Briefly in sports

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Gymnastics

Biles, Raisman pose for SI swim issue

NEW YORK — Olympic champion gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman are vaulting into a new arena: the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

The two stars — who combined for eight medals at the 2016 Olympics — posed at several spots in the Houston area not far from Biles’ hometown of Spring for photographer James Macari.

The 19-year-old Biles does a handstand in one promo shot provided by the magazine. The 22-year-old Raisman has been an advocate for promoting a positive and healthy body image for young women.

Doctor sued by 18 women, girls

DETROIT — A doctor accused of sexually abusing gymnasts was sued Tuesday by 18 women and girls, the latest legal action over alleged assaults, mostly at his clinic at Michigan State.

The lawsuit against Dr. Larry Nassar, Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and a Lansing-area gymnastics club was filed in federal court in western Michigan. It makes claims of civil rights violations, discrimination and negligence.

Nassar faces at least five civil lawsuits. He’s denied the allegations. He’s charged with sexually assaulting a girl at his Holt, Michigan, home. Nassar is charged in federal court with possessing child pornography.

Soccer

2026 World Cup to have 48 teams

ZURICH — FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 nations to the 2026 tournament likely to be held in North America. President Gianni Infantino’s favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council.

It meets Infantino’s election pledge of a bigger and more inclusive World Cup going beyond European and South American teams, which have won all 20 titles.

An original 48-team plan — with an opening round sending 16 “one-and-done” teams home — proved unpopular.

New York Cosmos get new owner

NEW YORK — The Cosmos have a new owner and likely will be moving from Long Island to New York City.

Rocco B. Commisso, chief executive of Mediacom Communications Corp. and a former player at Columbia, purchased majority ownership of the team in the second-tier North American Soccer League.

The Cosmos relaunched in 2013 under CEO Seamus O’Brien and won titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Cosmos have been playing at Hofstra while they sought a new stadium next to Belmont Park.

Featuring Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia, the Cosmos played in the old NASL from 1971-84 and folded in 1985.

Pro tennis

Sharapova to return at Stuttgart in April

MOSCOW — Maria Sharapova will return from her 15-month doping ban in Germany in April. Porsche, which sponsors Sharapova and the event in Stuttgart, said Tuesday that Sharapova has been given a wild card entry into the tournament.

Player banned for life for match-fixing

LONDON — A Romanian player has been banned from the sport for life after admitting to a charge of match-fixing. The Tennis Integrity Unit says Alexandru-Daniel Carpen was found to have approached another player in October 2013 to fix a match in return for payment.

The 30-year-old Carpen achieved a career-high ranking of No. 1,088 in 2007.

Mixed martial arts

Rousey posts ‘rock bottom’ quote

Former UFC champ Ronda Rousey is turning to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for inspiration more than a week after getting humiliated in a 48-second comeback match against Amanda Nunes.

On Monday, Rousey posted a quote from Rowling on Instagram: “And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Pro basketball

Rose returns after going AWOL

NEW YORK — Derrick Rose returned to practice with the New York Knicks after missing their game the night before for what he described as family reasons. The team announced he had been fined for missing the 110-96 loss to New Orleans on Monday and said he was expected to be in uniform tonight in Philadelphia.

Pro hockey

NHL All-Star rosters chosen

LOS ANGELES — Rookies Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine were among the 40 players selected Tuesday for the NHL’s 62nd All-Star Game at Staples Center. Chicago led the league with four players selected for All-Star weekend, which will be held Jan. 27-29 in Los Angeles.

— The Associated Press


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