OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Sending an emphatic message to his biggest rival, Michael Phelps stretched out to win a thrilling 200-meter freestyle over Ryan Lochte in the U.S. Olympic trials on Wednesday night, setting up a duel in London that just gets more tantalizing with every race.
Back and forth they went, Phelps and Lochte turning the Olympic trials into nothing more than a match race between the world's two greatest swimmers. The two were never more than a few inches apart, and then, at the wall, they thrust out their right arms.
Phelps touched first. By five-hundredths of a second.
Phelps' victory was even more impressive given his busy night. He didn't even have time to celebrate, hustling back to the warm-down pool to get ready for the semifinals of the 200 butterfly. He came back 40 minutes later to post the third-fastest qualifying time, moving on to Thursday night's final looking to lock up a chance to defend the gold he won at the last two Olympics.
Missy Franklin left no doubt that she is swimming's next big star with a stunning performance in the 100 backstroke, signaling a changing of the guard in an event Natalie Coughlin captured at the last two Olympics.
Coming back to the pool just 20 minutes after qualifying for the final of the 200 freestyle, the 17-year-old "Missile" chased down Coughlin on the return lap to win with an American record of 58.85.
Coughlin got off to a typically strong start and was under world-record pace at the turn. But the 29-year-old couldn't hold off two teenagers. Eighteen-year-old Rachel Bootsma got past the 11-time Olympic medalist, as well, claiming the second Olympic spot in 59.49.
Coughlin was third in 1:00.06 and has only one more chance to make her third Olympic team: the 100 freestyle.
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Roger Federer gave Prince Charles a bow, then gave Fabio Fognini a royal thumping.
With the Prince of Wales visiting Wimbledon for the first time since 1970, Federer was at his best Wednesday and beat Fognini 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.
Federer, a six-time winner at the All England Club, won 37 of 41 points on his first serve and 21 of 23 points at the net against Fognini, an Italian ranked 68th.
Shortly after Federer's victory, rain interrupted play, and the retractable roof on Centre Court was closed for the first time in the tournament. Defending champion Novak Djokovic won under the lights, beating American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day, which finished at 9:52 p.m.
Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki lost under the roof to Tamira Paszek, who saved two match points in the second set and won 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Other Grand Slam champions advancing included Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick, while 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur and 2011 French Open champion Li Na lost. More than a dozen matches on outside courts were postponed until Thursday.
Top-ranked Maria Sharapova led 7-6 (3), 3-1 when her second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova was suspended because of darkness.
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Far from its best, Spain still advanced to another major final on Wednesday, beating Portugal 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw at the European Championship.
Cesc Fabregas, who came on as a substitute in the second half of regulation time, scored the deciding penalty after Bruno Alves had hit the crossbar for Portugal moments earlier.
Spain, seeking its third straight major trophy after claiming titles at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, will next face either Germany or Italy on Sunday in Kiev.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A juror in the Roger Clemens perjury case tells The Associated Press that the key prosecution witness in the case wasn't credible.
The witness, Brian McNamee, was Clemens' longtime strength coach. McNamee testified that he injected the star pitcher with steroids and human growth hormone. But McNamee's physical evidence was kept in a beer can and his story changed over time.
Juror Bradford Weaver says McNamee wasn't credible for the jury because of a lack of "truthfulness."
Weaver also says the physical evidence wasn't solid, and he calls government witnesses "kind of wanting."
Clemens was acquitted last week of charges that he lied to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids or HGH.
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained groin before New York's rotation took another hit when fellow lefty Andy Pettitte broke his left ankle on a line drive.
Sabathia is expected to miss his next two starts after sustaining the injury Sunday against the Mets, while Pettitte will be gone for at least six weeks with an injury that the team said won't require surgery. Pettitte was hit by a ball off the bat of Cleveland's Casey Kotchman in the fifth inning of New York's 5-4 win on Wednesday.
NEW YORK (AP) — A woman charged with stalking and shaking down New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said he got her phony identification to use in getting an abortion after she became pregnant with his child.
Cashman spokesman Chris Giglio said Wednesday that the allegations amount to "more fiction" from a woman already facing stalking, perjury and other charges.
Louise Neathway made the claim in papers she filed Monday in a Manhattan civil court as a prelude to a possible lawsuit, although it's yet not clear whom she might sue. Meanwhile, she is facing criminal charges of stalking Cashman and extorting thousands of dollars from him, harassing her ex-husband and another man and lying to a grand jury. She has pleaded not guilty and is jailed on $300,000 bond.
