Whether you managed to escape technology for a romantic getaway, or had your face buried deep within your iPhone trying to nostalgically capture a Poliwag outside your ex-girlfriend’s apartment (yeah, let’s go with that), chances are you may have missed an eventful weekend in sports.
From Milos at Wimbledon to Portugal to UFC 200 to the Jays and Leafs, here are seven cool stories from a hot July weekend that you’ll want to know.
NO OLYMPICS FOR MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
Canada’s men failed to qualify for this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro after an 83-74 loss to France in the final of the FIBA qualifying tournament in the Philippines on Sunday.
After a heartbreaking loss to Venezuela at the FIBA Americas championship last September, Canada saw it’s best chance to qualify for the 2016 games slip away that night – but was given another opportunity as one of 16 teams granted a chance to play for the final Rio Olympic spot in Manilla this July.
Although Canada was thought to be in tough this tournament with the likes of France and Turkey in the bracket, failing to qualify will still be seen as a disappointment for a developing basketball nation who hasn’t seen an Olympic birth since Sidney in 2000.
MURRAY TOO MUCH FOR MILOS AT WIMBLEDON
Just days after becoming the first Canadian man to ever reach the final of a Grand Slam in the Open era, Milos Raonic also became the first to lose in a Grand Slam final – going down in straight sets to AndyMurray on Sunday.
Raonic finally cracked the legend of Roger Federer in a five-set thriller on Friday, lifting him to Sunday’s Men’s final – becoming the first Canadian man to do so.
Despite losing in the final to a determined Andy Murray, it appears the fifth-ranked Raonic’s arrival into the top-four of the ATP rankings may be imminent with an aging Roger Federer and oft-injured Rafal Nadal clinging onto their spots just ahead of Milos.
UFC SOLD HOURS AFTER IT’S BIGGEST NIGHT
Just over 24 hours after an over-hyped yet underwhelming UFC 200 card from Vegas on Saturday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has cashed in it’s chips and been sold to WME-ING for a whopping $4-billion.
After being rumoured heavily the past several weeks, it was reported late Sunday night by KLAS-TV that the paper work had officially been signed between the UFC and the new ownership group consisting of talent agency William Morris Endeavor, International Management Group, and private equity group MSD.
The deal, which was reportedly inked late Saturday night while UFC 200 was taking place, represents the largest monetary transaction for any sports organization, ever. The struggling MMA franchise was purchased for a mere $2-million in 2001 by the Fertitta brother’s and Dana White – who will remain with the UFC as president.
PORTUGAL CAPTURES EURO 2016 TITLE
Portugal claimed it’s first ever major tournament title on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over France in the final of Euro 2016.
Despite superstar Christiano Ronaldo suffering a tournament-ending knee injury and being carried off in tears in the 25th minute, the Portuguese were able to find it’s late-game heroics off the boot of Eder with 10 minutes remaining in extra time.
Finishing third in their group and winning only one game in 90 minutes, Portugal earned it the hard way and were crowned the unexpected champions of a generally un-spectacular Euro 2016 tournament.
JAYS SLIDE INTO ALL-STAR BREAK ONLY TWO GAMES BACK
R.A. Dickey went seven strong giving up only five hits and one run as the Blue Jays beat up on the Tigers 6-1 on Sunday afternoon in Toronto. The win sees last year’s division champs head into the All-Star break tied for second in the American League East with Boston – just two games back of the first place Orioles.
Unlike 2015 where the blue birds entered the all-star break 44-45 while looking up at four teams ahead of them in the A.L. East race, the Jays head into this year’s mid-summer festivities 11 games over .500 at 51-40, their best mark entering the All-Star break since 1992.
Toronto will be represented well at this year’s mid-summer classic which takes place Tuesday night in San Diego. Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez, and B.C. product and final vote-in winner Michael Saunders will all be wearing A.L. colours on Tuesday night – while Marco Estrada, who was chosen as a reserve, will be there watching but not competing due to a lingering back issue.
Check out the full 2016 MLB All-Star rosters here.
LEAFS BREAK UP WITH BERNIER
Signifying yet another shift in the core of the Maple Leafs foundation, the team has traded goaltender Jonathan Bernier to the Anaheim Ducks in Exchange for a 2017 conditional draft pick.
Seen largely as a salary-dump and the shedding of a much-maligned contract, the move was viewed as a necessary one to make way for incoming starter Frederik Andersen, whom the Leafs acquired last month and subsequently inked to a 5-year, $25-million extension.
Bernier is slated to make $4.1-million over the final season of his contract and will re-unite with former Head Coach Randy Carlyle and General Manager Dave Nonis. The Leafs are reportedly shopping for a back up and are also considering promoting from within the organization (see, Garret Sparks).
TIM DUNCAN HANGS ‘EM UP AFTER 19 NBA SEASONS
It was confirmed early Monday Morning that legendary power forward, the big fundamental, Tim Duncan has announced his retirement from basketball after 19 illustrious NBA seasons – all with the San Antonio Spurs.
After being reported early last week that Duncan was leaning towards retirement, it was confirmed on Monday morning by the San Antonio Spurs that the 5-time NBA champion would be calling it a career.
A former first overall pick, Duncan is widely regarded as the greatest power forward of all time. He won five titles alongside Head Coach Gregg Popovich, the most championships by any coach-player combination in NBA history.
The Spurs put up an outrageous .710 winning percentage in the 19 seasons since drafting Duncan, which is the best winning percentage in NBA history over that timeframe and the highest in all of pro-sports.