— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 12, 2021
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 12, 2021
The 18-year-old Raducanu was being hailed Sunday as the new queen of British sport — and perhaps the architect of one of the most unlikely sporting achievements of all time — by winning the U.S. Open as a qualifier.
Her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Leylah Fernandez, broadcast on free-to-air TV in Britain, was in a primetime slot on Saturday evening, allowing the nation to savor a superstar in the making.
Among them, apparently, was the British Prime Minister.
“What a sensational match! Huge congratulations to Emma Raducanu,” read a tweet from Boris Johnson’s official account. “You showed extraordinary skill, poise and guts and we are all hugely proud of you.”
The queen also sent her congratulations.
Britain Savors a New Sporting Star in Tennis Champ Raducanu https://t.co/yDeMHuNWDi
— Sunrise News (@SunriseNewsCo) September 12, 2021
Two teenage women who were barely known to anyone other than the most devout tennis fans before this U.S. Open will vie for the singles championship on Saturday in what has to be the most improbable matchup for a Grand Slam final since the modern era of tennis began more than 50 years ago.
On a Thursday night that would have been shocking had Emma Raducanu of Britain and Leylah Fernandez of Canada not been pulling rabbits out of their hats for the better part of two weeks, the two teenage sensations once again knocked off seasoned pros who exist in a different stratosphere in the world rankings.
First, Fernandez outlasted the second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, in three sets, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, in a nervy, error-filled match that saw both players let go of chances to put the battle away long before Sabalenka finished herself off with one last flurry of double faults. It was Fernandez’s fourth consecutive three-set win over one of the top 20 players in the world.
Then Raducanu took the stage at Arthur Ashe Stadium and did what she has been doing for more than a week — blitzing players far more accomplished and making them play their worst matches of the tournament. Raducanu ambushed the 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-1, 6-4.
Emma Raducanu v. Leyla Fernandez in the U.S. Open Final
"… the most improbable matchup for a Grand Slam final since the modern era of tennis began more than 50 years ago."
Make no mistake, these young women are the two best players in the tournament.https://t.co/YhLvuQ6ELE
— Steve Holcombe (@Steve_Holcombe) September 10, 2021
“Among the 11 teenagers swimming for Team USA is Regan Smith, who set three world records in backstroke when she was just 17. Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, she spoke with NBC News’ Vicky Nguyen about her journey to the pool, how the pandemic affected her and what it takes to become an Olympian.”
Watch it all.
In the reception area of Bukayo Saka’s old school, brightly-coloured pennants representing the competing nations in Euro 2020 have not yet been taken down. And last week, the 450 pupils at Edward Betham Church of England primary had one final euro-related task to complete. “We’ve been making a card to send to Bukayo,” said school head Caroline Chamberlain.
“A4 size with 15 sheets – one for each class. They’ve written to say how much he has inspired them and what a wonderful example he is setting. So many of our pupils have shared their disgust with us at the abuse England footballers had. They cannot understand the behaviour.”
England’s newest football hero maintains close links with the school on the outskirts of west London. Saka has previously donated a signed Arsenal shirt, which takes pride of place on the school’s “achievement wall”. A letter he sent to thank former teachers has been proudly framed. And for a school which actively promotes a Christian ethos, it would be hard to think of a better role model.
Like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, his England teammates, Saka wears his faith on his sleeve. Until he moved with his family two years ago, to be closer to Arsenal’s training facilities, he attended the Pentecostal Kingsborough Centre in Uxbridge. On winning the young London player of the year award this year, he tweeted “God’s Work”, making clear where he believed the credit for his starring performances truly lay.
“I love the way Bukayo speaks with such passion about his beliefs”, says Chamberlain, a churchgoing Anglican. “In days gone by you wouldn’t hear so much about people being practising Christians or practising Muslims. It seemed that famous people in particular didn’t really talk about their faith. I remember Alastair Campbell’s ‘we don’t do God’.”
God-given talent: Saka, Rashford and Sterling blaze a trail for black British Christians https://t.co/Dsm0spR0ob
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 17, 2021
“I tell every new player … that the essence of my coaching is to serve,” said Williams, the National Basketball Coaches Association’s 2021 coach of the year. “As a believer in Christ, that’s what I’m here for. … I tell them all the time, if I get on you, I’m not calling you out – I’m calling you up.”
