American sports fans are mourning the loss of one of baseball's all-time greats: Frank Robinson, Major League Baseball's first African-American manager and the only player to win MVP in both leagues, passed away at his Bel Air, California home on February 7, 2019. The 83-year-old had been battling bone cancer for many years.
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Ice-skating phenom Alysa Liu is no stranger to shattering records. In 2016, the then 10-year-old became the youngest intermediate figure skating champion in U.S. history. In 2018, at the tender age of 12, Liu became the youngest to compete in, and win, the U.S. junior championships. That same year, she was also the youngest woman ever to land a triple axel in an international competition.
US gymnast Simone Biles, who has dominated the sport since the 2013 World Championships, is often described as “the greatest gymnast of all time” and “superhuman.” The 21-year-old phenom proved herself worthy of both labels at the recently held World Championships in Doha, Qatar when she won a medal in every discipline, including four golds, while battling a painful kidney stone.
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.
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.