Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Thiem shoots down young gun Zverev to reach final
Dominic Thiem overcame Alex Zverev 3-6 6-4 7-6(3) 7-6(4) to reach his first Australian Open final on Friday and set up the ultimate test against Melbourne Park maestro Novak Djokovic. In an enthralling semi-final featuring a rain interruption, a lighting failure and a plenty of drama besides, the fifth seeded Austrian shrugged off a sluggish start and was courageous on the big points to triumph under the roof at Rod Laver Arena.
All-Stars to wear special uniforms, patches to honor Bryant
NBA players will wear special uniforms and patches during February's All-Star weekend to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others killed in Sunday's helicopter crash near Los Angeles, the National Basketball Association said on Friday. Team LeBron (James) will wear the number 2, Gianna's basketball jersey number, and Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo) will don number 24, Kobe's number, the NBA said.
Vegas bookmakers hope Chiefs and 49ers produce low-scoring Super Bowl
The winner of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers is of little concern to Las Vegas casinos, with a sizeable jackpot awaiting them so long as it is a low-scoring and uneventful affair. While the bulk of bets will not be made until closer to kickoff, the current pattern is not expected to change which means it will be a balanced game for bookmakers with most tickets backing the Chiefs but bigger wagers on the 49ers.
Helicopter in Kobe Bryant crash lacked certificate to fly in fog
The company whose helicopter crashed and killed basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others on Sunday was not certified to fly in foggy conditions requiring pilots to use only cockpit instruments, U.S. officials said on Friday. Island Express Helicopters, which owned the Sikorsky S-76B that crashed, was limited to operating under visual flight rules, meaning pilots must be able to see clearly outside the aircraft in daylight, said Keith Holloway, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman.
Mahomes, Garoppolo and Brady in Super Bowl spotlight
When the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers meet in the Super Bowl on Sunday there will be three quarterbacks to focus on -- Jimmy Garoppolo, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. Chiefs' outrageously skilled Mahomes and the immensely competent Garoppolo will be the central figures at Hard Rock Stadium. But make no mistake, Brady will be an omnipresent figure throughout the NFL championship game.
Super Bowl to feature women owners on each side for first time
When the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers take the field on Sunday, new ground will be broken with this year's Super Bowl being the first to feature two teams with women owners. With Denise York helping lead the Niners as co-owner and co-chair and Norma Hunt the matriarch of the Chiefs, Super Bowl LIV will represent a small crack in the glass ceiling of the overwhelmingly male-dominated world of pro football.
Five storylines to follow at the Super Bowl
Five stoylines to watch when the Kansas City Chiefs play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Miami on Sunday: 1 - Will Andy Reid will earn redemption for previous questionable Super Bowl clock management?
Nike prototype Vaporfly shoe banned but current version going to Olympics
Nike Vaporfly shoes used to run the world's first sub-two hour marathon will be banned from professional sport under a landmark decision on Friday that also allows currently sold versions of the high-tech shoes to be used in the Olympics. The first-ever shoe ban by World Athletics (WA), the sport's governing body, addresses concerns that technology advances are giving athletes an unfair and unnatural advantage. It limits future use of carbon fibre plates and some track spikes but stopped short of outlawing the Vaporfly models that have helped re-write the record books for elites and amateurs alike.
Mahuchikh soars to under-20 world record high jump
Ukraine teenager Yaroslava Mahuchikh soared to an under-20 indoor world record 2.02 metres with the best high jump of the season at Karlsruhe on Friday on the second stop of the World Athletics Indoor Tour. Mahuchikh, the world outdoor silver medallist, hit the bar on the way down on her first attempt at 2.02m but it stayed on, allowing her to add a centimetre to the U20 mark she had set in Lviv 13 days before.
Ames shoots 69 to retain lead in Morocco
Stephen Ames shot a 3-under-par 69 on Friday to retain his lead by three strokes after the second round of the Morocco Champions in Marrakech. The Canadian entered the day with a four-stroke lead after an opening-round 63. He had four birdies and a bogey on the round at the Samanah Golf Club.