SPORTS BRIEFS: Austin City Council to vote on MLS stadium proposal

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a new stadium plan that could trigger a move by Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew to Texas.

Crew owner Anthony Precourt has been exploring a move to Austin and negotiating terms for city land to build a privately funded 20,000-seat stadium.

The Austin City Council is scheduled to hear public testimony. Consideration of the stadium proposal is expected to go late into the night and possibly into Friday.

The Crew has played in Columbus since MLS began in 1996.

Columbus hasn’t been willing to give up its team without a fight. Fan groups have rallied support and a state lawsuit has been filed to block a move. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said the league is reluctant to see one of the original franchises move, but has backed Precourt’s desire to look for a new home.

Ruck wins 200 at Pan Pacific, Ledecky gets 3rd

TOKYO — Taylor Ruck almost psyched herself out before the race even started.

Knowing she was swimming against five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky in the 200-meter freestyle on Thursday at the Pan Pacific Championships, the Canadian had to calm herself down as she readied to dive into the pool.

“It’s the name, I guess, because she is the fastest woman on the planet in a lot of races,” Ruck said of the American great. “My coach kind of saw that, so he told me to focus on my lane and my race.”

And there’s another factor. Almost everyone is already thinking about the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and using this event as a trial run.

Ruck won the 200 in 1 minute, 54.44 seconds, just ahead of Japanese rival Rikako Ikee. Ledecky was third in 1:55.15. Ledecky won this event two years ago at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics — and the 400 and 800, too — though it probably is her weakest race. She was second in the 200 a year ago at the world championships in Budapest.

It wasn’t a lost day. Ledecky took the 800 in 8:09.13 — the fifth fastest on record — and will be the favorite in the 400 during the four-day event in Tokyo, the biggest meet of the year for most swimmers around the Pacific Rim.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Ledecky said. “It’s a tough double. I’ve done it a number of times, but it’s always a difficult thing. I really put a lot of work into not having that happen again. But I still have two more years to go until the big show here in Tokyo.”

American teammate Lilly King did her thing. The Olympic champion in Rio again won the 100 breaststroke, this time in 1:05.44. Not her best time, but she’ll take it.

“I’m just trying to take it year by year, but I do feel it’s a little bit of a rehearsal for the Olympics since we’re in the same city,” King said. “I’m just trying to get used to the culture and things like that. But the Olympics are always in the back of my mind.”

King hasn’t lost this race since 2015.

“It’s definitely my baby,” she said. “I don’t know how I would take losing, so I’m just trying to keep winning.”

Host nation Japan won twice. Yasuhiro Koseki took the men’s 100 breaststroke, and Yui Ohashi won the women’s 400 individual medley.

Australia’s sole victory was in the mixed medley relay. China has sent fewer swimmers and is focusing instead on the Asian Games later this month in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Other American winners included Jordan Wilimovsky in the 1,500, Townley Haas in the 200 freestyle, and Chase Kalisz in the men’s 400 individual medley. He beat out Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino and Rio bronze medalist Daiya Seto. Kalisz took silver in Rio.

The Pan Pacs are being held in the Tatsumi International Swimming Center, which will be used for water polo at the next Olympics. A new aquatic center is about 35 percent complete, located just a short walk away.

IOC disappointed UN won’t grant North Korea sports exemption

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — IOC President Thomas Bach says he is disappointed the United Nations will not allow sports equipment to be sent to North Korea.

The International Olympic Committee’s request was rejected by the U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committee.

Bach says “this makes it more difficult for the IOC to accomplish its mission to bring athletes from all over the world together to promote understanding and friendship regardless of political background or any other differences.”

In a statement, Bach added that “it is all the more disappointing because the exemption asked for the easing of restrictions on sporting equipment only for a very limited number of athletes.”

The IOC played a key role in allowing North Korea to participate in the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea this year. Bach says the IOC will “continue to contribute to peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula and beyond through sport.”

Gold for Guliyev at Euros; hurdler Herman ends German hopes

BERLIN — World champion Ramil Guliyev won the men’s 200 meters at the European Athletics Championships on Thursday, and Elvira Herman of Belarus denied German hopes of gold in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.

Turkey’s Guliyev set a championship record of 19.76 seconds in beating Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Switzerland’s Alex Wilson.

The 21-year-old Herman clocked 12.67 seconds to beat Olympic bronze medalist Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.72) and Cindy Roleder (12.77) – both of Germany – for her first medal at a major meet.

Olympic champion Thomas Roehler won gold in front of home supporters in the javelin with a throw of 89.47 meters, beating German compatriot Andreas Hofmann and Estonia’s Magnus Kirt. World champion Johannes Vetter finished fifth.

World champion Karsten Warholm of Norway won the men’s 400-meter hurdles in 47.64, ahead of Turkey’s Yasmani Copello and Ireland’s Thomas Barr.

France’s two-time Olympic silver medalist, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, won his fifth European gold overall with his fourth 3,000 steeplechase title.

Also, Greece’s world and Olympic pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi successfully defended her European title against compatriot Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou and Britain’s Holly Bradshaw.