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Triathlon needs substance, not 'fake' social media – McCormack – Tri247.com

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Chris McCormack is at the forefront of trying to take triathlon mainstream. He has firm beliefs on what is needed to achieve that, and also on what is holding it back.

While social media right now probably gives athletes their biggest gateway to audience and fan engagement, the two-time IRONMAN World Champion believes it can also be counter-productive.

The Australian, always opinionated and willing to talk about the state of the sport, believes it will only become seriously popular if the major personalities are authentic and really capture mainstream interest. Right now, he says, things risk heading in the wrong direction.

Athletes must be authentic

Speaking exclusively to TRI247, he said: “You need champions. You need athletes people can relate to and you need athletes with the courage to be authentic. People follow people. They always will.

“We push heavily in all we do at MANA Group and thus within Super League and all our projects in the storytelling component. Look at “Drive to Survive” and the uptake this has brought within Formula 1.

“We have been telling this to IRONMAN for years, but they never wanted to invest in that (and it’s understandable as this is not their business model), so it was something we pushed to the forefront: making documentaries and storytelling around our athletes. If you follow us on our channels we do this across all our athletes. Relevance is substance – and substance is valuable.

“Social media is a hugely beneficial tool, but nowadays the fact this has been handed over to the individual has its limits as they always present the perfect version of themselves; this to be honest is boring.

Chris McCormack Super League TriathlonChris McCormack Super League Triathlon
Chris McCormack says athletes need to be real and authentic, not perfect.

“I know I shake my head at the fakeness which has sort of just become an accepted norm. Everyone is so connected and critical of everyone it is a difficult environment to build authenticity and connectivity out of.

“The problem with adopting these filtered lives is that they don’t inspire or capture momentum to build a sport on. It is a very narcissistic self-promoting world now and that is fine, if it wasn’t so fake. Mainstream is easier to access now; it’s just harder to hold onto.

“The sport needs to have the substance to support any star it creates, and that has never been the case. The sport at the ITU level was built around federations who are amateur at their core. They could not hold onto and support true professionalism. Even the ITU uniform restrictions limit that.

“The proof of the pudding in a fall from professionalism in a sport is athletics. It can support one or two stars nowadays. The uniforms and the lack of authenticity and stars limits its progression.

“Triathlon can go mainstream, but we need athletes with the charisma, character, and responsibility to put it out there and go after it. It is why we love the Norwegians right now, as they are the most authentic athletes the sport has had in years.”

Kristian Blummenfelt / Gustav IdenKristian Blummenfelt / Gustav Iden
Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden have taken the world by storm.

The route to ‘Money’

McCormack is a huge boxing fan, and he used a fight-game example to illustrate the point he is making.

In May 2007 Floyd Mayweather Jr fought Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas in what turned out at that point to be the richest bout ever.

Mainstream interest in that event peaked in no small part thanks to the fact HBO invested in a documentary series which charted the lives of both fighters in the build-up to the event. ’24/7′, as it was called, exploded onto the scene.

The result was an event where the build-up was way better than the actual fight – and 2.4million Americans each paid almost $100 for the privilege of watching on PPV.

I personally remember the impact 24/7 had on that bout and the ones that followed. I interviewed both fighters in the build-up, and then covered fight week in Las Vegas. The buzz and excitement was off the charts – 10,000 fans rocked up for the weigh-in alone…

The day before the fight I spoke with HBO’s Ross Greenburg, the creative force behind it all. He was blown away by what had fallen into his lap. The Mayweather team was a mix of outrageous characters, and the behind-the-scenes access he had made them household names.

‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd became ‘Money May’ and eventually earned billionaire status, while his dad Floyd Sr, his Uncle Roger and BFF 50 Cent provided a wild supporting cast. It was must-see TV.

While most sports might struggle to match that entertainment factor and cast, the success of that production resonated strongly with McCormack.

