<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Sat, 01 Aug 2015 22:27:15 -0400 Sat, 01 Aug 2015 22:27:15 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[High School Blitz]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:30:09 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/HS_Sports_Txt.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[New Eagles Prep For Training Camp]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:09:08 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000011384491_1200x675_495520323740.jpg There will be a not of new faces wearing midnight green this season for the Eagles. NBC10's Vai Sikahema introduces us to safety Walter Thurmond.]]> <![CDATA[Pre-Civil War Baseball Card Goes for Over $100K at Auction]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:53:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/baseballcard.jpg

An heirloom of a baseball player that is over 150 years old was sold at an auction in Chicago Thursday. 

The baseball card was passed down in the family for generations, until being sold for $179,250, according to NBC News. The Brooklyn Atlantics card was from roughly 1860. It was sold at a sports collector's auction.

The card had remained in the family of Archibald McMahon, an outfielder for the Atlantic Baseball Club of Brooklyn. The team was one of the first of baseball's first organized league. 

Among other things sold at the auction included shoes worn by Muhammad Ali and a Yankees jersey worn by Mickey Mantle. 

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[It's Official: Phillies Trade Hamels]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:11:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/212*120/GettyImages-480312998.jpg

It's official: The Phillies have traded Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to the Texas Rangers for six players.

Word of the trade initially came out late Wednesday night, but a deal involving so many players and so much money changing hands is complex in nature and took time to finalize.

Hamels will speak at a press conference at Citizens Bank Park at 2 p.m. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will speak at 1:30 p.m.

The southpaw will start for the Rangers Saturday in Texas against the Giants.

The Phillies receive catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams, right-handed pitchers Jake Thompson, Alec Asher and Jerad Eickhoff, and veteran lefty Matt Harrison.

Harrison the only one with big-league experience. Asher and Eickhoff had been pitching at Triple A. Williams and Thompson were at Double A in the Rangers' system. Alfaro had also been at Double A before suffering an ankle injury that required surgery. According to CSN Phillies insider Jim Salisbury, Alfaro could play again this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cole Hamels' Community Work Will Continue to Live On]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:08:59 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*129/10showaug20check.jpg He was our World Series MVP but any time now, we could get official word that Cole Hamels is leaving the Phillies. Even if Hamels is traded, his charitable work in the community will live on. Comcast SportsNet's John Clark has the story.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Jets Fans Fly 'Cheaters' Banner Over Patriots Practice]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:45:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Jets-Fans-Patriots.jpg

The Jets fans behind last year's campaign to get the team's general manager fired have a new target: The New England Patriots.

The group that runs the website NYJetsFans.com flew a banner over the Patriots' training camp in Foxborough, Massachussets, that said “CHEATERS LOOK UP!” on Thursday. The sign includes the Twitter handle “@JetsFanMedia.”

A spokesman for the group, Jason Koeppel, told Metro.us before the flight Thursday that they were going to fly the banner because “the time has come for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft to start dealing with reality.”

“Sports fans are not stupid. We have seen this act before from disgraced former superstar athletes. People like Lance Armstrong and Ryan Braun who challenged the system after they got caught red handed. Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, A-Rod, Roger Clemens -- the list of people who lied after they got caught cheating is sadly endless,” Koeppel said.

Koeppel’s group was also responsible for the “Fire John Izdik” billboard that was placed near MetLife Stadium last season. The group is also trying to have the Jets bring back Fireman Ed, the team’s unofficial mascot who stopped going to games after the 2012 season.

The flight of the banner comes two days after the NFL upheld a four-game suspension for Brady in connection with the team’s use of under-inflated footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Brady has maintained that he had no role in the alleged football-deflating conspiracy, and the NFL Player’s Association has filed suit against the league in federal court over the suspension.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hamels Traded to Texas: Reports]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:10:49 -0400 The only thing more popular for Phillies fans to do than speculating when Howard and Utley would return was to fret over the team possibly trading its ace Cole Hamels. It didn’t happen thanks to the team inking the lefty to a six-year, $144 million deal.]]> The only thing more popular for Phillies fans to do than speculating when Howard and Utley would return was to fret over the team possibly trading its ace Cole Hamels. It didn’t happen thanks to the team inking the lefty to a six-year, $144 million deal.]]> http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Mike_Rizzo_Cole_Hamels_Gutless_Bryce_Harper_Nationals_Phillies.jpg

The Phillies on Wednesday night pulled off a huge trade, sending World Series hero and homegrown ace Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers for six players. 

