Tuesday, August 16, 2022

June 15, 2021  OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Katie Ledecky touched the wall far ahead of everyone else at the U.S. swimming trials No surprise there. But she was taken aback by the time. It wasn’t as fast as expected, raising the stakes for an expected showdown in Tokyo with the Aussie Terminator.

Ledecky earned a trip to her third Olympics with a never-in-doubt victory in the women’s 400-meter freestyle Monday night.

She was a good five body lengths ahead of runner-up Paige Madden, touching the wall in 4 minutes, 1.27 seconds.

But the winning time was far off Ledecky’s world record of 3:56.46, which she set almost five years ago at the Rio Olympics.

Another time on everyone’s mind: Ariarne Titmus won the 400 free at the Australian trials on Sunday with the second-fastest performance in history — 3:56.90.

Ledecky wasn’t close to Titmus’s performance, either.

“Very much a blur,” Ledecky said. “I thought I could go a little faster than that, so I’m a little surprised. But I’ll take it for now.”

Titmus, a 20-year-old known as “The Terminator,” has made it clear that she’s not intimidated by Ledecky’s longtime dominance in the distance events.

Titmus told reporters Down Under that the 24-year-old from the nation’s capital is “not going to have it all her own way. I can’t control what she does, (but) if I do the best I can and put myself in the position to win a gold medal, it’s going to be a tough race.”

Ledecky made only brief comments after her race in the virtual mixed zone, declining to attend the usual in-person news conference for those who make the Olympic team.

“It was just good to be here and lock in my spot,” she said, her muted comments a striking contrast to Titmus’s bravado.

While Ledecky is a familiar face on the American team — she’s won five gold medals and one silver at the last two Summer Games — the second night of the trials also signaled a changing of the guard.

Two Olympic rookies locked up their spots for Tokyo. Teenager Torri Huske captured the women’s 100 butterfly, while Michael Andrew held on to win the men’s 100 breaststrokes.

Huske was under world-record pace at the turn but faded just a bit on the return leg. Still, she touched first in 55.66 seconds, breaking the national mark of 55.78 that she set the previous night in the semifinals.

The 18-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, came up short of the world record (55.48) set by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in Rio.

“I don’t even know what to do,” Huske said. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I feel like it hasn’t really sunk in. It’s really crazy.”

An even younger swimmer, 16-year-old Claire Curzan of Cary, North Carolina, took the expected second spot on the Olympic team at 56.43.

“It’s so exciting to see some young swimmers coming up,” Ledecky said. “I liked seeing Torri’s ear-to-ear grin. It gave me chills in the warm-up pool.”

Andrew has taken an unorthodox path to the Olympic team. He turned pro at age 14 and was trained by his father in a backyard pool, using methods that stressed short bursts of sprint swimming overweight training and the grueling routine of endless laps.

It paid off in Omaha. The 22-year-old Andrew pulled ahead on the outward lap and desperately held on at the end, touching in 58.73 — a bit slower than he went while setting two American records the day before.

After just missing the Olympic team in 2016, Andrew was overcome with emotion. He sat on the lane rope and looked skyward, raising both arms. He hugged his father, mom and sister after climbing from the pool.

“It’s still hard to believe it’s real,” Andrew said. “It’s been five years in the making. Not making that team as a 17-year-old and to come back to the kind of rectify that, I’m just honored and blessed.”

Andrew Wilson was second, just one-hundredth of a second behind. He is also expected to make the Olympic team. Missing out was national team veteran Nic Fink, who settled for third in 58.80.

Huske and Curzan knocked off 2016 Olympian Kelsi Dahlia, who was known as Kelsi Worrell when she competed in Rio. Dahlia was fourth in the 100 fly — 37-hundreds behind the 16-year-old.

Huske is one of the swimmers who benefited from an extra year of training when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed a year because of the pandemic.

She is set to attend Stanford in the fall.

“I feel like (the one-year delay) really helped me because I was able to work on my strength training,” Huske said. “I feel like it makes a big difference in my second 50. I tend to fly and die — how fast can I go out and hang on.”

In other events, Monday night, defending Olympic champions Lilly King and Ryan Murphy advanced from the semifinals with the top times in their respective events. King bounced through the 100 breaststrokes in 1:04.72, while Murphy set the pace in the 100 backstrokes in 52.22.

The 2012 Olympic champion, 36-year-old Matt Grevers, also advanced to the final, as did Andrew in his second event of the session.

Former world record-holder Regan Smith led the semis of the women’s 100 back in 57.92, while Kieran Smith set himself up to make the Olympic team in a second event by leading the 200 free in 1:45.74.

Smith won the 400 free on the opening night of the meet to secure his first trip to the Olympics.

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Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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