Sports

Sports

Shirtless flag-bearer qualifies for Olympics

10:26 AM ET Pita Taufatofua, better known as the shirtless Tongan flag-bearer from the 2016 Summer Olympics, qualified for the Pyeongchang Olympics in cross-country skiing following a last-gasp effort Saturday, according to a report. The Wall Street Journal reports that Taufatofua clinched his Olympic berth with a qualifying performance at an event in Isafjordur, Iceland. “I gave it absolutely everything,” he told the Journal. “I died at the end.” He also posted about his qualification on Instagram, writing that “a miracle happened.” Taufatofua, who had not competed on snow before 2016, had needed to meet standards in five races by Sunday’s cutoff. He was able to reach the mark in four roller-skiing events then locked in his berth Saturday after dr...

Follow live: Underdog Eagles host Vikings in NFC Championship

first Quarter MIN PHI TD 10:14 Kyle Rudolph Pass From Case Keenum for 25 Yrds, K.Forbath extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Overbaugh, Holder-R.Quigley. 9 plays, 75 yards, 4:46 7 0 TD 6:42 Patrick Robinson 50 Yrd Interception Return, J.Elliott extra point is GOOD, Center-R.Lovato, Holder-D.Jones. 6 plays, 14 yards, 2:03 7 7 second Quarter MIN PHI TD 13:37 LeGarrette Blount 11 Yard Rush, J.Elliott extra point is GOOD, Center-R.Lovato, Holder-D.Jones. 12 plays, 75 yards, 6:20 7 14 TD 1:09 Alshon Jeffery Pass From Nick Foles for 53 Yrds, J.Elliott extra point is GOOD, Center-R.Lovato, Holder-D.Jones. 7 plays, 76 yards, 2:07 7 21 FG 0:04 Jake Elliott Made 38 Yrd Field Goal 4 plays, 60 yards, 0:29 7 24 third Quarter MIN PHI TD 10:05 Torrey Smith Pass From Nick Foles for 41 Yrds, J.Elliott extra poin...

Follow live: Pats host Jags in AFC Championship

first Quarter JAX NE FG 9:21 Stephen Gostkowski Made 31 Yrd Field Goal 10 plays, 62 yards, 5:39 0 3 second Quarter JAX NE TD 14:15 Marcedes Lewis Pass From Blake Bortles for 4 Yards, J.Lambo extra point is GOOD, Center-C.Holba, Holder-B.Nortman. 7 plays, 76 yards, 3:36 7 3 TD 7:06 Leonard Fournette 4 Yard Rush J.Lambo extra point is GOOD, Center- C.Holba, Holder-B.Nortman 10 plays, 77 yards, 6:07 14 3 TD 0:55 James White 1 Yard Rush, S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Cardona, Holder-R.Allen. 6 plays, 85 yards, 1:07 14 10 third Quarter JAX NE FG 10:23 Josh Lambo Made 54 Yrd Field Goal 9 plays, 39 yards, 4:37 17 10

Tennys Sandgren and the feel-good stories of the Australian Open

8:20 AM ET Jerry Bembry MELBOURNE, Australia — Two years ago, Tennys Sandgren, a 26-year-old from Tennessee, was chugging beers at a bar, watching Stan Wawrinka win the US Open. The idea of being on the same court with one of the game’s elite, never mind on a Grand Slam stage, seemed improbable. How things have changed. On Thursday, he beat the ninth-seeded Wawrinka in one of the most notable upsets of this year’s Australian Open. With three wins, Sandgren shockingly finds himself in the second week of the year’s first major, despite having never won a Grand Slam match before arriving in Melbourne. One of the least-known American tennis players coming into this event is now the last American man standing. Who would have thought? Tennys Sandgren an Aussie Open champ?...

Madison Keys ready for big second week Down Under

11:34 PM ET Peter BodoTennis Close Peter Bodo has been covering tennis for over 35 years, mostly recently for ESPN. He is a former WTA Writer of the Year and the author of numerous books, including the classic “The Courts of Babylon” and the New York Times bestseller (with Pete Sampras), “A Champion’s Mind.” Say, whatever happened to that “nightmare draw” Australian Open No. 2 seed Roger Federer pulled? He’s playing No. 80 Marton Fucsovics in the fourth round in order to get either Tomas Berdych or Fabio Fognini — neither of whom is in the top 15 — in the quarterfinals. Seems more dreamlike than nightmare. Among the women, Angelique Kerber has declared herself a major obstacle in the top half of the draw, where Simona Halep looks ...

