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Indy Cars Return to Fontana Hunter-Reay Wins Finale

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By Jon D. Gaede

Bvn Sports

FONTANA – It had been seven long years since open-wheel racecars last competed at the Auto Club Speedway. Saturday night marked their return as enthusiasts filled the grandstands once again. The Indy Car Izod Series of racing brought the high profile drivers and their race teams to a track that has only had NASCAR events in recent years. This year’s guests were granted free parking from the Auto Club Speedway.

Andretti, Franchitti, Dixon, Castroneves, Kanaan, Power and Hunter-Reay, were just a few of the top drivers to compete at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night. Dario Franchitti, a crowd favorite who won the iconic Indianapolis 500 in May, as well as the past two Izod Indy Car championships, did not contend for this year’s checkered flag. Racing fans would be treated to not only the final race of the season, but also a competition between two drivers for the title. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who just five years ago, could not find a racing team to support him, would do battle with Will Power at Fontana for the 2012 Indy Racing title.

This year’s race, billed as the MATV 500 Indy Car World Championship, started at 6 pm and went well into the Southern California evening. Front-runner Will Power enjoyed a 17-point lead over Hunter-Reay before the race. Of the many scenarios, these two figured in most. The only other drivers who had a mathematical shot at the championship were Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon.

The drivers race for 250 laps on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval. These open-wheel cars go a little faster than the typical NASCAR as they reach speeds upwards of 240 miles per hour. The track record for one lap is 241.426 mph, at Fontana, by Gil de Ferran. As the race developed under the 105 degree trackside conditions, contenders Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay found themselves adjacent with each other as they jockeyed for 13th place on lap 55. This lap would prove be Reay’s good fortune because Power slammed into the wall of turn 2. Team Penske tried to repair extensive damage to the right side of Power’s Chevrolet, however, they just couldn’t get up to necessary speed and quickly went down 11 laps to the field. Hunter-Reay eventually moved up to the top ten, where he stayed for most of the 500-mile distance. Hunter-Reay eventually moved up to fourth, finishing high enough in the points to take this year’s Izod Indy Car World Championship. In the post race, Reay said, “This is unbelievable, I can’t put it into words, how hard I had to fight”

“What a race. I was on the edge the entire time, just trying to hold onto the car. This is amazing, you know. This is what racing is all about, what sports are about. I’m going to let this one sit in for a second and really enjoy it” -Ryan Hunter-Reay In the actual race, Ed Carpenter took the checkered flag in the Fuzzy Zoeller Chevrolet. The professional golfer’s name and golf motif adorns the Carpenter vehicle to promote Fuzzy’s Premium Vodka. Zoeller has been associated with racing for several years.

The return of open-wheel action to the Speedway in Fontana was a success. From free guest parking to great competitive racing at the highest level. Roger Penske, the man who built the race track said, “A 500 mile race at the Auto Club Speedway should be an Indy Car Series staple and finale, once again”

In another development, legendary driver and owner A.J. Foyt announced that he would endorse Indy Light race driver Chase Austin to enter the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 next May. “My son Larry and I have watched Chase and we want him to have a chance” said A.J. Foyt, four time winner of the iconic race. Austin, the 22 year old from Indiana would be the third African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

Bruins’ Stay Perfect UCLA 37 Houston 3

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Bruins resort to trickery trounce Houston for 3-0 start

By Gary Montgomery

BVN Staff

Pasadena – Sporting their new national ranking for the first time, the number 22 ranked Bruins didn’t look nervous at all. In fact, the Bruins’ looked as if they are intent on moving up another couple of notches. After losing the coin toss and kicking off to the Cougars, the UCLA defense allowed Houston only two plays before UCLA linebacker Eric Kendrick’s picked up a Houston fumble and raced 23 yard to give the Bruins’ a 7-0 lead with only 0.16 seconds elapsed in the game. After trading several series of three and out drives, UCLA finally got its no huddle offense on track. Red shirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley engineered a 16 play drive culminating with a 7 yard touchdown pass to Datone Jones to push the Bruins’ lead to 14-0 and taking irreversible control of the game.

