Sports News

Oklahoma State University basketball coach surprises walk-on with scholarship

Augustas Cetkauskas/iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Oklahoma State University basketball coach Mike Boynton was feeling generous over the weekend. The coach and his staff showed up at Walmart Sunday to surprise OSU walk-on player Dee Mitchell with a scholarship as he worked his shift at the store.

Teammates watched the surprise via Zoom as Boynton brought Mitchell to tears.

Watch the full report, including video of Mitchell accepting the scholarship award:

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk, Olympic trials winner, gives birth

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesBy ALEXANDRA SVOKOS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Aliphine Tuliamuk, who won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last February, gave birth to a girl, her first child, she announced Monday morning.

"Our daughter Zoe Cherotich Gannon arrived on 1/13/2021 and she is absolutely perfect. Her dad and I are just so overwhelmed with joy love and gratitude, and we can't stop staring at her," she wrote on Twitter.

She made the announcement on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and noted on Instagram that her daughter was born just two days before the civil rights icon's birthday -- "so close!" In his memory, she wrote, "may we all be proactive and do the right thing."

The marathoner announced she was pregnant in early December, posting on Instagram, "[Partner] Tim [Gannon] and I always knew that we wanted to have a family, the goal was post 2020 Olympics, well as it turned out this year had other plans, by mid April we were convinced that there will be no more races this season, and the darkness ahead was too much, we created our own light at the end of the tunnel!"

Gannon and Tuliamuk, 31, got engaged earlier this year.

"Her journey to this world was relatively long but 'easy,'" Tuliamuk expanded on Instagram about her daughter's birth, adding with some emojis, "I was up and walking around a few hours after she arrived, like give me a race right now ...kidding."

Tuliamuk, who was born in Kenya and became an American citizen in 2016, according to NBC Sports, is still planning to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, should they be held this summer.

Her running accomplishments includes national road titles over 25k, 20k and 5k, according to New York Road Runners, and she finished 12th for women at the 2019 New York City Marathon and second at the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon.

"It's not like in the past where women were told, well, you can just race until you're done racing, and then you can start a family," she told NBC Sports in December. "You can do both of them."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 1/17/21

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:

New York 105, Boston 75
Chicago 117, Dallas 101
Utah 109, Denver 105
New Orleans 128, Sacramento 123
LA Clippers 129, Indiana 96
Cleveland at Washington (Postponed)
Philadelphia at Oklahoma City (Postponed)


Pittsburgh 4, Washington 3 (SO)
Florida 5, Chicago 2
Dallas at Tampa Bay (Postponed)

Kansas City 22, Cleveland 17
Tampa Bay 30, New Orleans 20

Iowa 96, Northwestern 73
Houston 75 UCF 58
Virginia Tech 64, Wake Forest 60

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Shawn Johnson pregnant with baby No. 2 with husband Andrew East

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagicBy CARSON BLACKWELDER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Shawn Johnson is pregnant with her second child with husband Andrew East, the couple announced Friday.

"Here we go again," the Olympic gold medalist captioned an Instagram post featuring a series of photos in which she shows off her baby bump with her family.

In the first snap, she shares a romantic kiss with East. The second is a sweet shot of their 1-year-old daughter, Drew Hazel, and the third is a family portrait of the three of them together.

The couple also shared a video to YouTube about their big news -- including how Johnson told East she was pregnant, them both guessing it's a boy, and that the baby's due date is summer 2021.

Johnson also opened up about how conflicted she feels after having experienced a pregnancy loss back in 2017.

"I think every time I get a pregnancy test positive after the miscarriage, I try to numb myself and be like, 'OK, here's the situation: You're pregnant, we don't know how it's going to end,'" she said. "I don't celebrate it, which is kind of sad. I get very excited, but I also get very daunted by the situation."

East -- who said he wants to have "as many kids as possible" -- then recalled how he tested positive for COVID-19 just days after finding out Johnson was pregnant.

"We were in this time of celebration and we wanted to tell her parents and our friends, but then I ended up having to self-isolate," he said, calling it "not the ideal situation."

Johnson ended the video with a message of support to other families on the journey to have children.