That message meshes well with what superstar Chris Paul writes on his sneakers game after game: “Can’t Give Up Now.” That’s a popular Gospel song with this chorus: “I just can’t give up now. I’ve come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me the road would be easy and I don’t believe He’s brought me this far to leave me.”
Williams and Paul have known each other for a decade, with professional and personal ties strengthened by pain and frustration. While Paul’s on-court struggles are well documented, it’s impossible to understand their bond without knowing the details of his coach’s life as a Christian, husband and father of five children.
“The real reason to watch” the playoffs this year, said former ESPN commentator Jason Whitlock, in his “Fearless” podcast, is “that God has placed a messenger inside the NBA’s secular madness. Monty Williams might be the most important man in sports. The 49-year-old former Notre Dame and NBA player is the leader and example that America needs right now.”
Many of the people present were local residents, but others had travelled from across Greater Manchester and even from Merseyside to show solidarity with the footballer and campaigner for free school meals.
Claire Conway, 40, had travelled from Bolton with her two sons, aged three and nine, to leave flags at the mural. Her eldest in particular hugely looks up to Rashford and the footballer has proven a fantastic role model.
“He has fed families, he’s looked after the community, and because he missed the penalty he doesn’t deserve — well, nobody deserves – any sort of racism,” Conway said. “What they did to this I thought was absolutely disgusting.”
Gesturing to the groups of people clustered around her, as children and adults alike pinned notes to the wall, she added: “This is Manchester – this is what Manchester does. We come together like this because there is no place for [racism] anywhere.”
Read it all (subscription).
— Nino Brodin (@Orgetorix) July 13, 2021
ITALY, EURO 2020 IS YOURS 🇮🇹🏆
THEIR SIXTH MAJOR TOURNAMENT TITLE 😱 pic.twitter.com/jvxutZOSCf
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 11, 2021
In the end, Brazil’s dependence on Neymar was greater than Argentina’s on Lionel Messi. Argentina’s 12th goal of the tournament was the first and only one not to involve Messi — and it was enough to bring Messi the first senior title of his international career, as well as Argentina’s first since 1993.
The 1-0 victory in the Copa America final on Saturday was the fruit of Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni’s willingness to change a winning team — or at least one that had come through a semifinal after a penalty shootout. He changed five of the side — half of the outfield contingent — from the lineup of Tuesday’s game against Colombia. One was routine, with centre-back Cristian Romero returning after injury. Both full-backs were changed; Scaloni clearly wanting fresh legs down the flanks.
GOOD MORNING!!! pic.twitter.com/JIPFe8gMbO
— (@TheEuropeanLad) July 11, 2021
"England are in a final — a final! — and these are the strangest, rarest and most beautiful of words to write. Can 55 years of hurt really be about to end?" @henrywinter #ENGDEN https://t.co/KL8Yh0A9nA
— The Times (@thetimes) July 7, 2021
Three years after failing to qualify for the World Cup, Italy advances to Euro 2020 final.https://t.co/l33aoGOTPl
— CNN International (@cnni) July 6, 2021
Lichfield Cathedral is joining a new route for cyclists across England.
The new Cathedrals Cycle Route has been created by academic Shaun Cutler from Northumbria University.
It links all 42 Church of England cathedrals and will be showcased when Shaun and a group of cyclists take part in a relay ride.
— Janet Gough (@Gough_Janet) June 30, 2021
Gareth Southgate’s biggest test as England manager ended with a result that can redefine how the nation views itself at major tournaments, beating Germany 2-0 on Tuesday in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 and ending Joachim Low’s time in charge of Die Nationalmannschaft.
The Three Lions may have reached a World Cup semifinal under Southgate in 2018, but they did so without beating any of the elite nations and arguably succumbed to the first proper test they faced in an extra-time defeat to Croatia. Biennial disappointment is woven into the fabric of England’s sporting consciousness, an inferiority complex built over decades that has previously manifested in a fear of failure, fatigue and frustration.
England had never won a European Championship knockout game in 90 minutes before Tuesday. Southgate was determined that this young squad would not be burdened by history, rather inspired to make their own. And he was right.
