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20.09.2019 14:05
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Its hard to know what world-class swimmers are feeling from looking at them power through their races lap after lap. Most of them betray so little when they hit the final wall, other than urgency to see their time and where they finished. The same goes for reading the expressions of plenty of other Olympic athletes. Boxers and judoka understandably grimace when hit, weightlifters scream when they hoist bar-bending weights, and plenty of distance runners faces betray the agony theyre in.But other athletes are the picture of serenity or stoicism as they compete. You know it cant be that easy, right? The poker-faced endurance of pain is the Big Lie of sports.At a news conference earlier this year, a handful of U.S. Olympic swimmers were asked to describe what theyre thinking as muscle-burning fatigue overtakes them during a race. Four-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin joked lifeguard? Defending gold medalist Ryan Lochte squeaked help!But many athletes say absorbing pain and fatigue -- or refusing to acknowledge they exist at all -- is something thats practiced, not just inherent.Sixteen-year-old American gymnast Laurie Hernandez, a first-time Olympian, said the six-hour daily workouts that elite gymnasts endure are grueling, bone-rattling, muscle-searing and all the rest. Their hands are callused, and their shins hurt.But the bottom line is, if you want to go to the Olympics, youre going to do the training, Hernandez said with a nonchalant shrug.End of story.Still, its hard to not be amazed at the sight of Greg Louganis cutting his head on the edge of the diving board but coming back to win the 3-meter springboard gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, or by the memory of 4-foot-9 gymnast Kerri Strug making her dramatic second vault on an injured ankle at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics because she thought the U.S. had to have a strong score from her to win its first team gold medal.Twenty years before Strugs feat, Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto made a similar decision. He kept competing after he broke his kneecap in the floor exercise, his second of five events in the team competition at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Fujimoto decided to not tell his teammates about the injury because they were in a tight race against Russia for the gold medal. For years, ABC Sports ran a replay of him in its thrill of victory, agony of defeat mashups. It showed Fujimoto nailing the landing of his triple-somersault dismount on his last event, the rings, then buckling over in pain and willing himself to stand up straight.Remarkably, his score of 9.7 was his best ever on the rings, and Japan won the gold medal.The stakes were thought to be similarly high for Strug in 96, after American teammate Dominique Moceanu performed her two vaults just before Strug.When Dom fell the first time, I thought, No, I cant believe it. She never falls, Strug recalled that night. Then she fell a second time, and it was like, Forget this. This is a nightmare. My heart was beating like crazy, knowing that it was now up to me.The pressure got worse when Strug fell on her first vault, landing on her butt and badly spraining her ankle. The .897-point lead over Russia that the U.S. took into the final event really seemed in jeopardy as Strug hobbled back to the starting position. Most of the Russian team stopped to watch. No one -- including Strug -- was sure she could run down the 75-foot runway to do her second attempt. But she never considered not trying.As I started running toward the vault, my ankle felt displaced and unstable [and] I remember thinking I was going to trip and fall on my face, Strug recalled to espnW a few weeks ago. I dont remember the vault itself, but when I landed, I didnt think Id done anything special. I was supposed to land the vault. Anything else would have been unacceptable.She stuck the landing but later learned that the sound she heard were two ligaments in her ankle snapping. Nonetheless, her score of 9.712 allowed the U.S. to break Russias stranglehold on the womens team gold medal that dated to 1948 and left the crowd at the Georgia Dome chanting her first name.In that moment, all the years of doing one more vault when I was too tired or sick or didnt want to perform another rep paid off, she said.Plenty of athletes -- not just gymnasts -- talk openly about taking risks such as that and about how their sports can result in injury, paralysis or even death. (On Saturday at the Olympics, French gymnast Samir Ait Said broke his left leg while attempting a vault in qualifying and was carried off on a stretcher; several reporters in the arena tweeted that they heard his bone snap.)Jillion Potter, a member of the U.S. sevens Olympic rugby team, wasnt thinking in such fatalistic terms before she took a hit and felt something had gone grievously wrong in a test match against Canada six years ago.It was a freak accident, really, she insisted.She later found out she had broken her neck.Once I was hit, my neck popped so many times -- pop, pop, pop, really loud -- I just remember laying there on the field. I could move and everything seemed fine, but I just remember telling my teammate, Jane, somethings really wrong with my neck. Im scared. I dont know what to do, Potter said at the U.S. Olympic Media Summit this spring.As it turned out, she needed spinal fusion surgery on her C-5 vertebrae. Doctors eventually told her she could play again, but her rehab took more than a year. Even then, her suffering wasnt over. In August 2014, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and treatment until March 2015 and lost all her hair.Still, Potter made it back in time for Rio and was voted team captain by her