TIME Running

Usain Bolt Makes Olympic-Sized Statement at World Championships

(SP)CHINA-BEIJING-IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS-MEN'S 100M FINAL(CN)
Wang Lili—Xinhua Press/Corbis Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 100m ahead of United States' at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing on Aug. 23, 2015.

A photo finish victory over American Justin Gatlin proves that Bolt is far from finished

Mark it on your calendars now: August 14, 2016, Sunday night in Rio, the date of the 100-meter final of the Olympic Games. If this Sunday’s world championship is any kind of teaser, it could be one of the most riveting ten seconds in the history of sports.

Usain Bolt, winner of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic golds in the 100, on Sunday beat American Justin Gatlin, who took the event at the 2004 Games in Athens, by one one-hundredths of a second at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, site of Bolt’s word-record setting performance at the 2008 Olympics. Bolt would later top that 9.69-second time at the 2009 Worlds, when he ran a 9.58, and at the London Games, when he set a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds.

This was Bolt’s third World Championship victory. And though it seems far-fetched to label any Usain Bolt victory an upset, this was drenched in surprise.

That’s because Gatlin, a controversial figure in track circles who served a four-year doping ban from 2006 through 2010, hadn’t lost in 28 races, since September 2013. He was the fastest man in the world in 2014 and 2015. Critics have called the success of Gatlin, 33, bad for the sport, since he’ll always compete under a cloud of suspicion. As Great Britain hurdler Dai Greene told the BBC last year, speaking about Gatlin’s quick times:

It shows one of two things: either he’s still taking performance-enhancing drugs to get the best out of him at his advanced age, or the ones he did take are still doing a fantastic job. Because there is no way he can still be running that well at this late point in his career.

After having years on the sidelines, being unable to train or compete, it doesn’t really add up. 9.77 is an incredibly fast time. You only have to look at his performances. I don’t believe in them.

Meanwhile, Bolt had struggled coming into the World Championships. He had foot surgery in 2014 and pulled out of a pair events his season with a leg injury. His fastest 100-meter time this year was 9.87 seconds, blazing for most humans, a summer slog for Bolt.

But as usual, Bolt peaked when he needed to. He and Gatlin cleared the field for the last 30-meters or so, but Gatlin tightened up: a last lunge gave the Bolt the photo-finish win.

The good (Bolt) vs. evil (Gatlin) storyline going into this race was irresistible, yet oversimplified. Gatlin has paid his debt, and minus fresh evidence that he’s cheating, you can doubt him, but you can’t dismiss him.

Bolt’s final act is way more compelling. This is a man with nothing else to prove, who’s the greatest sprinter of all time. He’s been hurt, has every excuse to lose motivation, get distracted, and fade. And yet he summons, on command, breathtaking performances time and time again.

“This is Usain Bolt’s best race ever” American sprint legend, and BBC commentator, Michael Johnson said afterwards. When it comes to Bolt, that’s a familiar refrain. Seven years after shocking the world at the Beijing Olympics, the best could still be ahead of him.

See you next August.

 

TIME Running

Usain Bolt Wins 100-Meter World Championship

(SP)CHINA-BEIJING-IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS-MEN'S 100M FINAL(CN)
Wang Lili—Xinhua Press/Corbis Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 100m ahead of United States' at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing on Aug. 23, 2015.

Usain bolt beat rival Justin Gatlin with a time of 9.79 seconds

(BEIJING) — After two years of uncertainty, Usain Bolt produced his biggest clutch performance to beat rival Justin Gatlin in the 100-meter world championship final with a lunge at the line in the biggest showdown in years.

Bolt was trailing for almost all of Sunday’s race, but with gritted teeth, the two-time Olympic champion clawed back into contention and made his giant stride count to win in 9.79 seconds — .01 seconds over the American veteran.

Rising to the occasion as he always does, Bolt put a shockingly bad semifinal heat behind him to recover with a good start. Two lanes to his right, Gatlin was as good as perfect for most of the race, but for seven years now, there is no denying the greatest sprinter in history.

Going even just ahead of the line, Bolt glanced left from to Gatlin in Lane 7 and threw his weight forward in a desperate lunge. His yellow-colored Jamaica jersey crossed marginally ahead the red-clad Gatlin for his third world title in the 100.

