TIME free diving

The World’s Greatest Free Diver Is Missing and Presumed Dead in Spanish Waters

Natalia Molchanova
Jacques Munch—AFP/Getty Images Natalia Molchanova in 2005.

She set 41 world records and won 23 world championships in the sport

Natalia Molchanova, regarded by many as the greatest free diver in the history of the sport, is missing and presumed dead after she disappeared during a dive off the Spanish island of Formentera on August 2.

Molchanova, who set 41 world records and won 23 world championships in the sport, was diving for fun with friends close to the village of La Savina in an area where currents can fluctuate powerfully, the New York Times reports. Because she was diving for leisure and not to set a record, she was not attached to the line that divers often use to mark depth and guard against emergencies.

Her personal records in competition include a dive of 233 feet without the use of fins and almost 300 feet with a monofin. She also held the world record for “static apnea,” in which a diver floats face-down in a pool, managing to stay 9 minutes 2 seconds without taking a breath.

Search efforts begun after her disappearance continued for two days, but her son, Alexey Molchanov, who is also a respected free diver, told the Times on August 4 that she is now not expected to be found alive.

“Free diving is not only sport, it’s a way to understand who we are,” Molchanova said in an interview with the Times last year. “When we go down, if we don’t think, we understand we are whole. We are one with world.”

[NYT]

TIME Basketball

A Teen Tried the ‘What Are Those?’ Shoes Meme On Michael Jordan

Unfortunately, Jordan was shod in some of the most coveted sneakers on Earth at the time

In case you, like this writer, are not aware of the “What Are Those?!” meme, it’s an increasingly popular trend on video-sharing sites like Vine and Instagram where a person wearing dirty, unkempt or off-brand (read: lame) shoes is publicly shamed — like, hundreds of thousands of views shamed.

Free Myesha fast

A video posted by Snapchat @youngbusco (@youngbusco) on

But when you try and snare basketball demi-god Michael Jordan into that trap, as one young man did during a Q&A at the Michael Jordan Flight School summer camp, be prepared to have the shame handed back to you with interest.

“I have one question for you,” 17-year-old Bryce Lyle asked the 52-year-old Hall-of-Famer, following it up with “What Are Those?!” and sending the young crowd into peals of laughter.

Jordan looked confused, asked someone what it meant, and after admitting that he’s “lost in that Vine stuff,” delivered a kingly reply.

“What are those? These are 29 Lows,” he said, referring to the low-top, still unreleased, super desirable Air Jordan XX9s on his feet as young Lyle writhed on the ground in embarrassment.

Nice try, kid, but you didn’t think you could best His Royal Airness, did you?

TIME athletics

The IAAF Says Recent Doping Allegations Are ‘False’ and ‘Disappointing’

It says it has conducted over 19,000 blood-screening tests since 2001

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has expressly denied many of the recent doping allegations published in a report by the Sunday Times and German public broadcaster ARD. In a statement released on Tuesday, the global athletics governing body accused the news organizations of producing “false, disappointing and misinformed journalism.”

The Times and ARD stories published on Sunday allege that many athletes who won medals and recognition at international events since 2001, including the Olympic Games, had suspicious test results but went unsanctioned by the IAAF.

The organization says it has followed all prescribed rules and regulations as implemented by the World Anti-Doping Agency and that it has conducted over 19,000 blood-screening tests since 2001, claiming that it always followed up on abnormal test results.

The IAAF does admit, however, that the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), considered the most recent and sophisticated anti-doping method due to it’s prolonged monitoring of biological indicators, did not exist at the time when much of its data was gathered. This, the IAAF says, could have hindered some of the efforts to adequately determine whether athletes were, in fact, cheating. But it emphasizes that “Suspicion alone does not equal proof of doping.”

Read the IAAF’s full statement here.

TIME

Tom Brady’s Deflategate Testimony Released

New England Patriots Training Camp
Boston Globe/Getty Images The New England Patriots held their first day of training camp at the practice filed next to Gillette Stadium.

Brady was suspended four games and the team was docked $1 million

(NEW YORK) — Tom Brady denied under oath to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that he tampered with footballs before the AFC title game, and investigator Ted Wells said in a transcript that he never warned the New England Patriots quarterback he would be punished if he didn’t turn over his cellphone.

In a 457-page transcript released on Tuesday, Brady maintained his innocence in the NFL scandal known as “Deflategate.” He denied discussing air level with the ballboys or even thinking about how inflated the footballs were when he selected them. He also said he’s never asked anyone from the Patriots to tamper with footballs.

