Tag Archives: Sport


Nicolle Smith, 49, powerlifter

I started weightlifting three years ago at the age of 46. Id done competitive athletics in my 20 s and wanted to find a physical activity that would challenge me. I loved the movie Rocky, and the classic develop sequence from it, so I decided to join a boxing club. Non-competitive boxing became my second love for 10 years. But eventually it started to take a toll on my body, and I cease just after my 40 th birthday.

If youre not a runner( and I never enjoyed operating ), the options for fitness in the middle years really narrow down to a handful of activities. Many play tennis( which yields a high chronic injury rate in the over-4 0s ), take up yoga( which is fine, but doesnt truly get the heart rate up ), or try golf( which isnt my thing ).

I tried British Military Fitness for a year, but you need the staman of a younger athlete. I considered CrossFit, but there was no way I was going to manage the dynamic moves. I was intrigued by the strength-based exercises and set out to find a qualified strength and conditioning trainer. Will Davis at Performance Pro started me off with body weight workouts, and at first, where reference is asked me to pick up a bar buzzer, I told him I didnt want to lift heavy weights; I worried that I would get big. He insured I would not. I thought about the women Ive considered lifting weights who seem lean, and changed my mind.

Powerlifting consists of three lifts: the squatting, the bench press and the deadlift. Lifting weights is technological, but thats what I love about it. You make improvements each week. It has a huge health impact for women as they age. I had a bone density scan last year and the technician told me mine was off the following chart. I have also fell a dress size as fat has gradually become muscle.

Lifting offer a challenge for me, and I love the training environment. My gym is full of athletes of all ages, each with their own objectives. No one is there to show off. It really is empowering.

My weekend workout

Sessions per week ? Three.
Best pre-workout meal ? Peanut butter on toast.
Most exhausting move ? My maximum deadlift of 92.5 kg; one and a half days my body weight.

Five ways to get started

1 Go to the Global or UK Strength and Conditioning website(; to find a trainer with qualifications near you: its about the trainer , not the gym. Finding someone who will teach you proper technique and form will make traumata less likely.

2 Be patient. Powerlifting takes time. You might expend weeks learning the basics, but once you have mastered them, youll be thrilled when your weights get heavier.

3 Start with a simple squatting. Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, pull your shoulders back and keep your back straight. With your limbs above your head slowly push your bum back as you lower it to the floor. Pause and come back up.

4 Get a gym develop buddy; you can watch each others form and help move the plates on and off the barbell, which can be tiring on your own.

5 Mark Rippetoe is an expert lifter and former Olympic coach. Watch his video explainers or find his volume, Starting Strength. Many lifters call it the bible of Powerlifting.

Essential kit


Powerlifting shoes, 74.95,; York padded leather weight lifting belt, 12.88,; wrist supportings, 2.99,

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( CNN) Kyle Schwarber has been an incredible — borderline miraculous, even — World Series story for the Chicago Cubs.

The 23 -year-old, aside from five plate appearances in April, missed most of the season following surgery for a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. Surprisingly, he returned to the Cubs’ lineup as the designated hitter merely in time for the start of the World Series. He’s been one of Chicago’s best offensive producers, batting. 429 with three makes and two RBIs in Games 1 and 2.


The LPGA is under fire for introducing a draconian womens golf dress code that precludes plunging necklines, leggings and revealing skirts on the course

The Ladies Professional Golf Association( LPGA) has come in for stiff criticism after it introduced a new dress code that prohibits female golfers from sporting plunging necklines, leggings or uncovering skirts on the course.

Initial reactions were overwhelmingly negative, with Teen Vogue accusing the governing body policy of slut-shaming female players. The progressive and influential youth magazine also said the code sets players and women in general route back.

As of 17 July, the LPGA will crack down on athletic wear following a 2 July email to all players from LPGA player president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, which detailed an extensive listing of attire that will no longer be allowed on course and at pro-am parties on the tour.

