Sports Briefs: Finally, a Fresh Winner of Ballon d’Or

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Paris — Luka Modric ended the long reign of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or for the first time on Monday, while another first saw Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg win the inaugural women’s trophy.

Messi and Ronaldo had won every Ballon d’Or since 2008 and usually fought only each other for the greatest recognition among soccer’s elite. The fight for women to get similar recognition on the biggest stage took a big step with Hegerberg’s award.

Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then guided Croatia to the World Cup final in July. The midfielder was voted player of the tournament.

Ronaldo was second in the polling followed by France forward Antoine Griezmann. France’s teen star, Kylian Mbappe, was fourth. Brazil star Neymar was third last year but only 12th this time. Messi was fifth in the voting, having been runner-up to Ronaldo the past two years and in the top three every year since 2007. Modric had never previously been in the top three.

Hegerberg is a three-time Women’s Champions League winner with French side Lyon and scored a tournament-record 15 times last season.

France Football magazine has been awarding the Ballon d’Or since 1956, and created a women’s award for the first time this year.


Durden, Meehan HiredTo Coach U.S. Team

Los Angeles — USA Swimming is turning to a pair of veteran collegiate coaches to oversee the Olympic swimming team in 2020.

California-Berkeley’s Dave Durden of California will be in charge of the men’s team and Stanford’s Greg Meehan will coach the women’s in Tokyo, USA Swimming announced on Monday.

The U.S. swim team won 16 gold medals and 33 total medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the best showing by the Americans in any sport. Bob Bowman coached the men in Rio and David Marsh guided the women.

Auto Racing

Driver’s $1.3B JudgmentFor Loan Fraud Upheld

San Francisco — A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld a nearly $1.3 billion award against a pro racecar driver who was sent to prison following a conviction for cheating consumers through his payday loan businesses.

Information Scott Tucker’s companies provided consumers did not accurately disclose the loans’ terms, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

The judges also said a lower court did not abuse its authority when it ordered Tucker and other defendants to pay back nearly $1.3 billion.

The case was brought by the Federal Trade Commission, which accused Tucker of deceiving consumers across the U.S. and illegally charging them undisclosed and inflated fees.

An attorney for Tucker, Paul C. Ray, said he was reviewing the decision, but he noted that one of the judges said a larger 9th Circuit panel should rehear the case.

College Football

Gill Retires at Liberty

Lynchburg, Va. — Liberty coach Turner Gill is retiring.

Gill and the school made the announcement on Monday. Liberty finished 6-6 this season.

The 56-year-old Gill just completed his seventh season at Liberty. His teams went 47-35 during his tenure and made the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Before the transition, he guided the Flames to four Big South championships and their first FCS playoff appearance in 2014.

In a statement, Gill says his wife was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2016 and they decided he should stay to lead the transition, but “it is now time for me to step away.”

Last season, the Flames made program history by opening the season with a 48-45 victory at Baylor, their first win against a Power Five program.

Gill, a former Nebraska quarterback, also has been the head coach at Buffalo and Kansas in his career and has a 72-84 overall record.


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