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Sports in brief

GYMNASTICS

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BILES NAMED TOP FEMALE ATHLETE

Simone Biles, who tied a record with four golds to go with a bronze for the dominant U.S. women's gymnastics team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer, was named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

Biles received 31 out of a possible 59 votes. U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, who won four golds and a silver in Rio, finished second with 20.

Biles, 19, put a gulf between her and every other gymnast on the planet, even her friends in red, white and blue.

"In prelims I did very well I kind of shocked myself," Biles said. "I came in thinking, 'I've been to three worlds.' I knew the gist of it. Once I got (prelims) out of the way, I just kind of relaxed."

The AP Male Athlete of the Year will be announced today.

SOCCER

Astounding goal lifts Man U

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored an acrobatic back flick to wrap up host Manchester United's 3-1 win over Sunderland in the English Premier League, ensuring a miserable return to Old Trafford for former United manager David Moyes. On as a second-half substitute, Mkhitaryan met Zlatan Ibrahimovic's right-wing cross with a flicked finish with his right heel that flew into the corner in the 86th minute. Elsewhere in EPL, host Chelsea set a club record of 12 straight wins as it beat Bournemouth 3-0; visiting Manchester City wore down last-placed Hull to win 3-0; and Olivier Giroud headed home an 86th-minute winner as host Arsenal avoided another Christmas stumble to beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0.

ET CETERA

BASEBALL: The Rockies signed utilityman Alexi Amarista to a one-year contract with a club option for 2018.

HORSES: Britain was hailing a new king of jump racing after Thistlecrack produced a flawless performance to win the King George VI Chase in Kempton, one of the most prestigious races on the country's calendar.

SAILING: Eight-time line honors winner Wild Oats XI was forced to retire from the Sydney to Hobart (Australia) yacht race for the second straight year after suffering damage to a hydraulic ram.

SKIING: Christof Innerhofer of Italy led the only training session for a World Cup downhill on the Deborah Compagnoni course by a huge margin in Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy. Innerhofer led Olympic champion Matthias Mayer of Austria by 1.32 seconds and Hannes Reichelt of Austria by 1.44.

Times wires

Sports in brief 12/26/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 26, 2016 8:30pm]
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