Any transgression of the new code, as indicates that there is a report by Golf Digest, will result in a $1,000 penalty for the first offence, with fines doubling for each subsequent breach. Items in the new code were expressed in the following dot points in Goetze-Ackermans email 😛 TAGEND Racerback with a taunt or regular collar are allowed( no collar= no
racerback) Plunging necklines are NOT let. Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, are NOT permitted Length of skirt, skort, and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area( even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over. Appropriate attire should be worn to pro-am parties. You should be dressing yourself to present a professional image. Unless otherwise told no, golf clothes are acceptable. Dressy jeans are permitted, but cut-offs or jeans with pits are NOT allowed. Workout gear and jeans( all colourings) NOT allowed inside the ropes Joggers are NOT allowed


Allegations about the American coach are not going away, which means both he and Farah must engage more fully with those who are challenging them

The last hour I spoke to Alberto Salazar, in a hotel hall in Beijing, he offered some simple financial advice. You should put your money on me being cleared, he told, smiling. Its a win wager. That was in August 2015, in the midst of a blizzard of allegations and an investigation by the US AntiDoping Agency against him. Yet 18 months later he remains in limbo, neither damned or saved, still awaiting his fate. And there, right beside him, stands Sir Mo Farah and British Athletics.

Who would have predicted this in June 2015, when the allegations against Salazar first surfaced on the BBCs Panorama? Depending on ones point of view, this shows either commendable religion or staggering misjudgment on the part of Farah and British Athletics. The accusations are not insubstantial. Salazar has faced a rap sheet of potential violations including devoting Galen Rupp testosterone when he was 16 and now it has been suggested that he ignored the warns from a UK Athletics doctor not to prescribe Farah vitamin D or calcitonin in high doses in 2011 because of a medical condition.

Yet still he evades all attempts to set him down for the count. On Sunday night he was dismissive of the Sunday Timess latest tale, telling the newspaper had simply recycled old allegations that have been refuted nearly two years ago and again insisting: I believe in a clean athletic and a methodical, dedicated approach to training.

One might not believe him and even his friends and supporters would admit that he is a coach who operates in most of the 50 tints of grey. But, as of yet, Usada has not been able to nail him.

Farah must realise that he risks suffering reputational damage by sticking with Salazar. He was told so much better by the UK Athletics chairman, Ed Warner, virtually two years ago. But still he stays with the man who made him an nearly unbeatable mid-distance champ. One can see why. Before Farah moved to the US in late 2010 he hovered just under super-elite level, finishing sixth in the 5,000 m at the 2007 world championships and seventh in the same event in 2009. Since then he has won nine gold medals and a silver at Olympics and world championships. Even at 33 his powers seem undiminished: in truth he could have won a medal at every distance from 1500 m to marathon at the Rio Olympics.

On Sunday he again protested his innocence, just as he has done since the Salazar accusations surfaced. But this time his statement had sharper teeth: I am unclear as to the Sunday Timess motives towards me but … its entirely unfair to make assertions when it is clear from their own statements that I have done nothing wrong.

Here Farah is on dangerous ground. It is not unreasonable to press him harder given Usadas investigation into Salazar and his previous evasiveness over his relationship with the Ethiopian coach-and-four Jama Aden, who is being investigated by the Spanish anti-doping bureau. He should look at how Bradley Wiggins has been treated after the revelations that he employed a therapeutic use exemption to realise that he is not alone.

Meanwhile there are also questions for UK Athletics in all this. In 2015 it set up a performance oversight management group to investigate its relationship with the Nike Oregon Project, led by Jason Gardener. The former sprinter is well liked but he is not a skilled investigator. One would not ask Elliot Ness to operate the 100 m.

UK Athletics will also be asked, just as it was in 2015, whether it has got too close to Salazar in the pursuit of medals. From 2012 to 2015 the performance director, Neil Black, used to travel at the least six times a year to the Nike Oregon Project, while the head of endurance, Barry Fudge, was also a regular visitor. Both men would deny such charges. As Black sets it: Alberto is absolutely brilliant. He is a genius. And “hes one” of the best people to work with that I have ever come across.

He is not the only one who thinks that style. Bob Williams, a running coach-and-four who has known him for more than four decades, says there is no one better at training endurance athletes. Albertos skill is to make really good athletes even better, he says. Theres a fine line between pushing them to their limits and avoiding injury and Alberto is a master at it. Senior British Athletics coaches also pinpoint Salazars uncanny ability to select the right final hard workout before a major race to get them to perform on the working day. Some, though, are far more sceptical.

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Bryan Armen Graham: The Omaha fighter tabbed to succeed Mayweather as Americas next big thing readies for his Madison Square Garden debut

The next big thing in American boxing descended the narrow staircase of the Mendez Boxing Gym on Wednesday afternoon clad smartly in a black sweatsuit, blue Creighton knit cap and pair of white Kobe Xs. He fielded boilerplate queries from the modest gaggle of media, orbited by the dozen or so family members who trail him everywhere, before climbing into the ring and skipping rope absent-mindedly, a wrinkled glob of Doublemint dangling from his gap-toothed smile. Just another day at the office.