Neither team confirmed the deal, but multiple sources did confirm it to CSNPhilly.com. An official announcement is expected on Thursday after some loose ends are tied up.

Reliever Jake Diekman is also on his way to the Rangers.

The Phillies will get five prospects — a catcher, an outfielder and three pitchers — that they hope can help fuel their rebuild. They are also taking on pitcher Matt Harrison, who is owed at least $28 million over the next two seasons.

Hamels declined to speak with reporters after Wednesday night’s 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays. His last official act as a Phillie was a memorable one: He threw a no-hitter Saturday at Wrigley Field, an accomplishment he said ranked just below winning the World Series in 2008. He was the MVP of that World Series and after the parade told an adorning crowd that he wanted to ride down Broad Street “again and again and again.”

The Phillies made the World Series again in 2009, but lost the Yankees. They won the NL East in 2010 and 2011, but have slipped in recent seasons and now reside in baseball’s basement.

Though he was never as vocal as Jonathan Papelbon, who was traded to Washington on Tuesday, Hamels was eager to be dealt to a contender. Though the Rangers are a sub-.500 team, they hope to make a run in the AL West this season and they like the idea that Hamels is signed for three more seasons and believe he can join Yu Darvish in delivering a World Series title before his contract runs out. Darvish is expected back from an elbow injury next season.

With Hamels gone, only Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz remain from the World Series-winning team.

“It’s sad when your teammates for a long time have to go away,” Ruiz said in the Phillies' clubhouse late Wednesday night.

The Phillies have tried unsuccessfully to trade Howard for more than a year. Utley’s contract is likely to expire at the end of the season. There’s still a chance he could be traded in the coming weeks. There is not much of a market for Ruiz, but he could be a valuable mentor to one of the prospects the Phillies are getting from Texas.

In addition to the Rangers, the Phillies had talks with the Dodgers and Astros. According to multiple sources, the Phillies liked several of the Astros’ prospects, but Hamels informed the club he would not accept a trade to Houston. The pitcher’s limited no-trade clause allowed him to block a deal to that club. He could not block a trade to Texas.

In addition to Harrison, the Phillies also get catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams and pitchers Jake Thompson, Alec Asher and Jerad Eickhoff.

Alfaro, a 22-year-old from Colombia, becomes the Phillies’ top catching prospect. He has a power bat, but needs to cut down on his strikeouts. He was playing at Double A before suffering an ankle injury that required surgery. He is expected to play again this season. There is clearly risk in trading for an injured player, but the Phillies like Alfaro’s upside. He projects as an offensive catcher.

Williams, 21, is another top piece in the deal. The left-handed hitter was the Rangers’ second-round pick in 2012 and was hitting .300 with 13 homers, 45 RBIs and an .837 OPS in 96 games at Double A.

Thompson is a 21-year-old right-hander. He was a second-round pick of the Tigers in 2012. He is 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 17 starts at Double A.

In Baseball America's midseason prospect rankings, Thompson, Williams and Alfaro ranked Nos. 3, 4, 5 in the Rangers' system, respectively.

Asher is a 23-year-old right-hander who had been at Triple A. Eickhoff is a 25-year-old right-hander, also at Triple A.

The Phillies are also sending money to Texas. That could be in the form of absorbing some of Harrison’s salary. Hamels, the highest paid athlete in Philadelphia history, is owed about $81 million through the 2018 season. He has an option for $20 million for 2019.

How the finances would wash out was not immediately known.

What we do know is that Cole Hamels, who was drafted and developed by the Phillies and who helped create one of the greatest sporting memories ever in Philadelphia, is headed out of town.

It’s the end of an era.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Olympic Committee Exploring LA-SF Joint Bid: Sources]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 02:40:27 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/196*120/01-08-2015-olympics-los-angeles-coliseum-flag.jpg

With Boston now out of the 2024 Olympics race, Los Angeles is exploring a new bid that could include Bay Area cooperation.

The United States Olympics Committee has reached out to San Francisco’s Olympics bid committee regarding a joint bid with Los Angeles, multiple sources within the San Francisco 2024 Olympic Bid and the USOC told NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai.