Brady was suspended four games and the team was docked $1 million and two draft picks after a NFL-sanctioned investigation by Wells found the Patriots supplied improperly inflated footballs for the conference championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, which New England won 45-7.

Brady appealed the punishment. Goodell decided to hear the appeal himself and upheld the penalty. Both sides went to federal court, and U.S. District Judge Richard Berman told the sides to work out a settlement. To encourage them, he ordered both Brady and Goodell to appear in court in person during the NFL preseason.

The transcript filed by the NFL Players Association included the appeal testimony from Brady and Wells on June 23. Wells explained that he did not believe Brady had nothing to do with the ball deflation because the quarterback refused to provide all of the documents that were requested.

“In my almost 40 years of practice, I think that was one of the most ill-advised decisions I have ever seen because it hurt how I viewed his credibility,” Wells testified. “It hurt my assessment of his credibility for him to begin his interview by telling me he declined to give me the documents.”

Wells’ investigation found text messages between Brady and a pair of equipment managers — one of whom referred to himself as “the Deflator” — discussing the preparation of footballs for the Jan. 18 game. The Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl and beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 for Brady’s fourth NFL title.

Although Wells asked repeatedly for Brady’s cellphone, the investigator also testified: “I did not tell Mr. Brady at any time that he would be subject to punishment for not giving — not turning over the documents. I did not say anything like that.”

Brady’s lawyers have said that the league made up its rules without proper notice to Brady, and that it didn’t follow its rules at all in some cases. They have also questioned whether Goodell was independent enough to conduct a fair hearing, even though the collective bargaining agreement gives him that authority.

 

TIME Boxing

Floyd Mayweather’s Final Fight Will Be Against Andre Berto

Floyd Mayweather
Vincent Sandoval—Getty Images Professional Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. attends the 2015 BET Awards on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles,

Mayweather hopes to go undefeated for this entire career

Floyd Mayweather will face Andre Berto on Sept. 12 for the final fight of his career, the undefeated boxer revealed Tuesday on Instagram.

Mayweather (48-0, 26 knockouts) will defend his welterweight world titles against Berto (30-3, 23 knockouts), in an attempt to match the late heavyweight champion Rocky Maricano’s 49-0 record. Showtime pay-per-view will broadcast the fight from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Mayweather, who defeated Manny Pacquiao in a historic fight in May, said on Tuesday in a statement: “I’m ready to get back in the ring on September 12 and prove again to the whole world why I’m ‘The Best Ever’ … Forty-eight have tried before and on September 12, I’m going to make it 49.”

September 12, 2015 for number 49. Come be part of the history. Book your hotel and flights now.

A photo posted by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

Best believe that I plan to bring it to Floyd and I’m not concerned about what 48 other fighters have been unable to do,” Berto said on Tuesday. “Somebody is getting knocked out and it won’t be me.”

TIME wrestling

Watch WWE’s Moving Tribute to ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper on Monday Night Raw

The WWE Hall of Famer and Intercontinental Champion passed away at the age of 61

WWE honored “Rowdy” Roddy Piper with a tribute on Monday Night Raw highlighting the late wrestler’s career and contributions to the sport and pop culture. The montage – scored with Greg Holden’s song “Hold On Tight” – included clips of Piper’s life in the ring, his affinity for trash talk, and even a scene from They Live, the John Carpenter cult classic.

“WWE is deeply saddened that Roderick Toombs, aka ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper – WWE Hall of Famer and Intercontinental Champion – passed away today at the age of 61,” WWE wrote in a statement on Friday. “WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Toombs’ family, friends and fans.”

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME

Is This the Woman to Beat Ronda Rousey?

ronda Rousey miesha Tate
USA Today Sports/Reuters Ronda Rousey (red gloves) and Miesha Tate (blue gloves) fight during the UFC women's bantamweight championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 28, 2013.

Miesha Tate says she has improved since her last to defeat to the world champion

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Miesha Tate says she has what it takes to beat UFC champion Ronda Rousey.

“It’s getting to a point where the [UFC] girls need to step up and prove it’s not a one-woman division, that others are pretty close, or on the same level, or potentially better,” Tate told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s what I see my role in this. I just know I have what it takes and I want to show the world that I can become a world champion.”