"If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, if you're trying to adopt, if you're in the process of expanding your family or recently suffering from a loss, we are praying for you. All those beautiful babies out there, all those rainbow babies, all those babies in heaven," she said. "We love you guys."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Real-life 'League of Their Own' player raises money for 94th birthday to build women's baseball center

Pete Van Vleet/iStockBy KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News

(SUNSET BEACH, Calif.) -- The time that Maybelle Blair played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the inspiration for the 1992 film A League of Their Own, were some of the best years of her life.

So to celebrate her 94th birthday, on Jan. 16, Blair, of Sunset Beach, California, is raising money to help give young girls a shot in baseball, and to commemorate the women in baseball like herself on whose shoulders they stand.

"We want to be able to have a league of our own again, to have a home of our own," Blair told Good Morning America. "This was my whole dream for years."

"When the movie came out, my dreams started to come true," said Blair, who was featured at the end of A League of Their Own when retired players return for a reunion. "And then here we are again."

Blair set a goal for her 94th birthday to raise $9,400 for the International Women's Baseball Center, a proposed museum and educational center for girls and women in baseball in Rockford, Illinois, home of the Rockford Peaches made famous in A League of Their Own.

"It means so much to me," Blair said of the center, which its organizers hope will become as well-known for women's baseball as Cooperstown, New York, is for men's. "This is what it’s all about, to be able to create a baseball center where we can have our own baseball memorabilia, our own baseball hall of fame."

Blair pitched for the Peaches' competitors, the Peoria Redwings, in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a league created by chewing gum mogul Philip K. Wrigley in the 1940s to fill the void of baseball when many American men were sent off to fight in World War II.

Blair said she got her start in baseball as a 2-year-old. She said she was put on the batting plate to fend balls thrown by her older brother, who was being groomed as a star pitcher. Years later, as her brother fought in the war, Blair had a chance of a lifetime to be a professional baseball player.

"When I got to walking out to the ball diamond and I heard that clickety-click, clickety-click under my spikes, that was no sweeter music in my ears," she said. "And then I saw that green grass and I said, ‘Oh my God Maybelle, you’re a professional ball player.'"

"It’s unbelievable I had that chance, and there I was," she said. "That’s what it meant to me my whole life."

After her baseball career ended, Blair went on to have a long career with Northrup Aircraft, where she made history there, too, as one of the company's first female managers.

She never left baseball behind, though, staying active in helping get women into the sport and, in 2014, spearheading the effort to launch the International Women's Baseball Center.

"We’d been talking about this for a long time, that there’s no home for girls and women in baseball, so we set out to create a place," said Kat Williams, president of the center's board of directors and a professor of women’s sports history at Marshall University. "It’s a big complex and a big idea, and Maybelle Blair is the driving force."

Blair threw out the first pitch at a women's baseball game in Rockford two years ago, at the age of 92, and said it is her life mission to see this project complete, saying, "I’ve got to get this building [done] so I can die happy."

The center is an $8 million project that will be built in stages as they are able to fundraise money, according to Williams.

They have already broken ground on an outdoor museum but have a long way to go to see their dream fulfilled of making the center not just a cultural spot for women in baseball around the world, but also a place for tournaments and educational events, like training for female umpires, of which Blair notes there are currently none in Major League Baseball.

The MLB only has one female general manager, Kim Ng, of the Miami Marlins, who was just named to the role last November.

"We need to have our own museum and our own recognitions and then we can have our dreams come true," Blair said of women in the sport. "This is our chance for the girls. Let’s get it done."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 1/14/21

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:


Philadelphia 125, Miami 108
Toronto 111, Charlotte 108
Houston 109, San Antonio 105
Denver 114, Golden State 104
Indiana 111, Portland 87


Washington 6, Buffalo 4
Boston 3, New Jersey 2 (SO)
NY Islanders 4, NY Rangers 0
Carolina 3, Detroit 0
Nashville 3, Columbus 1
Winnipeg 4, Calgary 3 (OT)
San Jose 4, Arizona 3
Edmonton 5, Vancouver 2
Vegas 5, Anaheim 2
Minnesota 4, Los Angeles 3
Dallas at Florida (Postponed)


Gonzaga 95, Pepperdine 70
Michigan St. at Iowa (Postponed)
Houston at South Florida (Postponed)
Arizona St. at Oregon (Postponed)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mets legend Darryl Strawberry on new book, new ownership, and player development

Allen Kee/ESPN ImagesBY: ERIC MOLLO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As a member of the New York Mets in the 1980s, team legend Darryl Strawberry watched the franchise go through a change they are once again experiencing: new ownership.