Terence Crawford, the almost famous junior welterweight champ of the world, was typically cool ahead of Saturdays title fight at Madison Square Garden, breezing through a light workout amid the blur of activity in the subterranean Flatiron gym. The easy tenor was a stark contrast from only minutes earlier when the challenger, a South Philadelphia boxer-puncher named Hank Lundy, had filled the room with blustery promises of Crawfords demise Hes all nervous energy! Ive got him right where I want him ! before vanishing into the gray downpour outside.

In his assessment Lundy is practically alone. He wasnt the first or third or even fifth option for Crawford, who is unbeaten in 27 professional bouts and widely regarded as presumptive successor to Floyd Mayweather as Americas next pay-per-view superstar. An entire platoon of the 140 lb divisions uppermost names passed on the invitation to face him, among them WBC titleholder Viktor Postol, Ruslan Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse, Mauricio Herrera and even Manny Pacquiao, who opted for known quantity Timothy Bradley over the young lion from his own promotional stable. Oddsmakers have priced Lundy as a 10 -1 longshot, lending the occasion of the champions New York City debut the subdued feel of a stay-busy battle. Not that it concerns the Omaha native.

Im a fighter, he said. Im not a promoter and Im not a director so I leave that up to my director and my promoter and I only fight.

And how. The slight, sinewy Crawford is a highly intelligent and complete operator, dependent on no one attribute. The tactical aptitude and mental dexterity that sets him apart a preternatural sense of timing and distance, an uncanny ability to adjust to an opponent throughout a fight and create or change his game plan as needed might not evoke the primal anxiety of a Gennady Golovkin or a Sergey Kovalev, other popular claimants to Mayweathers vacancy atop boxings pound-for-pound pecking order. But a scalpel can finish you just as decisively as a hammer.

Crawfords adaptability includes the capacity to change between southpaw and orthodox postures during the course of its battles. He delivers with equally formidable power and precision from either side, a ability he developed when he fractured his right hand in local schools oppose as an 11 th-grader and persisted at the gym despite the cast. That switch-hitting ability inordinately rare in upper-class prizefighters was the difference-maker in Crawfords signature knockout of the gifted Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa, where he floored the Olympic gold medalist immediately after switching postures in the fifth round and thrice more before aiming it in nine. The wildly entertaining scrap was the second of three wins during Crawfords breakthrough 2014, when he burst from oblivion to capture fighter of the year honors, shortlisting himself among the worlds best regardless of weight class.

A crowd-pleasing stoppage of Yuriorkis Gamboa demonstrated Crawford at his tactical best

The 32 -year-old Lundy, more of a gatekeeper than bona fide contender after losses in four of his last eight, has flashed his Philly credentials to cast the champ as a farm boy out of his depth, but Crawfords formative experiences elude the cornfed stereotypes of flyover country. He survived a gunshot to the head while sitting in his automobile after a dice game in September 2008. The slug connected behind his right ear, their own lives spared merely because the closed rear window altered the bullets trajectory. The sangfroid thats served him so well between the ropes immediately kicked in: he drove himself to the emergency room while calling his family along the way to let them know what happened.

The near miss, which expensed him a fight that would have been his television debut, inspired his withdrawal from the Omaha streets and a wholesale recommitment to his craft thats paid off handsomely. Now one of HBOs most prized assets, he will earn a career-high handbag of $1.21 m for Saturdays bout.( Lundy will collect $150,000.)

Crawfords growth has inspired largesse both at home and abroad, only widening his scope as his profile has risen. He opened the B& B Boxing Academy in his hometown to help keep at-risk children off the street and has embarked on charitable missions to Uganda and Rwanda with a former elementary-school teacher. Hes also brought championship boxing back to his hometown, drawing near-capacity mob in three title fightings at Omahas 18,320 -seat CenturyLink Center, where native son Warren Buffett has become a gallery regular.

The tempered degree of difficulty underpinning Saturdays fight might not move Crawford any closer to the crossover stardom he seems bind for, but it could be the last chance to watch one of the athletics very best without plunking down $60 for the privilege.

Im looking forward to putting on a great performance, he said. Its always special to fight.

