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Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- The Zika virus is a topic of concern with athletes heading to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August.

ABC News spoke to Winter Olympics gold medalist Lindsey Vonn on Wednesday and got her take on the issue.

"There’s historically been a lot of controversy around a number of Olympics, but this affects the athletes to a level we haven’t seen before," she said. "If I were competing, I’d probably still go down there."

But Vonn will not be competing until 2018, and thus "as a spectator, I've decided not to go down there ... but I’ll be watching on my couch ... enjoying it nonetheless."

The virus has been known to cause a birth defect in some babies born to infected mothers, according to a Brazilian Ministry of Health report earlier this month. Some worried athletes have dropped out of the games, including Australian golfer Marc Leishman and cyclist Tejay van Garderen. George Boville, an Olympic bronze medalist swimmer for Trinidad and Tobago, also told ABC News in February that the virus "is definitely a concern."

For her part, Vonn acknowledged how tough it is for the athletes to decide whether to attend the games.

"You work your whole life for" these games, she said. "It’s a really difficult decision for these athletes to make, go down there or not."

Vonn herself is promoting the games in a roundabout way, working with Team USA sponsor Reese's for its "Do Summer Like a Winter Olympian" campaign.

U.S. Olympic Committee officials told ABC News earlier this year that their focus is to educate and alert the country's athletes with advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We’re taking steps to ensure that our delegation and those affiliated with Team USA are aware of the CDC’s recommendations regarding travel to Brazil," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky told ABC News in February.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Rich Arden / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- The Memphis Grizzlies are confident they can keep Mike Conley in their lineup, sources tell ESPN.

The point guard has been with the Grizzlies since 2007, when he was selected by the team in the first round of the NBA draft. Now a free agent, Conley is expected to sit down with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, ESPN reports.

The Mavericks are also said to be pursuing Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

Memphis, in turn, is interested in Dallas small forward Chandler Parsons, sources say.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul lost a finger and severely damaged his right hand last July 4 when he lit a professional-grade firework and it went off in his hand.

Now he’s starring in a public service announcement from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, and he has a strong warning for others.

"Leave the fireworks to the professionals," the 27-year-old told ABC News' Good Morning America correspondent Mara Schiavocampo, as she went behind the scenes for the filming of the PSA that was released Thursday.

In the spot, Pierre-Paul makes reference to the incident that left him hospitalized for weeks.

“In a split second it blew off my whole hand,” he said. “All I could do was think about my son and was I going to make it," he said. "Now I’m truly blessed to be alive. Now when I look at fireworks I think about safety.”

Schiavocampo also asked Pierre-Paul about how he had been faring since the accident.

“My recovery is good,” he said, adding: “You’ve just got to overcome.”

The football player told Schiavocampo that he believed he could get away from the firework in time.

He’s not alone. On YouTube there are numerous videos showing amateurs setting off fireworks, sometimes with unexpected or harmful results.

In the months around the Fourth of July holiday, about 230 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries, according to figures from the CPSC. Out of all fireworks injuries in 2013, hands and fingers were affected most often.

In addition to professional-grade fireworks, the CPSC is also warning about the danger of sparklers, especially around children.

“Sparklers are incredibly dangerous. They burn as hot as a blow torch,” said Elliott Kaye, the CPSC’s chairman.

The CPSC offered the following tips for using consumer-grade fireworks:

1. Only use ones designed for consumers.

2. Keep a bucket of water nearby.

3. Never try to re-light fireworks that don’t appear to work the first time.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just one day shy of his 31st birthday, Michael Phelps has made history becoming the first male swimmer to qualify for 5 US Olympic Teams.

Phelps earned his ticket to Rio after placing first in the men’s 200M butterfly at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Wednesday night.

"I think that means the most tonight,'' Phelps said, pausing to compose himself. "Just being able to finish how I want to is so important to me. Getting on this team is what I wanted to do.''

Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (18), Olympic gold medals in individual events (11), and Olympic medals in individual events for a male (13).

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — “Life is awesome," Lindsey Vonn said.

The gold medalist and ski champion spoke to ABC News this week about empowerment and how her self-confidence is at an all-time high right now.

Many of these themes are in Vonn's new book, Strong Is the New Beautiful, set for release in October.

"It’s basically a healthy lifestyle book," she said. "It's not about dieting or anything like that. It's about being a strong person and what works best for you. ... I hate the word diet and I want people to live healthy and be strong."

Despite Vonn’s being featured in countless editorial spreads like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and her having certainly dated other high-profile celebrities and athletes, the 31-year-old admits she hasn’t always had the confidence she displays now.

"I definitely had a moment there after I won the gold medal in 2010, where I was very self-conscious," she said. "It was my first time being on red carpets and stuff like that. I was not confident in myself and the way that I looked."

Vonn said she hates the theory of dieting because of her experience with it, which did not enrich her life for the better.

"I've kind of run the gamut of trying different things like Paleo, and I did a high-carb diet a while ago. I’ve tried everything," she added. "You have to make healthy choices. But I have Reese’s, I have coffee, I have Red Bull. I'm not perfect all the time. ... Everyone needs a treat and a break. The more you force yourself not to do that, the more unhealthy you’ll get."

Such thinking makes her latest partnership with Team USA sponsor Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups "perfect," she said.