He said: “Look at boxing and how they did it with the HBO 24/7 series that exploded and pushed boxing to the next level of major money-making sports. The Oscar De La Hoya vs Floyd Mayweather bout, that was covered in the build-up to this event and had the HBO 24/7 series rate higher than the actual fight, showed that this type of communication is necessary to create an interest in the game.

“We committed to that last year with SLT and the “Invincible” documentary we put together for Vince Luis. I think the sport needs the platform and the athlete stars and a commitment from the league owners and the event owners to invest heavily in that content and storytelling piece. We need to create and build that momentum around the events we own.”

Vincent Luis Olympics 2012 Brownlees Super League DocumentaryVincent Luis Olympics 2012 Brownlees Super League Documentary
Vincent Luis recently featured in a new Super League Triathlon documentary.

McCormack on the PTO

The Professional Triathletes Organisation has also invested heavily in storytelling – particularly in the build-up to the inaugural Collins Cup. McCormack says the tools and the talent to create great material are there. Now the personalities are required.

“What we at SLT and PTO are doing is what is needed: investing heavily in the production and content around our sport and pushing it out. I think organisations need to start collaborating for the benefit of the sport regardless of the business model, and realise that a rising tide lifts all ships.

“The talent is available to promote. We just need the content, the authenticity, the racing and the buy-in to consistently push in this space. It is a slow bleed but after a while you will see the fruits of the work.”

The challenges which the PTO faces in its bid to make elite triathlon a truly sustainable sport for professionals are something McCormack inevitably has a strong handle on.

“The PTO does a great job supporting the professionals over the longer distance and trying to build some value in this style of racing. He also knows the sheer size of the task.

“I think the value is there; the difficulty they have is building that value around a spectator base that is not interested in it. You require the champions and the names to make it worthwhile.

“Everyone is so flippant about comparing us to golf or tennis. But let’s be honest here: I don’t play tennis but could tell you 15 tennis players off the top of my head. I don’t play golf but could name 15 golfers immediately if you asked me.

“Triathlon doesn’t have that luxury and it is also a sport you do, you don’t play, so it has a different spectator base. Most people who watch our sport do it.

“The PTO is doing their best to sexy up long course racing. This is cool. It’s just the dollar cost and the business model around that which will require mass participation and sponsorship dollars to make it viable long-term outside of investment.”

IRONMAN a different model

The flip side of what the PTO is looking to build is of course provided by IRONMAN – which has built foundations based on mass age-group participation. Not the professional elite.

“The IRONMAN business model is about selling 1200-dollar entries to any one they can as many times as they can at as many events around the world as they can,” said McCormack.

“You can see the drop-off already in cost-cutting around event set-up, finisher’s towels and medals and just the “Ironman” experience when you compare that to, say, 15 years ago.

“They have increased the quantity of races, the number of participants and almost doubled the entry fee. Professionals are a bleed on income, so they do the bare minimum to support them.

Changing the game

“For this, the PTO has changed the game and it was needed. I find it refreshing working with PTO as our interests are aligned. We did this from a short-course perspective but more so looking at the viability of the professional element in the sport and how we could build that out quickly and with sustainability.

“You must own the events. You have to own the league and you have to own the content you put out. Only then can you create that framework that gives substance to a professional racing series in the sport.

“From my perspective in MANA Group we work with them across multiple projects and are aligned with them as part of our Sub7 and Sub8 event. SLT already works alongside PTO in a small capacity. We will do more together as it presents, but sustainability and viability in any start up is the key, and we have had a very difficult two years that’s for sure.

“Discussions like this ensure we are all pushing in the right direction.”

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'Alarming levels of stress' harming mental health of Canadian journalists and media workers – Canada NewsWire

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The study provides comprehensive data on how growing harassment of media workers, COVID-19, workload, job insecurity and a culture that neglects employee health are causing high rates of anxiety, depression, burnout and trauma-related injury.

“The Taking Care survey results confirm some of our worst fears and suspicions about our industry,” said Carleton University journalism professor Matthew Pearson, one of two lead researchers on the project. “The onus now is on newsroom leaders, executives and journalism educators to grasp the gravity of this situation and meaningfully address it to stop the harms Canadian media workers are suffering on the job.”