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Dwyane Wade is a Chicago Bull, leaving the Miami Heat after 13 -years. But like LeBron James decision to head home in 2014, it did not have to end this way

Successful eras come and go in athletics, and with the promise of free agency riches, rising salary caps and the clash of egos when it comes to contracts, dynasties are harder than ever to preserve.

With the shock deviation of franchise cornerstone Dwyane Wade, who has agreed a two-year deal with his hometown Chicago Bulls, Miamis fabled Big Three of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh has been reduced to one, with serious doubts over whether the latter will ever play professionally again.

Four consecutive finals trip-ups and two titles were not enough to keep LeBron James, but they perhaps should have been. The chance to see out his glorious career and secure a legacy as a one-club human wasnt enough for Dwyane Wade either, but theres without doubt it should have been.

So what went wrong?

Unfortunately, Miami will find it hard to blame anyone but itself for the dismantling of this championship empire well before its time.

Wades decision to turn his back on the team that drafted him after a glittering 13 year career yielding all three of the Heats titles is no snap decision; it is the culmination of multiple years of free agency friction and unrequited sacrifice.

It was Wade, who agreed to lightened his wallet to bring LeBron James to Miami in the first place, who did more than anyone to broker the deal with his friend. He was the lowest paid is part of that Big Three.

When James high-tailed back to Cleveland, Wade again dedicated ground to accommodate the retention of Chris Bosh and the recruitment necessary to keep Miami competitive.

This summer, as tempestuous, immature and still largely unproven centres Hassan Whiteside walked away with a four-year, $98 m max contract, Wade was asked to do it again, all while Miami fixed to cast him aside in its damaging, Hail Mary pursuit of Kevin Durant.

However, in a free bureau period gratuitously inflated following a salary cap rise, the man whod never topped the Heats salary chart wanted his market value. He wanted Miami to finally make good on the years assurances hed be appeared after.

What he got was an insulting offer of $10 m for the 2016 -1 7 season( via the Vertical ), a 50% pay cut, during a week when players in his position scored unfathomably huge deals. Portland paid Evan Turner $ 70 m over four years and Evan Fournier received $85 m over five years from Orlando. Meanwhile, rival Dirk Nowitzki, three years older than Wade, nabbed two years and $40 m to finish out his career where he belonged, in Dallas.

After it was dismissed by Durant, Miami upped its offer leaving little discrepancies between it and the $48 m, two-year wage hell receive in Chicago( when Florida tax benefits are factored) but by this point it was too late. The injury had been done. Wade, seemingly grossly offended, was going back to his home state just like LeBron.

A 13 -year relationship, which watched Wade become the teams record holder for games played, points, field goals, free-throws, assists and steals, was over in unnecessarily acrimonious fashion.

Speaking to the Miami Heralds Dan LeBatard, all Pat Riley could muster was a text message read: SADDDDDDD !!!! SO saddddddd !

Wade himself, admitted on Thursday he was still numb at leaving a franchise and city where hes bona fide royalty.

Breaking up, as they say, is hard to do.

DWade (@ DwyaneWade) July 7, 2016

I wanna tell THANK YOU to #HeatNation … I’ve read and felt you guys love from afar. thank you for appreciating my 13 years. #FamilyAlways

Riley, the Heats so-called Godfather, of course, is more obsessed with snaring whales than Captain Ahab. However, for the second time in three years, Riley has overcast his line. As such, the two best players in franchise history have swum away to much cooler waters.

It was Riley who practically dared LeBron to leave in the aftermath of the 2014 finals dismantling at the hands of San Antonio.

This stuff is hard. And you got to stay together, if youve got the guts, he said in a memorable news conference that June. And you dont find the first door and run out of it.

Although there were other factors in play, this is known to have irked James, who is now a championship richer, his achievements in Miami now over shadowed by finally snapping the Cleveland hoodoo, while coming from 3-1 down against that Warriors team in arguably the greatest finals performance in NBA history.

Back than Riley was blindsided by LeBrons decision, just as he is reportedly surprised by Wades.

However, according to the Miami Herald, 13 years of service did not merit a call during the recruitment process. Instead, Riley left it to owned Mickey Arison, who was on one of his cruise ship shortly after the meeting with Wade.

Ethan J. Skolnick (@ EthanJSkolnick) July 7, 2016

While you’re watching Kelly Ripa, one more nugget: Pat Riley never called Dwyane Wade during the entire process.

