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Simone Biles puts her mental health before gymnastics at Tokyo Olympics — ‘She already won’ – Toronto Star

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All eyes were on Simone Biles on Tuesday, waiting for the gymnastics great to come up with something that once again stuns the world.

Fans were stunned by the end of the women’s artistic gymnastics team final, but in a manner no one likes to see. The 24-year-old American withdrew from the event after one vault and her lowest ever score on the apparatus at the Olympics.

Biles told reporters in Japan that she had no idea where she was in the air after her vault. Feeling like her head wasn’t in the performance, she worried she could get hurt or spoil her teammates’ chances at a medal by continuing. She chose to put her mental health before her sport, following the lead of Japanese tennis player and Olympian Naomi Osaka, who recently took a couple months away from the game.

“It’s very unfortunate this has to happen at this stage … it just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head,” Biles said.

The Americans entered the team final in second place behind the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee, the first time in 11 years the U.S. found itself anywhere but first after the qualifying round. Biles’ teammates, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles, fought on in Biles’ absence — though the veteran was never far away, cheering the team on from the sidelines. But the short-handed group couldn’t do enough to best the gold-medal winning ROC, finishing with silver and bringing an end to the U.S.’s run at the top of the sport. The Americans entered Tokyo with five successive world titles and back-to-back Olympic gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Biles, who needs four podium finishes in Tokyo to become the most decorated male or female gymnast in history, has been open about the pressure she feels to perform.

“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it,” she wrote in an Instagram post earlier in the Games after struggling during the preliminary round. “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like the pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard.”

She was lauded by other athletes, celebrities and fans on Tuesday for prioritizing her mental heath.

“All of these athletes dream of these moments their entire lives,” Rio teammate Aly Raisman told NBC. “I’m hoping that Simone is OK … Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best she can. Simone is there cheering her teammates, supporting them the best she can.”

American figure skater Adam Rippon, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Games, said he can’t imagine the pressure Biles has been feeling.

“Sending her SO much love,” he wrote in a tweet. “It’s easy to forget she’s still human. WE LOVE YOU.”

Hoda Kotb, a host of NBC’s “Today” who is in Japan covering the Games, said Biles already won.

“She is a class act,” Kotb wrote on Twitter. “Withdrew from team competition after her vault … stayed and cheered on her teammates … got them chalk for their hands … encouraged … hugged them. She already won.”

A statement from U.S. Gymnastics said Biles’ withdrawal was due to a “medical issue” and she would be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions. She is scheduled to defend her Olympic title in the all-around final Thursday and has also qualified for all four individual event finals later in the Games.

  • COVID-19 surges: Tokyo reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections Tuesday. The Japanese capital reported 2,848 new cases, exceeding an earlier record of 2,520 on Jan. 7. Experts had warned the more contagious Delta variant could cause a surge during the Olympics, with cases among younger, unvaccinated people rising as Japan’s inoculation drive loses steam due to supply uncertainty. About 25.5 per cent of Japanese people have been vaccinated.
  • Bermuda’s Golden Girl: Triathlete Flora Duffy was already a local celebrity in her native Bermuda, but her star is soaring after winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal Tuesday.

Duffy is one of two Bermudian athletes participating in Tokyo 2020. With a population of 63,000, it is the smallest nation or territory to win Olympic gold.

“It’s bigger than me and that’s a really cool moment,” Duffy, 33, said.

With files from the Associated Press

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Ticats list Watford as starting QB vs. Stampeders – TSN

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David Watford has been listed as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats starting quarterback for Friday’s game against the Calgary Stampeders.

The move comes after Watford took the majority of snaps in practice this week with Jeremiah Masoli limited due to a rib injury. Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer told said Thursday the decision would be based on how Masoli was feeling.

Watford has completed six passes this season for 78 yards.

Masoli opened the season as the team’s starting quarterback, but was replaced by Dane Evans. Evans was ruled out for four-to-six weeks with an Oblique injury on Monday.

Masoli, 33, has completed 41 of 66 passes this season for 371 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.

The Tiger-Cats will be looking to get back to .500 with a win Friday against the Stampeders (2-4).

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AC Leonard receives an additional one-game suspension; six players fined – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — The Canadian Football League announced the following on Thursday:

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman A.C. Leonard has been suspended for one additional game due to a verbal abuse and unacceptable behaviour towards the doping control officers. Leonard was previously suspended for two games for failing to provide a sample for drug testing.

Fines from Week 6:

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders safety Mike Edem was fined for a tourist hit on Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Nic Demski.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris was fined for grabbing Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Christian Campbell’s facemask in a reckless and unsafe manner.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais was fined for his involvement in instigating the altercation between the two teams.
  • Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Justin Lawrence was fined for a chop-block on Edmonton Elks defensive lineman Jake Ceresna.
  • Edmonton Elks linebacker Nyles Morgan was fined for kicking Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Bryce Bell.

An additional fine from Week 5:

  • Toronto Argonauts defensive back Shaquille Richardson was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct in the Labour Day Classic against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

As per league policy, the amounts of the player fines were not disclosed.