Fresh off of her spectacular win over Brazil’s Bethe Correia last weekend, Rousey expressed interest in making 28-year-old Tate her next opponent. Tate, too, welcomed the challenge.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Tate has yet to confirm the fight between her and Rousey is happening but she’s looking forward to it “so I can be the best in the world.”

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

TIME Soccer

Watch Cristiano Ronaldo Walk Out of an Interview After Being Quizzed About FIFA

"I don't care about FIFA"

Cristiano Ronaldo walked out of an interview with CNN Español, after reacting angrily to the interviewer’s line of questioning over the FIFA corruption scandal.

The Real Madrid forward, who was intending to speak to CNNE about a new range of headphones he was launching in the U.S., got irked when interviewer Andrés Oppenheimer asked him whether his teammates ever discussed the crisis at the heart of soccer’s governing body in the locker room, reports CNN.

“You want to know the truth?” the 30-year-old Portuguese soccer star said in Spanish, according to CNN’s translation. “We don’t speak about it at all. I do my profession, my job, I give my all for my club … the rest doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care what happens on the outside.”

When asked what the guys did talk about, Ronaldo said, “music, about women, about fashion, about shoes … about jewelry, about haircuts …”

But when Oppenheimer broached the subject of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Ronaldo wasn’t having any of it and walked out of the interview.

“This is bullsh-t. Speak about FIFA, I don’t care about FIFA. And Qatar … I don’t give a f-ck,” Ronaldo said in English. “What you want me to do? Speak about product, he speaks about FIFA … come on.”

CNN’s English transcript of the interview is here.

[CNN]

TIME Sports

Don’t Let the IOC Ruin Ultimate Frisbee

Pittsburgh Central Florida ultimate frisbee
Chris Bernacchi—AP University of Pittsburgh's Ethan Beardsley (28) dives for a disc against Central Florida's Matt Capp (9) during the USA Ultimate Open Division I College National Championship final held in Madison, Wisconsin on May 27, 2013.

Bryan Walsh is the Foreign Editor at TIME, handling international news in the magazine and online. Previously he covered energy and environmental issues for TIME, and was the Tokyo bureau chief in 2006 and 2007.

The International Olympic Committee's decision to recognize the sport could kill what makes it so special

One Friday night in the spring of 1998, I found myself sitting in the front passenger seat of an ancient Toyota Corolla packed with four of my college classmates, somewhere in South Carolina, on the way to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. Because stereotypes are sometimes true, we were arguing over which Grateful Dead tape to play when the cops pulled us over for speeding. This was concerning—a bunch of vaguely hippieish college students in a car with New Jersey plates getting escorted into a police station in a very small Southern town. And we had a tournament to get to, which is what we patiently explained to the police officer on duty, who kept one eye on the NCAA tournament game playing in the background. An Ultimate Frisbee tournament, where we would compete against other college clubs in Ultimate Frisbee! To which the cop responded, looking at each of us in our Umbro shorts and faded T-shirts: “So which one of you is the dog?”

Go ahead, laugh—Ultimate players are used to it. There’s no getting around the fact that this highly athletic, highly competitive sport involves grown men and women, often wearing extremely silly shirts, running, jumping and diving (sorry—”laying out“) after what is ultimately a child’s toy. Or that even Ultimate games played at the very highest of levels often go unrefereed, with players instead calling their own fouls and settling any disagreements through on-field discussions that sometimes end only slightly quicker than the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. Or that college Ultimate clubs—of which there are now more than 700 throughout North America—have names like Süperfly (Yale, which of course adds the umlaut); Army of Darkness (the wild men of Amherst); Nun Betta (Catholic University, and hats off to them); or the Apes of Wrath (University of Oklahoma by way of Steinbeck). Or that matches often end with each team improvising a cheer for the other—the more NSFW the better, which is something I must say that the Clockwork Orange at Princeton University excelled at during my time there, even if we were less great at the actual winning.

The point is that Ultimate is, at its heart, a goofy, spirited sport, even if it’s often played by very serious and very athletic people. (If you doubt the latter, check out this highlight reel from the legendary—within Ultimate, at least—Brodie Smith.) The actual 10th commandment of the sport makes it clear—Ultimate is about “the basic joy of play.” No coaches! No referees! No pressure! That was what attracted to me the sport when I was a college freshman burned out from playing varsity sports in high school. (Well, that and access to 21-year-old teammates who could buy beer.) We had fun! We had discs—no one calls them Frisbees, FYI—that had Malcolm McDowell’s mascaraed eye from the Clockwork Orange movie emblazoned on them! And absolutely no one thought that Ultimate would lead to anything but playing Ultimate.