peers.Its so much more about the psychological piece, not just the physical piece, she said of her comebacks.With cancer, she said, the toughest thing was telling her mom about her diagnosis. With rugby, it was grappling with the fear that rugby sevens has potentially higher velocity collisions than the 15-person-per-side version of the sport because theres more open space.I had to get confident in my tackling and contact during play again and not play tentatively because that can be dangerous, Potter said.Dwelling on such things is to be avoided. Scientists who study pain seem to agree on that.?One of the more oft-quoted findings on athletes and pain was done by University of Heidelberg researchers who looked at 15 studies that examined pain thresholds in athletes and non-athletes for an article that appeared in a 2012 edition of the journal Pain. Two of their conclusions: Contact sport athletes tend to have a higher tolerance than other athletes, and athletes, as a group, often rely on cognitive strategies, including big doses of association/disassociation,?to help them deal with pain.Jackie Galloway, who will compete for the U.S. in the +73kg taekwondo competition in Rio, joked that she has the disassociation part down.Its very funny because outside of a match, Im like, Oh no, I tripped and bruised my leg! Ugh! or well be training ,and Ill be like, Owwww! You hit my leg! she said with a laugh. Im such a baby sometimes.She changes into a different person during a match.I think my pain tolerance is just really higher during the match because thats not what Im really focusing on. My mind is in other places, she said. I already know going in theres a possibility and a great probability that Im going to get hit on my arms, on my legs. As far as feeling pain, probably one of the worst times was during one of my matches when I broke my hand. There was like a minute and a half left. I got it kicked, and yeah, it hurt. But I didnt even know it was broken til afterward. I wasnt even thinking about it til then.Judoka Kayla Harrison and 100-meter hurdler Dawn Harper-Nelson, a two-time Olympic medalist who just missed making her third Olympic team this year, have a slightly different pain coping mechanism: They reframe what the discomfort means when it hits them in wave after wave, day after day, and use it as motivation.Harper-Nelson, who trains in Los Angeles under legendary taskmaster Bobby Kersee, said, Last year, when I took a tumble at worlds [and didnt finish], I was sitting there crying. But pretty soon I was also [yelling], USE IT! USE IT! ... I think, as an athlete, you have to do that. I mean, you didnt train for nothing, right? So cry. Let it out. Ruin your clothes. Rip your shirt up. Do what you gotta do.Harper-Nelson decided to put her bib from that race on her wall as a reminder that, Pain is just part of the journey you go through, you know?Has that helped?It helps when youre out there on the track training, and you have to remind yourself of that because you are hurting, she said. Your legs are shaking. You literally cant feel them. Youre tripping over yourself because your legs have literally gone numb, and your coach is still like, I dont care. Get on the line. If you want to win a medal, get on the damn line.And youre like, Thats right. Thats right. The pain doesnt matter. I have to do it up here, she said while tapping a finger to her temple.But you know, Harper-Nelson added with a smile, thats why when you do get on the [medal] podium, those are the moments you think about: My legs were numb. ... I cried at night. ... I didnt eat ice cream for three years! You know? You think about all of that. And thats why you break down. Thats why you cry. The way I look at it is Im so excited to have this ability that I have to go charging at 10 hurdles and look up at the end and say, Who got it? Who won? The feeling is like, God, track and field is amazing! The Olympics are about amazingness!Harrison agrees. Shes the only American to ever win a judo gold medal, and shes a favorite in Rio in the 78kg weight class. But like Harper-Nelsons, Harrisons journey hasnt been easy.Four months before the 2012 London Olympics, Harrison tore the medial collateral ligament in her right knee and still won. Earlier this year, she separated her shoulder a week before a Grand Slam meet in Tokyo, one of the toughest events in the world, and had to decide what to do.I wasnt sure I was going to fight. I didnt want to fight. I didnt need to fight, she said. But my coach looked at me and said, This is about you. Your legacy. Are you tough enough? Are you willing to go out there? Youre not going to make it worse, but youre going to be in pain. What if this were the Olympics?I would be fighting! Harrison answered. This is my one day every four years. You dont get another shot.She competed in Tokyo after that conversation. She won her event.Shes proud to be the first American to capture a title at that prestigious competition, and she expects that pushing herself like that will help her overcome anything she might encounter in Rio.If I wake up on Aug. 11 with a separated shoulder, I know Im still going to win because I did it in Tokyo, she said. And thats the kind of thing that makes me realize pain is just a feeling. Its just like feeling fat. Its just pain, you know?That said, even battle-toughened Olympians such as Harrison have their limits.When asked if she might hang on for the 2020 Summer Games, Harrison burst out laughing and said, Im crazy, but Im not a masochist.Gleyber Torres Yankees Jersey . Now tied for second in the league in shootout goals, the 24-year-old likes to see what the opposing goaltender has in store before he ultimately lands on a move. Edwin Encarnacion Yankees Jersey . Any real chance at payback wont come until the playoff. Still, Pittsburgh knows its taut 3-2 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night