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Rainier Ehrhardt / associated press file

Bryan Clauson, considered the top dirt-track racer in the country, has died from injuries suffered in an accident at the Belleville (Kansas) Midget Nationals USAC midget race. He was 27.

His death was announced Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A statement from his family was read that said Clauson died Sunday evening.

Molly Samuel / WABE

When Team USA walks into the Opening Ceremonies in Rio Friday night, there will be locals in the group. More than a dozen Olympic athletes representing the United States are from Georgia.

One of those athletes is the first-ever table tennis player from Georgia to go to the Olympics.

Feng Yijun trains at Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy in Johns Creek. He moved to the area four years ago.

Greg Gibson / Associated Press

This story is part of "Atlanta Remembers: The 1996 Olympics," WABE's series on the impact of the 1996 Summer Olympics on Atlanta, 20 years later. For more stories, click here.

William Porter “Billy” Payne served as Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games. He is better known, though, as the Atlanta Games’ “father.” He sat down with WABE's Lisa George to talk about the genesis of bringing the games here.

Martha Dalton / WABE

This story is part of "Atlanta Remembers: The 1996 Olympics," WABE's series on the impact of the 1996 Summer Olympics on Atlanta, 20 years later. For more stories, click here.  

When the Summer Olympics came to Atlanta 20 years ago, organizers had to build dozens of sporting venues from scratch.

The price tag was $1.7 billion. All the money was raised through private donations.

Two decades later, some venues are thriving, while others have languished.

Associated Press

Muhammad Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, has died. He was 74.

Ali suffered for years from Parkinson's disease, which ravaged his body but could never dim his larger-than-life presence. A towering figure in his prime, he still traveled and made appearances in his later years despite being muted by the thousands of hits he took during his remarkable career.

Charles Krupa / Associated Press

When Northwestern University football players wanted to unionize last year, they were rebuffed by federal officials.

But student athletes are still trying to push for more influence the way they're treated.

For the first time South Eastern Conference student-athletes joined the league's spring policy meetings being held this week.

Atlanta United will also play at the Mercedes-Benz stadium with the Atlanta Falcons. It plans to install mechanical drapes on the the top half of the stadium -- so the capacity for soccer games will be about 30,000.
Illustration courtesy of Atlanta United FC

The city of Atlanta has won the bid to host the Super Bowl in 2019, after NFL owners voted Tuesday. Tampa, New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles were also in the running to host the championship games from 2019 through 2021. 

“It’s a wonderful day for our city and franchise and I know the people of Atlanta and all of Georgia will deliver a spectacular Super Bowl celebration in 2019,” Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank said in a statement.

A Denver Bronco holds the Lombardi Trophy aloft during a victory rally to celebrate the Bronco's win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, in Denver, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.
Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

NFL team owners are meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina starting Monday to decide, among other things, where the Super Bowls will be held in 2019 and 2020.

Atlanta will probably be selected, according to J.C. Bradbury, who teaches sport management and economics at Kennesaw State University.

 The Georgia mascot Uga takes the field before an NCAA football game against the LSU, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Athens, Ga.
John Bazemore / AP Photo

The 2016 college football season will open with the University of Georgia facing off against North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

The game will mark the debut of Kirby Smart at the new head coach of UGA.

This will be the 31st time the Bulldogs will play the Tar Heels, with UGA leading the series with a 16-12-2 record.

The Kickoff Game is scheduled for Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m.

It will air nationally on ESPN.    

David Goldman / Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons want to feed their fans for less. Today Arthur Blank announced that concessions pricing at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be priced below the average for NFL stadiums.

Two dollars for sodas and water, $3 for snacks like nachos and pizza, and a domestic beer will cost $5.

JC Bradbury, a sports management economist with Kennesaw State University, said the price change isn't just from the goodness of the Falcon management's hearts.

Suntrust Park is expected to open in time for the 2017 baseball season.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Season tickets to the Atlanta Braves go on sale to the general public next week.

The baseball team has been in Atlanta since 1966, but next year, it will play in a new stadium in Cobb County.

Atlanta Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz said SunTrust Park is a 20 percent downsize from Turner Field.