Ethan J. Skolnick (@ EthanJSkolnick) July 7, 2016

The meeting between Dwyane Wade and Micky Arison was an attempted relationship patch. This was too far gone this time.

Many Heat fans have argued Wade should have received the Kobe deal; the last big pay-out, partly as a reward for what is unquestionably the finest career in south Florida sports history, partially to make good on his years of sacrifice and also because he was just, you know, worth it.

While Kobe picked up $48 m in two years of hobbling around in a legacy diminishing farewell tour, Wade still had the advantage of being Miamis best player, performing at a genuine All-Star level.

Seemingly beyond the injury fears of recent years after revamping his diet and workout regimen, he missed merely eight games of the 2015 -1 6 season, averaging 19 phases while carrying an injury-hit Heat to within one game of the Eastern Conference finals and a mouth-watering shot at LeBron a nation was hoping for.

Wades move may end up benefitting Miami on the court as it gears up for another run at a stacked free agent class in 2017 containing Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Durant and perhaps Blake Griffin. Riley gets another shot at those whales he covets so dearly.

However, like Kobe Bryant, Wade was worth far more to the Miami Heat franchise than wins and loss on the basketball court. For an entire generation of fans, who grew up watching him and that fabled Euro-step and step-back angled jump shot, Wade was the Miami Heat.

Without# 3 in Miami-Wade County, the Heat and a crestfallen fanbase has lost its identity, leaving a void genuinely impossible to fill.

As a squad that has often labelled itself as a family, that placed Wade front and centre of a defiant #HeatLifer marketing campaign after LeBron left, its a blow to the teams reputation and its chances of recruiting future big name free agent.

But what of Chris Bosh, the last surviving member of the Big Three era? Well that doesnt appear good either. Issues related to blood clots have ended the forwards last two seasons at the All Star Break.

His relationship with his team is also strained, to put it kindly. Bosh and the Heat clashed last season over his desire to return for the play-offs. Miami stood firm in denying it.

Amid distrusts he may be forced into retirement, Bosh will be paid $23.5 m by Miami next season. Medical retirement is a scenario the Heat front office may not be adverse to, given the three years remaining on his deal and the requisite salary cap hittings moving forward.

The Heats looming demise in the aftermath of the Big Three era is perhaps a cautionary narrative for the prospective dynasty that threatens to construct Miamis four-year finals streak look like a mere blip.

For the Golden State Warriors, freshly acquired mega-star Kevin Durant will be a free agent again next summertime, alongside two-time league MVP Steph Curry and franchise mainstay Andre Iguodala. Can both be retained with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson also on big money?

Perhaps the Warriors softer approach will be successful where Pat Rileys challenges and bravado failed? Or maybe todays sacrifices will once again manifest themselves as tomorrows brooding resentment? The rest of the NBA will likely be hoping for the latter. In fact, it looks like their only hope.

For the Miami Heat, an uncertain future awaits without not one , not two

Well, you know the rest.

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The American is the only person to have won an individual swimming gold past the age of 31. Perseverance, fund and freakish talent have helped

Age 31 isnt over the hill in most endeavors. Baseball players routinely play into their 40 s, Phillip Dutton just won an equestrian medal at age 52, and writers often peak in their 50 s or 60 s( we hope ).

But what Michael Phelps has done in the pond is unusual. The list of individual medalists( excluding relays) in swimming whove passed their 30 th birthday is a short one counts 15( add relays, and the list expands to 23 ). Of that group, only Dara Torres was older than Phelps today when shewon multiple individual medals in one Olympics, taking three bronzes in 2000.

Individual gold medalists age 31 and up? None. Not until Phelps did it Tuesday night in the 200 m butterfly. That was his 12 th gold medal in an individual event, sending historians back to Greek antique for a comparable antecedent.

How is Phelps able to do what swimmers of the past have not?

Sheer persistence helps. Mark Spitz won two medals as a teen phenom in 1968 and seven golds in his standard-setting streak in 1972. Then he retired, apart from a short-lived comeback endeavor years later.

One reason Phelps has chosen a different career path is simple: the life of an Olympic star is no longer one of monastic poverty, thanks to a series of changes internationally and domestically through the 1970 s. Were no longer talking about Jim Thorpe being stripped of his 1912 medals because he accepted a pittance for playing a totally different sport. Today, Thorpe would win cash only qualifying for the US team.