And that’s why the news that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had decided to recognize Ultimate Frisbee—or rather, the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), the closest thing the sport has to a governing body—has left me concerned. There’s a simple reason: the IOC, which is prevented from being the most corrupt body in international sport only by the existence of FIFA, has the unique ability to suck the life out of sport. While I’m all for the best players in the Ultimate world getting a chance to represent their country at the Olympic Games—although, guys, watch out for the drug testing—the sheer bureaucracy of the IOC, and the increasing commercialism of the Games themselves, go against the spirit of Ultimate. This is a sport with rules only slightly more complicated than those of checkers. The first ever game of Ultimate was played by New Jersey high schoolers in 1968, and it pitted the student council against the student newspaper. (And the journalists won!) Ultimate belongs to the people, not the sportocrats of Lausanne.

Of course, Ultimate still has a long road to go before you’re watching Olympians hucking and pulling and flicking. Just ask billiards, netball and waterskiing, all sports recognized by the IOC that aren’t close to actually making the Olympics. But in a world where commercial values trump sporting ones, and the only countries that seem eager to host the Olympics are authoritarian ones, inclusion in the Games with its winner-take-all attitude could dilute what makes Ultimate so special. I call foul.

Walsh was a member of Princeton’s Clockwork Orange Ultimate club team from the fall of 1997 to the spring of 1999, when he quit because they started doing wind sprints in practice. Wind sprints!

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Television

Athlete Greg Louganis on His New Documentary: ‘I Was Thinking I Was Not Going to See 30′

HBO Sports

The Olympian and documentary subject opens up

One of the most prominent American athletes of the 1980s, Greg Louganis is back in the public eye—and he’s hoping to show the average TV viewer that he’s really just like you.

With Back on Board: Greg Louganis, airing August 4 at 10pm ET on HBO, Louganis opened up his complex life to a documentarian’s camera. The diver, who competed in the 1976, 1984, and 1988 Olympics (winning four gold medals in the process), declared he was HIV-positive after his final Olympics, causing a controversy over the blood he spilled after an injury. He’s also undergone a series of personal challenges, including financial hardship coinciding with the 2008 financial crisis.

Back on Board depicts Louganis taking gigs for cash, including a job judging a diving competition; we also see him recounting the path that brought him to fame first as one of the world’s top athletes and then as one of the earliest out gay celebrities. Louganis spoke to TIME about the film and what he’s learned through a life in public.

TIME: How would you evaluate sports’ openness to gay people today?

Greg Louganis: We’ve come so far—I point to Matthew Mitcham, the Olympic gold medalist from Australia. He came out because he felt that he couldn’t compete on that high level only sharing a part of himself and having to hide. I thought that was so incredibly admirable. And, of course, that paved the way for Tom Daley from the U.K. to come out.

I was fearful back in the ‘80s, because I didn’t want it to be about “The Gay Athlete.” It was just my policy not to discuss my personal life with members of the media. I also grew up at a time when it was okay. The sports reporters were respectful of that. If you read between the lines, it’d be pretty easy to figure out my sexual identity. It was a different time; we’ve come a long way.

Do you feel envious of younger athletes, or regret that the times were different when you were competing?

I don’t have any regrets; I really don’t. Every person, even today, whether you’re LGBT, straight, it doesn’t matter, an individual, has their own journey. I think it’s great that we’ve come so far. As I’m mentoring young divers for USA Diving, a lot of our youth see sexuality as more fluid. They resist the labels. Even “LGBTQ”—they don’t want the labels. They get it a lot better than the older generation. It’s great; I know that we have a lot of work left to do, especially around the world.

Between you, Mitcham, Daley—is there something about diving that makes it more conducive to gay star athletes? Michael Sam, for instance, is out, but did not end up playing in the NFL.

There have been Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers—people that have come out in team sports. Back in 1995 when I was on a book tour, a lot of young people in sports told me that they wanted to come out but were afraid to, because of the ramifications for their team. And that’s just what it is: A team sport. It’s easier if you’re competing in an individual sport, because, really, it’s just you that’s out there. But I think it’s changing, it’s evolving, and people are finding they have a lot more allies.

