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BC-Sports Showcase Digest

February 14, 2019

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, deputy sports editor for presentation and storytelling, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia@ap.org.

All times are Eastern.

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FRIDAY, Feb. 15

OLY--USING VOLUNTEERS

TOKYO _ The Olympics are awash with cash but at every Games there are volunteers who work for free. Next year’s Tokyo Olympics will use about 80,000. This probably amounts to a savings of between $100 million and $200 million. But volunteers see this as a once-in-a-lifetime chance and are unaware that their free labor earns billions for the Olympics. By Stephen Wade. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday.

CAR—NASCAR-DAYTONA 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. __ William Byron and Alex Bowman make the youngest front row in the history of the Daytona 500. Byron is 21, Bowman is 25 and both represent a youth movement in NASCAR as the sport adjusts to the retirements of its biggest stars. But Sunday’s season-opener is a chance for one of the new faces to launch his career in the Super Bowl of NASCAR. By AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by noon on Friday.

SATURDAY, Feb. 16

CAR--NASCAR-DAYTONA-THE FIGHT

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Thanks to a new television deal, a massive snowstorm and a spectacular ending that included an infield brawl, the 1979 Daytona 500 was instrumental in broadening NASCAR’s southern roots. Forty years later, it still resonates as one of the most important days in NASCAR history. By Mark Long. 1,200 words, photos by noon Saturday.

SUNDAY, Feb. 17

SOC--BRAZIL-AMAZON-SOCCER TOURNAMENT

MANAUS, Brazil _ Hundreds of soccer games in and around Manaus, a gritty and sweaty city that is a jumping off point for Brazil’s Amazon jungle. Heavy drinking and hard partying. A beauty contest and women crowned “queens” for particular teams. Welcome to “Peladao,” the world’s largest amateur tournament for the world’s most popular sport. After months of competition, the final games will be Saturday night, with parties planned well into Sunday. While the tournament has evolved since beginning in 1973, by adding women’s teams, becoming more commercial and playing the finals in a stadium built for the 2014 World Cup, among other things, players and fans say it still retains its essence: joy of soccer for the sake of the game. By Mauricio Savarese. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos video by 3 p.m. Sunday.

MONDAY, Feb. 18

OLY—FRANCE-LEARNING LIGHTSABER

BEAUMONT-SUR-OISE, France _ In France, it is easier than ever now to act out “Star Wars” fantasies, after its fencing federation took the radical step of officially recognizing lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the iconic weapon from George Lucas’ saga about a galaxy far, far away the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics. By John Leicester. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos, video by 5 a.m. Monday.

TUESDAY, Feb. 19

BKN—GRIFFIN’S RESURGENCE

DETROIT _ Now approaching his 30th birthday, Blake Griffin plays a much different game than when he entered the NBA as a high-flying star. A year after being traded to Detroit, Griffin isn’t relying on above-the-rim acrobatics. Now he’s become a threat both inside and outside, and if the Pistons do make the playoffs, he’ll be a big reason why. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.

THURSDAY, Feb. 21

BKC—VETERAN TEAMS

Duke has garnered plenty of attention this season with its foursome of future NBA first-round draft picks. Other teams like Virginia, Gonzaga and Nevada have taken a different approach to success, relying on veteran players to lead them into March Madness. By John Marshall. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m. Thursday.

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Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia@ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports