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MLB fans celebrate Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s special All-Star performance – Sportsnet.ca

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Toronto Blue Jays fans already love Vladimir Guerrero Jr. but the rest of the baseball world is growing to love him, too.

The 22-year-old phenom shook Coors Field with a 468-foot bomb to lead the American League past the National League in the All-Star Game. The performance earned him the MVP award, making him the first Blue Jays player and the youngest player ever to win it.

Guerrero Jr.’s special performance was celebrated across social media after the game. Here are some of the best reactions.

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Simone Biles Is Revolutionizing How We Talk About Mental Health – BuzzFeed News

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The comedian Mike Birbiglia has a good bit about how gymnastics asks too much of the athletes because it requires gymnasts to salute the judges with grace and composure after a bout of tumbling and turning and twisting and flinging themselves into the air. That salute is not just custom or tradition; it is actually a requirement of the sport. You could lose points if you don’t telegraph that you have it all together.

On Tuesday, Simone Biles, who few dispute is the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport, did not have it all together. She had the lowest score among the Team USA athletes in the first rotation. She briefly left the floor with a trainer, then returned wearing her sweatsuit, indicating that she was done for the day. USA Gymnastics then circulated a statement that Biles was withdrawing from team competition “due to a medical issue.” The statement said she would be “assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

A short while later, Biles tearfully cleared things up at a press conference: There was no physical injury — she withdrew, she said, because the pressure had become too much. “I was just, like, shaking, could barely nap. I just never felt like this going into a competition before,” Biles said. “And I tried to go out here and have fun. Warmup in the back went a little bit better. But then once I came out here, I was like, No, mental is not there, so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself.” She said she was having “a little bit of the twisties,” a kind of mental block that could make a gymnast lose control of their body if they’re not keeping track of how many twists they’ve already done. In a sport entirely about awareness and control, having neither is a dangerous thing.

On Wednesday, there was a further update: USA Gymnastics announced that Biles won’t compete in Thursday’s all-around — a competition she hasn’t lost since 2013. These are extraordinary moves from an athlete who, at 24 years old, has already revolutionized the sport and was seen as perfection manifest. For Biles to say that the pressure was too much is unprecedented. It is also a staggering vindication of the way the conversations about mental health have shifted in the last decade or so.

We’ve seen powerful and meaningful shifts in the way mental health is discussed in the public sphere. Newsrooms now have dedicated resources to cover mental health crises and changed style guides to combat stigma; celebrities have been frank about their struggles and invited the rest of us to join them; and employers are learning to adjust to the mental health needs of their employees. As a result, awareness of the way mental health affects us is increasing, and there is a common lexicon for how to talk about it.

That lexicon shows up throughout Biles’s statement. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being,” she said at the press conference, and it is the kind of statement she can say now because the efforts to destigmatize talking about anxiety are, in fact, working. Biles was the recipient of criticism for withdrawing, but she has also received an outpouring of support for sharing what she is going through.

She’s not the only one: Biles said she was inspired by tennis player Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open in May over the organization’s insistence that Osaka give press conferences that she says “bring doubt” into her mind and are harmful to her mental health.

Yet what these moves from Biles and Osaka also reveal are the limits of just focusing on stigma. You can only address the problem so much by just naming it. Osaka has been consistent in her position that the press conference format is exploitative, only benefitting tennis organizations that could leverage a star’s presence for TV time, and, therefore, ad sales.

Meanwhile, Biles has been open about her disdain for USA Gymnastics, an organization that has been in disarray for years. “At the end of the day, I’m not representing USA Gymnastics,” Biles told the New York Times last month. And why should she? American gymnasts, Biles included, have spoken out about the failures of the organization to protect athletes in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse scandal.

Much has changed since the last time America fell in love with Biles at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Three weeks after those Olympics ended, the first of many news stories about Nassar’s abuse broke. Biles told Vogue last year that during that period, she became depressed. “At one point I slept so much because, for me, it was the closest thing to death without harming myself,” she said. Then, in 2018, Biles spoke publicly about being one of the hundreds of women abused by Nassar. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper,” she tweeted.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Biles is the only Nassar survivor on the US women’s team. For USA Gymnastics, she is the key to moving past the scandal. Nothing is wrong if you’re still winning medals, right? But she is also unquestionably the biggest star of all US Olympians. And the pressure to put on appearances that she’s moved past her trauma is high. She told Vogue that “[she] just felt like that’s what America wanted [her] to be—was perfect. Because every time an American wins the Olympics, you’re like America’s sweetheart. So it’s like, How could this happen to America’s sweetheart?” She said she “felt like [she] was letting other people down by this.”

So yeah, there is pressure. There is anxiety. It is a relief that Biles can say so. It is barrier-breaking that she can tell us she is prioritizing her mental health and we can understand it and celebrate it. But we’ve also learned that fighting stigma about mental health can only take us so far. USA Gymnastics still hasn’t laid out its plan to address its problems.

