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Weekend Sports in Brief

February 14, 2022 GMT

NFL

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — In a venue built for champions, the Los Angeles Rams carried off the crown jewel: a Super Bowl trophy.

It took a precise 79-yard drive capped by Cooper Kupp’s 1-yard touchdown reception with 1:25 remaining for a 23-20 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals to give the Rams their first NFL title since the 1999 season — and their first representing Los Angeles since 1951.

They did so in their home, the $5 billion SoFi Stadium.

The winning series, during which game MVP Kupp’s 4-yard touchdown reception from Matthew Stafford was negated by offsetting penalties, ended soon after with the NFL Offensive Player of the Year easily beating Eli Apple in the right corner of the end zone for the winning score.

Kupp had four receptions for 39 yards, and a 7-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Rams 30 on the championship drive.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Cooper Kupp was helpless when the Los Angeles Rams went to the Super Bowl three years ago, only able to watch after tearing a knee ligament earlier in the season.

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Kupp nearly did it all on the final drive of the Rams’ return trip to the title game, capping off his Triple Crown receiving season in fitting fashion with a Super Bowl MVP award.

Kupp beat Eli Apple for the back-shoulder 1-yard touchdown catch with 1:25 remaining to give the Rams their first Super Bowl title ever in Los Angeles with a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Kupp caught four passes for 39 yards on the game-winning drive, converted a third-and-1 with a 7-yard run and drew three penalties near the goal line to set the stage for his game-winning catch. He had eight catches for 92 yards and the two TDs to go along with his key run.

OLYMPICS

BEIJING (AP) — Russian teenager Kamila Valieva has been cleared to compete in the women’s figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics despite failing a pre-Games drug test, setting her up for an attempt at a second gold medal in Beijing.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport released its ruling less than 12 hours after a hastily arranged hearing that lasted into early Monday morning that the 15-year-old Valieva, the favorite for the women’s individual gold, does not need to be provisionally suspended ahead of a full investigation.

The court gave her a favorable decision in part because she was a minor or “protected person” and was subject to different rules from an adult athlete.

BEIJING (AP) — Erin Jackson has become the first Black woman to win a speedskating medal at the Winter Olympics. A gold one, at that.

Jackson won the 500 meters Sunday with a time of 37.04 seconds, giving the American speedskating program its first medal of the Beijing Games and first individual medal since 2010.

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The 29-year-old Jackson, a former inline skater who switched to the ice shortly before the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, joined fellow American Shani Davis as the only Black athletes to win long-track speedskating medals at the Olympics.

BEIJING (AP) — Kaillie Humphries has captured a third Olympic gold medal, and her first for the U.S.

The former Canadian bobsledder was an easy winner of the inaugural women’s monobob event. It’s the first sliding medal for the U.S. in seven events so far -- the others being four in luge and two in skeleton -- at the Beijing Games.

Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. was second. It was the fourth medal of Meyers Taylor’s career, the most won by anyone in USA Bobsled history.

Humphries has four medals now as well, the first three of those for Canada. She began sliding for the U.S. in 2019 and got her citizenship in December. That allowed her to represent the U.S. in Beijing.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — The final blow has been dealt to an on-time start to spring training, with Major League Baseball making a new offer Saturday that the players’ association received as only scant progress in the drawn-out labor talks.

On the 73rd day of a lockout that has become the second-longest work stoppage in baseball history, clubs gave the union 16 documents totaling 130 pages, encompassing all key areas in a mix of new offers and previous proposals.

The one-hour session was just the fifth on core economics since the lockout began, and the first on a weekend. The sides remained far apart on luxury tax thresholds and rate, with major differences on revenue-sharing and how to address players’ allegations of service time manipulation. MLB said it remains opposed to any increase in salary arbitration eligibility or reduction in revenue sharing.

The players’ union said it would analyze the offer before determining when and how to respond.

NHL

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson has been suspended two games for a hit on Boston’s Jack Ahcan.

The NHL announced the suspension on Sunday.

Watson leveled Ahcan along the end boards midway through the first period of Ottawa’s 2-0 loss to the Bruins on Saturday. He was given a 2-minute minor penalty for interference.

GOLF

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler outlasted Ryder Cup teammate Patrick Cantlay on the third hole of a playoff Sunday in the WM Phoenix Open, making a 25-foot birdie putt that had just enough momentum to tumble in.

Cantlay missed an 11-foot birdie try after Scheffler holed his putt.

Scheffler birdied four of the final six holes for a 4-under 67 to match Cantlay at 16-under 268 at TPC Scottsdale on another sunny, 80-degree day. Cantlay, playing a group ahead of Scheffler, had a bogey-free 67.

RAS AL KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Ryan Fox of New Zealand overcame a rugged start by closing with a 3-under 69 for a five-shot victory in the Ras Al Khaimah Classic.

Fox opened with a 63 and took a six-shot lead into the final round at Al Hamra Golf Club, completing a wire-to-wire victory. It was his second European tour title, and first in stroke play.

Ross Fisher closed with a 66 to finish alone in second.

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Brandon Matthew played the final three holes in 4-under par, making eagle on the final hole for a one-shot victory in the Astara Golf Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Matthews finished one shot ahead of Ryan McCormick, who birdied the 18th for a 66, and Ben Griffin, who had a 68.

TENNIS

DALLAS (AP) — Reilly Opelka won the longest tiebreaker in ATP Tour history to finish a straight-sets win over John Isner in the semifinals and beat Jenson Brooksby in straight sets in an all-American final on Sunday at the inaugural Dallas Open.

Opelka sent a winner down the line for a 24-22 tiebreaker victory in the second set Saturday to secure the 7-6 (7), 7-6 (22) win over Isner, the No. 3 seed and de facto tournament host at the SMU tennis facility about a mile from his house.

In the final, the second-seeded Opelka won all 46 service games during the tournament. The only break point he faced all week came in the second set of his 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) victory over Brooksby.

The 24-year-old Opelka is the first American to win a third ATP Tour title since Jack Sock at Delray Beach in 2017.

The 21-year-old Brooksby is still seeking his first title.

MMA

HOUSTON (AP) — Israel Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision to retain his title and maintain control of the middleweight division at UFC 271 on Saturday night.

Adesanya (23-1) won his 11th straight middleweight fight in the UFC and remained undefeated. The judges scored it 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in favor of Adesanya, who has won all four of his title defenses — three by unanimous decision and one by knockout.

The fight, which was a rematch of Adesanya’s title win over Whittaker (23-6) by second-round knockout at UFC 243 in 2019, was even throughout, with Whittaker taking the champion down several times. But, Adesanya also landed punches to Whittaker’s face and kicks to his ribs.

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