The Chiefs have achieved dynasty status with their third Super Bowl title in five years

The Chiefs have achieved dynasty status with their third Super Bowl title in five years
Super Bowl 58 MVP, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, center, greets fans on Main Street, US, during a cavalcade through Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., Monday. (AP)
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Updated 13 February 2024
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The Chiefs have achieved dynasty status with their third Super Bowl title in five years

The Chiefs have achieved dynasty status with their third Super Bowl title in five years
  • With their come-from-behind overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the Chiefs raised their third Lombardi Trophy in four trips over a five-year span
  • The Chiefs will celebrate their latest Super Bowl triumph with a parade through downtown Kansas City

LAS VEGAS: This was supposed to be the year when the Kansas City Chiefs were vulnerable. Their wide receivers were dropping passes, their offense was committing penalties, Travis Kelce was supposedly getting old and there was no way that Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes could possibly overcome all of that.

Yet they did, and wiped away any doubt that the Chiefs are the new NFL dynasty.

With their come-from-behind overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the Chiefs raised their third Lombardi Trophy in four trips over a five-year span. And they became the first team since the New England Patriots with Tom Brady two decades ago — the last great football dynasty — to successfully defend their title.

Even Mahomes, when asked whether the Chiefs had become a dynasty, replied: “It’s the start of one.”

“It’s a little bit surreal,” Reid said. “I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, so you can figure it out. It’s a great win because I know how hard it is to do and how hard the season was, the ups and downs of the season, and how proud I am of the guys for just hanging with each other and staying positive with each other.”

Never before has an underdog in back-to-back Super Bowls won both, and that may best illustrate two important facts: The Chiefs were eminently beatable this season, and nobody was able to beat them when it mattered.

Start with the roster, which had to be creatively put together by general manager Brett Veach around $37 million in salary cap space taken up by Mahomes, the biggest cap hit in the NFL this season. Yet the architect of each of their last three title runs was able to find bargains such as Jerick McKinnon and Drue Tranquill who contributed far beyond their monetary value.

Look at their wide receivers, youngsters and journeymen who dropped more passes than any team in the league this season. Yet they galvanized around a quiet rookie, Rashee Rice, who not only became their No. 1 option but a bona fide star.

It goes beyond personnel, though. Consider the road Kansas City had to navigate this season.

At one point, the Chiefs played six consecutive games in which the other team had extra days of rest, the only time that has happened in NFL history. They had to play in Germany, beating the Dolphins in Frankfurt in a preview of a future wild-card game, and at one point lost five of eight midway through the season to drop to the No. 3 seed for the playoffs.

After beating the Dolphins in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history, the Chiefs hit the road in the postseason for the first time in six years with Mahomes as the starter. But as underdogs in Buffalo and Baltimore, the Chiefs embraced their newfound status as hunters rather than the hunted, and they responded by playing their best football of the season.

In terms of strength of opposition, the Chiefs successfully navigated the toughest path to the Super Bowl in history.

Then came a fitting finale in Las Vegas.

The Chiefs started off by making the same silly mistakes that dragged them down too often during the regular season, and they fell behind San Francisco by double digits, just as they did in each of their four Super Bowls with Mahomes under center. But just as they did in beating the 49ers four years ago, and the Eagles last year, the best team of its era rallied around what is fast becoming the best quarterback of any era to mount a comeback to remember.

Mahomes drove the Chiefs for a field goal to tie the game 16-all with about 5 1/2 minutes to go. He drove them for another field goal with 3 seconds left to force overtime. And he answered a field goal by San Francisco to start the extra session with a gutsy drive that Mahomes capped with his winning touchdown throw to the much-maligned Mecole Hardman.

“Same as always,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Mahomes afterward. “He’s unbelievable.”

Same as always for the Chiefs: unbelievable.

“They’re all tough. I’m not going to say one’s tougher than the other,” Mahomes said of the championship run. “It takes your best, and I think for me, personally, it was just battling through adversity throughout the season, whenever the offense wasn’t playing like I wanted it to play, and just to believe and fight. But all these games are tough. It takes your best football.”

Reid and Kelce assuaged some concerns among Chiefs fans that they would retire after the Super Bowl, saying late Sunday both planned to be back next season. Mahomes and most of their key players also will be back, though some difficult decisions loom when it comes to pending free agents.