I can’t recall having seen a documentary about an athlete that was so frank about its subject’s reality; you really open up. What was the process by which you decided to grant so much access?

The producer read an article in 2010 about my making my way back to USA Diving and said “Greg Louganis: I didn’t know he ever left!” So he reached out to Cheryl Furjanic, the director who made Sync or Swim, a documentary about synchronized swimming. They came into my life at such a tumultuous time. I was on the verge of potentially losing my house. The one thing I learned from [memoir] Breaking the Surface is, I thought I was sharing my weaknesses. By sharing my weaknesses, I was actually sharing my strengths. With Back on Board, I wanted people to know that they weren’t alone. This was happening all over the country. It was all very classic: 2006, black mold scare, then contractors taking advantage of people in that situation, then Countrywide loans bought up by Bank of America, and people losing their homes!

The story is bigger than yourself, you’re saying.

It’s so important for people to understand, You’re not stupid: other people have made the same mistakes. And you’re not alone, because this could happen to an Olympic gold medalist, too! I’m not immune. Just because I had some success in one area of my life does not mean I’m going to have success in all areas of my life. That’s the reason why the mentoring is so important to me, because most athletes, once they finish their career in their chosen sport, they’re still pretty young. And so then it’s like, Now what? If they retire from their sport, you lose a part of your identity, of who you are. And a lot of athletes struggle with that.

When you go to the Olympic Games, that is the pinnacle. That is such a high high. Whether you’re successful or not, it’s still a high. But then the fallout after that is a low low. People talk about the post-Olympic blues. I tried to commit suicide, I battled depression, but it was in the back of my mind that this was kind of normal and to be expected. That’s why I’m most interested in the after-care. Kids need guidance of who they should trust and what questions they should ask. I’ve learned through trial and error—a lot of error on my part!

Was returning to USA Diving complicated for you, given the retroactive controversy over your bleeding in the pool during the 1988 Olympics, when you knew you were HIV-positive?

I don’t read my press. I started that years ago. My first Olympics was when I was 16. My mom was my proofreader. If an article was written, she’d say, “Oh, Greg, read this one, they had nice things to say,” so I could be in gratitude, so if I ran into that reporter again, I could say thank you and be gracious. The other stuff: Forget it. But when I came forward about my HIV status with Barbara Walters and Oprah, there was a lot of debate going on and I bore the brunt of criticism. I didn’t mind that, because people were talking. All of those people who cheered for me during the Olympic Games can no longer say their lives have not been affected by HIV/AIDS. And so it really got people to think and talk about this issue and bring some focus to it.

That’s one thing that film really illustrates. When it shows me in 1988, an atomic bomb could have gone off and I wouldn’t have known it. But at the same time, ACT UP was happening, and people wanted people with HIV/AIDS to be tattooed and quarantined. That was a lot of people’s mentality.

It’s almost as though you were so involved in athletics that you missed early activism, but, for lack of a better term, perhaps you made up for it by raising awareness later on?

Putting things in a timeline and into perspective: I retired after the 1988 Games, and after that, I was thinking I was not going to see 30, because HIV/AIDS was a death sentence, and I was also in an abusive relationship. And so I was trying to extricate myself from that relationship, which took a lot of energy, and focus, and courage, and so that’s where my focus was in getting out of that relationship. A lot of the things kind of make sense; I couldn’t really focus on being an activist, because I was just trying to get myself together and get out of this as a whole person. Now, I can look back on those experiences, however horrendous, those are the gems of my life, because that’s taught me empathy. I can be empathetic to people who are in similar situations. This opened up a line of communication that is impactful and meaningful.

Do you look back on your younger self, achieving at such a high level while keeping so much hidden, as a different person entirely?

I look back, and all I have to do is see snapshots of the 1988 Olympic Games, our farewell dinner. Each of the Olympians shared a story about their experience. I got up, received my ring, turned to my coach, and said, “Nobody will ever know what we’ve just been through.” And I just broke down. Because I truly thought I was taking this to the grave. I didn’t know how much time I had. It was so raw and emotional, and he understood. It was just an incredible moment that nobody knew. Nobody had any idea or clue.

Now I’m 55, and I’m here, and I’m married. It’s unbelievable. I never dreamed this day would be possible. People always ask “How are you doing? How are you doing really?” But my viral load’s undetectable, my T-cells are higher than they’ve ever been. I do acupuncture and Eastern treatments as well. There’s so many things happening in my life, and Back on Board is another stepping stone.

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