Bolt kept on powering along in celebration, and when he returned, Gatlin gave him a warm hug. At 33, Gatlin had been unbeaten for two years as Bolt struggled with injury. But on the biggest of occasions, time was with Bolt again.

In a dead heat for third, Trayvon Bromell of the United States and Andre De Grasse of Canada shared bronze in 9.911 seconds.

Soon, the reggae was blaring through the public address system at the Bird’s Nest and Bolt was performing his signature Lightning Bolt move.

TIME ultras

Meet the Men Flying a Solar-Powered Plane Around the World

"We can stay forever in the air, theoretically, with no fuel"

Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg are on a mission to make history. To prove a point about the power of clean technologies and renewable energy sources, they are piloting the Solar Impulse 2 plane around the world using absolutely no fuel.

The plane, which is powered by the sun, weighs 5,071 lbs. (2,300 kg) and has a solar panel-covered wingspan of 236 ft. (72 m). Solar Impulse 2 set the record for the world’s longest solo flight at 4 days, 21 hours, and 52 minutes earlier this year while traveling from Japan to Hawaii.

Piccard and Borschberg started their journey in March and hope to finish by summer 2016. The plane is currently grounded through the winter to repair the batteries, but for the two pilots, the journey isn’t about how long it takes to cross the finish line. According to Piccard, “It’s not a race against time. It’s an attempt at making a historic first so the time it takes finally is not so important. What we need is to get back to the place where it started.”

TIME Donald Trump

Donald Trump Says Ronda Rousey Likes Him But She Begs to Differ

Ronda Rousey
Josh Hedges—Zuffa/Getty Images Ronda Rousey speaks to media in Los Angeles on Feb. 25, 2015.

"I don't want a reality TV star to be running my country"

Donald Trump says Ronda Rousey likes him. But it seems the 2016 Republican candidate may have misread the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion’s feelings.

In a recent interview with CNN, Trump said Rousey is a great example of women being good fighters, and said, “Some of them are really, really good. I’ll tell you what, I know some woman that are just — Ronda Rousey is an example, who likes me. … I’d take her on my side as a fighter.”

But in an earlier interview with the network, Rousey seemed to have the opposite feelings towards Trump: “I mean, I wouldn’t vote for him,” she said. “I just really wouldn’t trust the guy with running my country, that’s all. … I’m not really going to get into specifics of it, but, I mean, I don’t want a reality TV star to be running my country.”

Trump is currently leading most national polls of Republican candidates.

Read Next: TIME’s cover story on Trump – The Donald Has Landed

Listen to the most important stories of the day

TIME Football

Tim Tebow Breaks Up Fight Between Ravens and Eagles

Tim Tebow of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 16, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Mitchell Leff—Getty Images Tim Tebow of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 16, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The players parted like "the Red Sea," according to onlookers

Tim Tebow might be famous for his prayer crouch, dubbed “Tebowing,” at NFL games. But the Philadelphia Eagles player might want to add “diplomacy” to his list of skills.

Tebow’s team was co-practicing with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday when, for unclear reasons, a fight broke out between the teams. The quarterback then stepped in, according to Sports Illustrated, and cooled tempers. Bleacher Report‘s Mike Tanier wrote that the players “[parted] like the Red Sea” when Tebow intervened.

The former Florida Gators star is attempting to earn a place as a third-string quarterback with the Eagles.

[Sports Illustrated]

TIME Football

Deflategate Judge Says Tom Brady Suspension Could Be Tossed Out

Tom Brady
Steve Helber—AP New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tosses a pass during a joint practice with the New Orleans Saints at the Saints' NFL football training camp in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. on Aug. 19, 2015.

The judge cited several weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy

(NEW YORK) — Tom Brady might have reason to practice more intensely after a judge made clear Wednesday that the New England quarterback’s four-game suspension for underinflated footballs is in jeopardy.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman warned an NFL lawyer during oral arguments that there was precedent for judges to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators in the scandal now known as “Deflategate.”

Berman cited several weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy that could result in a victory by Brady and the NFL Players Association.

The suspension was upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last month after he concluded Brady conspired with two Patriots equipment employees to deflate footballs before New England easily beat the Indianapolis Colts in January’s AFC championship game.

If there is no negotiated deal, Berman said he hopes to rule by Sept. 4, six days before the Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL’s season-opening game. He encouraged a settlement, calling it a “logical and rational option.”