This is a Germany side palpably short of a typical vintage, but they are a four-time World Cup-winning nation. No country has won more than the three European Championships they took home in 1972, 1980 and 1996
MASSIVE PERFORMANCE BY JORDAN PICKFORD! pic.twitter.com/3LBHVJiGUn
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 29, 2021
The Chicago Cubs threw their first combined no-hitter in franchise history as four pitchers shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 on Thursday night.
It’s the seventh no-hitter in baseball this season, the most ever before July 1 and tied for the most in a season since 1900, when the modern era began.
The twist on Thursday night’s no-hitter is that the three relievers who finished the game, after starter Zach Davies came out after six innings, didn’t know the Dodgers were hitless until after they pitched.
“The whole bullpen had no idea,” lefty Andrew Chafin said afterward. “It was completely oblivious. In our defense, from that bullpen, our perspective on the field, all we can see is like batting averages and the count and stuff like that.”
For the first time in franchise history, the Chicago Cubs threw a combined no-hitter.
Zach Davies tossed six shutout innings, and three relievers sealed the deal in a 4-0 victory against the Dodgers for the 17th no-hitter in Cubs history. https://t.co/mXIIo3Jlkn
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) June 25, 2021
Denmark stormed to a brilliant and emotional 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen to claim second spot in Group B and set up a last-16 tie against Wales, as Belgium’s win over Finland helped them into the automatic spots.
At the same venue where, just over a week ago, Denmark and their supporters were left shocked and upset by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest, there were wild celebrations as the Danes produced a superb performance to blow away their visitors.
Twenty-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard (38) got the ball rolling with a wonderful, dipping strike from the edge of the box and Yussuf Poulsen (59) profited from an awful back-pass to double that lead.
— DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) June 21, 2021
Gareth Southgate is aiming to chip away at the historic tournament failings that have perennially undermined England’s chances, and Sunday’s 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley Stadium is another notable step along that path.
The 50-year-old is steeped in Three Lions history, standing prominently in the lineage of biannual disappointment dating back to 1966. As a player, he missed the decisive penalty in England’s Euro ’96 defeat against Germany before reshaping his place in the national consciousness as manager of a progressive team for the past five years.
Live piece from Wembley after #eng 1-0 #cro. England win their opening match at a Euros for the first time. Southgate takes another step forward in chipping away and England’s historic tournament failings – and does so his way: https://t.co/9q8WJ49Jk3
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) June 13, 2021
Au-delà du 19…
Novak Djokovic est le 6️⃣e joueur de l’ère Open à remonter un handicap de 2 sets à 0 pour s’imposer en finale de Grand Chelem.
Les chiffres qui ont marqué le Jour 15 📝👇#RolandGarros
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 13, 2021
In arguably one of the best matches of his career, top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 to end the King of Clay’s bid for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title and hand Nadal just his third-ever loss at Roland Garros.
We all know Nadal losing in Paris doesn’t happen often. Along with that 105-3 career record on the Paris clay, Nadal was 26-0 once reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros. But Djokovic is now the only player to beat Nadal twice here.
Novak Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal to advance to the French Open title match ‼️ pic.twitter.com/JPLsjop0BU
— ESPN (@espn) June 11, 2021
14 pitches–wow. Watch the whole thing.
‘The children of fallen service members run in a 5k race every year to honor their parents, who gave their lives in service to this country. Military members are paired up as training mentors with the runners in the annual Memorial Day race just outside of Seattle, Washington.’
Watch it all.
Blue is the colour! 🔵🦁
Chelsea have won the Champions League!
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 29, 2021
As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their “circulation.” There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which, copious evidence now shows, is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. This toll has led a growing number of epidemiologists, pediatricians and other physicians to argue for reopening schools as broadly as possible, amid growing evidence that schools are not major venues for transmission of the virus.
As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.
The pandemic year has been brutal for young people. And it's been much tougher in some places than others. Here's my latest for @propublica, a story from a part of the country where the line between disruption and normalcy was drawn especially starkly. https://t.co/ECsTdsDHSp
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) March 8, 2021
While Americans rightly exult in the achievements of U.S. medalists, “Chariots of Fire” also serves as a reminder that athletics and even patriotism only mean so much. When Liddell is informed that a qualifying heat takes place on Sunday, his Sabbath, he chooses not to compete in that race. The camera cuts from athletes at the Olympics to Liddell reading a passage in Isaiah: “Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket . . . but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings, as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” David Puttnam, a “Chariots of Fire” producer, wrote me that the verses were “specifically selected by the actor, the late Ian Charleson, who gave himself the task of reading the entire Bible whilst preparing for the film.”