“You're going to feel closer to the action,” Schuerholz said. “You're going to feel closer to your friends. It's 10,000 seats smaller at 41,500. It’s a more intimate facility and it'll be more enjoyable."

Bita Honarvar / Atlanta Event Photography

The racism and abuse Hall of Famer Hank Aaron endured while chasing the home run record of Babe Ruth was so traumatic he almost regrets the accomplishment many consider one of the greatest feats in sports history.

“I didn’t have too much fun,” the former Atlanta Braves slugger said. “It was the saddest 2 1/2 years I ever had in baseball. Knowing what I know now, I don’t know that I would do it again.”

AP Photo

Jackie Robinson's contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers that broke Major League Baseball's color barrier is on public view in New York and soon in other places, as well.

The April 11, 1947, document, together with a contract Robinson signed two years earlier with the Montreal Royals, is on display at Collectors Cafe, a new collectibles auction venture in Times Square.

On Friday, the documents will move to the New-York Historical Society, where they will be on view for one week before going on a tour of other cities.

Pouya Dianat, file / Associated Press

The regular schedule for the Atlanta Falcons’ final regular season at the Georgia Dome has been released.

It kicks off Sept. 11 with a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

There are two national games this season, a Monday Night Football meeting with the New Orleans Saints and a Thursday Night Football matchup against the Buccaneers.

Other teams the Falcons will play this season: the Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos.

The Falcons' final regular season home game is on New Year’s Day against the Saints.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta Braves outfielder Hector Olivera was placed on paid administrative leave by Major League Baseball after he was arrested when a woman accused him of assault at a hotel outside Washington.

The Braves said in a statement Wednesday the team is "extremely disappointed and troubled."

Officers were called earlier Wednesday to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City, where a woman with visible bruises reported that Olivera had assaulted her, Arlington Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said.

Waleed Al Madhoun / flickr.com/photos/waleedmadhoun/

Atlanta city leaders asked the NBA this week to consider moving the 2017 All-Star Game their way from Charlotte after North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation criticized as limiting protections for LGBT people.

Atlanta's City Council introduced a resolution at a meeting asking the NBA to consider Atlanta after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law critics called discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and his pregnant wife announced the gender of their baby in a unique way.

Chelsea Freeman released a video on Twitter where she pitched a ball to the star infielder.

Tommy Giordano, special assistant to the general manager of the Atlanta Braves, scouts an exhibition spring training baseball game between the Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla.
Paul Newberry / Associated Press

Tommy Giordano sits in a folding chair behind home plate at Champion Stadium, a stopwatch in his right hand, a lineup card in his lap, his eyes darting this way and that, always searching for the next great player, be it another Joe DiMaggio. Or Hank Aaron. Or Cal Ripken Jr.

He's seen 'em all. Heck, he once out-homered the Hammer.

At age 90, Giordano's mind is sharp, his passion for the game as strong as ever.

Atlanta Falcons Stadium Co.

Sites for the Super Bowls in 2019, 2020 and 2021 will be decided at the NFL owners' meetings in May in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The league's Super Bowl Advisory Committee announced that Atlanta, Los Angeles, South Florida and Tampa would be in the running for Super Bowls 54 and 55. Previously, New Orleans, Atlanta, South Florida and Tampa were chosen as finalists for Super Bowl 53 in February 2019.

Next year's game is in Houston. The 2018 Super Bowl is in Minneapolis, where the Vikings will open their new stadium for the upcoming season.

Solomon Jackson, who was from Stone Mountain and attended the University at Buffalo, has died a week after experiencing a medical emergency during a team conditioning session, according to the school.

The university said in a statement Tuesday that Jackson died Monday night. The university said it can't release other details because of federal medical care privacy laws.

Jackson was taken to Buffalo General Hospital the morning of Feb. 22. University officials haven't released details of what happened during the conditioning session.

2013 WNBA Finals
Erica M (cropped: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode) / flickr.com/photos/swirlspice/

The WNBA has named Lisa Borders its new president.

Borders, who helped bring the Dream to Atlanta in 2008 as the city's vice mayor, will become the league's fourth president. The move announced Wednesday comes three months after former president Laurel J. Richie stepped down.