The 20-minute anonymous online survey was conducted between Nov. 1 and Dec 18, 2021 and reveals some startling health impacts resulting from events of the last four years:

            Respondent mental health symptoms at rates far above Canadian average
                        69 % report anxiety
                        46 % depression
                        15 % post-traumatic stress injury (PTSD)

Media workers face high rates of trauma exposure (stories of death, injury, suffering)

  • Two-thirds negatively affected by graphic, disturbing stories
  • 80% suffered burnout as a result of trauma coverage
  • 1 in 10 have thought about suicide tied to coverage

Media workers face rampant harassment online and in the field

  • 56% report online harassment and threats
  • 35% experienced harassment in the field

Other major findings:

  • 46% report higher-risk drinking and 26% are heavy drinkers
  • 53% have sought medical help to deal with work stress and mental health
  • 85% have never received training on mental health and trauma at work

“Journalists and media workers expressed high rates of job satisfaction,” said Dave Seglins, a senior investigative journalist with CBC News and industry mental health advocate, and the project’s other lead researcher. “What that tells us is that many people love their jobs, but their jobs don’t always love them.” 

“This is a wake-up call,” Seglins added. “There is an alarming amount of stress in virtually all corners of the industry and something must be done. This is not just a ‘management issue.’ Everyone in the industry – from the frontlines, to assignment, to newsroom managers, to corporate executives, to unions and associations – all have a role to play in changing the culture.”

Pearson added: “By recognizing media workers’ elevated risks of trauma, acknowledging their personal sacrifices and honouring their commitment, we can together create a healthier, more sustainable news industry – one that better supports its people in pursuit of journalism’s greater mission of serving the public good.”

The researchers received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma and Carleton University. Today’s report was tabled at a news conference on Parliament Hill sponsored by Senator Paula Simmons, herself a journalist and political columnist.

The full report can be downloaded from the Forum’s website in English or French. It will be the subject of two bilingual sessions supported by the Forum at the National Conference of the Canadian Association of Journalists in Montreal on May 27 and 28. 

Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

For further information: All media enquiries should be sent directly to the researchers by email: [email protected]; For other information about the Forum, please contact Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer: [email protected]

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Evening Update: Texas gunman posted on social media about attacking a school minutes before shooting – The Globe and Mail

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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Texas gunman posted on social media about attacking a school minutes before shooting, governor says

Just 30 minutes before opening fire in a Texas elementary school, gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, had made three separate posts on social media: The first said he was going to shoot his grandmother, a second that he had done so and a third that he was about to shoot up a school, the state’s governor said today.

Ramos had legally purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle shortly after his 18th birthday and just days before he stormed a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, killing 19 children and two teachers, according to authorities.

As details of the latest mass killing to rock the U.S. emerged, grief engulfed the small town of Uvalde, population 16,000.

The dead included an outgoing 10-year-old, Eliahna Garcia, who loved to sing, dance and play basketball; a fellow fourth grader, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming; and a teacher, Eva Mireles, with 17 years’ experience whose husband is an officer with the school district’s police department. Here are more details about the victims of the massacre.

Read more:

In Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, terrorized civilians recount war crimes and ‘chaos’

Officers at a police station in Beryslav district – a small corner of Ukrainian-controlled territory at the northern tip of Kherson Oblast in the country’s south – have been on the front lines of Russian occupation. Thousands of people fled the area; some have stopped at the police station to recount what they’d endured. Officers have opened hundreds of war crime cases at the station.

For those living under occupation, there is “an absence of any basic rights,” said Captain Mykola Marinik, who is deputy head of investigations in the district. “Rights belong to the person holding a gun. People have no ability to protect their freedoms, their property or their own lives.” Read the full story by The Globe’s Nathan Vanderklippe.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin issued an order today to fast track Russian citizenship for residents in parts of southern Ukraine, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the Russian army. The order, applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, could allow Russia to strengthen its hold on territory that lies between eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014.