The Isaiah passage is liturgically important for Jews: Parts of it are declaimed in synagogue on the Sabbath when we read God’s command to Abraham to leave the center of civilization and found a family, and a faith, in a new land. Isaiah reminds Jews that Abraham’s children have encountered much worse than what Harold Abrahams experienced. While most nations now rest on the ash heap of history, the biblical Abraham’s odyssey continues. The countries competing in today’s Olympics come and go, while those who “wait upon the Lord” endure.
“Chariots of Fire” also offers a message for people of faith who have grown troubled by the secularization of society and the realization that they are often scorned by elites. Like Liddell, we may be forced to choose religious principle over social success. Hopefully, however, we will be able to use our gifts to sanctify this world. As Liddell’s father told his son in the film: “Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back in wonder.”
‘The Flying Scotsman’ Eric Liddell won gold in the men’s 400m at the Paris Olympics in 1924 🏅
The film #ChariotsofFire tells the story of his athletic career.
See Eileen Soper’s portrait of Liddell -who died #otd in 1945- at #ScotPortrait in Edinburgh: https://t.co/IW0xyUOtYa pic.twitter.com/Sr2hpbnh2C
— National Galleries (@NatGalleriesSco) February 21, 2019
God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
On this day, Feb. 21, 1945, Eric Liddell died at the age of 43. A Scottish Olympic champion runner before becoming a missionary to China, Liddell was captured by the Japanese during WWII and died while imprisoned. His life as a runner was portrayed in the film "Chariots of Fire." pic.twitter.com/rq9jHxdN5i
— Barry McCarty (@barrymccarty) February 21, 2021
Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open dominance is intact — nine finals, nine championships.
And he keeps gaining on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam standings, now up to 18 overall, two away from the men’s record shared by his two rivals.
Djokovic used superb serving and his usual relentless returning and baseline excellence to grab 11 of 13 games in one stretch and beat a visibly frustrated Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday for a third trophy in a row at Melbourne Park.
The 33-year-old from Serbia improved to 18-0 combined in semifinals and finals on the hard courts of the Australian Open.
Looking at the bigger picture, Djokovic has won six of the last 10 major tournaments and is assured of remaining at No. 1 in the rankings at least through March 8. That will give him 311 weeks in the top spot, breaking a mark held by Federer
We are not worthy 🙇♂️
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 21, 2021
WATCH: After sharing her story in a powerful Super Bowl ad, Jessica Long speaks with @LesterHoltNBC about her journey to becoming the second-most decorated Paralympian in U.S. history. https://t.co/Kng2IfvoJ1
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) February 9, 2021
Do take the time to watch it.
The story of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs began in 2015, almost entirely by accident. Brett Veach, in his role as the Chiefs co-director of player personnel, was studying some game film to scout one of the Texas Tech offensive tackles, yet he was distracted by their sophomore quarterback. Arm strength, bravery and cannily elusive in the pocket — could this young man be the real deal?
We know now, of course, that’s exactly what he is. Mahomes is the closest thing the world has seen to a perfect quarterback and on Sunday he will attempt to win back-to-back Super Bowls, emulating what Tom Brady — his opposite number for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend — achieved 17 years ago.
At 25, he has the NFL in the palm of his hand and a career in front of him that will feature more MVP awards and tilts at the Lombardi Trophy. He signed a ten-year, $500 million (about £365 million) contract with Kansas City last summer and is one of the most coveted sporting faces in the world for endorsements. From insurance companies to shampoo, a commercial break in any NFL game rarely goes by without Mahomes making an appearance.
So, how is it that this global superstar and generational talent from Tyler, Texas was ignored by numerous colleges and passed over by nine different teams in the NFL Draft? With the great benefit of hindsight, it is a story that leaves plenty of people looking foolish and even more wondering what might have been, including two of the coaches tasked with halting Mahomes on Sunday night.
Read it all (subscription required).
‘He’s not ready for the NFL and may never be’ – how the world misjudged Patrick Mahomes
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) February 3, 2021