Players agreed on March 26 to accept prorated shares of their salaries during a shortened season, part of a deal that guaranteed $170 million in advances and service time even if the season is scrapped. UNDATED (AP) — A few-based NBA head coaches spoke out Saturday about their hopes the league visibility will be an asset again in the hope for actual social change following the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says he’s “embarrassed as a white person” that Floyd could die in such a “nonchalant” manner. Popovich says the best teaching moment was the look on the officer’s face. He added that white people must help lead the charge for change.Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (SPOHL’-struh) says he doesn’t think anyone is ready to move on, and we shouldn’t. Said Spoelstra: “If anything, many times before, so tragically, there would be a similar incident of social injustice like this and then two weeks later people forget about it. This will be an opportunity for the entire association to land in one spot … to keep this conversation going and use our platform to make sure that this doesn’t go away.”Orlando coach Steve Clifford also seems convinced that the league’s players and coaches will take some sort of action when the season resumes. Clifford said he thinks everybody’s priority and hope right now is that they can all be part of the change that’s so necessary in the count. He added that, “We’ll have a collective platform where everyone can collectively send a message condemning racism, racial injustice, calling for police accountability. There will be a platform and I think we’re all thinking that way.”The Players Association voted unanimously Friday to approve a plan in which 22 teams move into the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida, next month. Those teams are currently sitting in a playoff slot or within six games of a postseason berth.
Stakes just got higher for the Wisconsin Women’s Hockey team, who will be finishing up their WCHA campaign this weekend.The best-of-three security blanket the Badgers previously had against University of Minnesota-Mankato is gone, and play in the WCHA Tournament is now single elimination. As the No. 2 Badgers (32-3-1, 24-3-1 WCHA) will take on No. 20 UM-Duluth (15-20-1, 10-17-1 WCHA) Saturday afternoon.Even though the Badgers swept UM-Duluth during both regular season matchups between the two programs, junior forward Mikayla Johnson knows the Bulldogs are still a threat to Wisconsin’s hopes of making the WCHA finals.“Playoff games are so different,” Johnson said. “People put so much more on the line. When we went there, they were the people that broke our shut-out record, so obviously know that they can put pucks in the net and that they can score.”Last time outThe last time the Badgers saw UM-Duluth, they walked away with a weekend sweep, winning 5-1 and 3-1.But the games against Duluth were not a walk in the park. The Bulldogs managed to slide pucks behind junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, not just once, but twice. Considering Desbiens has allowed .77 goals per game this season, scoring twice was no small feat for UM-Duluth.Key aspects of the gameKeeping emotions in checkNow that the Badgers no longer have the security of a best of three series, every game is equally important for the rest of the Badgers’ season. Every game is a fight to their season alive.But winning also comes with consequences, and those consequences mean ending another team’s season. This can lead to a tougher, grittier game than most, with more power plays and scoring opportunities for Duluth.No good deed goes unpunishedIf Wisconsin wins on Saturday, there are high odds they will find themselves facing UM-Twin Cities in the WCHA Final. This means the Badgers would play their rival in Minneapolis with one day in between games.If the Badgers want to walk away from this weekend as WCHA Tournament winners, they need to be prepared to take on their rivals to get that title. With such little turn-around between games, the sooner they prepare the better.Opposing player to watch: Ashleigh BrykaliukBrykaliuk is UW-Duluth’s top goal scorer (18 goals, 29 assists), and currently leads her team with points on the season. The junior forward was also responsible for both assists during the team’s last matchup against Wisconsin. Anytime that Brykaliuk is near the net, she is a threat to Wisconsin keeping points off the scoreboard.