Strawberry played for the Mets from 1983-90, during which the franchise's ownership was shifting. Real estate developer Fred Wilpon bought a small stake in the Mets in 1980, eventually becoming an equal partner in owning the team. The Wilpon family went on to become the sole owner with Saul Katz, and Fred served as Mets team president for more than two decades.

In 2020, the Mets underwent a less protracted ownership change: hedge fund manager Steve Cohen purchased the team from the Wilpons and Katz, with Cohen immediately becoming the majority owner.

The team has since made the biggest offseason splash in baseball, trading for superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Fans are hopeful the Mets will acquire a big name free agent, and with an increased payroll, make a World Series run in 2021.

Strawberry, who played for the Mets the last time they won a championship in 1986, spoke to ABC News about his new book, "Turn Your Season Around," and the state of the franchise prior to their acquisition of Lindor. He believes adding talent through free agency or trade is helpful, but that the best way new ownership can build a championship team is through effective player development:

"We had a great general manager [Frank Cashen] and he had people underneath him. They went through the process of player development... and I think that is so, so critical to be able to develop your younger core players so they can play at the major league level. I think over the years, the Mets have gotten away from that kind of development. I think that's important to get back to and I think they will get back to it."

The Mets made several front office changes this offseason, first bringing Sandy Alderson back to the franchise and hiring him as team president. The Mets then hired former Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jared Porter as general manager and former Red Sox executive Zack Scott as their new senior vice president and assistant general manager.

The Mets have developed young talent in recent years, such as outfielder Michael Conforto and pitcher Jacob deGrom. Strawberry hopes that trend will continue. He views new ownership and the front office overhaul as promising:

"I think new ownership is very excited... That can make a whole difference about ideas and about putting the people in the right places and understanding that if we're going to get better, our minor league system has to get better."

Strawberry recounted his experience coming up through the minor leagues. He believes with homegrown talent like himself, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, and others, the team developed strong chemistry, learned how to win consistently, and came to believe that they could rely on one another. From there, they added pieces via free agency or trade, such as Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. He believes the Mets in the 1980s needed years to develop chemistry and never got "used to losing," something he thinks can happen if players do not have time together as a team.

Strawberry points to the Mets' crosstown rivals as a model for effective player development:

"When you think about the Yankees and why the Yankees have been so good for so many years, it's because their minor league system has been great. If you keep development in your mind and put your minor league system in a place, you'll be great. You can bring in young players who could play and could come to the big leagues at a younger age and stick around for a long time. So, I think that's what they [the Mets] need to really focus on." ranked the Mets' minor league system in the bottom half of MLB last summer, and they already traded away one of their top prospects, Andres Gimenez, in the deal for Lindor. The Yankees were ranked 19th, just one spot ahead of the Mets.

Strawberry did not contend that there is one set formula that would make the Mets World Series champs, but believes that drafting young talent and expanding their skills in the minor leagues is a good place to start building a championship club.

Strawberry also discussed the challenges so many people have faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic and how baseball provided a sense of relief for many last summer. He hopes with new ownership, Mets fans will feel renewed excited about their club. He also wants people to think about hope as they face more challenges in the coming year, and why his personal experience with faith and battle with addiction during his playing days reminds him there will be better days ahead.