Datone Jones scored his first collegiate touchdown on the play. Jones is the Bruins’ Left Defensive End. The 6’4”, 275 senior from Compton is one of UCLA’s top defenders. Jones switched his #56 jersey to an eligible number for offense and lined up at tight end. “We have a short yardage package where we line Datone up at the tight end position. He made a really tough catch tonight,” said UCLA head coach Jim Mora.

Saturday’s win over Houston gets UCLA out of the gate to another great 3-0 start, normally a reason for celebration. But, the Bruins for good reason are exercising extreme caution. UCLA has started the season 3-0 twice before during the past 7 years. Each of those previous starts has ended badly. In 08 UCLA opened the season with an upset wing at Tennessee and then lost 5 of their next 6 games.

The 2011 Bruin team is keenly aware of this history and finally might have all of the right pieces to avoid the painful meltdown as previous teams. The Bruins’ offense is averaging almost 600 yards per game. Running back Jonathan Franklin is in the top 10 nationally in rushing with 541-yards total and quarterback Brett Hundley has 827 yards passing and 6 touchdowns and most important of all, The Bruins’ defense is playing at a level not seen in any of those previous years.

G. Montgomery can be reached at HYPERLINK "mailto:sports@blackvoicenews.com"sports@blackvoicenews.com

Photo by Eric Wade, BVN Staff CELEBRATION – UCLA’s senior defensive end, Datone Jones celebrates with Cassius Marsh after scoring his first collegiate touchdown on a 7-yard from Brett Hundley. Jones changed his uniform number and lined up at the tight end position. UCLA beat Houston 37-3.

Olympian Gabby Douglas Launches Kellogg’s Tour at Citizens Bank Arena

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By Alena C. Gaede

Special to BVN

ONTARIO – Can’t get enough Gabby Douglas? You can still see her perform with her ‘gold medal’ teammates on the 40-city Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastic Champions. Kellogg’s has surrounded Gabby Douglas and the ‘Fierce Five’ in a two-hour show that showcases the artistic beauty of gymnastics. The cast includes 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, also past and current Olympians from both the men and women’s national teams.

Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas, less than a month ago, on the world’s stage in London, became the first athlete of color to win gymnastics gold in two events. She took gold in the team event and the sports premier glamour event, the individual artistic all-around.

Douglas, the sixteen year old from Virginia Beach has become the new ‘golden girl’ of gymnastics. Featured on magazine covers from Sports Illustrated to JET, she has imbedded herself into the conscience of a nation and the hearts of little girls everywhere.

The media has seized the moment as Gabby has recently appeared on Oprah, Stephen Colbert, the MTV Music Awards with Alicia Keys and the Ellen Degeneres reunion show on Monday. Just for good measure, CNN spotted her at the Democratic National Convention in South Carolina.

Historically, Douglas joins one of her heroes, Dominique Dawes, as the only other African American to earn a gold medal in the Olympic games. If you recall, Dawes was part the ‘Magnificent Seven’ at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. Dawes and Douglas have developed a special nurturing relationship prior to the London games. Douglas has shown unusual maturity beyond her years. When asked about her mistakes on various rotations in London, she said, “Well, we do get tired and lose a little concentration, but we are all champions here, performing at the highest level. We make a few mistakes, but we are still winners!”

Currently featured on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box, Gabby Douglas is definitely a centerpiece for the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions. The tour is comprised of current and past Olympic athletes to include rhythmic and acrobatic gymnasts, trampoline and tumbling. Additionally, local club gymnasts will also join the production.

Nastia Liukin, 2008 Olympic all-around champion is a major feature of the show. Born in Moscow, her story is quite compelling. She trained in the U.S. and competed and won Olympic gold as an American. Although she missed making the London team, she shines on the Kellogg’s Tour. Her routines include performing high above the show floor, wrapped in netting. Nastia is a very entertaining crowd favorite.

The Olympians, both men and women, bring explosive, high energy to the show. Patrons will enjoy the athletes on their respective apparatus, in rapid succession. The men, featuring John Orozco were particularly entertaining on the rings and high bar. The women performed simultaneous routines on floor, uneven bars and the beam. Douglas performed mostly on the uneven bar. The crowd was definitely geared up for Gabby and was left asking for more. As the show travels, it would be nice to see Gabby featured on the center stage in a floor routine with members of the ‘fierce five.’ The crowd would certainly expect it.