All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed will demand massive contracts, and the Chiefs need to be mindful of next year, too, when they have several more important players reaching free agency.

The Chiefs will celebrate their latest Super Bowl triumph with a parade through downtown Kansas City on Wednesday, and after a brief exhale, Veach will join Reid and the rest of their brain trust in getting back to work. The cycle will begin anew.

Because sustained success — the kind the Chiefs have achieved, year after year — is what turns great teams into a dynasty.

“I mean, I’m going to celebrate tonight. I’m going to celebrate at the parade,” Mahomes said after earning his third Super Bowl MVP award, “and then I’m going to do whatever I can to be back in this game next year, and try for that three-peat.

“I think Tom said it best: Once you win that championship, and you have those parades and you get those rings, you’re not the champion anymore,” Mahomes added. “You have to come back with that same mentality, and learn from guys like that that have been the greatest of all time, at the top level, and so that is my mindset. I’m going to celebrate with my guys because of how we’ve done this, but then we’re going to work our way back to this game next year.”


Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final

Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final
Updated 12 July 2024
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Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final

Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final
  • World number three Alcaraz beat his fifth-ranked opponent 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
  • He will face either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or Lorenzo Musetti

LONDON: Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz reached his fourth Grand Slam final at Wimbledon on Friday when he recovered from a set down to defeat Daniil Medvedev.
World number three Alcaraz beat his fifth-ranked opponent 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and will face either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or Lorenzo Musetti for the title on Sunday.
Twice Medvedev led with breaks in the first set only to be pinned back by Alcaraz.
Such was his frustration that he was handed a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct by umpire Eva Asderaki for an apparent foul-mouthed reaction to a ball called for bouncing twice as he was broken in the ninth game.
The tournament referee was even summoned to Center Court by Asderaki, but Medvedev shrugged off the incident to sweep through the tie-break and take the opening set in which he committed only eight unforced errors to the Spaniard’s 15.
It was the third time at this year’s Wimbledon that Alcaraz had dropped the first set.
Alcaraz recovered impressively, breaking Medvedev for a 3-1 lead in the second having come out on top in the previous game on the back of a 27-shot rally.
The 21-year-old then hit 14 winners in the third set, pocketing the only break in the third game.
Medvedev, who had knocked out world number one Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, retrieved a break early in the fourth set.
But Alcaraz kept up his assault, edging ahead again for 4-3 on his way to victory.


England great Anderson retires with one final flourish

England great Anderson retires with one final flourish
Updated 12 July 2024
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England great Anderson retires with one final flourish

England great Anderson retires with one final flourish
  • Anderson signed off from international cricket with his 704th and final wicket on Friday, ending a glittering 21-year career
  • West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said he was a “legend of the game,” but understandably would not miss facing him

LONDON: James Anderson signed off from international cricket with his 704th and final wicket on Friday, ending a glittering 21-year career during England’s emphatic win over West Indies and prompting tributes from teammates and fellow greats.

The seamer, aged 41 years and 348 days, had Joshua Da Silva caught behind on his final day of test cricket. He spurned a golden opportunity to make it 705 wickets, shelling a simple catch from Gudakesh Motie and smiled ruefully at the miss.

“I am still gutted I dropped that catch,” he told Sky Sports as he sat in the England dressing room with a pint.

It was the only negative for Anderson on a day in which he demonstrated his skill one final time for an appreciative Lord’s crowd, repeatedly beating the outside edge with seam and swing.

Anderson, who finished with match figures of 4-58, said he would miss competing at the highest level, adding that there was “no better feeling” than winning a test match.

Asked what he was going to do next, Anderson – who is joining the England coaching set-up – added: “I’ve not really thought that far ahead.

“I’m going to stick around with these guys for the rest of the summer, try and help the bowling group out as much as I can and we’ll see where life takes us after that.”

Anderson has certainly earned a rest, having sent down his 40,000th delivery in test cricket late on day two, more than any other seam bowler and putting him fourth on the all-time list.

England captain Ben Stokes described Anderson as “an incredible inspiration for so many people,” adding: “He’s really keen to help the fast bowlers (in his coaching role). I don’t think I could think of a better person to be able to do that.”

