A Michael Phelps book recommendation resonates with Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak more than ever these days.
Oleksiak has read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now multiple times since the American swim legend suggested the title to her.
The 19-year-old dove back into the book when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her out of the pool in March and into confinement in her Toronto apartment.
“I feel like I could recite the whole book by now,” Oleksiak told The Canadian Press on Monday. “Michael Phelps actually recommended it to me.f
“The first time I read it, I became obsessed with it. I just teaches you to live now and be present with everything that’s going on in your life.”
At age 16, Oleksiak was Canada’s swimming sensation at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
She won four medals, including gold in the 100-metre freestyle, while Phelps capped his decorated career with five gold medals there.
The pandemic has Oleksiak, who normally spends almost every day in a swimming pool, constructing a life without it.
“I haven’t really touched water in quite some time,” the teenager said.
With the 2020 Tokyo Games postponed to next year and her training facilities closed to prevent the spread of the virus, Oleksiak rides the stationary bike on her apartment balcony and lifts weights in her living room every morning.
She reads, cooks, conducts fashion experiments in her closet and thinks about what will make her swim fast in Tokyo in 2021.
“I’m pretty much just trying to get as much training in as I can in my apartment, but also trying to be as positive as I can be, use this time to really do stuff I never really have the time to do or put my focus in other places right now,” Oleksiak said.
That includes getting involved with food banks, an opportunity that came up when Oleksiak’s face was recently put on a cereal box.
It’s now tradition for General Mills to adorn Cheerios boxes with photos of Canada’s Olympic stars in the months prior to a Summer or Winter Olympics. The combination of the pandemic, the Tokyo postponement and the cereal boxes already produced prompted the company to pivot and pair the pictured athletes with people who work in food banks.
General Mills is donating $500,000 in cash and $600,000 in product to Food Banks Canada. The company is also repurposing purchased ad time earmarked for athlete endorsements to promote food bank workers.
The Oleksiak edition box en route to store shelves is linked to a digital box featuring Lori McRitchie, who is the executive director of the food bank in Airdrie, Alta. The two women had a video meet and greet recently. Oleksiak will introduce McRitchie on social media later this week.
“She’s, like, the sweetest lady I think I’ve ever met,” Oleksiak said. “She broke down what she does.
“It was awesome to talk to her and learn about it. Food banks and the importance of them, that wasn’t something I’d ever learned much about.”
Said McRitchie: “It was kind of a learning for us both. She didn’t know a lot about food banks. I didn’t know a lot about her, but it was a really cool conversation.”
Airdrie Food Bank usage increased by 50 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, McRitchie said, mainly because of demand in the early stages of the pandemic in March.
“We anticipate we will maintain this 50 per cent over normal and maybe even higher as time goes on, before the re-entry happens and businesses are still mostly shut down,” McRitchie said.
“Everyone needs to feel they matter in all of this. That’s a message Penny will share, that you can make a difference and we all have a part to play in getting through these times.”
Sprint star Andre De Grasse, trampoline gymnast Rosie MacLennan, skateboarder Matt Berger and diver Jennifer Abel have also been paired with food bank staff.
“Sometimes you do have to take a step back because there are more important things going on in the world,” Oleksiak said.
“Talking to people like Lori shows you this is bigger than swimming right now, this is bigger than sport right now.”
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Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders odds, picks and prediction – USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire
The Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) square off against the Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) on Sunday Night Football in Allegiant Stadium at 8:20 p.m. ET. Below, we preview the Chiefs-Raiders betting odds and lines and make our NFL picks and predictions.
Chiefs at Raiders: Betting odds, spread and lines
Money line: Chiefs -345 (bet $345 to win $100) | Raiders +280 (bet $100 to win $280)
Against the spread/ATS: Chiefs -7 (-115) | Raiders +7 (-106)
Over/Under: 56.5 (O: -115 | U: -106)
Special Sunday Night Football Betting Promotion
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Chiefs at Raiders: Game notes
The Raiders are dealing with adversity as they had eight players activated from the COVID reserve list Saturday and will be without four starters due to COVID-19.