"The ['Do Summer Like a Winter Olympian'] campaign is amazing, confident, witty, kind of like me," she said.

A commercial is set to come out for Reese's, and Vonn was happy to show a fun side to her that most people don't see. She's also not afraid to be herself now.

"I've just gotten to the point that I love where I am, I'm not the same size as everyone else. ... I'm comfortable with what I got," she said. "I think it shows in my attitude and the way I present myself. Now when I walk the red carpet, I don’t care with what everyone else thinks."

Vonn admits she has not quite adjusted to the celebrity life, being a top-notch athlete at heart.

"It’s definitely hard. I'm lucky I have really good friends around me," she said of being in the public eye. "I feel like the hardest thing is dating."

What the Minnesota native is adjusting to is trying new things.

"I’m in a really good place right now, living life to the fullest and trying to get the most out of every single day," she said. "There’s a lot I have to offer in addition to skiing. I still value what I do; it’s my love, my main joy in life. But I've found a lot of fulfillment in doing things outside of skiing.

“Hopefully, after my skiing career is over, these things will continue to happen and I'll keep trying new things and enjoying life."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores and winners:  

Detroit 10, Miami 3
Cleveland 3, Atlanta 0
Kansas City 3, St. Louis 2/12 innings
Toronto 5, Colorado 3
Pittsburgh 8, Seattle 1,
Baltimore 12, San Diego 6
Oakland 7, San Francisco 1

N.-Y. Yankees 9, Texas 7
Tampa Bay 4, Boston 0
Chi. White Sox 9, Minnesota 6
Houston 10, Anaheim 4

Washington 4, N.-Y. Mets 2
Chi. Cubs 9, Cincinnati 2
Milwaukee 7, Los Angeles 0
Philadelphia 9, Arizona 8/10 innings


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The on-track fight last Saturday between Camping World Truck Series drivers John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher was all the talk around NASCAR last weekend. But infamy is going to cost Townley and Gallagher.

On Wednesday NASCAR fined Townley $15,000 and Gallagher $12,500 for their actions in the brawl. Both also were placed on probation through Dec. 31.

After a collision last Saturday at the Drivin for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park, the drivers left their vehicles.  A verbal altercation escalated into a physical tussle before the pair could be separated.

Also receiving penalties this week were Sprint Cup Series drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth. Each received a written warning after failing pre-qualifying inspections last week at Sonoma.

Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota team was issued a warning after failing two trips through the Laser Inspection Station. Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet team failed body template inspection twice before Friday's Sonoma qualifying, reports NASCAR.com.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat can't seem to find some common ground.

League sources tell ESPN contract talks between both sides have stalled and the shooting guard is now getting ready to field offers from other teams on Friday, when the NBA free agency period opens.

According to the sources, multiple teams have been alerted that Wade, 34, will be on the market by the week's end.

Last year, Wade and the Heat went back and forth on his contract before settling on a one-year, $20 million deal. The basketball star had hoped for a smoother process this time around.

"I hope that everything is quiet and works out the way I want it to," Wade said at the end of this past season, ESPN reports. "But I have no control over that, as much as people might think. It's a lot of moving parts in free agency. I'm not worried about it."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — The oldest tennis tournament in the world is known for its strict dress code, but one dress at Wimbledon had some players in search of a wardrobe change.

The NikeCourt Premier Slam Dress was approved by Wimbledon, which requires all players to wear white; however, the sponsored athletes sporting the dress have found it to be too revealing.

The empire-waisted, soft flowing dress spins up when the ladies are playing, showing lots of skin and leaving little to the imagination.

Some upset fans took to Twitter to air their grievances, giving the outfit the nickname "Nike nightie." One even called the outfit a "giant fail."

Players are using unique ways to make the dress work.

Britain's own, Katie Boulter, belted her dress with a white Nike headband in an attempt to hold the fabric in place...

... While Czech Republic player Lucie Hradecka fashioned the dress as a top worn with leggings.

One player standing by the dress is Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. The 2014 Wimbledon singles finalist said "For me, I love it. It's nice and short so you can move around and be free with your movements."

Meanwhile, attracting attention for his play on the court and his remarkable story, is British born left-hander Marcus Willis.

Willis defied his 772 world ranking to upset Ricardas Berankis, the world number 54 player from Lithuania, in the opening round.

The 25-year-old was ready to give up on his tennis dream and, having scrambled into pre-qualifying where he was the last man in the draw after a player dropped out, he won three matches to make it to the main qualifying event where he won three more to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Willis' fairy-tale story plays out this afternoon as he takes on the world number 3, Roger Federer, who is eager to play him.

Federer told reporters, "I think it's a great, great story and I'm very excited to be playing him actually."

Second-round coverage of the match will be on ESPN at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:


Detroit 7, Miami 5
Cleveland 5, Atlanta 3
St. Louis 8, Kansas City 4
Toronto 14, Colorado 9
Seattle 5, Pittsburgh 2
Baltimore 11, San Diego 7
Oakland 13, San Francisco 11


Texas 7, N.-Y. Yankees 1
Boston 8, Tampa Bay 2
Minnesota 4, Chi. White Sox 0
Houston 7, Anaheim 1


Washington 5, N.-Y. Mets 0
Chi. Cubs 7, Cincinnati 2/15 innings
Los Angeles 6, Milwaukee 5
Philadelphia 4, Arizona 3

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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