“Discussions are taking place,” one of the sources said, but "a lot will have to happen in the next six weeks." 

According to the Chronicle, Giants CEO Larry Baer, who led San Francisco's bid to host the games, got a call from LA sports agent Casey Wasserman on Tuesday to ask about the possibility of submitting a joint proposal to the U.S. Olympic Committee in September.

"I'm not saying we are going to do it, but we are certainly open to discussing it," Baer told the publication.

Tony Winnicker, who has worked with the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Olympics efforts, acknowledged that the city might also be open to the possibility.

Sources say the USOC plans to vet the unique proposal at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur from July 31 to Aug. 3.

Boston's bid to host the games had been selected to move forward in January over those by San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

The U.S. Olympic Commitee ended Boston's bid after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday that he was not ready to sign a host city document that would force taxpayers to cover any cost overruns. 

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Steve Powell/Allsport
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<![CDATA[Patriots Owner on Brady Decision]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:50:50 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-461747308.jpg

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media Wednesday morning as the team officially kicked off training camp. 

The media availability came a day after the NFL's decision to uphold Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game.

"The decision handed down by the league is unfathomable," Kraft said. He added: "I was wrong to put my faith in the league." 

Belichick dodged questions about the Deflategate controversy, saying there's "nothing really to talk about there." He said the team will continue to get ready for the 2015 season. 

Kraft said that "Tom Brady is a person of great integrity and a great ambassador of the game." 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the New England quarterback told an assistant to destroy Brady's cellphone on or just before March 6. Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells on that day.

Brady released a counter-statement Wednesday morning saying, "I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January."

Calling the appeal process "a sham," Brady's agent, Don Yee, said Goodell "failed to ensure a fair process" in upholding the quarterback's four-game suspension.

The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks. 

Kraft said he regrets not appealing the NFL penalties against the team. 

Devin McCourty says Robert Kraft speaks for the Patriots. They all support Tom Brady. Wide receiver Matthew Slater says the Patriots are a family and stand behind each other, including Tom Brady.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said "I think the NFL needs to get their priorities straight."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Social Media Reacts to Tom Brady's Suspension]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 02:49:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_258466475816.jpg

Patriots fans are steamed after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension Tuesday for his role in the Deflategate controversy.

The league, in a 20-page ruling, said the four-time Super Bowl champion “willingly obstructed the investigation” and also “participated in a scheme to tamper with evidence by destroying his cell phone.” The text messages were critical to Wells' investigation because they may have shown key information and communication between Brady and the equipment managers blamed for deflating footballs.

New England fans took to social media to defend their team and its star quarterback, while others hailed Goodell's decision.

The players' union has said it expects to challenge the decision in court. The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks after the team used underinflated footballs during their romp over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game in January. The have yet to appeal that penalty.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Phillies Trade Jonathan Papelbon to Nationals ]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:40:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ap-jonathan-papelbon-philli.jpg

Jonathan Papelbon’s Phillies uniform hung in a locker in the visiting clubhouse at Rogers Centre on Tuesday.

But unless Papelbon decides to dress up as a Phillie for Halloween — and don’t put that past the prankster — he will never wear the uniform again.

As the Phillies began their game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night, team officials wrapped up a trade that will send Papelbon to the Washington Nationals. Papelbon and cash considerations will be traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor league right-hander Nick Pivetta.  Pivetta, 22, was the Nats’ fourth-round pick in 2013.

Papelbon spent Monday’s off day at home in Mississippi and never made it to Toronto. The deal with the Nats had percolated all day and there was no need for him to make the trip north.

As Papelbon exits, team officials remain focused on trading Cole Hamels for prospects. Texas remains the team the Phillies are most focused on. The Dodgers and others are also in the mix. The Phillies would like to add some young power bats to their rebuild and Texas has several that intrigue the Phillies, led by Nomar Mazara, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams. Like Papelbon, Hamels has a partial no-trade clause. He cannot block a deal to Texas.

In a sign that the Phillies are committed to dealing Hamels, the team has moved him back a day in the rotation. He is scheduled to pitch Friday, not Thursday as originally planned. Of course, that’s if he is still a Phillie. The non-waiver trade deadline is Friday at 4 p.m.