Kellogg’s and Gabrielle Douglas will both be around for a while. To catch the Southern California swing, go kelloggstour.com. The event will continue in San Diego - September 13th, Los Angeles Staples Center –September 15th and the Anaheim Honda Center on September 16th.

After winning gold in London on August 2nd, Gabrielle Douglas tweeted: “Let all that I am praise the Lord, may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

USA Boxing Struggling

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Ali, Frazier, Foreman, De la Hoya and Patterson all have succeeded at the Games

By Leland Stein III

COMMENTARY

LONDON – US men’s Olympic boxers have won a record 108 medals. But since David Reid took gold at Atlanta in 1996, only one US man — Andre Ward, in 2004 — has taken the Olympic title.

The list of pugilist that has taken the sweet science by storm over the years after achieving Olympic glory is simply legendary. Any list will have to start with Floyd Patterson (1952), Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) in 1960, Joe Frazier (1964), George Foreman (1968), Sugar Ray Leonard (1976), Pernell Whitaker (1984), Mark Breland (1984), Evander Holyfield (1984), Michael Spinks (1976), Riddick Bowe (1988), Roy Jones Jr. (1988) Oscar de la Hoya (1992), and David Reid (1996).

There are others that found noteworthy success as professional fighters like Ray Seales (1972), John Tate (1976), Howard Davis (1976), Leo Randolph (1976), Steve McCrory (1984), Frank Tate (1984), Meldrick Taylor (1984), Tyrell Biggs (1984), Henry Tillman (1984), Michael Carbajal (1988), Ray Mercer (1988), Andrew Maynard (1988), Chris Byrd (1992), and Antonio Tarver 1996).

All of the above mentioned Olympians medaled at their Olympic Games and went on to successful professional careers. Fast forward into the 2000 and anyone can see something has happened to USA Boxing. In fact, the 2012 Olympic Games is the first in history where the US men did not medal in any of the weight classes. It took the US women to hold the boxing torch. In the first Games where women were allowed to participate in boxing, out of the three weight classes US women won two medals. Marlen Esparza won a bronze medal as a flyweight and Claressa Shields won the USA’s only boxing gold medal.

Shields’ historic gold was the first US gold since Ward and Ward’s was the first since Reid in 1996. The Olympic boxing gold has been hard to obtain for the US. That makes 17-year-old Shield’s remarkable win over two world champion women on her way to gold even that more impressive.

How does USA boxing get back on track? Are the mix martial arts diluting the talent pool? Surely the allure of college and professional football has taken away the Ali’s, Frazier’s and Foreman’s in US Boxing.

Another problem is that the USA Boxing names coaches, but the trainers that have worked with the fighters that make the Olympic team cannot be in their corners at the Games. Who knows the fighter better than the men and women that train them? No one!! And as the sweet science continues to grow internationally the fighters are getting better and better.

For example, I was watching a young lady from Ireland (Katie Taylor) fight for lightweight gold and in her corner was her father, who has trained her since she started boxing. The Irish Olympic officials told me, “Why would we put anyone else in her corner?”

I looked at the Americans and they have people in their fighter corners that simply do not know the fighters they are charged to cajole. The US Olympic Committee is also disappointed by boxing’s medal-less men’s team. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun offered no specifics, but it’s clear the governing body expected more from US fighters, who left the Olympics empty handed for the first time in team history.

‘‘We’re going to sit down and take a hard look at why we are where we are, and make some changes,’’ Blackmun said. ‘‘I don’t want to say anything beyond that.’’ The US men’s team, the most successful in Olympic history, lost nine of its last 10 bouts in London. USA Boxing has been criticized for a sharp decline in recent years, along with the fact that the coaching staff was not in place until just about a month before the games opened.

‘‘It’s very disappointing for all of us, but we all fought hard and tried,’’ welterweight Errol Spence said. ‘‘We’re disappointed in boxing,’’ Blackmun said. ‘‘We want to do better, particularly in men’s boxing. By saying disappointed in boxing, I don’t mean in the people. I mean, we’re disappointed that we didn’t do better in boxing, because I know that we can do better and we have to focus on how we do that.’’   Leland Stein can be reached at HYPERLINK "mailto:lelstein3@aol.com" lelstein3@aol.com or at Twitter @lelandsteinIII

Caribbean athletes take over track and field

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By Leland Stein III

COMMENTARY

LONDON - Throughout the history of the Olympic Games the larger nations like the Soviet Union, China, Germany and the United States have dominated the overall medal count at every Olympics.

