Shiffrin calls fall in Olympic giant slalom ‘disappointment’
BEIJING (AP) — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin’s first trip down the race hill at the Beijing Games lasted just five turns and mere seconds Monday, ending in a disqualification from the opening leg of the giant slalom that she called “a huge disappointment.”
The seventh racer on a course known as The Ice River at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center, and the defending champion, the 26-year-old American lost control coming around a left-turn gate, slid and fell on her side. Eventually, she got up and stopped on the side of slope, stuck her poles in the snow and put her hands on her hips.
“The day was finished, basically,” Shiffrin said, “before it even started.”
She still could have a handful of chances over the next two weeks to become the first Alpine ski racer from the United States to win three Olympic golds across a career. Shiffrin hopes to enter all five individual events in Beijing.
People are also reading…
“I’m not going to cry about this,” she said, “because that’s just wasting energy.”
Top Biden aide says Ukraine invasion could come ‘any day’
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day,” launching a conflict that would come at an “enormous human cost.”
The senior adviser to President Joe Biden offered another stark warning the day after U.S. officials confirmed that Russia has assembled at least 70% of the military firepower it likely intends to have in place by mid-month to give President Vladimir Putin the option of launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan did not directly address reports that the White House has briefed lawmakers that a full Russian invasion could lead to the quick capture of Kyiv and potentially result in as many as 50,000 casualties as he made appearances on a trio of Sunday talk shows.
U.S. officials, who discussed internal assessments of the Russian buildup on the condition that they not be identified, sketched out a series of indicators suggesting that Putin intends to start an invasion in the coming weeks, although the size and scale are unclear. They stressed that a diplomatic solution appears to remain possible.
AP investigation: Women’s prison fostered culture of abuse
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inside one of the only federal women’s prisons in the United States, inmates say they have been subjected to rampant sexual abuse by correctional officers and even the warden, and were often threatened or punished when they tried to speak up.
Prisoners and workers at the federal correctional institution in Dublin, California, even have a name for it: “The rape club.”
An Associated Press investigation has found a permissive and toxic culture at the Bay Area lockup, enabling years of sexual misconduct by predatory employees and cover-ups that have largely kept the abuse out of the public eye.
The AP obtained internal federal Bureau of Prisons documents, statements and recordings from inmates, interviewed current and former prison employees and inmates and reviewed thousands of pages of court records from criminal and civil cases involving Dublin prison staff.
Together, they detail how inmates’ allegations against members of the mostly male staff were ignored or set aside, how prisoners could be sent to solitary confinement for reporting abuse and how officials in charge of preventing and investigating sexual misconduct were themselves accused of abusing inmates or neglecting their concerns.
Trump tirade on ‘racist’ DAs echoes other racist tropes
NEW YORK (AP) — Looking out at a sea of faces at a Texas fairground, most of them white, former President Donald Trump seethed about his legal troubles and blamed them on malicious prosecutors.
“These prosecutors are vicious, horrible people. They’re racists and they’re very sick, they’re mentally sick,” Trump said, before warning his audience: “In reality, they’re not after me. They’re after you.”
He repeated his charge of racism, but skipped over an obvious detail: Those prosecutors are Black.
His diatribe left the clear impression that Trump, who rode the politics of white grievance into the White House, thinks he can’t possibly be treated fairly by Black officials.
The comments carry the echoes of racist messages that have proliferated in recent years –- that Black people and other minorities are taking power, and that they will exact revenge on white people, or at the very least treat white people as they have been treated.
Peng Shuai says allegation was “enormous misunderstanding”
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has told a French newspaper that international concern over her well-being is based on “an enormous misunderstanding” and she denied having accused a high-ranking Chinese official of sexual assault.
The interview with L’Equipe was held under controlled conditions in Beijing and failed to answer some key questions about Peng’s initial accusations of sexual assault and whether she has since been in trouble with China’s authoritarian government.
L’Equipe, which specializes in sports news, published the interview Monday. The publication said it spoke to the tennis player a day earlier in a Beijing hotel in an hour-long interview organized through China’s Olympic committee.
Also Monday, the International Olympic Committee released a statement saying IOC President Thomas Bach had dinner with Peng on Saturday. That was the day after China’s president opened the Winter Olympics in Beijing that have been overshadowed by international concerns about Chinese human rights abuses and Peng’s situation. The IOC said Peng also attended the China-Norway Olympic curling match with IOC member Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe.
L’Equipe said it had to submit questions in advance and that a Chinese Olympic committee official sat in on the discussion and translated Peng’s comments from Chinese.
Inside the Olympic bubble, looking for China — or ‘China’
BEIJING (AP) — Explore Guangzhou’s old city. Wander a historic neighborhood in Shanghai. Visit with the giant pandas out west in Sichuan province. All these experiences are available to those attending the Beijing Olympics. By videolink — without ever leaving the press center.