Biles hasn’t said much on social media since stepping back. But early Wednesday, she retweeted a screenshot of a statement from an anonymous gymnast that defended her decision and expressed rage at those questioning her toughness. “We are talking about the same girl who was molested by her team doctor throughout her entire childhood and teen years,” the statement read. It railed against “the joke of an organization who protected her predator instead of her and her teammates for years.” For someone as highly watched and deliberate as Biles, the retweet spoke volumes.

Out of all the well-wishers for Biles, there were two notable names from the 1996 Olympic US gymnastics team, also known as “the Magnificent Seven.” Dominique Moceanu, who was 14 when she got injured, tweeted that Biles is demonstrating that “we have a say in our own health—“a say” I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.”

Meanwhile, Moceanu’s fellow gold medalist Kerri Strug tweeted that she’s “sending love” to Biles. Strug became a household name after the 1996 Olympics when she sprained her ankle on the vault and managed to stick the landing of her second vault while injured. It was a performance hailed as heroic — one of the greatest Olympic moments of all time. But watching the video in 2021, it takes on a different flavor. Watching Strug let out a scream while hopping on one foot is agonizing. Her foot gave out while she raised her arms to salute the judges, and she dropped to the floor. You can only telegraph composure for so long with a sprained ankle.

In 1996, Strug’s self-sacrifice was the height of heroic achievement. In 2021, Biles’s insistence on preserving and protecting her mental well-being is seen as setting a positive example for the rest of us. Even Sunisa Lee, Team USA’s next best gymnast, tweeted that “we do not owe anyone a gold medal.” This week, there will be no salute to the judges from Biles, no signal that she has it all together, because she doesn’t. For saying so, she has been widely supported and applauded. That we have come this far is good. It’s a testament to the efforts of mental health activists to fight stigma so people can talk openly about what they are going through. But it has also revealed that challenging stigma is only the beginning of the fight. ●

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Tokyo Games Day 5 Review: Penny Oleksiak makes Canadian Olympic history – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The majority of action during the Tokyo Olympics happens as most Canadians are fast asleep. While you were cozy in your bed, however, members of Team Canada were making their push for the podium.

Here’s what you missed from Day 5 of the Summer Games:

Women’s 200m Freestyle Swimming: Penny Oleksiak makes Canadian Summer Games history

It was a night to remember for Canadians that tuned in to see Oleksiak compete in the women’s 200-metre freestyle final on Day 5 of the Games, as the swimmer claimed bronze in the event. The medal marks her second of the 2020 Games, and her sixth-ever at the Olympics, making her the most decorated Canadian summer Olympian ever.

The swimmer from Toronto, Ontario, completed the women’s 200m freestyle with a time of 1:54.70. Placing second was Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, who earned a time of 1:53.92. Claiming gold was Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, whose time of 1:53.50 set a new Olympic record.

Pulling from both the Summer and Winter Games, Oleksiak is tied with Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen for the most Olympic medals by a Canadian. With multiple events still remaining for Oleksiak, she could very well leave Tokyo as the all-time leader.

Canada's swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak had herself an Olympic history-making moment Wednesday in Tokyo. (Getty)

Canada’s swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak had herself an Olympic history-making moment Wednesday in Tokyo. (Getty)

Men’s Volleyball: Canada earns first win of tournament

The Canadian men earned a straight-sets victory over Iran to pick up their first win at the Olympics. The team now sits in fourth place in Group A and will play against Venezuela on Day 7 of the Games.

Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing: Canadians Patrick Keane and Maxwell Lattimer qualify for Final B

Competing in Semifinal 1, Keane and Lattimer finished fifth amongst six competitors and will now compete in Final B.

Women’s Singles Badminton: Michelle Li wins, claims top spot in Group F

Michelle Li picked up a straight-sets victory over Slovakia’s Martina Repiska and first place in Group F. She will now face Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the Round of 16. She has yet to lose a set in the tournament.

Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing: Jill Moffatt and Jennifer Casson qualify for Final B

Moffatt and Casson placed sixth amongst the six competitors in Semifinal 2, which means they’ll compete in Final B.

Men’s Pair Rowing: Kai Langerfeld and Conlin McCabe advance to Final A

Racing in Semifinal 2, Langerfeld and McCabe impressively earned third amongst the six competitors. The two will now have a chance at gold in Final A.

Women’s Middleweight Boxing: Tammara Thibeault reaches quarterfinal

Thibeault defeated Kazhakstan’s Nadezhda Ryabets in the Last 16, advancing to the quarterfinal. She will now face Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands for a chance at qualifying for the semis.

Women’s Pair Rowing: Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens earn lane in Final A

Filmer and Janssens finished nearly eight-tenths of a second behind Greece’s Maria Kyridou and Christina Bourmpou, and less than one-tenth of a second behind Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Polly Swann to finish third in Semifinal 1. The result was good enough to advance through to Final A where they will have a chance at a gold medal.