is a pretty good place to start laying the groundwork. "They are a very good defensive team," Penguins forward Brandon Sutter said. . -- Aaron Murray threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns, ran for another score, and led No. Paul ONeill Jersey .S District Court against Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner and his own union, the MLBPA. Adonis Rosa Jersey . Ivanovic was leading 7-5, 1-0 when Hantuchova withdrew after falling 0-40 behind in the second game. The match started slowly for Ivanovic, who surrendered her first two serves as Hantuchova took a 5-3 lead.SEATTLE -- Wade LeBlanc, Seattles latest entry in its beleaguered rotation, may not be racking up the victories in rapid fashion but the Mariners appreciate anything he can provide.LeBlanc, acquired in a trade with Toronto on June 22, was critical in the Mariners 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night, earning his first victory since Sept. 23, 2014.Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee hit two-run homers to power the second straight victory over the American League East-leading Orioles.LeBlanc (1-0) worked six innings, giving up three hits and two runs while walking one and striking out five. He went 646 days between victories.Anytime you get a win, its fun, the 31-year-old left-hander said, whether its five days or 563 days, or however long it is. I dont take anything for granted.His last win was with the Los Angeles Angels against Oakland at the end of his 2014 season. He then played for the Seibu Lions last season and signed a minor-league deal this year with the Blue Jays. He was in the minors when the Mariners acquired him.Thats not an easy lineup to navigate through with all the power they have, but he kind of took some sting out of their bats and kept them off balance, Mariners manager Scott Servais said.The Mariners have had injuries and inconsistencies in the rotation. Ace Felix Hernandez (strain calf) is on the disabled list, Wade Miley (shoulder) just returned from the DL, Taijuan Walker missed his previous start with a sore foot and Nathan Karns has been dispatched to the bullpen.In LeBlancs debut with the Mariners on June 24, he went six innings against St. Louis, allowing three hits without a run. He had a 23 2/3 innings scoreless streak -- dating to 2014 -- entering Fridays game.Hes been phenomenal in both his starts, Seager said. The tempo he throws at, the amount of strikes he throws, the way he goes right after people. He doesnt shy away. Thats a really good offense over there. Hes giving us a chance in these games.Another newcomer, hard-throwing Edwin Diaz, promoted from Double-A Jackson June 6, is also making an impact. In the eighth, he struck out Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Chris Davis. He has 26 strikeouts in first 13 relief appearances.Youve got to tip your hat to him (LeBlanc), and their relievers. I think thats five out of seven for Diaz, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. You know why they like him so much. Hes doing a great job for them. Hes got a great young arm.Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his 20th save in 24 opportunities.Kevin Gausman (1-6) took the loss. He went six innings and allowed three runs and eiight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.dddddddddddd.He just made a couple of mistakes, Showalter said. When were not scoring runs it gets magnified.The teams traded early home runs. Seattles Seth Smith hit one in the first inning -- his eighth -- and Baltimores Davis went deep in the second -- his 20th. It was Davis 181st as an Oriole, one behind Ken Singleton for eighth place on the clubs all-time list.The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the third on Jonathan Schoops two-out single, scoring Joey Richard from second.Nelson Cruz started the sixth with a double off the wall in right-center field. He has played 50 games against his former team and has reached base safely in 47, including 45 with at least one hit.Seager, protecting an 0-2 count, caught a high 96-mph fastball from Gausman and ripped it 15 seats into the bleachers in right. It was his 16th.In the eighth, with Cruz on first, Lee hit his 11th home run, to left field off Chaz Roe.GOING DEEP RESEARCHIn one of the more quirky and esoteric baseball stats, deep research by the Elias Sports Bureau has shown that Baltimores Hyun-Soo Kims home run Thursday meant more than just the record 56, most in major league history for June. It was the 23rd straight year the Orioles have hit at least one home run on June 30. Thats the longest home run streak by any team on any date in history.TRAINERS ROOMOrioles: Showalter said RHP Darren ODay (right hamstring strain), who has been on the DL since June 3, felt pretty good today. Thats a good sign. Hes not going backwards, just not going forward.Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (strained calf) threw a 23-pitch bullpen session three hours before Fridays game and was watched by more than a few club personnel. He appeared uninhibited. The plan is for him to throw a simulated game during the series in Houston followed by two rehab starts in the minors then will start after the All-Star break. Hes pretty important, Servais said. We need to get him going in the second half.UP NEXTOrioles: RHP Tyler Wilson (4-5, 4.50) has won his last two decisions, although in his previous start he allowed 10 hits and five runs in five innings of a 12-5 victory over Tampa Bay. In two career appearances against Seattle, Wilson is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA.Mariners: LHP James Paxton (1-3, 4.15) is one of the pitchers Servais is counting on in the second half despite just one win this season. He has had one career start against Baltimore, a 4 1/3-inning no-decision. ' ' '

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