And swimmers such as Phelps get paid, with prize money at the World Aquatic Championships now up over$ 5m and a steady creek of sponsorship money available. Even swimmers who arent anywhere close to Phelps level can earn a healthy $3,000 monthly stipend.

Financial comfort is important because swimming is such a demanding sport. Not that most Olympic events are for weekend warriors, but swimming including with regard to requires a lot of pool period and the occasional dry workout. At 35 hours a week, its not the kind of thing you can do with a full-time task. And the money helps swimmers take in staggering amounts of food to refuel. No wonder the U.S. Olympic swim squad is skewing older these days. Male swimmers average in 1988 was 20.9. In 2012, 25.8.

Yet those changes have also revved up the level of competition in the Games. The Olympics are no longer just for college student, the independently wealthy and state-funded machines. Phelps has stuck around, but so have Ryan Lochte, Laszlo Cseh and many other legitimate challengers.

And Phelps is still outdistancing not just the previous generations of Olympic athletes but his peers as well. This summer, 2012 Olympic champion and multiple world medalist Tyler Clary retired after failing to stimulate the US team in multiple events. Hes merely 27.

The ageless Dara Torres notwithstanding, females have had a more difficult time sticking around in the athletic. Natalie Coughlin has 12 medals from the last three Olympics, but at age 33, she was unable to attain the US team for Rio. Kate Ziegler was the Katie Ledecky of the mid-2 000 s, winning world titles and setting records in distance races in her teens, but she didnt make an Olympic final in 2012 and didnt make the team at age 28 this time around. Katie Hoff swept the individual medley world titles in 2005 and 2007, took a couple of individual medals in 2008 while still in her teens, then faded and eventually retired due to persisting issues such as blood clots.

Other swimmers eventually break down. Lochte has dealt with traumata, including a freak run-in with a fan that wrecked his knee. Most of those injuries took place outside the pool, but even in calm, cool water, overuse injuries can pile up over time.

Phelps has likely performed over 10 m arm strokes and 7m dolphin kicks in his career, wrote swimming expert Gary Mullen. This volume increases his danger of shoulder impingement and low back disc degeneration, two of the more common traumata in the sport.

Phelps has been able to stay healthy, and his physique surely doesnt hurt. Even in a pond full of perfectly tapered torsos, Phelps has always stood out with his long limbs and big feet.

The last part of the perfect blizzard that built Phelps the perfect swimmer is coaching. Phelps satisfied Bob Bowman at age 11, and the coach has stuck with him through a successful yet often tempestuous relationship.

Phelps has slackened a little. He scratched from the 100 m and 200 m freestyle at the Olympic trials this summer , no longer willing or able to attempt the daunting eight-event program he swept in Beijing eight years ago. But his times in individual events are comparable to his times in the past 12 years, excluding the two-year techsuit era that led to faster days for everyone in 2008 and 2009. Compare the 200 m butterfly, Phelps first individual gold medal of these Games. He won the 2011 world championship in that event in 1:53.34. His time in Rio? 1:53.36.

Phelps, Bowman and his entourage have a few other tactics that may also have come into play. Maybe the cupping therapy that leaves big hickeys all over his torso is improving his endurance in ways yet to be explained. Perhaps Phelpss retirement after the 2012 Games stimulated him come back rejuvenated and hungry.

But much of Phelps success is readily apparent. Hes a physically gifted swimmer who learned picture-perfect strokes, his body has not failed him in any major route, and his support system has helped him preserve those gifts longer than most.

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The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has earned close to $100 m for being OK at his undertaking. He should be smiling his route back to training camp

The luckiest man in the world was angry.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford reportedly had not returned phone calls from his team in weeks, ever since it became clear the Eagles planned to draft a quarterback with the No2 overall pick in last months draft. Its odd, as surely Bradford can afford a phone. In fact, he can no doubt afford to pay a full staff of switchboard operators to man his phone line and provide them with a generous benefits package. Bradford has constructed $78 m in his six-year NFL career in exchange for achieving almost nothing, with at the least another $22 m ensure on the way with the same zero strings attached. The Eagles will likely be on the hook for another $14 m if he simply shows up for work through next season. Yet somehow the most fortunate human in football was very upset. And despite indicating up to the teams facility on Monday for a workout, undoubtedly still is.

Im excited to be back on the field today with my team-mates and coaches, Bradford said in a statement. The business side of football is sometimes a necessary consideration. My attention and endeavours are focused on the participation in and preparation for a championship season. The statement continued on, but at this point its likely best to hold for laugh.