Sonnen unanimous over ‘Rampage’ at Bellator 192

2:18 AM ET Jovan BuhaESPN Editor Close • Associate editor for ESPN.com• Began covering the NBA in 2011-12• Los Angeles native, USC graduate INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Heading into the opening fight of the Bellator MMA World Grand Prix eight-man heavyweight tournament, both Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson repeatedly acknowledged that Sonnen’s strategy was to take Jackson to the ground and negate Jackson’s considerable size and strength. Though Sonnen got Jackson on the ground several times, as he proudly predicted, that wasn’t what ultimately won Sonnen the fight. Whether they were on their feet or on the ground, Sonnen was merely too quick and too skilled for Jackson. All told, Sonnen (30-15-1) defeated Jackson (37...

Cormier roughs up Oezdemir in stoppage win

1:44 AM ET BOSTON — Daniel Cormier was already the UFC’s light heavyweight champion going into this weekend, but now he actually feels like it. Cormier (20-1) defended his 205-pound title Saturday, as he finished Volkan Oezdemir via TKO in the second round. The championship fight co-headlined UFC 220 inside TD Garden. Stipe Miocic’s unanimous-decision victory over Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 on Saturday night was his record third straight heavyweight title defense, leaving him to say afterward: “I’m the baddest.” It was his first appearance since he lost the title to Jon Jones at UFC 214 last July. He was reinstated as UFC champion after Jones failed a drug test, but said he wouldn’t feel like a champion until he got back in the win column. He did s...

Rockets’ Capela: ‘We’re better’ than Warriors

1:37 AM ET HOUSTON — Superstar guard James Harden called the Houston Rockets’ 116-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night important “for our swag,” which was soaring after the Rockets claimed the regular-season series over the defending NBA champions. “We’re confident, because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them,” Rockets center Clint Capela told ESPN. “We’ve got to keep playing. We know that they’re going to come back if we have the lead, and we’ve just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on de...

Miocic wears down Ngannou to keep UFC belt

1:32 AM ET BOSTON — If Francis Ngannou is the future of the UFC’s heavyweight division, the future will have to wait. The present belongs to Stipe Miocic. Miocic (18-2) broke the UFC’s all-time record for consecutive heavyweight title defenses, as he defended his belt for the third time against a wildly hyped Ngannou at UFC 220 on Saturday night at TD Garden. Daniel Cormier steamrolled his way to a vintage win Saturday, taking an outclassed Volkan Oezdemir to the ground and finishing him with strikes in Round 2 to retain his light heavyweight title at UFC 220. The Cleveland native absorbed Ngannou’s hardest shots, returned fire and leaned heavily on his wrestling en route to a dominant decision win. All three judges scored it for Miocic, 50-45. “I’m the ...

Spence batters Peterson in 8th-round TKO win

12:30 AM ET NEW YORK — Errol Spence Jr. could not be stopped. Already regarded by many as one of the best fighters in the world, Spence put on a sensational performance in a one-sided destruction of Lamont Peterson, stopping him in the eighth round to retain his welterweight world title for the first time Saturday night before 12,107 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Lightweight world titleholder Robert Easter Jr. needed all 12 rounds — and a little help from the judges — to defeat a game Javier Fortuna in a very entertaining fight Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York. It was a Spence house, and they saw him brutalize Peterson, a highly regarded former two-division world titleholder. But he was no match for the Spence freight train many believe will someday ride to the top ...

LeBron: Cavs can get bounced early in playoffs

11:28 PM ET CLEVELAND — Following one of the most inept defensive performances in Cavaliers history, LeBron James said his team looked primed for a short postseason appearance, barring any changes. The Cavs fell 148-124 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, tying a franchise record for most points allowed in regulation. They are 3-9 since Christmas Day. “Playoffs? We can’t even start thinking about that, not the way we’re playing right now,” James said. “We could easily get bounced early in the playoffs if they started next weekend. Haven’t even began thinking about the postseason.” The Thunder hung 148 points on the Cavaliers and kept LeBron James from reaching the 30,000-point milestone. Will LeBron ever bring another title to The Land?...

Salaam’s Heisman auctioned for record $399K

10:50 PM ET Rashaan Salaam sold his Heisman Trophy two years before his death in December 2016, and on Saturday night it fetched $399,608 at auction, a record price for the award. The online auction, done by SCP Auctions of California, raised funds for CTE-related medical research in memory of Salaam. The former University of Colorado running back was 42 when he was found dead in a park in Boulder. His death was ruled a suicide. The previous record for a Heisman sold at auction was $395,240 for Bruce P. Smith’s 1941 trophy. Other Heisman trophies sold at auction include O.J. Simpson’s 1968 award ($255,000 in 1999); Charles White’s 1979 award ($184,000 in 2000); and Paul Hornung’s 1956 award ($250,000 in 2000). Salaam won his in 1994, months before he was picked in t...