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Sports in brief

GYMNASTICS

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Biles wins 3rd straight world title

GLASGOW, Scotland — Simone Biles won her third straight world title Thursday, topping defending Olympic champion Gabby Douglas in an electric all-around final that cemented Biles' status as the overwhelming favorite at the Rio Olympics next summer. The 18-year-old from Ohio overcame a near fall on balance beam and a big step out of bounds on floor exercise to post a score of 60.399, more than a full point ahead of Douglas and bronze medalist Larisa Iordache of Romania. The margin is the biggest of Biles' three championships even with the mistakes. She became the first woman to win three straight titles and hasn't lost a meet of any kind in more than two years. "If I could crawl out of my skin and see it, it would be really amazing," she said. Biles' eight world championship golds are a record for an American, and she'll have a chance to add to that total in event finals over the weekend. "I just keep blowing my own mind because yes, there are goals that I have, and then I dream of it and then I make it a reality," Biles said. "I'm just shocked by myself."

Prep football

Satanists spur suspension

A high school assistant football coach who prayed at games despite orders from the school district to stop was put on paid administrative leave after a group of self-described Satanists said it planned to protest the practice. Bremerton (Wash.) High assistant Joe Kennedy was put on leave because he refused to comply with directives to avoid overt religious displays on the field, school district officials said. Kennedy has vocally prayed before and after games, sometimes joined by students, since 2008. The practice recently came to the district's attention, and it asked him to stop. He agreed, but with support from the Texas-based Liberty Institute, a religious-freedom organization, he resumed the postgame prayers, silently taking a knee for 15-20 seconds after shaking hands with the opposition. His lawyers insist he's not leading students in prayer, just praying himself. A group of robe-wearing, incense-spreading Satanists planned to attend Thursday's game to protest. Senior class president Abe Bartlett said he was one of a few students who invited the Satanic Temple of Seattle, saying it was an effort to get the district to clarify its policy.

Et cetera

TENNIS: Maria Sharapova reached the semifinals of the WTA Finals and sent U.S. Open champ Flavia Pennetta, 33, into retirement, beating the Italian 7-5, 6-1 in Singapore. Pennetta, eliminated with the loss, was playing in her last tournament after announcing at the U.S. Open she would retire at the end of the season. Agnieszka Radwanska also reached the semis, beating top-seeded Simona Halep 7-6 (7-5), 6-1. … Roger Federer was pushed to three sets before beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the Swiss Indoors second round in Basel.

SURFING: Officials are searching for a Hawaii big-wave surfer after he went missing on Oahu's North Shore. Alec "Ace Cool" Cooke, 59, was last seen Tuesday before he went surfing during a 20- to 25-foot swell near Waimea Bay, the Coast Guard said.

Times wires

Sports in brief 10/29/15 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2015 11:11pm]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

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