Ben Margot / Associated Press

Everyone got spoiled.

Over two decades of watching Peyton Manning play on the biggest stages, fans became numb to all he could do — the way he dissected defenses with clinical precision, the way he rewrote the record book, even the way he came back from a neck injury that was supposed to be career-ending.

Then this.

Hobbled, creaking, sputtering to the end of his 18th season, he became a different quarterback. Not the Alpha Dog who needed to call all the shots. But a 39-year-old game manager who needed others to carry him over the finish line.

Alison Yin / AP Images for Discovery Communications

Super Bowl Sunday is rapidly approaching, and that means another week of water cooler discussions about how the game went, which commercial featuring a dog made people cry the most and how the referees must have been watching a different game than everyone else. 

Season ticket prices for 2017 range from $360 to $4050.
Courtesy of Atlanta United FC

Atlanta's new professional soccer team, Atlanta United, will likely play the first ten to 12 games of its first season on the road as it waits for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be completed.

Vice President of Business Operations of Atlanta United Ann Rodriguez said the team plans to play all of its home games next year in the new stadium and that it's not looking at other venues right now.

"We're looking at potentially opening on the road, playing the first 10-12 games on the road instead of the usual half home, half away," Rodriguez said. 

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton celebrates after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers won 49-15 to advance to the Super Bowl.
Chuck Burton / Associated Press

Peyton Manning is the only five-time MVP in NFL history, one of the faces of the league and, at 39, the oldest starting quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

Slowed by age and injury, he is no longer the record-breaking passer he once was. Most folks figure Manning's fourth Super Sunday appearance will be his last game as a pro.

Cam Newton is at the opposite end of his career, just 26, making his debut in the big game. He also is expected to earn MVP honors for the first time, part of a new breed of dual-threat QBs as good at running as they are at throwing.

Marietta City Council approved the site plan to the Atlanta United soccer team for a practice facility. A previous deal with DeKalb County ended abruptly.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

Atlanta United FC can now move forward on building its new headquarters and six soccer fields in Marietta, Georgia.

It's part of an effort to make the city a soccer magnet.

Marietta City Council gave the professional soccer team, Atlanta United, final approval recently to build six practice fields and offices for its team and youth academy programs.

The team plans to spend $50 million to build the complex and has signed a 30-year lease. 

It will pay $1 per year for the first 10 years and $300,000 per year after that.

Brenna Beech / WABE

When the North American Soccer League (NASL) season starts in March, it will be missing the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Monday night, NASL announced that it is shutting down the team for the spring 2016 season, and possibly forever, because it can't find the right owner.  

“Unfortunately in Atlanta -- a market we continue to believe could be successful in the NASL -- there wasn’t an ownership group identified that met the very specific standards we hold ourselves to as a league,” NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson wrote in a statement.

Gregory Smith / associated press

Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz has been promoted to Fox's lead baseball analyst and will work alongside play-by-play man Joe Buck, displacing Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.

Fox made the announcement Tuesday. Network spokesman Dan Bell said Fox was discussing different roles with Reynolds, who also works for the MLB Network, and Verducci, who also works for the MLB Network and Sports Illustrated.

Winner of the 1996 NL Cy Young Award, Smoltz was a first-ballot pick for the Hall this year. He has been a Fox analyst during the last two seasons.

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

A coroner says autopsy results show the death of former Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy Hanson was caused by cocaine and alcohol use.

Coweta County coroner Richard Hawk said Friday the combined effects of cocaine and alcohol ultimately caused the death of 29-year-old Hanson, who died Nov. 9.

Hanson wasn't breathing as rescue crews tried to help him at a friend's home in Newnan, south of Atlanta.

It's not immediately clear when Hanson might have ingested the cocaine and alcohol.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

The new University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is set to be paid a $3.75 million a year for the next five years, according to a memorandum of understanding released Sunday on the UGA Athletics website.

The university will pay $400,000 of Smart's salary, while the remaining $3.35 million will come from the University of Georgia Athletic Association, Inc. in return for endorsements and radio, television and sponsored event appearances.

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