Welcome to China. But not really.
The Olympics are usually a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the host country to showcase its culture. This year, however, athletes, coaches and others traveling to the Winter Games in Beijing are entirely sequestered in a bubble so complete that it even contains its own intercity trains. It’s all part of the elaborate effort by China to control the spread of COVID-19 (and, some say, control the curious visitors as well).
Nothing is supposed to leave this alternate universe. But what clues of China might seep in?
The country is celebrating Lunar New Year. That much is clear. Traditional lantern decorations adorn the streets outside (as seen from the Olympic shuttle buses) and the venues inside. You’re unlikely to participate in any actual celebrations — but the Games’ swag bag includes a small lantern decoration. If you have the souvenir, did you also have the experience?
COVID-19 robs Olympic curlers of beloved social culture
There is a photograph from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics that captured curling fans’ hearts worldwide. In it, Canadian curler John Morris and American rival Matt Hamilton sit side by side, arms draped around each others’ shoulders, grinning faces inches apart, beer cans mid-clink.
It was a moment that perfectly captured the spirit of curling, a sport best known for its sweeping but perhaps best loved for its socializing. Yet it is a moment that will likely be impossible to repeat in the socially distanced world of the Beijing Games.
“One of the things I love about curling is being able to curl against my friends and then enjoy a weekend or a week around them, as well as playing cards and having a beer,” said Morris, who won the gold medal in mixed doubles in Pyeongchang and is hoping to do the same in Beijing. “That’s the best part of curling. On the ice is great, and that accomplishes my competitive drive, but the actual going to cool places, playing with and against your friends — that’s been really hard.”
Of all of COVID-19’s cruelties, the necessity of distance has caused particular angst throughout the curling community. This is a sport built around closeness, from the pregame handshakes between opponents, to the postgame drinking sessions, in which the winners typically buy the losers a round. That tradition, dubbed “broomstacking” for the original practice of opponents stacking their brooms in front of a fire after a game and sharing a drink, all but vanished after the coronavirus emerged.
Curling competitions were canceled. Ice rinks where the athletes trained were shut down. And curlers, like much of the world, were forced into isolation.
Ottawa declares state of emergency over COVID-19 protests
TORONTO (AP) — The mayor of Canada’s capital declared a state of emergency Sunday and a former U.S. ambassador to Canada said groups in the U.S. must stop interfering in the domestic affairs of America’s neighbor as protesters opposed to COVID-19 restrictions continued to paralyze Ottawa’s downtown.
Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government. It gives the city some additional powers around procurement and how it delivers services, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.
Thousands of protesters descended in Ottawa again on the weekend, joining a hundred who remained since last weekend. Residents of Ottawa are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he could not manage.
The “freedom truck convoy” has attracted support from many U.S. Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”
“Canada US relations used to be mainly about solving technical issues. Today Canada is unfortunately experiencing radical US politicians involving themselves in Canadian domestic issues. Trump and his followers are a threat not just to the US but to all democracies,” Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador under President Barack Obama, tweeted.
Rogan’s use of racial slurs adds to pressure on Spotify
Joe Rogan’s mouth has put Spotify in a tough spot. Anti-coronavirus vaccine comments and racial slurs on some episodes of his popular podcast are forcing the streaming service to weigh difficult choices.
Spotify must decide where it stands on race relations and vaccine misinformation in a society with heightened sensitivity to both issues. Then there’s the business decision about what to do with Rogan’s $100 million podcast, which threatens the bottom line but is also a key part of the company’s strategy to be a one-stop shop for audio.
Neither the streaming service nor Rogan was talking Sunday. But experts say Spotify’s management team has to choose whether to sever ties with Rogan as it risks more musicians yanking their work in protest. Or is there some middle ground that might be acceptable to artists and subscribers?
Whatever decision emerges won’t sit well with one side or the other in an increasingly polarized country.
On race, the choice is between keeping Rogan and sending a message that society has become too “woke” or showing that Spotify is more attuned to a multiracial society, said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
Saints’ Alvin Kamara arrested on battery charge in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) — New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was arrested on a battery charge Sunday in Las Vegas after being accused of injuring someone at a nightclub on the eve of the Pro Bowl.
After playing and making four catches for 23 yards for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, Kamara was taken into custody and booked at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of battery resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Las Vegas police say they were dispatched to a hospital Saturday where a person had reported a battery at a nightclub. The police said detectives determined the victim was battered by Kamara.
The Saints and Kamara’s agent didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 26-year-old Kamara is one of the top running backs in the NFL. He had 1,337 yards from scrimmage and nine TDs this season on the way to being picked for his fifth Pro Bowl in five seasons as a pro.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Credit: Source link