Athletics: Semenya says ‘no threat’ to women’s sport

Double Olympic 800-metres champion Caster Semenya says she is “no threat” to women’s sport and that recent comments from International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe have reopened old wounds.


Reuters: Sports News

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Head-to-Head Breakdancing Battles As an 2024 Olympic Sport? It’s a Possibility

The summer Olympic Games are a chance for athletes from around the world to show off their skills in the pool, in track and field and gymnastics, and, if organizers have their way, in breakdancing. That’s right, it’s time to bust out your kneepads, the Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo soundtrack, and your flyest sneakers and start practicing your headspins.

Organizers of the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris, have proposed that breakdancing should be included as a new sport in the Olympic program, along with surfing, climbing, and skateboarding, which are already set to debut at Tokyo 2020, The Telegraph reports. The Paris 2024 organizing committee argued for the sport’s inclusion on the grounds that it is already legendary for its dance battles and breakdancing is an “urban, universal and popular sport with more than a million BBoys and BGirls” already busting a move in France. Plus, head-to-head breakdancing battles already made an appearance at last year’s Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

The decision to include the sport, which grew up alongside hip hop in the South Bronx of New York City, isn’t final yet, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has until December 2020 to make a decision. However, based on their response to the announcement, they seem all in on the idea. “We are pleased to see that Paris 2024’s proposal for new sports to the Olympic programme is very much in line with the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, which is striving to make the Olympic programme gender-balanced, more youth-focused and more urban,” an IOC statement read, per The Telegraph.

If breakdancing does make the cut, it will join the 28 sports already in the Olympics program. While some people may balk at the idea of breakdancing as an Olympic sport, never forget that both horse long jump, dueling pistols and solo synchronized swimming were all considered worthy back in the day.


Entertainment – TIME

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Lightsaber Dueling Is Now Recognized As a Competitive Sport in France. No, Really

(BEAUMONT-SUR-OISE, France) — Master Yoda, dust off his French, he must.

It’s now easier than ever in France to act out “Star Wars” fantasies, because its fencing federation has borrowed from a galaxy far, far away and officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the iconic weapon from George Lucas’ saga the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics.

Of course, the LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate lightsaber replicas can’t slice a Sith lord in half. But they look and, with the more expensive sabers equipped with a chip in their hilt that emits a throaty electric rumble, even sound remarkably like the silver screen blades that Yoda and other characters wield in the blockbuster movies .

Plenty realistic, at least, for duelists to work up an impressive sweat slashing, feinting and stabbing in organized, 3-minute bouts. The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of why the French Fencing Federation threw its support behind the sport and is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors. Like virtuous Jedi knights, the French federation sees itself as combatting a Dark Side: The sedentary habits of 21st-century life that are sickening ever-growing numbers of adults and kids .

“With young people today, it’s a real public health issue. They don’t do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs,” says Serge Aubailly, the federation secretary general. “It’s becoming difficult to (persuade them to) do a sport that has no connection with getting out of the sofa and playing with one’s thumbs. That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural.”

In the past, the likes of Zorro, Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers helped lure new practitioners to fencing. Now, joining and even supplanting them are Luke Skywalker , Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader.

France Learning Lightsaber
Christophe Ena—APIn this Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, photo, men dressed up as Stormtroopers joke as they approach a vehicle during a national lightsaber tournament in Beaumont-sur-Oise, north of Paris.

“Cape and sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth,” Aubailly says. “Lightsaber films have the same impact . Young people want to give it a try.”

And the young at heart.

Police officer Philippe Bondi, 49, practiced fencing for 20 years before switching to lightsaber. When a club started offering classes in Metz, the town in eastern France where he is stationed for the gendarmerie, Bondi says he was immediately drawn by the prospect of living out the love he’s had for the Star Wars universe since he saw the first film at age 7, on its release in 1977 .

He fights in the same wire-mesh face mask he used for fencing. He spent about 350 euros ($ 400) on his protective body armor (sturdy gloves, chest, shoulder and shin pads) and on his federation-approved lightsaber, opting for luminous green “because it’s the Jedi colors, and Yoda is my master.”

“I had to be on the good side, given that my job is upholding the law,” he said.

Bondi awoke well before dawn to make the four-hour drive from Metz to a national lightsaber tournament outside Paris this month that drew 34 competitors. It showcased how far the sport has come in a couple of years but also that it’s still light years from becoming mainstream.

The crowd was small and a technical glitch prevented the duelers’ photos, combat names and scores from being displayed on a big screen, making bouts tough to follow. But the illuminated swooshes of colored blades looked spectacular in the darkened hall. Fan cosplay as Star Wars characters added levity, authenticity and a tickle of bizarre to the proceedings, especially the incongruous sight of Darth Vader buying a ham sandwich and a bag of potato chips at the cafeteria during a break.