"We've had a real poor half of the year in 2020 and are going into a new year. We're going to have to get up for it... We have to be strong. We're going to have to believe you can't quit. You can't give up... I could easily have quit in the second half and not gone on to have a strong season. You know what? You can easily quit in the second half of your life here after the pandemic and not get up and say, 'I'm giving up, I'm quitting.' And that's happening to a lot of people. They don't see hope. There's hope. There's light."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 1/13/21

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

Dallas 104, Charlotte 93
Milwaukee 110, Detroit 101
Brooklyn 116, New York 109
LA Lakers 128, Oklahoma City 99
Memphis 118, Minnesota 107
LA Clippers 111, New Orleans 106
Portland 132, Sacramento 126
Utah at Washington (Postponed)
Orlando at Boston (Postponed)
Atlanta at Phoenix (Postponed)

Philadelphia 6, Pittsburgh 3
Vancouver 5, Edmonton 3
Toronto 5, Montreal 4 (OT)
Tampa Bay 5, Chicago 1
St. Louis 4, Colorado 1

Texas Tech 79, Texas 77
Louisville 77, Wake Forest 65
Virginia 80, Notre Dame 68
Ohio St. 81, Northwestern 71
Villanova at Xavier (Postponed)
Illinois at Nebraska (Postponed)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Serena Williams shares adorable photo of her daughter on tennis court

Instagram/@serenawilliamsBy GMA

(NEW YORK) -- Serena Williams' daughter, Olympia, is already getting in some training on the tennis court from the best.

The 23-time grand slam winner shared a cute snap of her 3-year-old practicing her swing on Tuesday. Williams can be seen in the back of the photo looking on proudly.

Williams captioned the shot, "turn, back, reach, head, follow through."

The post was flooded with comments from Williams' supporters mentioning how her little one is destined for greatness. Billie Jean King wrote, "Look out, world! Keep going for it!"

The official Australian Open account added, "AO 2017 champions back at it again," referencing when Williams won the tournament that year while pregnant.

Serena's victory over her sister, Venus Williams, at the Australian Open in 2017 gave her a 23rd grand slam singles title -- one shy of tying Margaret Court's all-time record.

The tennis star often shares snaps of fun moments with her daughter, Olympia. The young girl appears to love tennis as much as her mother.

During a recent interview with "Good Morning America," she said that Olympia is "always so happy."

"You can learn this from kids, it's like they don't have a care," she said. "Sometimes we put too much emphasis on things and on stuff that we really just have to rely on us and just being happy."

"That's very inspiring for me," she added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller charged for alleged role in Capitol riot


(WASHINGTON) -- Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller was charged for his alleged involvement in the attack on the Capitol last week.

The swimmer was charged with obstructing law enforcement engaged in official duties, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

It was first speculated that Keller was involved in the riot when people began identifying a man who looked like him in a video taken by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas. The video shows a tall man seemingly wearing a U.S. Olympic Team jacket, and former teammates and coaches identified him as Keller, SwimSwam and The New York Times reported.

In the video, which was cited in the complaint against Keller, Capitol Police tussle with rioters in the Rotunda, and Keller was pushed back with the crowd by police shields.

The complaint, referencing the Townhall video, notes that "Colorado state records and publicly available information list [Keller's] height at 6 feet, 6 inches tall, and [the person in the video] appears to be one of the tallest individuals in the video depicting individuals in the Rotunda."

Keller had been employed by Colorado real estate firm Hoff & Leigh, but, the firm said in a statement, he resigned this Tuesday.

"Effective immediately, Klete Keller is no longer with Hoff & Leigh. Keller, an independent contractor, resigned from the company today," the company said. "Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law. We pride ourselves on our deeply held core values of family, loyalty, community and stewardship. We continue to stand by these values."

In response to the reports of Keller's participation in the siege, USA Swimming said in a statement, "We respect private individuals' and groups' rights to peacefully protest but in no way condone the actions taken by those at the Capitol last week."

Before the charge was made against Keller, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland sent a letter to Team USA athletes condemning the "rioters" at the Capitol.

"At home, and around the world, Team USA athletes are held to a very high standard as they represent our country on the field of play and off," Hirshland wrote. "What happened in Washington, D.C., was a case where that standard was clearly not met. The people involved attacked the very fabric of the democracy we all proudly represent and, in turn, also let our community down. I urge everyone associated with Team USA to continue to celebrate our diversity of background and beliefs, stand together against hatred and divisiveness, and use our influence to create positive change in our community."

Keller, 38, won medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He was on the U.S. relay team along with Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



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