The 2012 Games have recently concluded and the medal outcome was more of the same, with the USA and China battling for medal supremacy. Surprisingly jumping into the fray at third was Great Britain and that was a noteworthy story at the Games; however, the story of 2012 was the small archipelago chain Caribbean Islands just off the southeast coast of the United States.

The United States has long been the world dominate player in the sprints and relays and hurdles. However, the 2012 Games saw a measureable change in those events, especially with the men.

Leading the Caribbean charge was the small island of Jamaica. Out front and center for the resort-island and former British colony was one of the world’s most famous athletes, regardless of sport, superstar sprinter Usain Bolt. Led by Bolt’s historic showing the Caribbean Islands topped its record of equal 15 medals and surged to a record 18 in a fitting return to London, where it all started. Sure athletes from all over the world and especially the Caribbean’s have trained in the States’ university system, but Jamaica is unique in that their athletes are home grown. Jamaica's gold medals in London came from completely local-based coached and trained athletes.

I think that a man like Bolt, born in the States would have been a wide receiver and Olympic women’s 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce would be playing basketball. Instead, the great athletes in the Caribbean have looked at what has been successful for their peers and have channeled their energies into track and field and the results are obvious.

Bolt, Doubted by many experts to repeat his Beijing conquests because of his relatively unsound build-up, the 25-year-old sprint marvel responded like great champions do. His 9.63 Olympic record run in the 100 meters was only 0.05 seconds off his own world mark and made him the second Olympic athlete to win back-to-back 100-meter titles. Bolt came right back won his second 200-meter title and helped the Jamaican team set another 4x100-meter world record. But the most amazing occurrence was the men producing a sweep in the 200-meters. Just like the Jamaican ladies did in the 100 at the Beijing Games.

The USA sports-wise is always distracted by football, baseball, basketball and hockey and all the other wonderful sports suffer in America. However, internationally the track and field is an apex sport and the phenomenal Bolt has effortlessly transplanted the 2008 Beijing euphoria to London and the world. It was mind-boggling the way Bolt was everyone's hero.

The USA always wins the 4x400- relay, 400- and 400-meter hurdles, but the Caribbean Islanders sweep all of those events.

Inspired by decades of Caribbean prominence at the global level, Grenada 19-year-old 400 runner Kirani James came within tenths of a second of the world record with a sub 44 in the 400 when he landed the one-lap event in 43.94 seconds. His win led a Caribbean sweep of the 400 medals with Dominican Republic's Luquelin Santos and Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon taking silver and bronze, a stinging blow to the Americans, who have traditionally dominated the event but did not even have a finalist in London.

The USA had not lost a men's 400m final at the Olympics since 1976, and they swept (1-2-3) all the men's 400 medals in the two games prior to London — Athens and Beijing. The Bahamas men's 4x400 relay team delivered more agony to the USA in a tremendous result and national record 2:56.72, accentuated by Ramon Miller's thumping of US veteran Angelo Taylor on the final lap. It was the first Olympic defeat for the US in the event since 1972.

The Jamaican team won the 4x100, with Bolt and company setting a world record. To the USA’s credit the men ran a national record and have nothing to be ashamed of: It’s just that the Islanders are better.

Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica won her second consecutive 100 gold medal. But the USA women came on strong and won the 200, 400, 4x100 and 4x400 relay. The Islanders did not stop there as Trinidad and Tobago 19-year-old javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott became the first Black man to win the event. He became the youngest Olympic champion ever in the event.

In the 400 hurdles SANCHEZ Felix Sanchez clocked an astounding 47.63 with Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson finishing second.

The Islanders are trying to extend themselves outside of running as Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson and T&T cyclist Njisane Phillip, also hinted that with more investment and focus in these sports, the region can also rise to high levels. Atkinson was bravely fourth in the women's 100-metre breaststroke final and Phillip lost the bronze medal ride-off in the match sprint.

The Caribbean Islands have made the Olympics their focus without seeking all the American professional sports and the results are obvious.

Leland Stein can be reached at HYPERLINK "mailto:lelstein3@aol.com" lelstein3@aol.com or at Twitter @lelandsteinIII

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