In building their sport from the ground up, French organizers produced competition rules intended to make lightsaber dueling both competitive and easy on the eyes.

“We wanted it to be safe, we wanted it to be umpired and, most of all, we wanted it to produce something visual that looks like the movies, because that is what people expect,” said Michel Ortiz, the tournament organizer.

Combatants fight inside a circle marked in tape on the floor. Strikes to the head or body are worth 5 points; to the arms or legs, 3 points; on hands, 1 point. The first to 15 points wins or, if they don’t get there quickly, the high scorer after 3 minutes. If both fighters reach 10 points, the bout enters “sudden death,” where the first to land a head- or body-blow wins, a rule to encourage enterprising fighters.

Blows only count if the fighters first point the tip of their saber behind them. That rule prevents the viper-like, tip-first quick forward strikes seen in fencing. Instead, the rule encourages swishier blows that are easier for audiences to see and enjoy, and which are more evocative of the duels in Star Wars. Of those, the battle between Obi-Wan and Darth Maul in “The Phantom Menace” that ends badly for the Sith despite his double-bladed lightsaber is particularly appreciated by aficionados for its swordplay.

Still nascent, counting its paid-up practitioners in France in the hundreds, not thousands, lightsaber dueling has no hope of a place in the Paris Olympics in 2024.

But to hear the thwack of blades and see them cut shapes through the air is to want to give the sport a try.

Or, as Yoda would say: “Try not. Do! Or do not. There is no try.”

Sports – TIME

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‘A Dangerous Sport.’ President Trump Says He Wouldn’t Encourage Son Barron to Play Football

(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — President Donald Trump says he wouldn’t steer son Barron toward football, saying it’s “a dangerous sport,” but also wouldn’t stand in the way if the soccer-playing 12-year-old wanted to put on pads.

The NFL fan tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview taped before the Super Bowl that football is “really tough.”

He says equipment, including helmets, has improved “but it hasn’t solved the problem.”

Trump thinks the NFL “is a great product.” But as for Barron playing, the president calls it a “very tough question.”

“If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn’t.”

The president says many people, “including me, thought soccer would probably never make it in this country, but it really is moving forward rapidly.”

Trump has, in the past, bemoaned that football games have become less violent. The NFL and college football have increased penalties and enforcement for illegal hits to the head and for hitting defenseless players.

“They’re ruining the game,” he said during a rally in Alabama in September 2017.

He said players were being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it’s “not the same game.”

President Barack Obama, the father of two daughters, said in a 2013 interview with the New Republic that he would “have to think long and hard” before letting a son, if he had one, play football because of the risk of head injuries.

Obama also said football may need to change to prevent injuries.

Sports – TIME

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Caribbean Women Reported as First All-Black Women’s Rowing Team to Cross Atlantic Ocean in Grueling Sport Competition

Four women from Antigua have just completed a grueling rowing competition and many are heralding them as the first all-black women’s rowing team to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Their official team name is Team Antigua- The Island Girls.

Competitive rowers Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, and Kevinia Francis participated in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. They set course on Dec. 12 from the Canary Islands and landed in Antigua on Jan. 30—a 3,000-mile trip. A fifth member of the team, Junella King did not actively participate in the race, but trained with the others and served as an alternate.

According to the Indy100 website, the rowing race is one of the toughest in the world. Rowers burn an average of 8,000 calories during the competition.

The women competed in name of their chosen charity, Cottage of Hope, which offers short- and long-term residency to girls who are abused, neglected, or orphaned. Their goal was to raise $ 150,000 for the organization.

The nation of Antigua burst into collective celebration as the women finished the race. As per The Loop, the country’s government officials shortened a budget debate so that politicians could be present when the team arrived in their homeland. Public and private institutions closed early so that more people could meet with and congratulate the team.

The team battled sea sickness and their boat nearly capsized at one point during their journey, reports The Daily Observer. They were presented with a gift by Antigua’s Prime Minister upon their return.

The team’s website has bios of each team member. Christal Clashing is an adventure guide and travel writer. In 2004, she became the first female swimmer to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics.

Elvira Bell is a swim instructor and a certified health coach. Samara Emmanuel is the first Antiguan woman to become a certified yacht captain and has more than 12 years’ seafarer experience. She is also a certified day skipper, coastal skipper, yacht master, and boat master among a lengthy list of certifications.

Kevinia Francis is a title-winning, all-around athlete who excels in basketball, cycling, martial arts, and track-and-field.