The Chiefs had a bye in Week 10 and head coach Andy Reid’s teams typically perform well with time off. Since Reid took over as Kansas City’s coach in 2013, the Chiefs are 5-2 straight up and 4-3 ATS coming out of a bye week.
Las Vegas had a dominant performance at home vs. the Denver Broncos in Week 10. The Raiders routed the Broncos, 37-12, behind a rushing attack that had 203 rushing yards with four touchdowns and a defense that had five takeaways against Denver.
Kansas City’s offense is playing as advertised: 2nd in total yards per game, points per game, and third-down conversion percentage.
The Raiders gave the Chiefs their only loss this season, 40-32, in Week 5. It was a clean victory for Las Vegas who had 77 more total yards, were better on third down and possessed the ball for 35:18.
Chiefs at Raiders: Key injuries
OT Mike Remmers (ribs) questionable
OT Mitchell Schwartz (back) out
WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring, calf) out
DT Maurice Hurst (ankle) questionable
KR/RB Jalen Richard (chest) questionable
LB Cory Littleton (COVID-19) out
LT Trent Brown (COVID-19) out
DE Clelin Ferrell (COVID-19) out
Special NFL Week 11 Betting Promotion: Bet $1 on ANY TEAM’S money line Sunday, WIN $100 (in free bets) if ANY team scores a touchdown during Sunday’s NFL action. Place your legal, online sports bets in CO, IN, NJ, TN and WV at BetMGM, The King of Sportsbooks! New customer offer, terms and conditions apply. Bet now!
Chiefs at Raiders: Odds, betting lines, predictions and picks
Chiefs 29, Raiders 24
Money line (?)
This is a PASS for me mostly because of the insane situational edge for the Chiefs. Week 10 was an easy victory for the Raiders, but it was still a division game, while Reid is coming off a bye with the defending Super Bowl champions looking to avenge their only loss.
I don’t know my buy price for a Raiders upset, but it’s not what BetMGM is offering.
Against the spread (?)
Reid-trends be damned, I am ROLLING WITH THE RAIDERS +7 (+105). I’d recommend waiting closer to kickoff to see if you can get this over a full touchdown especially since people like hammering favorites at the end of football Sundays.
The House is going to NEED the Raiders to come through for them: 86% of the money wagered and 87% of the bets made are on the Chiefs, according to Pregame.com.
Kansas City has a bottom-10 run defense across most categories and Las Vegas gains the seventh-most yards on the ground per game and runs the ball at the fifth-highest rate in the NFL.
Jon Gruden and the Raiders are going to pound the rock and control the tempo of this game. GIMME RAIDERS +7 (-106) for 1.5 units.
I’m not usually a trends bettor but here are a few good ones to explain my lean on UNDER 56.5 (-106):
Kansas City has a 1-5-1 O/U record following a bye week while Reid has been the coach.
The Chiefs are 0-5 O/U in their last five games vs. a team above .500.
The Under is 6-2 in Kansas City’s last eight prime-time games.
I’ll TAKE UNDER 56.5 (-106) for a quarter-unit.
Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage.
Pope, for first time, says China's Uighurs are 'persecuted' – Reuters
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – In a new book, Pope Francis for the first time calls China’s Muslim Uighurs a “persecuted” people, something human rights activists have been urging him to do for years.
In the wide-ranging “Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future,” Francis also says the COVID-19 pandemic should spur governments to consider permanently establishing a universal basic income.
In the book, a 150-page collaboration with his English-language biographer, Austen Ivereigh, Francis speaks of economic, social and political changes he says are needed to address inequalities after the pandemic ends. It goes on sale on Dec. 1.
He also says people who see wearing masks as an imposition by the state are “victims only in their imagination” and praises those who protested against the death of George Floyd in police custody for rallying around the “healthy indignation” that united them.
“I think often of persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi,” he said in a section where he also talks about persecuted Christians in Islamic countries.
