In Brief | Nation and World Jan. 28


Aaron shakes up US men’s skating with 1st title

OMAHA, Neb. — Never mess with the guy who knows how to rumble.

Little-known Max Aaron won his first title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Sunday and helped knock down three-time champion Jeremy Abbott to the last step on the podium. With two quadruple jumps and an arsenal’s worth of other tricks in his “West Side Story” program, don’t count the 20-year-old upstart out at the world championships in March, either.

Aaron screamed and shook his fists when he finished his program, then slid across the ice giving a Tiger Woods-like fist pump. (He was wearing red, appropriately, and it was Sunday.) When his marks were posted, Aaron’s jaw dropped and the audience roared. He won the free skate in a rout to jump from fourth to first, and finished with 255 points overall, almost four better than Ross Miner.

Abbott, who had won three of the last four U.S. titles, dropped to third after a disappointing and flawed free skate.

Fan hurt when runaway snowmobile heads into crowd

ASPEN, Colo. — A young fan was treated and released after being hurt when a runaway snowmobile veered into the crowd at Winter X after the rider fell off during a jump gone wrong.

The teenager was evaluated on site for a right knee injury on Sunday night. It’s not clear whether he was hurt jumping out of the way or was struck by the sled.

Snowmobiler Jackson Strong tumbled off the snowmobile during the best trick competition. The throttle stuck on the 450-pound machine and it swerved straight toward the crowd — fans scurrying out of the way.

The snowmobile came to a rest when it got tangled up in the retaining fence.

Jeremy Bester, of Prior Lake, Minn., quickly applied the brakes to keep it from moving.

Beckner, Zickovich win winter triathlon

BUTTE, Mont. — Landon Beckner and Julie Zickovich raced to home-state victories Sunday in the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships at the Powderhound Winter Triathlon at Homestake Lodge.

Beckner, from Helena, completed the 5-kilometer run, 10-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer Nordic ski — all on snow — in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 50 seconds. Zickovich, from Bozeman, finished in 1:29:57.

AP Source: Titans interested in hiring Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gregg Williams may be a step closer to returning to the NFL after being suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints’ bounty program.

Titans coach Mike Munchak has talked with Williams and is interested in adding him to his Tennessee staff, said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Titans do not discuss personnel moves until they are finalized.

Before the Titans could hire Williams, he must be reinstated by the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday the league has not yet addressed Williams’ potential reinstatement.

Munchak did not immediately answer a message left by the AP on Sunday. The Titans coach has not talked with the media about his team since the day after the season ended.

How quickly the league considers reinstating Williams may take at least a week with the San Francisco 49ers arriving in New Orleans on Sunday to kick off festivities leading up to the Feb. 3 Super Bowl.

Richardson, Mulder win World Sprint Championships

KEARNS, Utah — Heather Richardson was so nervous at the start of the World Sprint Championships her legs were shaking at the line.

By Sunday, she had de-stressed, propping up her legs in the locker room between races then skating a tactically perfect 1,000 meters.

That gold in the final individual event, combined with a pair of bronze medals Saturday, helped her become the first American woman to win the World Sprint Championships since Jennifer Rodriguez in 2005.

“Yesterday was so tense,” an elated Richardson said Sunday. “I just took all that pressure off me and said skate and have fun today.”

The overall title was the biggest victory of her career.

While 23-year-old Richardson was all smiles afterward, Michel Mulder of the Netherlands was a jumble of emotions after he claimed second place in the men’s 1,000 meters on Sunday to win the men’s overall title — just 4 1/2 months after he captured the world title for inline skating.

Snowmobiler has complication after Winter X crash

ASPEN, Colo. — Snowmobile rider Caleb Moore has had a “secondary complication involving his brain” after a crash at the Winter X Games led to bleeding around his heart.

The Moore family released a statement Sunday, but provided no further details, only the rider “continues to be monitored in ICU.”

The 25-year-old was performing a flip Thursday when he clipped the top of a jump. He went over the handlebars and the heavy sled rolled over him. He walked off the course with help and was transported to a hospital with a concussion.

While there, he developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to Grand Junction for surgery Friday.

His younger brother, Colten, also crashed in the competition and was taken to the hospital with a separated pelvis.

US Open to return to Winged Foot

The U.S. Open is returning to Winged Foot, the New York club with a history of clutch moments and one unforgettable collapse.

The U.S. Golf Association will announce Monday that the West Course at Winged Foot will host the 2020 U.S. Open. Only two other courses — Oakmont and Baltusrol — will have held the national championship more times.

Winged Foot was designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1923 and hosted its first U.S. Open six years later, when amateur Bobby Jones delivered one of the biggest shots in championship history with a 12-foot putt on the final hole to force a 36-hole playoff. He won the next day by 23 shots over Al Espinosa.

The most recent trip to Winged Foot was memorable for all the wrong reasons — not for Geoff Ogilvy winning with a superb up-and-down from below the 18th green, but for Phil Mickelson blowing his best chance ever to win the U.S. Open.

Virginia Tech CB Exum tears knee ligament

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum has a torn ligament in his right knee and could miss the start of the 2013 season.

The school announced Sunday that Exum tore his anterior cruciate ligament, though it did not say how, and was expected to miss six to nine months.

By wire sources