Tom Brady is the quarterback many say lives the most charmed life in football thanks to his four Super Bowl rings and supermodel spouse. Russell Wilson might get some voting in favour of similar reasons. But both Brady and Wilson have to take the field week after week, get hit, vie, face criticism and in the case of the newly-suspended Patriot regularly fight cheating accusations. Meanwhile, Bradford has attained more money than Brady did through his first 10 NFL seasons( and three rings ), all while never winning more than seven games in a season and playing the bulk of his career in the pressure-free football oblivion of St Louis, a city that now doesnt even have a squad.

When Wilson plays through his huge four-year, $87.5 m contract extension after the 2019 season, hell still be nowhere near Bradfords career earnings. So much for the idea that God is on Wilsons side. Brady and Wilson are expected to put their squads in position to win a Super Bowl ever year. The only expectations Bradford faces is that hell miss hour due to injury and throw interceptions in the end zone.

Even Justin Verlander, baseballs most fortunate player thanks to a contract that will pay him $28 m a year through 2019 despite his long-depleted abilities, still remains to toe the rubber every five days and get humbled in public. The Eagles arent even expecting Bradford to play, save for maybe a few games at the start of the 2016 season while Carson Wentz learns the NFL game and overcomes the inevitable North Dakota-to-Philly culture shock. Then the expectation for Bradford is that he merely stay where you are and hold a clipboard, free from any possible injury or criticism, stress or expectation, while his bank account fills with regular six-figure deposits. How can he be upset by such good fortune? How could he refuse contact with the organization that is continuing to provide him with the American Dreaming: getting paid a ton of fund to do absolutely nothing?

You can tag him as a competitor who merely wants to play, money be damned, but the Eagles insist they were clear with Bradford all along about their plans to draft a quarterback and that his new job responsibilities included mentoring his replacing. Maybe Bradford needs a refresher as to why he may be the most fortunate player in NFL history. A reminder about why his tantrum was an illogical response to the ultimate first-world( yet second-string) problem.

The 2011 collective bargaining agreement set a cap on rookie wages. This cap is often referred to as the Sam Bradford Rule, as Bradford was the last No1 overall selection before the rules changed and he benefited with an absurd six-year, $78 m initial deal with $50 m assure. A year later, under the new system, No1 pick Cam Newton was inked to a four-year, $22 m deal, including $ 0 in bonuses for dancing.

Bradford was fortunate to even go No1 overall and get that big pre-CBA money. He missed all but one game of his 2009 season at Oklahoma to injury, merely to be lucky enough to declare for the draft in a woefully weak class at QB. After Bradford went No1, the next quarterbacks to come off the board were Tim Tebow at No25, Jimmy Clausen at No48 and Colt McCoy at No85. Mike Kafka, John Skelton and Tony Pike went subsequently. With these sorts of competition, Bradford became the clear choice for the quarterback-desperate Rams.

The financial good fortune then continued once he stepped on the field in NFL( and hobbled off ). Bradford was mediocre at best in St Louis, posting a 79.3 quarterback rating and winning just 36% of his starts. The Rams had every reason to cut him, move on and be on the hook for only the $50 m guaranteed. Merely Bradford got hurt so often missing 25 games in five seasons that St Louis repeatedly persuaded themselves they needed to wait it out and see if he could turn things around when healthy. By 2015, after Bradford missed the entire 2014 season due to a second torn ACL, his time being paid big-time fund was surely over … only football genius/ madman Chip Kelly agreed to bring Bradford to Philadelphia in a trade and happily paid the final year of Bradfords rookie deal.

In Kellys quarterback-friendly offense, Bradford had a career-year in 2015. Or at least the Eagles apparently think he did, extending him for two years and $36 m on 1 March. Yet while Bradford managed to stay healthy for 14 games, match his career-high win total with seven and hurl for a career-best 3,725 yards, he was 26 th in the NFL in passer rating and 31 st in Total QBR. And for that hes getting at least $22 m more in his new deal, which will push his career earnings over $100 m. Bradford has induced so much undeserved fund that he should be named an honorary Kardashian.