The Russian army is engaged in an intense battle for Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Lawmakers have agreed to scrap the age limit of 40 for individuals signing their first voluntary military contracts, in sign that Moscow is attempting to strengthen its military.

This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

U.S. Fed embraces 50-basis-point rate hikes in June, July to curb ‘very high’ inflation: All participants at the Federal Reserve’s May 3-4 policy meeting backed a half-percentage-point increase in its benchmark lending rate to combat inflation they agreed had become a key threat to the economy’s performance and was at risk of racing higher without action by the U.S. central bank, minutes of the session showed on Wednesday.

Federal government isn’t ruling out court challenge to Quebec’s Bill 96: Federal Justice Minister David Lametti says he first wants to see how it’s implemented, adding that the law could be enforced in a way that doesn’t violate constitutionally protected rights.

British PM Boris Johnson says he takes ‘full responsibility’ after damning final report into ‘partygate’ scandal: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a renewed apology for the conduct of his staff after an internal investigation found widespread drinking, violations of COVID-19 restrictions and abuse of cleaning staff at Downing Street.

Victims’ families tell lawyers to boycott N.S. mass shooting inquiry over questioning of Mounties: The relatives of victims of the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting have told their lawyers to boycott the public inquiry investigating the tragedy, after its commissioners decided to prevent cross-examination of key Mountie witnesses.

Shortage of family doctors puts B.C. government on defensive: At a time when thousands of British Columbians are struggling to access a family doctor, and while family physicians who remain in practice are battling rising costs, physicians are feeling undervalued in the province.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street closed higher Wednesday, boosted after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting showed policymakers unanimously felt the U.S. economy was very strong as they grappled with reining in inflation without triggering a recession. Canada’s main stock index also rose, reaching its highest level in more than a week, as higher oil prices boosted energy shares and stronger-than-expected bank earnings bolstered financials.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 191.66 points, or 0.6%, to 32,120.28, the S&P 500 gained 37.25 points, or 0.95%, to 3,978.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 170.29 points, or 1.51%, to 11,434.74.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 97.55 points, or 0.5%, at 20,383.75, its highest closing level since May 17.

The Canadian dollar traded for 77.90 cents US compared with 77.97 cents US on Tuesday.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

TALKING POINTS

With Bill 96, François Legault is trying to tiptoe out of Canada’s constitutional order

“But the overall response to Bill 96 in the rest of Canada has been one of overwhelming uninterest. While language has long been the hottest political issue in Quebec, and its protection is seen as sacrosanct, it hardly registers outside it.” – The Editorial Board

Hong Kong’s ‘autonomy’ era is all but over, only halfway through

“What is important to bear in mind is that what has happened in Hong Kong is only a symptom showing where China is heading.” – Dennis Kwok

The history of Cantopop is the history of Hong Kong – and perhaps its grim future

“If, as John Lennon once said, “music reflects the state that the society is in,” its fade and absence should surely refract as sharply. And so Ms. [Denise] Ho’s arrest signals something deeper: the loss of a unique culture, in a place undergoing a forced identity crisis.” – Adrian Lee

Biden’s visit to Asia highlights the continent’s ‘Finlandization’ – a desire to steer clear of conflict between Russia and the West

“The term “Finlandization” describes a commitment to strategic neutrality that a small country might make, in order to avoid provoking a much larger and more powerful neighbour … Even as Finland abandons Finlandization though, many Asian countries may well be set to adopt it.” –Takatoshi Ito

LIVING BETTER

Avoid crowded airports and security delays with these three cross-border trips

If news of chaos and long wait-times at airports has you rethinking your summer travel plans, you may want to consider a road trip, instead. One way to fulfill your wanderlust without emptying your wallet (entirely) would be to visit a U.S. border town, many of which have exciting new developments happening. Less than 90 minutes from Vancouver, Bellingham, Wash., has a new waterpark, beaches and walking trails to enjoy. There’s also plenty to explore in Buffalo, like the recently-restored Buffalo Heritage Carousel, now operated by solar power at the newly revitalized waterfront venue Canalside.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Telesat is in race to deliver high-speed satellite internet, but it’s going up against two of the world’s richest men