The Manhattan district attorney's office says Neathway deluged Cashman with calls and text messages, demanded money for a medical procedure and threatened to harm his reputation if he didn't pay. In response, he paid her $6,000, according to a court complaint. She was arrested in February.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have entered a plea agreement with former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra in a case in which he is accused of bankruptcy fraud and embezzlement.
Court records show the plea agreement was filed under seal Tuesday.
Prosecutors said that after filing for bankruptcy, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.
Dykstra is currently serving a three-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement. He also was sentenced this year to nine months in jail after pleading no contest to charges he exposed himself to women he met on Craigslist.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Larry Bird is calling it quits with the Indiana Pacers.
Bird, perhaps the most respected and beloved basketball figure in a state obsessed with the sport, will leave his job as the Pacers' president of basketball operations at the end of August. He spent four years building the team into an Eastern Conference contender and was this season's NBA executive of the year, but is instead moving on after saying just a month ago that he was willing to stay.
Bird said health issues were among the reasons for his departure. He said he may need shoulder surgery and cited longstanding issues with his back. He plans to take a year off and get healthy before he evaluates his situation. Bird didn't rule out a return to basketball. Owning a team used to be a goal, but he said he no longer has that interest.
Donnie Walsh is returning as the Pacers' president. Kevin Pritchard, the director of player personnel, is being promoted to general manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned Tuesday.
NEW YORK (AP) — Pat Cummings, who played with five NBA teams over a 12-year career after being selected Metro Conference Player of the Year at Cincinnati, was found dead in a New York apartment, according to police. He was 55.
The 6-foot-9 Cummings, a native of Johnstown, Pa., was found Tuesday afternoon, police said Wednesday. They said the cause of death was to be determined but foul play wasn't suspected.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters and an athlete training center in Colorado Springs appear safe from a raging wildfire.
But about 40 USOC employees were evacuated from their Colorado Springs homes ahead of the fire that has forced more than 30,000 residents from their homes.
Patrick Sandusky of the USOC said that less than 4 percent of the U.S. Olympic team is staying at the training center. He said smoke was in the air at times, depending on the winds, but that no training facilities were affected.
Sandusky said at least three USOC staffers appear to have lost their homes, though a full count is not yet available.
The headquarters remained open Wednesday.
The USOC postponed its quarterly board meeting scheduled for Thursday in San Jose, Calif.
MIAMI (AP) — Former NFL executive Eddie Jones, who spent 10 years as president of the Miami Dolphins, has died. He was 74.
Jones died Wednesday morning, the Dolphins said. No cause was immediately given.
Jones joined the Dolphins as vice president of administration and finance in 1988 before becoming executive vice president and general manager in 1990, and he worked closely with Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has selected Fred Couples and Mike Hulbert to be two of his assistant captains.
Love and Couples were one of the toughest teams in World Cup history, along with being Ryder Cup teammates. Couples was captain the last Presidents Cups, both American victories. He was selected as Presidents Cup again for 2013. Hulbert is a longtime friend, who also was an assistant captain under Curtis Strange in 2002 at The Belfry.
Love says they will help decide on his other two assistants.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal has not announced his assistants.
The Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 at Medinah. Love also decided that the competition will start with the foursomes format. As home captain, he can decide which format is used first.
CHICAGO (AP) — The NHL season could start without a new labor agreement if both sides agree to continue talks beyond the Sept. 15 expiration of the current deal.
NHL players association executive director Don Fehr said Wednesday "the players haven't considered what they would do on Sept. 15 or any other date if no agreement is in place."
If there is no agreement by the expiration date, work could go on under the old pact if management and players agree to that, Fehr said. The regular season is scheduled to start on Oct. 11.
Fehr spoke at a news conference in Chicago at the end of meetings with NHL players that began in that city on Monday. He said he expects formal talks with the league to begin this week with regular meetings through July.
The league's free-agent signing period begins on Sunday.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Blues and coach Ken Hitchcock, who led the team to its first playoff series win in a decade last season, have agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2013-14 season with a mutual option for 2014-15.
The 60-year-old Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year after producing the franchise's first 100-point season since 2001 and its first postseason series win since 2002. The Blues tied for second overall in the NHL in the regular season and beat San Jose in the playoffs before getting swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
The playoff berth was just the second in seven seasons for St. Louis, which also won its first postseason games since 2004.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers have promoted assistant Ralph Krueger to head coach.
Krueger spent the last two seasons as an assistant under Tom Renney, whose contract wasn't renewed after the Oilers (32-40-10) finished 29th in the NHL last season.
The Oilers gave a three-year contract to the 52-year-old Krueger, who played and coached in Europe and was coach of the Swiss national team from 1997-2010. He coached the Swiss team in 12 world championships and three Olympics.