American golf legend Arnold Palmer has died in Pittsburgh at the age of 87.
Palmer, one of golf’s greatest players whose immense popularity drew a legion of fans known as “Arnie’s Army” and helped propel the game just as television was coming of age, died on Sunday, the US Golf Association and golf media reported.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador, at age 87,” the USGA said on Twitter.
The swashbuckling American and seven-time major champion is credited with bringing golf to the TV mass audiences.
No one did more to popularise the sport than Palmer and the news of his passing is certain to overshadow the 41st staging of the Ryder Cup between the US and Europe at Hazeltine this week.
British golf owes a particular debt to Palmer, who was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, as it was his example at the start of the Sixties which persuaded the rest of the Americans to travel over for The Open Championship.
Palmer, who won 95 tournaments worldwide, was nicknamed “The King” and was still a huge figure in the sport. Residing at Bay Hill in Orlando – where he staged his annual PGA Tour tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational – his health had been failing for months. However, his death will be so keenly felt for a game still in his thrall.
“Arnold is the reason golf enjoys the popularity it does today,” Jack Nicklaus said. “He made golf attractive to the television-viewing public. There never has been anyone like him before in the game of golf, and there probably won’t be another like him again.”
“We loved him with a mythic American joy,” James Dodson, who wrote his biography, said. “He represented everything that is great about golf. The friendship, the fellowship, the laughter, the impossibility of golf, the sudden rapture moment that brings you back, a moment that you never forget, that’s Arnold Palmer in spades. He’s the defining figure in golf.”
President Barack Obama and former president George HW Bush were among the many notable names to weight in on the death of the icon.
Nigeria’s Paralympic team is grabbing medals left, right and centre.
At the half-way point through the Games, here are five things you may not know about the team.
1. A gold medal has been won by a Nollywood actress
When Lauritta Onye threw a shot put 8.40m she not only won gold but broke a word record.
The Nigerian Paralympic gold medallist is also known as…. Laury White.
Under that name she starred in the Nollywood film Lords of Money in 2015.
Her performance skills were put to good use on Sunday night when she celebrated her victory in acrobatic style in front of the cameras.
2. More medals than the Olympic team
Nigeria’s Paralympians already have six golds, two silvers and one bronze medal.
That’s compared to Nigeria’s Olympic team which only took home one bronze for football last month.
At the half-way point Nigeria’s Paralympic team is 10th in the medal table and top among African countries, whereas the Olympians were joint 78th by the end.
3. It’s not the first time
At London 2012 the country won 13 medals at the Paralympic Games and not one single medal in the Olympics.
And again they came home with more medals in 2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996.
Before this Games, the former director of the National Sports Commission went as far as to say that he hoped the Paralympians would “erase the shame of the dismal showing at the Olympic Games”, reports Nigeria’s Daily Trust.
4 Serial record breaker
Weightlifter Lucy Ejike broke a world record on Sunday to win gold with a lift of 142kg in the women’s under-61kg event.
It the third time she has broken a world record – in Beijing in 2008 she broke two during the under-48kg event.
The 38-year-old wheelchair user has won three gold medals since she started competing in 2000.
5. Powerlifting dominates
Only one of Nigeria’s nine medals is not in powerlifting – so far it has five Paralympic powerlifting golds, two silvers and one bronze.
That’s added to 15 other powerlifting gold medals since Nigeria started competing in 1992.
But then the numbers are against the other Paralympians – 14 of the 23 Nigerian competitors are powerlifters.
This doesn’t appear to be by accident.
After the powerlifters came back from the 2012 Paralympics with 12 medals the then Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi told the UK’s Guardian paper that Nigeria would just put money into a few sports where they have a comparative advantage.
A Swedish footballer has hit out after being sent off for breaking wind during a match – with the referee accusing him of “deliberate provocation” and “unsportsmanlike behaviour”.
Adam Lindin Ljungkvist, who was playing at left-back in the match between Järna SK’s reserve team and Pershagen SK, was shown a second yellow card late on in what local media called “bizarre circumstances”.
“I asked the referee, ‘What, am I not allowed to break wind a little?’ ‘No,’ he replied … I don’t get it but maybe he thought I farted in my hand and threw the fart at him. But I did not.”
Opposition striker Kristoffer Linde told the paper: “I was standing a good distance away but I heard the fart loud and clear. It’s the strangest thing I’ve seen on a pitch, and I’ve been playing football since I was eight years old.”
The referee, Dany Kako, confirmed that Ljungkvist had received the second yellow card for breaking wind, explaining: “I perceived it as deliberate provocation. He did it on purpose and it was inappropriate. Therefore, he received a yellow card.”
Ljungkvist told Aftonbladet: “To provoke anyone with a fart is not particularly smart or normal. It’s nonsense – I just broke wind and got a red card. I spoke to the referee afterwards, I was annoyed, but there were no bad words. I just said he was a buffoon.”
Kako said he had experienced similar incidents before. “Once there was a player who stood and peed next to the pitch. I showed him a yellow card, too.”
The Atlanta Hawks retired Dikembe Mutombo’s No. 55 jersey Tuesday night to honor the longtime shot blocker’s Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Mutombo signed as a free agent in 1996 to make Atlanta the second stop on an 18-year career he spent with five other teams.
”I don’t think I ever thought my jersey would be retired,” Mutombo told reporters after his jersey was hung from the arena rafters in a halftime ceremony. ”My name will stay forever.”
The 7-foot-2 Mutombo was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, an eight-time All-Star, and he ranks second on the league’s career blocked shots list and 20th in rebounds.
Through his foundation, Mutombo, 49, built a hospital that has served 140,000 in his native Congo. He twice won the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award and now works for the league as a global ambassador.
Mutombo was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame two months ago.
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