Although he was right when he said on Monday that the business side of football is sometimes a necessary consideration. Perhaps he finally considered that the business of Sam Bradford is quite good. Perhaps he realized that to be paid like a star QB despite not playing like one since beating up Big 12 foes as a college sophomore in 2008 is a pretty solid gig. Maybe he figured out that having to take some snaps for a team with zero expectations of winning in exchange for tens of millions of dollars is not worth a tantrum. If anything, its worth a heartfelt thank you. He was an injury-prone quarterback in a bad draft class that fell in the last year of rookie funny money. Everything has gone right for him to the tune of $100 m. How is he pouting? Why is he not saying blessed more than Tebow and Wilson combined?

Bradford is ultimately back at the Eagles facility. When he returns tomorrow and the next day and every day left on his absurd contract, he should do so with a huge smile on his face. A smile befitting the luckiest human in NFL history.

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The former world No1 was in relaxed mood after brushing aside Tomas Berdych to set up his 12 th Australian Open semi-final

Roger Federer has rarely looked more relaxed and that is saying something. On the eve of his 12 th Australian Open semi-final and within tantalising reach of not only his fifth title here but 18 th major bright sunlights that would amaze any mortal the Swiss was laid-back, content and patently ready for battle with Novak Djokovic after handling the skittish challenge of Tomas Berdych to win their quarter-final 7-6( 7-4 ), 6-2, 6-4.

The defending champ subsequently made short run of Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, to set up his 45 th encounter against the Swiss, with the pair locked on 22 wins apiece. It was as if everybody was sticking strictly to the script, because that was the way it was meant to be.

Its part of the reason why I guess Im still playing, Federer said of the challenge facing him. I feel like Im competitive at the top. I can beat all the guys on Tour. Its nice now that in the last three slams Ive been as consistent as I have been. Im playing good tennis, fun tennis for me anyway. I really enjoy being able to come to the net more like back in the working day. So Im very pleased. It would mean a lot to me , no doubt about it.

Roger Federer celebrates his win against Tomas Berdch

Federer, who bosses a press conference like a kindly school teacher, even admitted he may have been wrong to criticise Bernard Tomic lately, a barb that stung hard enough for the Australian to hit back at him after losing to Andy Murray the other night.

I told a lot of things in Brisbane, he grinned like the wild young man he once was himself. What he told was Tomic had been around a little while, talking a great deal about reaching the top 10, and needed to prove it.

Federer told: I guess only a small part got taken out of it. Its a bit out of context. Then you feed it to a player, he reacts, might be frustrated, and then he goes even further. Id like to see anybody succeed,[ to insure] anybody making such a move. Especially to top 100 first, top 10, world No1. If everybody could be that, I wish that for everyone.

To be quite honest, when I strolled out of the press room I guessed I was somewhat tough but at the same period I was fair because I said nice things about him. But then I checked his ranking. I didnt know his ranking[ 17] was as high as it was. I thought he was like 50 or 60 and he was top 20. That was my bad, to be honest.

But I still believe its a big difference, top 10 for a week or for a year or for multiple years, and getting there is not easy. Its a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work. Theres a lot of guys who have the potential right now , not only him. Thats why I think it get brought up.

After that rare sighting of the Full Blushing Federer, we moved on to tennis, and he was back to has analytical best.

As for his final workout before the closing stages of the championships, he told: I played well overall. You know, wished maybe I didnt get a breach here or there. At the same period Tomas was pushing for it, he was looking for it, so clearly it can happen. Hes got a lot of power. He knows how to do it. So I was happy that on both occasions, first and third, I was able to react quickly. The second situate, when I did have the infringe, I was able to roll with it.

The first set was tough. It was the one that took the longest, had the most importance of all the situateds. It was definitely key to the rest of the match because I think it maybe mightve taken some energy out of Tomas. Who knows? If not physical, also mental. Its always tough to lose the first set in best-of-five in a breaker.

After his 100-error nightmare against Gilles Simon, Djokovic got his game back and, as well as Nishikori some times played, it was an uneven contest in the end.

That was the goal, to lessen the unforced errors ratio, Djokovic told. Ive said and done. I knew Im going to play against an opponent that plays very fast faster than Simon that makes also more unforced errors.

I tried to weather the cyclone, hang in there. He came up and played first couple games very fast, very quick. Took the ball early, being very aggressive from both corners. I expected that.

I was solid. I was ascertained, focused. In important points and moments I managed to stay composed and attain him play an extra shot. Overall it was a very solid performance.

Djokovic defeated him in the past two Wimbledon finals but he has to deal here with a Federer who seems unnervingly ready for it. This, at 34, is one of Federers few remaining chances to get back on level terms. It makes an old row very fresh.

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