West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said he was a “legend of the game,” but understandably would not miss facing him.

England & Wales Cricket Board chief executive Richard Gould said in a statement: “Jimmy has rightly earned a place as one of the all-time iconic names from world cricket.

“It is testament to the way he has combined his rare talent with outstanding professionalism and work ethic that he bows out still bowling so well more than 20 years after his Test debut.”

India great Sachin Tendulkar said on X: “It has been a joy to watch you bowl — with that action, speed, accuracy, swing and fitness. You’ve inspired generations with your game.”

While Anderson leaves big shoes to fill, Gus Atkinson took 12 wickets in an impressive performance on debut as England cruised to victory by an innings and 114 runs.

Anderson was full of praise for Atkinson, despite the paceman’s wickets denying him a chance to catch Shane Warne (708) in second on the list of all-time test wicket takers.

“He’s going to be an amazing cricketer for England,” Anderson said.

And Stokes told reporters that Atkinson had even apologized to Anderson for taking the final wicket, which led to one last example of the 41-year-old’s competitive spirit.

“Jimmy told him to eff off,” Stokes said.
 


Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo

Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo
Updated 12 July 2024
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Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo

Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo
  • Olmo and Kane are tied on three goals with four other players and if either score in the final on Sunday in Berlin they will likely claim the prize
  • However, with Spain angling for a record fourth European Championship, Olmo said the team’s target was far more important than his own individual glory

DONAUESCHINGEN, Germany: Spain playmaker Dani Olmo is vying for the Euro 2024 golden boot with England’s Harry Kane, but said Friday he doesn’t care about winning it as long as his team lifts the trophy.
Olmo and Kane are tied on three goals with four other players and if either score in the final on Sunday in Berlin they will likely claim the prize.
However, with Spain angling for a record fourth European Championship, Olmo said the team’s target was far more important than his own individual glory.
“It’s an extra motivation, if there’s even room for that, but look, as long as we win, I don’t care if I score or if (Spain goalkeeper) Unai Simon does,” Olmo told reporters.
“I don’t care at all, the important thing is winning the game, but I always have the objective of helping to chip in.”
Olmo has also created two goals for his team-mates but unlike in the past when that was used as a tie-breaker, the award will be shared by any players joint-top of the charts.
The RB Leipzig midfielder did not start the tournament as part of Spain coach Luis de la Fuente’s first choice side but made a strong impact off the bench when given the chance.
Olmo replaced the injured Pedri in the quarter-final win over hosts Germany, scoring and setting up the winner for Mikel Merino.
The midfielder also struck against France in the semifinal and has scored in all three knock-out rounds Spain have played.
“In this tournament I feel very good, in a great moment of form, so I have to keep taking advantage of it,” continued the 26-year-old.
“It’s true (Kane and I) are tied, but there are other players too who have helped us get here, with goals and good play.
“Speaking of goals, Fabian (Ruiz) has two goals, Alvaro (Morata) has one — if he scores a hat-trick then he will win it, and we’d be just as happy — it doesn’t matter who scores, the main thing is the team.”
Olmo scored a hat-trick for Leipzig as they beat Bayern Munich 3-0 in the German Supercup final on Kane’s debut for the Bavarian giants last August.
The England captain has still not won a trophy in his career at club or international level, finishing a runner-up with England in the Euro 2020 final.
Kane, 30, has struggled for form and peak fitness at the Euros despite managing three goals.
“Of course it would be a dream to score a hat-trick (again) and win it,” added Olmo.
“But I repeat, the goal is just to win it.”


Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC

Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC
Updated 12 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC

Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC
  • The duration of the partnership between the IOC and the Saudi NOC will be 12 years
  • Riyadh is already to host the Esports World Cup in July and August, when 2,500 gamers will battle for $60 million in prize money.