Neither Brady nor NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in court Wednesday. Brady returned to Patriots practice after participating in negotiations along with Goodell and lawyers on both sides a day earlier. The Manhattan judge said both would be required to attend an Aug. 31 hearing.

During more than two hours of arguments by attorneys, the judge noted other arbitration decisions have been rejected when a key witness was not allowed to testify as he questioned why NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash — who worked on the NFL investigation — could not be interviewed by union lawyers during the suspension’s appeal.

Berman said arbitration proceedings, while more relaxed than court proceedings, are still required to follow due process rules to ensure fairness.

He said a reference to the Jan. 18 game against the Indianapolis Colts was “conspicuously absent” in a conclusion from the NFL investigation that found Brady was generally aware of a plot to deflate game balls below what rules allow.

Finally, Berman said he could not understand how the commissioner opted to keep a four-game suspension over some other penalty. He asked what portion of it was for involvement in a deflated football scheme and what part was because Goodell concluded Brady didn’t cooperate with the probe.

He also was troubled by Goodell’s defense of the penalty on the grounds that it was comparable to penalties on players who use performance enhancing drugs.

When NFL lawyer Daniel Nash said both violations are an effort to gain a competitive advantage, the judge responded: “I still don’t see how the four games is comparable to a player using steroids.”

“It goes to the integrity of the game,” Nash said.

The judge used stronger language than he had when he seemed to lean against the NFL at a similar hearing a week earlier, though he cautioned that he had not yet made up his mind which side would win.

___

Associated Press writer Jake Pearson contributed to this report.

TIME athletics

Sebastian Coe Will Be the Next President of the IAAF

Coe won the election 115-92

(BEIJING) — Sebastian Coe has won a four-year term as president of the governing body for track and field, beating Sergei Bubka in an election Wednesday and given the mandate to restore the image of an IAAF hierarchy grappling with a doping controversy.

The 58-year-old Coe won the election by 115 votes to 92 and will replace 82-year-old Lamine Diack of Senegal, who stood down after 16 years.

Coe, a two-time Olympic 1,500-meter gold medalist, former Conservative Party lawmaker in Britain and chairman of the London 2012 bid and organizing committee, reportedly traveled 700,000 kilometers (435,000 miles) during the campaign and, unlike Bubka, had only nominated for the top job without the fallback option of vice-president.

“In the best traditions of everything we both believe in our sport, it was fought according to sound judgment throughout,” said Coe, who described his election as the second-most momentous event of his life after the birth of his children.

Ukraine pole vault great Bubka, a former Olympic and world championship gold medalist and long-time world-record holder, retained his position as a vice president in a subsequent poll.

The IAAF election, held in the lead-up to the world championships which start Saturday in Beijing, has been overshadowed by intense criticism of the world body following media reports that it has failed to act on evidence of widespread blood doping.

German broadcaster ARD and Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper citied leaked test results from a 2011 study in an IAAF database and asserted that blood doping was rampant in the sport.

The IAAF last week denied it had tried to block publication of the study, and confirmed that 28 athletes had been caught in retests of their doping samples from the 2005 and 2007 world championships but said none of the athletes will be competing in this year’s competition.

Coe, who last week described the allegations as a “declaration of war” against the sport, has proposed a fully independent anti-doping tribunal to deal with the issues.

Diack defended the IAAF handling of doping under his watch, saying the sport’s governing body had continually introduced new measures to combat doping and was at the forefront of the anti-doping campaign in sports.

“A newspaper stole some information from our databank but our officers have reacted in an admirable way,” Diack said in his opening address at the two-day congress. “They have said, ‘This is what we have done, this is what we’re doing.'”

“We will be holding these championships in Beijing and people will say ’80 percent of the athletes are bound to test positive,’ but no, this is totally untrue,” Diack added. “We must resolve, of course, the problem of doping. All the champions must be tested regularly and each country must have its own anti-doping body.”

In other voting:

— Dahlan Al Hamad, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum and Alberto Juantorena were elected as vice-presidents along with Bubka.

— Jose Maria Odriozola of Spain was elected as treasurer.

— USA Track and Field president Stephanie Hightower topped the list of six elected as female individual council members.

Diack had not publicly endorsed either Coe or Bubka in the presidential election, but was delighted to see his successor was from “a new generation coming up and a man who has devoted his life to the sport.”

“It’s a great moment we’ve just lived,” Diack said. “We can say our sport is in safe hands that are able to carry it up to another level.”

