Naomi Osaka was just two years old when Serena Williams beat the world’s highest-ranked women’s tennis player, Martina Hingis, to win her first US Open title in 1999. Since then, Naomi has watched her idol conquer the tennis world with 22 more Grand Slams, the four most important annual tennis events – the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. On Saturday, September 8, the now 20-year-old Naomi stunned the world by winning the 2018 Women’s US Open Singles Championship, stopping Serena’s quest to achieve her 24th Grand Slam title and tying with Australia's Margaret Court for the all-time record. Naomi’s first Grand Slam victory was particularly sweet given that she is the first Japanese tennis player to achieve this honor.
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While elite athletes like Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney make it look easy, gymnastics is one of the hardest sports on the planet – both physically and mentally. It is, therefore, not surprising to hear that most gymnasts retire in their late teens or early 20’s. But don’t tell that to Oksana Chusovitina. The veteran gymnast, who has been in the limelight since winning her first major competition – the USSR’s junior national championships – at age 13, is still going strong at the ripe “old” age of 43!
For most climbers, professional or amateur, summiting Mount Everest — Earth’s highest mountain above sea level — once is a crowning achievement. However, don’t tell that to Kami Rita, who scaled the peak of the treacherous mountain for the 22nd time on May 16, 2018 breaking the previous record of 21 successful ascents he shared with two fellow guides. And the veteran mountaineer is not done yet! Prior to embarking on the recent climb, the 48-year-old announced, “My goal is to reach the summit of Everest at least 25 times. I want to set a new record not just for myself but for my family, the Sherpa people and for my country, Nepal.”
Unlike other professional sports organizations such as the NBA, NFL, or MLB, FIFA, the governing body of association football, or soccer, has traditionally been resistant to adopting technology on the field. "We shall rely on human beings," former FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in 2002. "Players make mistakes, coaches make mistakes and yes, sometimes referees make mistakes. But football is passion, football is emotion. Football has a human touch."
Professional surfers in pursuit of the perfect wave will no longer have to depend on the whims of nature. Instead, they can head over to the farming town of Lemoore in Southern California, which is home to the world’s first wave pool dedicated to competitive surfing. Originally named after its founder, American surfing legend, 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, it was rebranded WSL Surf Ranch after the World Surfing League acquired a majority stake in 2016.
When Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa flawlessly rode a massive wave in Nazare, Portugal on November 8, 2017, he knew it was the biggest one of his life, thus far. What the 38-year-old was unaware of, however, is that his thrilling descent down the monstrous surge, would set a new Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed.
On February 13, 17-year-old Chloe Kim made history at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, when she became the youngest woman to medal in the halfpipe. What made the win even more special for the first-generation Korean American snowboarder was the presence of her 75-year-old grandmother who resides in Seoul and had never seen her compete live.
The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea will officially kick off with an opening ceremony at 8:00 pm local time on Friday, February 9. Among the thousands of competitors, representing 93 countries, participating in the parade will be twenty-two athletes from North Korea. Though the country’s last-minute decision to compete in the international multi-sport event, that ends on February 25, is certainly significant, what is even more so is the January 19 announcement that the two Koreas will march under the same flag.