Telesat, a once stodgy psuedo-government outpost, is in a race to deliver the fastest satellite internet to customers around the world. But it’s going up against two of the richest (and most unpredictable) men on the planetNathan Cyprys/The Globe and Mail

Every spring and fall, over the course of several days, Nunavut’s government employees lose telecommunications abilities for up to 12 minutes at a time. Most of the territory’s internet connectivity is beamed via a single satellite locked in place 36,000 kilometres above the Earth. A couple times a year, the sun’s angle overpowers the satellite’s signal, shutting down communications.

That satellite, Telstar 19 Vantage, launched by Ottawa-based Telesat in 2018, brought slightly faster internet speeds than an earlier one did, but it suffers from lag time, and its limited capacity means the government’s connectivity needs far outweigh what the satellite can provide, which means users need to ration internet.

Dan Goldberg, chief executive officer of Telesat, has been working toward a solution. A few years ago, Goldberg announced plans to launch low-Earth-orbit (LEO) communications satellites, which whiz around the planet multiple times a day but at lower altitudes, allowing them to offer speedy and reliable internet. Telesat called the endeavour Lightspeed: It’s a $6.5-billion network of 298 initial satellites aimed at serving enterprise customers such as governments, telecoms, and companies in the marine and airline industries. Despite many opportunities, the project has encountered various barriers. As the program moves forward, nothing less than the future of the company is tethered to Goldberg getting the Lightspeed rollout right. Read the full story by Jason Kirby.

Evening Update is written by Prajakta Dhopade. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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Uvalde School Shooting Sparks Cries For Action Across Social Media – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — With former President Donald Trump scheduled to speak at the NRA’s National Meeting this Friday in Houston, in the same state where 19 children and two teachers were killed at the hands of an 18-year old gunman who stormed their school, rallying cries for gun control can be heard across social media.Former President Barack Obama posted a string of tweets that began,“It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy—a quieter but no less tragic one—for families to wait another day.” He added, “Across the country, parents are putting their children to bed, reading stories, singing lullabies—and in the back of their minds, they’re worried about what might happen tomorrow after they drop their kids off at school, or take them to a grocery store or any other public space.” 

From LeBron James to Mia Farrow, an outpouring of grief from celebrities followed an emotionally charged speech by Golden State Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr who called a press conference before tonight’s NBA semifinals game to express outrage at the “50 senators” who have failed to move on a House bill on common-sense gun safety reforms that President Biden is ready to sign into law.Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James shared Kerr’s remarks and tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers goes out to the families of love ones loss & injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX! Like when is enough enough man!!! These are kids and we keep putting them in harms way at school. Like seriously “AT SCHOOL” where it’s suppose to be the safest!” Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde and runs a foundation to help high school students in Texas, asked all Americans to take action “so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured.”

Other celebrities taking to Twitter to share their grief include human rights activist George Takei who co-starred in “Star Trek: The Original Series.” He tweeted, “14 children and 1 teacher. There are no words. And there are no actions ever taken.” National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman wrote, “It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity—it’s inhumanity.” Actress Mia Farrow retweeted Gorman and said, “Don’t anyone dare do “thoughts and prayers”. We are way past that. We need reasonable gun legislation like every other rational country.And late night talk show host James Corden commented on how shocked he is by America’s inability to act when it comes to gun control. “It doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t reflect the country that I think America is. The America I’ve always admired. You have a problem, you solve it. You’re on the forefront of medicine, of technology, of innovation. When there’s a world war, you are the ones we turn to. Yet on this issue America is one of the most backward places in the world.”Cordon noted this year there have been no school shootings in England, Japan, and Australia, but this year there have been 27 school shootings in America and 212 mass shootings and we are just five months into the year.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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