TIME College Sports

Here’s the Road Ahead for College Athletes After Union Setback

College Athletes Union northwestern
Jeffrey Phelps—AP Northwestern football players gesture during practice at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus on Aug. 17, 2015, in Kenosha, Wi.

Anti-trust case are now the clearest path to reform

Back in April of 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in D.C. granted Northwestern University’s request to review what seemed like a landmark decision in college athletics.

A regional NLRB director ruled that Northwestern football players were indeed employees under federal labor law, and thus had a right to unionize and fight for better health protections, compensation and other benefits at the collective bargaining table.

For a good 16 months now, all stakeholders in college athletics, from players to school and NCAA administrators, to coaches and students and alumni, waited for the NLRB to make a call on Northwestern.

Many labor scholars expected a win for college athletes. They figured that the five-member panel in D.C. would uphold the decision in Chicago, which seemed entirely logical: since Northwestern players dedicated some 50 to 60 hours of their weeks to football, an activity entirely separate from studying in class, sports is indeed a full-time job.

What almost nobody expected: the NLRB spending 16 months to decide not to make a decision.

But that’s exactly what the agency did. Call it a punt, call it an abdication of responsibilities, call it cowardly. On Monday, the NLRB declined to assert jurisdiction in the Northwestern case, simultaneously refusing to address the central question — are big-time college athletes, who in many cases generate millions of dollars for their schools, employees? — squashing the Northwestern union effort, and explicitly leaving the door for other union challenges down the road.

“No legal scholars I’ve talked to over all these months predicted this outcome,” says Warren Zola, sports law expert at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. “It took them over 500 days to reach a conclusion they could have reached in hours. It seemed like they shirked their duties.”

Definitely call it a setback for college athletes, and a strange one at that. The NLRB concluded that making a decision in this case would “not serve to promote stability in labor relations.” But doesn’t the NLRB exist because labor relations are inherently unstable, since employers and employees have such competing interests?

The NLRB decided to pass on this case in large part because of the structure of college athletics. Northwestern University may be a private institution — and thus under NLRB jurisdiction, which oversees the private sector. But all of Northwestern’s “primary competitors” in the Big 10 conference are public institutions, and thus subject to state law.

In fact, of the roughly 125 institutions that compete in top-tier Division 1 football, all but 17 are public schools. Since the NRLB can’t regulate all schools, it won’t regulate Northwestern.

William Gould, emeritus professor at Stanford Law School who chaired the NLRB from 1994 to 1998, isn’t buying this conclusion. “The point about collective bargaining is that it enhances stability,” says Gould. “This decision assumes immaturity on the part of all parties.”

So where do college athletes go from here? While Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association–which organized the Northwestern union efforts–remains surprised and disappointed in the NLRB decision, he doesn’t plan to stop fighting. “There’s no reason to give up,” he insists. “This decision does not set a precedent. We still have an opportunity to unionize college sports.”

Huma won’t specify where and when his next unionization push will take place, because he fears that coaches and administrators will urge players not to organize; Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald, for example, publicly said it wasn’t in his players’ interest to unionize. “Anything we telegraph will be crushed,” Huma says.

The NLRB non-decision will make private university unions more difficult for athletes, but not impossible. The NLRB, for example, noted that “in all our cases involving professional sports, the Board was able to regulate all, or at least most, of the teams in the relevant league or association.” So athletes from an entire conference of private schools within the NLRB’s jurisdiction — say, men’s basketball players from the Big East, which includes strong revenue-producing programs like Georgetown and Villanova — would seem to have a stronger case.

Also, some states laws offer potential openings for public school unions. In fact, Huma might want to visit UCLA, his alma mater, where he played football in the 1990s. In California, the student employee test asks if the services rendered are related to the student’s educational objectives. Since scholarship football players aren’t spending those 50 extra hours studying, athletes at UCLA and other California state schools could lay claim to employee status.

Still, states like Ohio and Michigan have already preemptively struck down college athlete unions in the wake of Northwestern’s effort, by passing statutes specifying that scholarship athletes are not employees. Other states limit, or prohibit, public employees from unionizing altogether: college athletes at the University of Alabama, for example, have no constitutional or statutory right to collectively bargain. So a mass push to unionize athletes at public schools isn’t entirely practical.

