Max Aaron, a 20-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., won his first U.S. Figure Skating Championships title.

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Figure skating

Aaron wins his first national title

Little-known Max Aaron, a 20-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., won his first title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Sunday in Omaha, Neb.

With two quadruple jumps in his “West Side Story” program, Aaron might also be a contender at worlds in March in London, Ontario, Canada.

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“The goals I had coming into this event were just to complete two clean programs,” Aaron said. “I didn’t think of ever medaling.”

Aaron, who screamed and shook his fists when he finished his program, had 255 points. Ross Miner of Watertown, Mass., was second with 251.29 and three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott of Aspen, Colo., was third with 249.33


Obama discusses violence

President Barack Obama is a football fan with two daughters. If he had a son, Obama said he would “have to think long and hard” before letting him play because of the physical toll the game takes.

“I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence,” Obama told The New Republic in an interview in the magazine’s Feb. 11 issue.

Obama said he worries more about college players than he does about those in the NFL.

“The NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own and most of them are well compensated for the violence they do to their bodies,” he said. “You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.”

Motor sports

Pruett passes endurance test

Lead driver Scott Pruett of the Chip Ganassi Racing team earned his fifth Rolex 24 at Daytona victory, taking the twice-around-the-clock endurance race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The Ganassi team won for the fifth time in 10 appearances in the sports-car event.

The winning team of three-time defending Grand-Am drivers Pruett and Memo Rojas, along with Juan Pablo Montoya and IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball, making his Rolex 24 debut, beat the Max Angelelli-led VelocityWW team by almost 22 seconds.


Messi is a scoring machine

Lionel Messi scored four goals to become the youngest player to pass the 200-goal mark in the Spanish league and set a La Liga record with goals in 11 consecutive matches, leading FC Barcelona to a 5-1 rout of Osasuna.

Messi, 25, is the eighth player to surpass 200 La Liga goals; he has 202. Telmo Zarra has the league scoring record of 251 goals and had been the youngest to reach 200, achieving the feat when he was 29.

Lower-league teams prosper

Liverpool and Tottenham lost to lower-league teams in the FA Cup, joining a lengthy list of English Premier League clubs to exit in the fourth round of soccer’s oldest knockout competition.

Oldham, in 19th place in the third tier, stunned visiting Liverpool 3-2. Despite a goal from American Clint Dempsey, Tottenham lost 2-1 at Leeds, which is 11th in the second-tier League Championship.

Chelsea was spared a similar fate when Fernando Torres scored in the 83rd minute for a 2-2 draw at third-tier Brentford, forcing a replay.


• The U.S. team, including Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones, won gold in the combined bobsled-skeleton event at the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Jones was brakewoman for Elana Meyers in the women’s bobsled portion of an event that also added times in two-man bobsled plus men’s and women’s skeleton. The U.S. team beat Germany by 0.24 seconds.

• Two slopestyle skiers were taken off the course on a sled in a crash-marred event at Winter X in Aspen, Colo.

Rose Battersby of New Zealand suffered a lumbar spine fracture in a wipeout in practice, but later was moving and had feeling in all extremities, X Games officials said.

Chicago’s Ashley Battersby, who is not related to Rose, crashed on the course and slid into the retaining fence. She was taken to a hospital with a knee injury.

• American Shaun White won his sixth consecutive snowboard-superpipe title at Winter X and 14-year-old Ayumu Hirano of Japan took silver to become the youngest athlete to earn a medal at Winter X.

• In World Cup slaloms, overall Cup leaders won in their home countries. Marcel Hirscher won in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and Tina Maze prevailed in Maribor, Slovenia.

• French sailor Francois Gabart won the Vendee Globe round-the-world race in record time, shaving six days off the previous record held by countryman Michel Desjoyeaux. Gabart, 29, crossed the finish line near Les Sables d’Olonne, France, after 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes, 40 seconds, smashing two-time winner Desjoyeaux’s course record of 84 days, 3:09:08 set in 2009.

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