Maybe the Hamels trade will come Wednesday, which is July 29. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has a history of pulling off big deals on that day. He got Cliff Lee in 2009, Roy Oswalt in 2010 and Hunter Pence in 2011. Of course, those deals were designed to fortify the Phillies for a run at World Series title. Dealing Hamels is an admission that the Phillies don’t expect to be good for a while, a confirmation that the team is in deep rebuild mode.

Papelbon, 34, signed the richest deal ever for a reliever — four years, $50 million — after the Phillies won 102 games but were knocked out the of the postseason early in 2011. He thought he was coming to Philadelphia to win “a couple of rings." The Phillies did not make the postseason during his first three seasons with the club and are headed for the worst record in the majors this season.

The Phillies unsuccessfully tried to trade Papelbon the previous two Julys. They were successful this July and Papelbon no doubt is happy about that. Earlier this month, Papelbon was vocal in saying it was time for the Phillies to trade him.

“It’s time to you-know-what or get off the pot,” he said.

Papelbon leaves at the Phillies all-time saves leader with 123. He is making $13 million this season. The Nationals assume the remainder of that salary. Papelbon had a $13 million option for 2016 which would have become guaranteed with 14 more games finished. Fox Sports reported that the option has been reworked and is now guaranteed at $11 million. The players association may have to sign off on that before the deal becomes official. It was not immediately known if the Phillies would cover some of that option.

Photo Credit: CSN Philly ]]>
<![CDATA[New Eagles Players Make Top Jersey Sales]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:48:43 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000011341527_1200x675_493014083917.jpg The Eagles haven't even started training camp yet but according to jersey sales two new players have already won over fans.]]> <![CDATA[Montco Softball Team Competes for National Title]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:57:21 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/softballchamps2.jpg

The Audubon, PA Recreation Association 10 and under girls softball team is headed to Florida where they will compete for the Babe Ruth National Championship.

The girls won their district championship, won the PA state championship and most recently won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.

Their head coach, Chris Spletzer credits his roster of girls for all of the team’s success.

The team left Tuesday from Audubon, PA and is largely traveling by van to Alachua County, FL to begin play.

The National Championship Tournament begins July 29th and runs through August 5th.

Photo Credit: Chris Spletzer]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Jahlil Okafor at Sixers' Beach Bash in Avalon]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:36:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Jahlil+Okafor+Sixers.jpg

Join the Philadelphia 76ers and former Sixers legends at the Jersey Shore this weekend for the annual Sixers Beach Bash!

Newest Sixer Jahlil Okafor will join Robert Covington and former players Darryl Dawkins and World B. Free at Jack's Place in Avalon on Saturday (Aug. 1).

“Year after year, this event gives us an opportunity to celebrate Sixers basketball down the shore and connect with our fan base in a way that can only be done at Beach Bash,” said Sixers Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Tim McDermott.

The 16th annual "bash" will take place from 3 to 6 p.m., as both former and current players will mingle with fans and signed autographs.

Fans of all ages will also be able to enjoy interactive games, have their face painted, and win unique Sixers prizes! Team merchandise will also be available at the "Sixers Yard Sale," with some proceeds going to the Sixers Youth Foundation.

The Sixers Dancers will be making their season debut on stage both inside and outside Jack's Place, and will also be accompanied by team mascot Franklin and the high-flying Sixers Phlight Squad.

“Our goal is to provide our fans the chance to create lasting memories by meeting some of our players, alumni and front office staff in addition to enjoying first-class entertainment by Sixers Phlight Squad, Sixers Dancers, Franklin and a host of other elements we have planned," added McDermott.

Jack's Place, located at 3601 Ocean Drive in Avalon, will be offering drink specials and a live DJ during the event.

A limited number of vouchers for each autograph session will be distributed to fans on a first-come, first-served basis upon arrival to Beach Bash, so plan your trip now and get in on the action.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Half-Court Shot Wins $10K]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:58:26 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/219*120/willie+cole+shot.jpg

A recent high school graduate from Chicago made an epic half-court shot during a youth basketball tournament over the weekend to win a $10,000 prize.

Willie Cole, 18, sunk the shot with ease during Nike’s Chi League All-Star at Whitney Young High School on Sunday.

Despite having a $10,000 prize on the line, Cole appears calm as he steps toward the line and shoots, as seen in video provided by Nike. A swoosh is heard as the ball falls through the net and the crowd erupts with excitement. Players rush the court to congratulate Cole.

The Chi League All-Star event spotlighted some of the best youth, pro-am and high school basketball players in Chicago.

It’s not clear what Cole, a graduate from TF South High School, will do with his winnings.

Photo Credit: Nike, Inc. ]]>
<![CDATA[Tom Brady, NFL in Deflategate Settlement Talks: Source]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:32:02 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/461977230.jpg

Tom Brady is engaged in settlement talks with the NFL, a source familiar with the talks tells NBC News' Peter Alexander.

Last week, there were reports that the NFL Players' Union had pitched to Commissioner Roger Goodell a possible settlement between Brady and the League.

All of this is playing out as the NFL mulls Brady's four-game suspension, which the quarterback appealed. The NFL determined he was aware of team staffers deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Goodell and Brady last met on June 23 during a suspension appeal hearing.

The Patriots paid a record $1 million fine and were stripped of two draft picks, including a No. 1 selection next year.

The Patriots did not challenge their punishments.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston's Olympic Loss Could Spell Win for L.A.]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:21:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TLMD-boston-olympics-2024-render.jpg

Now that the U.S. Olympic Committee has dropped Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games, Los Angeles is emerging as the back-up city.

“Los Angeles could bid with a couple of years notice,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and the author of “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.” “They don’t need seven years notice. They have almost all their venues already intact.”

In a statement Monday the committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun, said the federation was still interested in mounting a bid for the Summer Games. He did not mention a specific city.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that his office had not had recent conversations with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I continue to believe that Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city and we have always supported the USOC in their effort to return the Games to the United States," he said in a statement. "I would be happy to engage in discussions with the USOC about how to present the strongest and most fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation."

The U.S. Olympic Commitee ended Boston's bid after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a Monday morning press conference that he was not ready to sign a host city document that would force taxpayers to cover any cost overruns. The U.S. Olympic Committee had wanted him to sign the contract as soon as possible, he said. But he said he would not without more financial information about the Games and was willing to let the committee choose another city over Boston.

The host city contract, which does not need to be signed until 2017, guarantees that the International Olympic Committee will not be held responsible for any cost overruns.

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s board members had also wanted to know whether Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker supported Boston’s bid. Baker spoke to committee officials on Monday but said beforehand that he would have no answer for them because he was waiting to see a full report from a consultant commissioned to analyze the bid.

The deadline to officially submit bids to the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 15. San Francisco and Washington D.C. also competed to be the U.S. selection. A source told NBC Bay Area that it was now too late for San Francisco to submit a bid that could win. Jack Evans, a D.C. council member, said that the city was still vying to be chosen.

“We in the District would still be very interested," Evans said.

Officials from the U.S. Olympic Committee could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier Alan Abrahamson, a sportswriter, said that the U.S. Olympic Committee ought to kill Boston’s bid, Abrahamson, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, called it the most dismal effort he had seen in 16 years of covering the Olympics.

“Los Angeles is America’s Olympic city,” said Abrahamson, who wrote a column on the topic on his website, 3 Wire Sports. “It hosted the Games twice in 1932 and 1984. The Games are a part of the fabric of civic life in Los Angeles.”

Politicians, businesses and the people of California are behind the Olympics, he said. And like Zimbalist, he said Los Angeles could be ready with little notice.

“Los Angeles could host the Games on maybe two years notice and do a fantastic job,” he said.

Before Boston's bid derailed, Zimbalist said that Baker’s position was key because the state not Boston would have to be the Games’ guarantor.

“Nobody ever expected Boston to actually provide a guarantee,” he said. “They don’t have the resources to do it. Their budget is much too small.”

Zimbalist said that he thought Walsh, who had been closely affiliated with the pro-Olympics group, was trying to cover himself should the U.S. Olympic Committee reject Boston.

“I think that he’s trying to step out in front of that train and say, ‘I was first, I never wanted to put the Boston’s taxpayers at risk,’” Zimbalist said.

Boston’s bid had been expected to go to a statewide referendum next year. The organizers had said that if the majority of voters in Massachusetts and Boston did not vote in favor of it they would pull the bid. A group, No Boston Olympics, had formed in opposition to hosting the Games.