Another avenue for athletes is Congress. Federal lawmakers can lift the compensation and benefits restrictions that the NCAA places on its member schools. But Congress is unlikely to rewrite NCAA regulations anytime soon, especially after six Republican lawmakers who help oversee the National Labor Relations Board submitted a brief in the Northwestern case knocking the regional director’s decision.

“Scholarship football players are not and should not be treated … as employees,” wrote the lawmakers, which included Rep. John Kine (Minn.), chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

So the best bet for athletes are the courts. “The action is going to shift to anti-trust,” says Gould, the law professor. Players have already achieved a victory in the O’Bannon case, which permits schools to cover the full cost of attendance for men’s basketball and football players and to set aside deferred payments, capped at no less than $5,000 per year per player. The NCAA is appealing that case.

Even more promising for college athletes — and scary for schools invested in the status quo — is a class-action anti-trust claim, brought forward by famed sports labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler, that seeks to lift all NCAA restrictions on compensation.

“The NLRB decision in the Northwestern case just underscores how important the anti-trust cases are for the players in basketball and football in Division 1,” Kessler says. “Because the anti-trust laws apply fully to all the schools, whether or not they are public institutions. The anti-trust cases are really at the moment the only legal road that players have to try to vindicate their rights. If our case is successful, it will let a market develop where schools or the conferences themselves decide how they want to do this. And we think they’ll make good decisions.”

A hearing for class certification in Kessler’s case is set for October 1. He hopes the case is ready to go to trial by the end of 2016.

“The Northwestern decision is a major setback for college athletes,” says Gould. “But this is just the beginning of this sort of litigation.” College sports is still shifting. Despite the labor board’s pass.

 

TIME Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick Announces Her New Sponsor

AdvoCare 500
Jerry Markland / Getty Images Danica Patrick during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 10, 2013 in Avondale, Arizona.

Patrick's racing future was unclear after losing her GoDaddy sponsorship.

NASCAR racer Danica Patrick has a new sponsor — Nature’s Bakery, a company that makes fig bars.

When GoDaddy, Patrick’s previous sponsor, announced that it was ending its sponsorship, Patrick’s future with Stewart-Haas racing was uncertain, USA Today reports. Nature’s Bakery saved her by signing on as a sponsor.

The company is a surprising choice, considering its small size. They have about 400 employees and have only been going since 2010. But co-founder Dave Marson claims, “We’re not as small as you think. We’re a global brand. We produced over 600 million fig bars this year, so we’re big enough to handle it.” Marson told USA Today that the company has a five-year plan for substantial growth, and he hopes Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing will be able to help with that.

Patrick and Nature’s Bakery were brought together by Haas Automation, a company owned by Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing. Nature’s Bakery buys tools from Haas’ company and was connected to Patrick through one of his sales representatives.

Patrick and Nature’s Bakery both believe it’s a good fit. The racer says that the company “lines up perfectly” with her own health-conscious lifestyle. During the press conference she said, “Authenticity is hard to come by, but recognized. And I think people are going to recognize its authenticity as we go along.”

TIME Football

Artist Behind Viral Tom Brady Sketch Might Sell Her Infamous Drawing

Tom Brady Deflate Gate Trial
NY District Court Tom Brady appears in United States District Court on Aug. 12, 2015.

"This isn't a normal sketch I'm selling to some assistant U.S. Attorney"

A viral courtroom sketch of Tom Brady may soon land in the hands of one of two dozen interested buyers.

Artist Jane Rosenberg, whose depiction of the NFL star during a “Deflategate” hearing last week drew comparisons to Voldemort, E.T., Gollum and Lurch, told the New York Daily News on Tuesday that she’s mulling over selling the infamous sketch.

“I have not decided what I’m going to do with it. I don’t have a clue what it’s truly worth. This isn’t a normal sketch I’m selling to some assistant U.S. Attorney,” Rosenberg said. “It might be a different arena entirely — sports memorabilia.”

Among the interested buyers are The Sports Museum in Boston, which Rosenberg said had asked her to loan the sketch for a month. None of the potential buyers included dollar figures in their offers, she added.

Rosenberg, a veteran courtroom sketch artist who has drawn high-profile cases like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, previously apologized for her depiction of Brady following waves of online mockery.

“I’m getting bad criticism that I made him look like Lurch,” Rosenberg said, referring to the Addams Family character. “And obviously I apologize to Tom Brady for not making him as good-looking as he is.”

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