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Hopkins converts second chance to give Washington wild win over Giants – Sportsnet.ca

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LANDOVER, Md. — Taylor Heinicke and Dustin Hopkins made the most of their second chances.

Washington needed every last second — and then some — to earn a long-awaited win over the New York Giants.

Hopkins made a 43-yard field goal on an untimed down — after a penalty negated his miss seconds earlier — and Washington beat New York 30-29 on Thursday night, snapping a five-game win streak for the Giants in the series.

It also gave Heinicke another moment in the sun after he cost Washington dearly with a late interception. The 28-year-old quarterback was making his second career start in the regular season and first since 2018 with Carolina. He became a bit of a sensation when Washington had to use him in last season’s playoffs against Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, but his team lost that game.

“It’s amazing,” Heinicke said. “The first start was what, two or three years ago in Carolina? Threw three picks, tore my tricep, it was just a brutal thing — and that was my last start until last year (against) Tampa. Come in to Tampa last year, had a good game, but ultimately fell up short. And finally get that first win.”

Heinicke, playing because of an injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick, threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns.

His interception set up Graham Gano’s fifth field goal of the game, which gave the Giants a 29-27 lead with 2:00 remaining. Heinicke then guided Washington back into field goal range.

“He does have the ability to throw the ball and make all the throws. We’ve seen that,” coach Ron Rivera said. “And he’s got a lot of confidence.”

Hopkins missed his first attempt to win the game, but he was given a reprieve when Dexter Lawrence was flagged for being offside. His next attempt was good, giving Washington (1-1) a wild victory.

“Somebody out there check on my mother,” Hopkins said. “She’s probably had a heart attack.”

Daniel Jones threw for 249 yards and a touchdown for the Giants (0-2). He also ran for 95 yards and a TD.

For most of the night, it was Washington’s highly touted defense that wasn’t pulling its weight. New York scored on its first four possessions of the second half, but after the Giants went up 26-20, Heinicke needed just 17 seconds to put Washington ahead.

J.D. McKissic slipped downfield for a 56-yard reception, and then Ricky Seals-Jones outjumped Adoree’ Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that put Washington up 27-26.

The Giants had to punt after that, but as Washington was trying to run out the clock, James Bradberry picked off a pass by Heinicke, giving the Giants the ball at the Washington 20.

Washington’s defense forced a field goal, giving Heinicke another chance. Then the penalty on Lawrence gave Hopkins his extra opportunity.

“It’s going to be a tough lesson,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “I’m not going to put this on Dexter.”

After struggling to stop Justin Herbert and the Chargers last weekend, Washington’s defense had its problems again at the start of this game. New York went 79 yards in 11 plays the first time it had the ball, taking a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Jones.

After Washington tied it on Heinicke’s 11-yard scoring pass to Terry McLaurin, Jones broke free for what initially looked like a 58-yard touchdown run. That play was shortened by a holding penalty, however, and the Giants settled for a field goal.

Washington took a 14-10 lead on a 2-yard TD run by McKissic in the final minute of the half.

Jones found Darius Slayton for a 33-yard TD in the third quarter that put New York ahead 20-14.

MISSED CHANCES

Washington’s biggest defensive breakdown wasn’t punished. With the Giants up 23-20 in the fourth quarter, Slayton was all alone behind the defense, but the pass bounced off his outstretched hands.

That play — and the penalties on the final field goal and the long run by Jones — will likely haunt the Giants during their long break before the next game.

“It’s a pretty tough one. You give it your all and fight and it comes down the tail end,” Giants receiver Sterling Shepard said. “See that first one miss and you see those flags it’s not a fun feeling at all.”

The Giants had 11 penalties for 81 yards. Washington had nine for 80 — and some of those were costly, too.

PERFECT AGAIN

Gano has now made 35 consecutive field goals, the longest active streak in the NFL. His five field goals Thursday included kicks from 47, 52 and 55 yards.

INJURIES

Giants: OL Nick Gates was carted off with a broken leg in the first quarter. Gates, normally a center, played guard Thursday after New York put Shane Lemieux on injured reserve.

Daniel Jones threw for 249 yards and a touchdown for the Giants (0-2). He also ran for 95 yards and a TD.

For most of the night, it was Washington’s highly touted defense that wasn’t pulling its weight. New York scored on its first four possessions of the second half, but after the Giants went up 26-20, Heinicke needed just 17 seconds to put Washington ahead.

J.D. McKissic slipped downfield for a 56-yard reception, and then Ricky Seals-Jones outjumped Adoree’ Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that put Washington up 27-26.

The Giants had to punt after that, but as Washington was trying to run out the clock, James Bradberry picked off a pass by Heinicke, giving the Giants the ball at the Washington 20.

Washington’s defense forced a field goal, giving Heinicke another chance. Then the penalty on Lawrence gave Hopkins his second chance.

Washington: DT Matt Ioannidis left in the first half with a knee injury but returned to the game.

UP NEXT

Giants: New York returns home to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 26.

Washington: Two straight road games await Washington, with the first coming Sept. 26 against the Buffalo Bills.

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