Brittney Griner freed from prison, American journalist dies while covering World Cup: top sports stories

After being detained for 10 months in Russia, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner was freed in a prisoner exchange, and an American journalist died suddenly while covering the World Cup in Qatar – these are the top stories in the world of sports from Dec. 5-11.

1. Russia frees WNBA star Brittney Griner in prisoner swap: Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner is home, freed from a Russian prison in exchange for the U.S. releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in the culmination of an eight-month saga of high diplomacy and dashed hopes.

Griner lands TX

After 10 months of detention in Russia, American basketball star Brittney Griner was seen getting off a plane that landed on Dec. 9 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. (Photos by FSB via Storyful/SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)

2. American journalist Grant Wahl dies while covering World Cup in Qatar: American soccer journalist Grant Wahl has died while covering the World Cup in Qatar. Wahl was 49. On his soccer news page, Wahl had revealed he was not feeling well and elected to get medical care in Qatar earlier in the week.

Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Grant Wahl. The Men's National Team of the United States and the Men's National Team of Ecuador played to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswi

3. Mississippi State's Mike Leach hospitalized with 'personal health issue,' school says: Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach was hospitalized after he suffered a "personal health issue" at his home, the school said in a statement.

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Image

4. Army tops Navy 20-17 in first OT game in 123 rivalry games: Navy’s Anton Hall Jr. lost a fumble at the goal line in the second overtime that helped set up Quinn Maretzki's game-winning 39-yard field goal as Army beat The Midshipmen 20-17 in the first OT game in the 123 games of the rivalry series.


PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 10: Army Black Knights quarterback Cade Ballard (18) in action during the 123rd playing of the Army Navy game on December 10, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

5. Paul Silas, three-time NBA champ and two-time All-Star, dead at 79: Paul Silas, a three-time NBA champion who later became a head coach, has died, according to longtime Boston sports columnist Bob Ryan. Silas was 79.

Head Coach Paul Silas of the Cleveland Cavaliers watches the game against the Washington Wizards on November 19, 2003 at the MCI Center in Washington DC (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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Previous reports


US eliminated from World Cup, Arizona basketball suffers 1st loss of season: top sports stories

The United States men's national soccer team was eliminated from the World Cup after beating Iran to reach the knockout stage, and the No. 4 ranked University of Arizona men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season in the team's Pac-12 opener – these are the top stories in the world of sports from Nov. 28 - Dec. 4.


ASU names new head football coach, Cardinals' Kingsbury on hot seat after latest loss: top sports stories

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is on the hot seat after Arizona's latest loss, leaving the team with almost no shot at making the playoffs, and Arizona State introduced its new head football coach after the Sun Devils fell to the Wildcats in the Territorial Cup – these are the top stories in the world of sports from Nov. 21-27.


What Griner may endure at a penal colony; Hey Yank! It's football, not soccer. Or is it?: top sports stories

What life looks like at Russian penal colonies, and at Brittney Griner's prospects of being freed in a U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange; when Qatar made its pitch to host the tournament, the country agreed to FIFA’s requirements of selling alcohol in stadiums; Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers believes it's time to go all grass throughout the league; the 2024 Olympics are in France, but the a majority of the mascots are made in China; and why soccer is called football in the rest of the world.


(Clockwise from top left: Photos by FSB via Storyful/SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images; Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Justin Ford/Getty Images)