Junella King is just 17-years-old. She juggles school and sailing while working part-time as a sailing instructor.


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The post Caribbean Women Reported as First All-Black Women’s Rowing Team to Cross Atlantic Ocean in Grueling Sport Competition appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Tory Sport RTW Spring 2019

Two-and-a-half years after Tory Burch launched Tory Sport, the brand’s performance results are coming in. “It’s interesting to start to see what the business is coming to,” Burch said last week during a preview of the spring collection. “We’re starting to see what makes sense, less is more, and what is working for us.” The collection is not just cute, colorful and branded, although it is definitively all of those things — it’s also become a viable player in terms of performance wear. Yoga and running, particularly the seamless pieces, are doing well, as is golf.
For spring, Burch amped up the color with the Bauhaus principles of form and function in mind, working in fuchsia, red, green, blue and white in graphic stripes and lots of chevron. The clothes she wore to play sports in high school in the Seventies were on her mind, so chevron track jackets and silky soccer jerseys were updated in lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics as opposed to the pure polyester the vintage styles came in. Weatherproof outerwear stood out, as did a few fabulous chunky hand knit cotton sweaters that fell into Tory Sport’s “coming and going” category. There was a new tennis skort and

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This New Tool Can Help Parents Find the Best Sport for Their Kids

Kids these days: they have so many options when it comes to sports. There are organized travel teams, it seems, for every game: soccer, lacrosse, hoops, the works. While a child’s decision about which sport to play might not be as formative as, say, picking a college, it can sure feel that way. And potentially cost as much: fees and travel expenses for some club teams skyrocket to $ 10,000 per year and beyond.

In trying to navigate today’s youth sports scene, any guidance helps. That’s why a new tool released Thursday by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, called the Healthy Sport Index, couldn’t be more timely. The handy website allows families to weigh three factors in deciding what sport makes the most sense: safety, physical activity, and the sport’s psychosocial benefits. The index then provides a customized ranking of ten sports, based on where a child lands on a sliding scale of “low emphasis” to “high emphasis” for each of the three factors.

So say, for example, your son wants to put maximum emphasis on psychosocial benefits: he wants a sport that will help him develop social skills, cognitive skills, and otherwise enhance his mental health. He cares about a sport’s safety, but is willing to take some injury risk; so here, he falls in the middle of the scale. But he’s ambivalent about physical activity: your son doesn’t care how much energy he expends in practice. He gives it the lowest possible emphasis on the Heathy Sport Index scale. Based on this mix, the Healthy Sport Index puts swimming on top, while lacrosse comes in tenth.

Meanwhile, your daredevil daughter can care less about getting hurt, but places the highest possible emphasis on working out hard while playing her sport and developing useful life skills, like setting goals. Healthy Sport Index says: sign her up for tennis! (Cheerleading falls to the bottom here. The ten girls’ sports ranked by the Healthy Sport Index are basketball, cheerleading, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. For the boys it’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and wrestling.)

The Aspen Institute, in consultation with medical experts, compiled data for the index from a variety of sources. The National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, produced by the Colorado School of Public Health, provided injury rates for various sports. For the psychosocial component, the Aspen Institute surveyed almost 1,300 high school athletes from across the country, and asked students whether their sport helped them improve in areas like sharing responsibility and patience. Researchers from North Carolina State University observed almost 700 hours of varsity practices to document the physical activity levels of each high school sport. The architects of the index were keen to account for the positive benefits of different sports, to counterbalance the downside risks.

“We talk a lot about injuries in youth sports, for good reason,” says Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, director of sports medicine research at Emory University. “But it’s important to look at all aspects of the athletic experience. If you just focus on one, you’re missing the boat.”

For example, football, which has witnessed participation declines due to well-founded worries about head injuries, ranks second among boys’ sports for psychosocial benefits. (Soccer comes in first.) High school football players reported more improvements in social skills and cognitive skills than athletes in any of the nine other sports. The Aspen Institute’s research was less encouraging for, say, boy’s lacrosse, which ranked ninth in safety, ahead of just football, and tenth in psychosocial benefits. Lacrosse players were most likely to cut class, binge drink, use marijuana and smoke cigarettes. In girls’ sports, basketball provided the most psychosocial upside, whereas cheerleading ranked tenth on both the psychosocial and physical activity scales.

Not that cheerleading or lacrosse or any other sport are at all detrimental, say the creators of the Healthy Sport Index. Every activity can have a positive impact on a kid’s life. “It’s better to be playing a sport,” says Jon Solomon, editorial director for the Aspen’s Sports & Society Program, “than to be sitting on the couch all day doing nothing.”

Sports – TIME

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