At age 29, the sumo wrestler known as Asashoryu, whose 25 top-division wins ranks third in the history of the sport. The 6 foot, 340-pound wrestler (above), born Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, announced his departure last Thursday following reports that he'd broken a man's nose in an alcohol-fueled brawl. While disputing media accounts of that incident, Asashoryu told reporters he'd nonetheless "caused a lot of trouble for so many people" and needed closure. Asashoryu was sumo's 68th yokozuna, or highest-ranking competitor, and perhaps its most controversial. In 2007 he was the first grand champion to be suspended after he cited injuries in skipping a match; later it was revealed that he had been playing in a charity soccer game at the time.
For flipping the bird at a Dolphins fan during a Jan. 30 MMA event in Sunrise, Fla., Jets coach Rex Ryan. On Feb. 2, after a cellphone photo of the gesture appeared on the Internet, the club docked its first-year coach $50,000. Ryan apologized, explaining that he "wouldn't accept that type of behavior from one of the coaches or players." However, five days after the incident, Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer, who attended the event with Ryan, told New York City's WFAN radio that the coach had been spat on and verbally provoked by the unruly fan. "I think [Rex] needs a reward for showing restraint," Glazer said. "I'd give him 50 grand for not hitting the guy."
During one eight-day period, two players from the same Mexican soccer club, including one who was likely to compete at the 2010 World Cup. On Jan. 25 Club América striker Salvador Caba√±as, 29, was shot in the head following an argument in the bathroom of a Mexico City bar. As of Monday, Caba√±as, who led Paraguay with six goals in helping the Albirroja qualify for South Africa, had regained consciousness and was speaking, but doctors had failed to remove a bullet from his skull and were unable to predict his return. On Feb. 1 teammate Juan Carlos Silva, 22, took a bullet to his left buttocks during a failed carjacking in which he was targeted. Team officials said they expected Silva to return to practice this week. Police have not arrested a shooter in either case.
For USC, after a delay of 3½ years and four ACL surgeries, former blue-chip basketball recruit Jacki Gemelos (right). During a 61--55 loss at Cal last Thursday, Gemelos showed a bit of rust as well as flashes of the offensive brilliance that had drawn comparisons with Diana Taurasi and allowed her to score 39.2 points a game as a senior in 2005--06 at St. Mary's High in Stockton, Calif. Against the Golden Bears, Gemelos scored eight points, dished five assists and had five rebounds in 28 minutes. Three days later she led the team with 13 points in a 77--39 loss to Stanford. "I've been dreaming of [getting on the court] in my USC uniform," Gemelos said after her debut. "It's finally happened. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't."
At age 88, following a stroke, Bill Dudley, who earned NFL MVP honors in 1946. Dubbed "Bullet Bill" despite his glaring lack of speed (he once finished second to last among the running backs in a pre--All-Star Game sprint, then returned a kickoff 98 yards in the game itself), Dudley maneuvered his 5'10" frame to a nation's-best 134 points as a senior at Virginia in '41. The next year he was the NFL's No. 1 overall pick, by Pittsburgh, and led the league in rushing before an Army stint in World War II cost him two seasons. The MVP award came after he led the league in rushing, punt returns and interceptions. Following his '53 retirement Dudley found time to form the NFL Alumni Association, in '69, and serve in Virginia's House of Delegates from '66 to '74.
By the Atlanta Thrashers to the New Jersey Devils, left wing Ilya Kovalchuk. Faced with the prospect of losing the best player in franchise history for nothing, Atlanta shipped the former 50-goal scorer to a Cup contender for two players, a minor league prospect and a 2010 first-round pick. Kovalchuk, who leads the league with 328 goals since he was drafted in '01, can become an unrestricted free agent in July and had been seeking a long-term deal close to the salary-cap maximum. He will have multiple options: He can sign with any NHL team or play in the KHL in his native Russia, where he would become the league's centerpiece. Either way, he's considered a short-term rental for the Devils, for whom he assisted twice in his first game, a 4--3 win over Toronto last Friday.
In a two-vehicle crash last Friday on snow-covered U.S. Highway 35 near Economy, Ind., Brendan Burke. The 21-year-old senior was the student manager of the No. 1--ranked Miami (Ohio) University hockey team. He was also the fourth oldest of Toronto Maple Leafs and Team USA G.M. Brian Burke's six children. Brendan made headlines last November when he announced his homosexuality. At the time his father, the most blustery of old-time hockey executives, told ESPN.com, "I hope the day comes, and soon, when this is not a story." The funeral was Tuesday, a week before the U.S. opens its Olympic tournament against Switzerland.
Viewers who tuned in to Super Bowl XLIV, surpassing the 1983 M*A*S*H finale (106 million) as TV's largest audience ever.
Percent reduction of purse sizes in 2010 across NASCAR's three national series, a means of easing the financial burden on struggling tracks.
Longhorns BCS champion T-shirts donated by Texas to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The shirts would have sold for $20 each had the school defeated Alabama on Jan. 7.
Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak's record this season in games during which he has faced 40 or more shots.
Football victories vacated by Florida State as part of an NCAA penalty for academic cheating. The Seminoles also forfeited wins in nine other men's and women's sports, including the 2007 men's track national championship.
World ranking of 42-year-old Steve Stricker after winning the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open. Stricker supplants Phil Mickelson and now trails only Tiger Woods.
THEY SAID IT
The Reverend Jesse Jackson
To SI's Alan Shipnuck, when asked before Super Bowl XLIV why he was picking Indy as opposed to being swept up in Saints mania:
"The Colts didn't make Katrina happen, and no Saints live in the Lower Ninth. So you can forget that story line."
ISSEI KATO/REUTERS (ASASHORYU)
JON KONDRATH (GEMELOS)
BAZUKI MUHAMMAD/REUTERS/LANDOV (JACKSON)