While the pope has spoken out before about the Rohingya who have fled Myanmar, and the killing of Yazidi by Islamic State in Iraq, it was the first time he mentioned the Uighurs.
Faith leaders, activist groups and governments have said crimes against humanity and genocide are taking place against Uighurs in China’s remote Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million people are held in camps.
Last month, during a conference at the Vatican, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted China over its treatment of Uighurs.
Beijing has rejected the allegations as a attempt to discredit China, saying the camps are vocational education and training centres as part of counter-terrorism and deradicalisation measures.
Many commentators have said the Vatican was reluctant to speak out on the Uighurs earlier because it was in the process of renewing a controversial accord with Beijing on the appointment of bishops. The accord, which Pompeo urged the Vatican to abandon, was renewed in September.
Francis also gives his clearest support to date in the book to universal basic income (UBI), a controversial policy espoused by some economists and sociologists in which governments give a fixed amount of money to each citizen with no conditions attached.
UBI was a cornerstone of the campaign of Andrew Yang last year during the Democratic presidential primaries in the United States.
“Recognising the value to society of the work of nonearners
is a vital part of our rethinking in the post-Covid world. That’s why I believe it is time to explore concepts like the universal basic income (UBI) …” he said.
“By providing a universal basic income, we can free and enable people to work for the community in a dignified way,” he said.
Francis again criticised trickle-down economics, the theory favoured by conservatives that tax breaks and other incentives for big business and the wealthy eventually will benefit the rest of society through investment and job creation.
He called it “the false assumption of the infamous trickle-down theory that a growing economy will make us all richer.”
Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing By Tom Brown
Raptors’ Alex Len presents untapped talent at low risk – Sportsnet.ca
Likely fitting in as another end-of-rotation depth piece, Len, along with the reported signings of Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher, fill out Toronto’s depth chart at the centre position with the departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
Here’s more on what he might be able to provide the Raptors.
Height: Seven feet | Weight: 250 pounds
Former team: Sacramento Kings
2019-20 stats: PPG: 8.0 | RPG: 5.8 | FG%: 55.5
A former top-five pick
Believe it or not, back in 2013 the Phoenix Suns took Len fifth overall in the NBA draft.
Granted that wasn’t exactly a world-beater draft year, but even back then it seemed a little high. As such, the “bust” moniker has dogged him for much of his career.
With that said, this could be to the Raptors’ benefit.
According to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, Len is signing a one-year deal with the remainder of the team’s mid-level exception — which comes out to just about the minimum — giving the Raptors an opportunity to see if he might be able to pan out as a reclamation project of sorts at almost no risk, like they’ve attempted in the past with names like Bismack Biyombo and Jared Sullinger.
Obviously, one of those guys worked out and the other didn’t, and we don’t know the outcome of the Len experiment yet, but adding more depth at centre with the possibility of some untapped talent at little risk seems like as good an idea as any.
A classic, bruising big
As for Len’s game, the main reason why he didn’t live up to his draft billing is because the style of the play in the NBA passed him by. His low-post skills have become much less valuable and his inability to stretch the floor with outside shooting make him something of a liability as he’s not a feature centre that will have plays run for him and be surrounded by shooters himself.
Len is an old-school centre with limited offensive game outside of post-ups and tip-ins around the basket. However, he’s so big and strong that when given the opportunity, he’s quite adept at doing those two things.
Unfortunately, he lacks athleticism so he isn’t a player who’s going to do much above the rim, but he can make up for it with his great motor and general energy he brings to the game when on the floor. There will be no fear of a lack of effort from Len.
Defensively, Len might be able to show his value more as he’s a good shot-blocker with excellent timing on when to go up and contest the ball. Looking at his combined numbers split between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks (who dealt him to the Kings on trade deadline day), Len averaged nearly two blocks per 36 minutes. Additionally, he has quicker feet and is more agile than you might think just looking at him, meaning he can defend some pick-and-roll as well.
Though he may not feature the ideal skill package you want in a modern NBA big man, Len still has some he can bring to the table.
His name makes for some obvious puns
All right, come on. Get it out of your system now:
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