Women’s Eight Rowing: Canada will compete for gold

Canada nabbed second in the Repechage Round, finishing a little more than seven-tenths of a second behind Romania’s time of 5:52.99. The result earned the team a chance to compete for gold.

Women’s Water Polo: Canada wins in rout of South Africa

After dropping its first two contests to Australia and Spain, Canada defeated South Africa by a score of 21-1 to earn its first win of the Olympics. Canada now sits in third place in Group A.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Swimming: Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez advance

Racing in the preliminary heats for women’s 100m freestyle, Oleksiak and Sanchez both qualified for the semifinal. Oleksiak finished sixth with a time of 52.95 while Sanchez finished 10th with a time of 53.12.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Swimming: Markus Thormeyer claims lane in semifinal

Swimming to a time of 1:57.85, Thormeyer finished 16th in the preliminary heats, earning him the final spot for the semis.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke Swimming: Kelsey Wog will swim in semifinal

Wog finished 16th in the preliminary heats for the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:24.27. She will compete in the semis.

Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Swimming: Canada earns spot in semifinal

The team of Katerine Savard, Rebecca Smith, Mary-Sophie Harvey, and Sydney Pickrem swam to a time of 7:51.52, which earned them the fourth spot in the preliminary heats and a lane in the semis.

Way Beyond Gold: German judoka Martyna Trajdos defends coach slapping her face

This is the weirdest pre-game ritual I’ve ever seen.

Prior to competing in a match at the Olympics, Martyna Trajdos of Germany asked her coach, Claudiu Pusa, to shake her by the shoulders and slap her face to get her fired up.

“Look’s like this was not hard enough,” Trajdos’ Instagram post reads. “I wish I could have made a different headline today. As I already said that’s the ritual which I chose pre competition! My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up!”

Despite her wish to be slapped in the face, the International Judo Federation sent an “Official Warning and Ultimatum” to Pusa.

How many medals has Canada won in the Summer Olympics

Canada is now up to nine medals in Tokyo heading into Day 6.

Gold: Margaret Mac Neil (women’s 100m butterfly), Maude Charron (weightlifting, women’s 64kg)

Silver: Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu (women’s 3m synchronized springboard), Kylie Masse (women’s 100m backstroke)

Bronze: Jessica Klimkait (judo, women’s under-57 kg), Softball, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (judo, women’s 63kg), Penny Oleksiak (women’s 200m freestyle)

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Montreal Canadiens owner supports Logan Mailloux pick, also apologizes for not assessing impact – ESPN Australia

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Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson apologized to “everyone impacted by our decision” while backing his team’s selection of defenseman Logan Mailloux in the first round of last weekend’s NHL draft.

“We gave Logan a second chance, but in doing so we failed to properly assess the impact of our decision on the victim and on anyone who have suffered in similar circumstances. Once again, I want to apologize to everyone impacted by our decision,” Molson said in a letter posted to the Canadiens’ website Wednesday. “I repeat, our actions will speak louder than our words. We will work to continue proving we are an organization this community and our fans can be proud of.”

Mailloux, 18, had “renounced” himself from the draft after multiple news reports covered an incident in Sweden in which he showed teammates a photo that depicted him and a woman engaged in a consensual sexual act. The photo was taken without the consent of the woman, who went to local police. Mailloux was fined but not arrested for invasion of privacy and defamation.

While sources indicated to ESPN that multiple NHL teams were considering taking him on the second day of the draft, Montreal selected him 30th in the first round. The next day, Mailloux said he accepted the Canadiens having drafted him and thought the team could help with his “betterment” as a person.

The decision sparked immediate backlash from fans and media, and eventually led to a handful of sponsors questioning their commitments to the franchise for next season. On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “as a lifelong Habs fan, I am deeply disappointed by the decision” and that the team has “a lot of explaining to do to Montrealers and fans right across the country.”

Molson, who released his letter at the start of the NHL’s free-agent period Wednesday afternoon, specifically addressed the woman.

“I want to say that we do not minimize what she has had to, and continues to have to, live through. No one, especially not an 18-year-old, should have to suffer through a traumatic experience like this. We are there to support her and her family and respect their privacy,” he said. “Our selection of Logan was never intended to be disrespectful towards her or her family, or more generally towards women or other victims of similar situations. Our decision was not intended, in any shape or form, to be an endorsement of the culture of violence against women.”

Molson said that Mailloux is “a young man who committed a serious transgression” but one who is “genuinely remorseful about the pain he has caused” and “committed to becoming a better person and we will work with him through this process.”

The letter spelled out how the Canadiens are preparing to handle Mailloux as a prospect. He will not participate in the Canadiens’ rookie development camp or training camp.

“Being a player in the NHL is a privilege that is earned — not a right that is granted. As the year progresses, we will reassess Logan’s readiness to be part of our organization,” he said.

In addition, the team will develop a plan to raise awareness and educate young men and young women about “this serious issue,” using the team’s resources to “turn a decision that hurt many people into one that brings meaningful and impactful change.”

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