Lausanne: Saudi Arabia will host the inaugural Esports Olympics in 2025 the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that it has partnered with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Saudi Arabia to host the inaugural Olympic Esports Games 2025 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the body said.
“The proposal will be made to the IOC Session, which will be held on the eve of the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“The duration of the partnership between the IOC and the Saudi NOC will be 12 years, with Olympic Esports Games held regularly.”
Riyadh is already to host the Esports World Cup in July and August, when 2,500 gamers will battle for $60 million in prize money.
The IOC, in its perpetual quest to reconcile Olympic tradition with attempts to attract a younger audience, held an initial “Olympic e-sport week” in Singapore in June 2023, consisting of “ten mixed-gender category events.”
Last October, the IOC set up an “e-sport commission” chaired by Frenchman David Lappartient, the president of the international cycling union (UCI), to consider a dedicated competition.
However, IOC president Thomas Bach has said in the past he does not see e-sports as part of the traditional Olympics.
“With respect to esports, our values are and remain the red line that we will never cross,” he said.
Nevertheless he expressed his delight that the Esports Games had a natural home in Saudi Arabia.
“We are very fortunate to be able to work with the Saudi NOC on the Olympic Esports Games, because it has great — if not unique — expertise in the field of esports with all its stakeholders,” Bach said in a statement.
“The Olympic Esports Games will greatly benefit from this experience.
“By partnering with the Saudi NOC (National Olympic Committee) we have also ensured that the Olympic values are respected.
“In particular, with regard to the game titles on the program, the promotion of gender equality and engagement with the young audience, which is embracing esports.”
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said he was happy his country was part of sporting history.
“Saudi Arabia is hugely excited by the prospect of partnering with the IOC and helping to welcome a completely new era for international sport,” he said.
“We believe that to take part in the Olympic Games is one of the greatest honors any athlete can achieve.
“And we are proud to support the writing of a new chapter in Olympic history that has the potential to inspire new dreams and new ambitions for literally millions of athletes around the world.”
Conservative Saudi Arabia’s bid to become a sports powerhouse is part of a larger attempt to soften its austere image.
That rebranding is central to the success of its Vision 2030 economic and social reform agenda, designed to prepare the world’s biggest crude exporter for a prosperous post-oil future.
Last year, the kingdom hosted its first ATP Tour event with the Next Gen Finals.
It has also hosted exhibition matches pitting Novak Djokovic against Carlos Alcaraz and Aryna Sabalenka against Ons Jabeur.
In early January, Saudi Arabia appointed Rafael Nadal as ambassador of the Saudi Tennis Federation.
The country, which hosts a Formula 1 and MotoGP Grand Prix, as well as the Dakar rally-raid, has recruited a large number of top football players to its national league in recent years.
The Kingdom has also hosted a series of headline-grabbing boxing matches including the heavyweight unification bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury earlier this year.


Etihad Arena to host global basketball stars, legends, coaches and senior executives

Etihad Arena to host global basketball stars, legends, coaches and senior executives
Updated 12 July 2024
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Etihad Arena to host global basketball stars, legends, coaches and senior executives

Etihad Arena to host global basketball stars, legends, coaches and senior executives
  • ‘Courtside Conversations and USA Basketball Showcase’ on July 16
  • Men’s teams from US, Australia, Serbia to play games in UAE capital

ABU DHABI: Sports enthusiasts are in for a treat as Etihad Arena will host a “Courtside Conversations and USA Basketball Showcase” on July 16 in Abu Dhabi featuring some of the sport’s top players and personalities.

This is in conjunction with the “2024 USA Basketball Showcase Games” in the UAE capital from July 15 to 17.

The games feature the world No. 1 US basketball men’s national team, Australian Boomers and Serbia, ranked at five and four respectively, that are all preparing for the Paris Olympic Games.

The “Courtside Conversations and USA Basketball Showcase” will be an evening of discussions with participants including basketball players, legends, and senior executives.

The forum will kick off with a “Global Growth of the Game” panel discussion highlighting the importance of investing in young people, women, and minorities.

It will also explore how programs beyond the court can mentor leaders in every community.

Speakers include Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning, the Las Vegas Aces’ Chief Business Development Officer Jennifer Azzi, and USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley.

The second panel, “The Road to Paris,” will have the panelists discuss how to build a championship-caliber team and the value of teamwork. The participants include NBA legend and US Men’s National Team MD Grant Hill and former NBA player Steve Smith.

Attendees will have the chance to ask questions, which have to be submitted in advance.

Select fans will be able to meet basketball legends Smith and Mourning, which includes on-court photo opportunities following the Australia-Serbia game.