Wednesday, December 07, 2022

August 1, 2021   TOKYO (AP) — The 100 meters at the Olympics is the event that turns sprinters into kings: Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt. On one of the most unusual nights the sport has ever seen, fans, experts, and even the racers themselves needed a lineup card.

The race that has long defined Olympic royalty went to a Texas-born Italian who hadn’t cracked 10 seconds until this year. He’s a 26-year-old whose best days before this came in the long jump. He’s a man even the runner in the next lane didn’t really know.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Marcell Jacobs is The World’s Fastest Man.

“I think I need four or five years to realize and understand what’s happening,” Jacobs said.

The Italian crossed the line in 9.8 seconds Sunday night to capture the first 100-meter medal ever for the country better known for its soccer prowess. Pietro Mennea won the 200 at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and Livio Berruti won that race at the 1960 Games in Rome.

Even in a contest with no clear favorites — American Ronnie Baker was a candidate and China’s Su Bingtian ran a shocking 9.83 in the semis — Jacobs came from nowhere.

He topped America’s Fred Kerley, a 400-meter runner who moved down in distance because he saw a medal chance, and Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, who adds another 100-meter bronze to the one he won Rio.

Kerley finished second in 9.84 and DeGrasse was next at 9.89.

“I really don’t know anything about him,” Kerley said of the new gold medalist. “He did a fantastic job.”

Jacobs’ path was made that much clearer because of who wasn’t in the race. The reigning world champion, Christian Coleman, is serving a ban for missed doping tests. The world leader in 2021 and the favorite to win the gold, Trayvon Bromell, didn’t make it out of the semifinals.

Bolt, who has commandeered the Olympic and every other sprint stage since 2008, is retired.

He was a sure thing in all nine Olympic sprints he ran from the Beijing Games — a stretch of dominance that redefined track and field, but also left a gaping hole in the sport when he called it a career.

“He changed athletics forever,” Jacobs said. “I’m the one who won the Olympics after him. That’s unbelievable. But drawing comparisons, I don’t think it’s the time now.”

Bolt’s world record is 9.58.

Before Sunday, Jacobs’ personal best was 9.95.

“I mean, 9.8 from the Italian guy?” DeGrasse said. “I didn’t expect that. I thought my main competition would be the Americans.”

Nope. The Italians.

Perhaps the only person at the track who really knew the new champ was the man who hugged him after he crossed the finish line. That was Gianmarco Tamberi, the Italian high jumper who tied Qatari’s Mutaz Essa Barshim for gold.

Tamberi and Barshim ended their evening-long jump-fest in a dead heat — a rare result that appeared headed for a jump-off to decide gold and sliver. But after huddling with an official who told them two gold medals were possible, Barshim -- the two-time world champion who won silver in Rio and bronze in London - agreed to call it a tie for first.

Bedlam ensued.

Barshim ran up to the stands to celebrate. Tamberi covered his face with his hands and rolled on the ground. “I was in ecstasy,” he said. He was clearly a man looking for someone to hug.

He found just the person a few minutes later when Jacobs crossed the line first. Tamberi leaped into the broad-chested sprinter’s arms and curled his own arm around Jacobs’ bald head.

“My heart was exploding,” Tamberi said.

Only a night before, they’d been sitting in Jacobs’ tiny room in the Olympic village playing video games.

“And we said, ’Can you imagine if we win?”” Jacobs said. “(We said) ’No, no, no. It’s impossible. Don’t think this.’”

Not long after the two golds were secure, Italy’s premier, Mario Draghi, stated the obvious — “You’re honoring Italy,” he said — and announced he’d be inviting the athletes to his office, the Chigi Palace, when they return home.

Theirs was one of many beautiful moments on a most unusual Day 3 of the Olympic track meet. Another highlight came from Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas’ toppling of a 26-year-old world record in the triple jump. Her new mark is 51 feet, 5 inches (15.67 meters).

Other vignettes didn’t involve medals.

Luca Kozak tripped on a hurdle and looked over three lanes to see a Jamaican opponent, Yanique Thompson, had suffered the same fate. Kozak helped her back to her feet.

Later, in the men’s 800 semifinals, American Isaiah Jewett got tangled up with Botswana’s Nijel Amos and the two went tumbling to the ground. They helped each other up and jogged slowly together toward the finish line.

“I don’t want any bad blood, because that’s what heroes do -- they show their humanity through who they are and show they’re good people,” Jewett said.

The day’s other gold medal went to Gong Lijao of China, who bested American Raven Saunders of the United States.

Saunders, who is Black and gay, wears an “Incredible Hulk” mask when she competes, closed out the medals ceremony by lifting her arms above her head and forming an “X” with her wrists.

“It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,” she explained.

All memorable.

And then came the man hardly anybody knew.

Even though the run came in front of a nearly empty stadium, you could practically hear the collective “Who?” echoing across the seats. From all places, that is, except for from the Italian contingent.

A good hour after the victory, some of those reporters and coaches were on the track taking pictures with their country’s new high-jump and sprint heroes. They had Italy’s green, white and red flag draped around their shoulders and were still hugging it out — COVID protocols be damned.

Quite an evening for Jacobs, who was born in El Paso – the son of an American father and an Italian mother. The parents split when Jacobs was 6 months old and he moved to Italy and never got to know his dad.

They reconnected about a year ago by phone, as the sprinter tried to learn about his roots.

Now, the world is learning about him.

“My dream was to arrive here and run a final,” Jacobs said. “And we ran a final. And we won a final. It’s amazing. I have no words to describe this moment.”

SXM Radio Online


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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