Sunday's sports stories

Ivana Saric
Nov 21, 2021 - World

Missing Chinese tennis player tells Olympic Committee she is safe

Peng Shuai at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 21, 2020. Photo: Xinhua/Bai Xue via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee held a video call on Sunday with missing tennis player Peng Shuai, whose whereabouts have been a subject of international worry for weeks.

The latest: Peng "explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time," according to the IOC statement released on Sunday.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Updated Nov 21, 2021 - Sports

Sports tickets meet NFTs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The mobile revolution replaced paper tickets with digital barcodes. Now comes the next leap: upgrading barcodes to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Driving the news: Teams and leagues are experimenting with NFTs as a way to increase the value of digital tickets, with the ultimate goal of rewarding (and thus increasing) attendance.

Updated Nov 20, 2021 - Sports

WTA asks China ambassador's help in finding missing tennis star

China's Peng Shuai in a women's doubles semi-final match at the Kunming Open tennis tournament on April 27, 2019. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the United States should assist in "bringing about a satisfactory result" in regards to the missing tennis player Peng Shuai, Women's Tennis Association CEO Steve Simon wrote in a letter dated Friday.

Why it matters: Peng has not been seen in public since she accused China's former vice premier of sexual assault earlier this month. Tennis authorities have called for a full investigation into the allegations by the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.

Nov 20, 2021 - Sports

Washington Spirit win their first-ever NWSL championship

Andi Sullivan of Washington Spirit celebrates with Trinity Rodman after scoring during the second half against Chicago Red Stars during the NWSL Championship on November 20, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Washington Spirit beat the Chicago Red Stars 2-1 after extra time in the National Women's Soccer League championship on Saturday.

Driving the news: The victory gives the Spirit their first-ever NWSL championship victory. Both teams have reached the championship game before but neither had won, CBS Sports writes.

Nov 20, 2021 - Sports

Australian Open to require players to be vaccinated against COVID

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates against Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men's singles final during day 14 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Feb. 21. Photo: TPN/Getty Images

The Australian Open will require tennis players to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus for the tournament in January, tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed in an interview, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The requirement concludes months of "mixed messages from Australian government officials" on whether or not to implement a vaccine mandate, the Times writes.

Nov 20, 2021 - Sports

Player empowerment is key to the future of U.S. women's pro soccer

The Orlando Pride Starting XI prior to a game between NJ/NY Gotham City FC and Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium on October 9, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos/Getty Images

When the National Women's Soccer League erupted into controversy this season over a slew of assault allegations, the future of the league — and more broadly, U.S. women’s professional soccer — looked uncertain.

Why it matters: The U.S. has had three women's professional soccer leagues in two decades, with the first two each lasting just three seasons. But the NWSL may be on a different path, sports analysts and former players say. That is, if the league and its teams put players' demands and concerns front and center.