Photo Credit: Boston2024.org]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:57:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_120669260314.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson]]>
<![CDATA[Dustin Plunkett: Special Olympics Saved My Life]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:07:49 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/7-26-15-dustin+plunkett.JPG

Many athletes can attest to the difference sports made in their life, but for former Special Olympics World Games athlete Dustin Plunkett, sports saved his life.

Plunkett, 33, was born with an intellectual disability and cleft palate that affected his speech. Growing up, he was ridiculed for his disabilities.

"It was really tough on top of getting bullied every single day of my life. I was called retard, slow, stupid, dumb," Plunkett told NBC4 on Friday.

But Plunkett now is a far cry from the boy who was bullied by his peers. He's a former athlete at the Special Olympics World Games, member of the Special Olympics of Southern California's board of directors and now an ESPN analyst for the Special Olympics.

As a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics, Plunkett has traveled the world as a public speaker and has stood by Yao Ming at the World Games as well as President Barack Obama at the White House.

"I’m around people that are just like me, I'm around people that were bullied and ridiculed every day of their life growing up," Plunkett told NBC4 in December. "This is our safe place."

Plunkett credits the Special Olympics for not only changing his life, but saving it. When he was going through a pregame medical screening in 2004, a dentist noticed the poor condition of his teeth, and he was later diagnosed with gum cancer.

"If it had gone one more month long, I wouldn't be alive today," Plunkett said last year.

Plunkett has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1996 and has coached athletes in basic sports skills and as the assistant basketball coach for Southern California's Lakewood Special Olympics program, according to the organization.

"I was told I was going to be worth nothing in my life," Plunkett said. "And now look at me."

Photo Credit: Jorge Diaz]]>
<![CDATA[N.J. Teen Wins 1st Gold at Special Olympics]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:04:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/150726-noah-dellas-special-olympics.jpg

A 17-year-old from South New Jersey hit the water first at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach and never looked back, winning the triathlon that kicked off the 2015 Special Olympics World Games on Sunday.

Noah Dellas took just under an hour and 13 minutes (1:12:58) to complete the half-mile swim, 20 kilometer bike, and 5k run.

Asked in the finishing chute how he felt, Dellas replied simply, "OK." It was his second thrill of the weekend, after seeing his swimming inspiration, Olympic legend Michael Phelps, at Saturday night's opening ceremonies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Coach Lisa Rumer, who trained all four Team USA members in the international field of 22, recalled Dellas’ shyness during the first few months after he began training.

"As he understand that we cared and wanted him to succeed, and he started to create goals because he knew he could do it, that's when he branched out and really took hold of his passion," Rumer said.

Among the women, New Jersey teammates Amy Noctor, 27, and Courtney Dreyfus, 18, finished second and third, respectively.

The Special Olympics were created for athletes with intellectual disabilities, such as Asperger's and Downs syndrome. There is a broad spectrum among the 6,500 athletes who have come from 165 nations.  The World Games are being held in greater Los Angeles for the first time in four decades.

In a tent cooling off after their race, Noctor and Dreyfus both spoke of how the Special Olympics movement has helped them overcome challenges they face and broadened their daily lives.

"You can just be you. You don't have to hide anything and you can push beyond your boundaries," said Dreyfus.

Amy's parents dedcribed the progress they've seen in her.

"Amy does not make a lot of friends on her own, but when she comes here she meets a lot of people and talks to them," said Mathew Noctor, Amy's father.

"She's become more independent, more sure of herself," said Heidi Noctor, Amy's mother.

"It's given me a life. It's the best part of my life right now," said Amy.

"Amen," added her father.

The first ever World Games triathlon featured another innovation: allowing non-Special Olympic athletes on the course as a "unified" event. Pro Triathlete Heather Jackson said it proved mutually inspirational for both groups of athletes. Jackson also marveled at the enthusiasm of the fans in the finishing chute - "more than for some pro triathlons," she said.

Among team sports, beach volleyball was also unified, enabling some non-Special Olympic athletes to play on the same team. The initial reaction of spectators was positive.

"I just think it's a great idea," said volunteer Tracy Lambert.

Events continue across the Southland through next weekend.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Surfer Catches A Wave On Fire]]> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:56:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Surfer_Catches_A_Wave_On_Fire_1200x675_491314243896.jpg Jamie O'Brien got the idea to surf while on fire from Instagram.]]>