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Sport-On this day: Born May 24, 1946: Irena Szewinska, Polish athlete, administrator

Evan Lewis

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Sport-On this day: Born May 24, 1946: Irena Szewinska, Polish athlete, administrator

(Reuters) – To those with only a passing knowledge of athletics it might have come as something of a surprise last month when America’s Track and Field News magazine named Polish sprinter Irena Szewinska as the greatest female athlete of all time.

FILE PHOTO: Irena Szewinska attends the opening of a new oncological hospital Magodent in Warsaw, Poland March 29, 2017. Dawid Zuchowicz/Agencja Gazeta/via REUTERS

However, in her homeland, and to those who followed the sport in the 1960s and 70s, it was an entirely natural recognition of a woman whose range and longevity made her stand out in a crowded field and who went on to become a respected administrator before dying from cancer in 2018 at the age of 72.

She is Poland’s most decorated Olympian and her list of achievements is nothing short of astonishing, starting at the 1964 Olympics when she won silver medals in the 200 metres and long jump and a glorious gold in the sprint relay. She also scooped up 10 world records over 16 years at the top.

Szewinska took gold in the 200m four years later, as well as bronze in the 100m – though the Games ended on a personal low as she dropped the baton the 4x100m relay.

Giving birth to the first of two sons and an ankle injury stopped her from training for a year, but she recovered for the Munich Olympics in 1972, where she won bronze in the 200m.

Four years later in Montreal she decided to skip 100m and 200m and focus on the 400m, having become the first woman to break 50seconds in 1974. In the final Szewinska won by a street in a world record 49.28 seconds – a time that would have been good enough for gold in almost every Olympics since.

“The combination of winning the Olympic gold medal and breaking the world record is exactly what everyone dreams about and what I managed to achieve,” she told a Polish TV documentary decades later.

Her fifth Games was something of an anti-climax as Szewinska suffered a muscle strain during the semi-final of the 400m in Moscow. She retired soon after with seven Olympic medals and a mountain of gold, silver and bronze from the European championships to her name.

She was later active in several sports organizations, including the Polish Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee, to which she was appointed in 1998.

“Sport was a great adventure of my life, when I was an athlete and my fate was that I am still connected with sport. I am passionate about it, this is my hobby,” she said.

Szewinska, who was born in Leningrad on May 24, 1946 and moved with her family to Warsaw when she was a baby, topped the prestigious Track and Field News’ ranking points podium on calculations going back to 1956.

She remains the only athlete, male or female, to have held the world record over 100m, 200m and 400m and her one-lap best of 49.28 seconds is still the Polish record 44 years on.

Additional reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Christian Radnedge

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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Protests feel ‘different this time’

Evan Lewis

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Protests feel 'different this time'

It may not be October, but Yankees legend Reggie Jackson is still making powerful statements.

Jackson in a social media post Saturday described his feelings after taking part in a Monterey, Calif., protest this week in response to the death of George Floyd. This is his unabridged post:

“Our Protest feels different this time.

“I could see it in the rainbow of skin colors in the crowd a couple days ago in my town at the Monterey Protest Walk.

“It pumped me up inside. Made me feel others could feel what my heart needs.

“I WAS A TEENAGER IN THE 60s. I’VE lIVED IT !

“Finally more are understanding what I’ve felt for the past 60 years. And they’re with me. Made me smile, gave me hope.

Reggie Jackson
Reggie JacksonRobert Sabo

“I could hear the words of Jim Brown, “we’re gonna need the power of the white man to make the changes that are needed for us.”

“Yes !!! Finally maybe

“It’s about we as in team.

“We all wear the same uniform USA. So why not have the best players on our team. We need to have our best on the team. To make us the best we can be.

“We need our different cultures involved, the thoughts, ideas, ideals, different people from different lifestyles and experiences, if we’re going to be the best we can be.

“Being involved in sports, we’ve had so many different types of teammates, players and people to make us Champions.

“The 5 times I experienced the championship as a player, as well as the 5 times (10 total) I’ve experienced being a World Championship while working with the Yankees since I’ve retired, while an “Advisor to the Owner.” It was easy to see It takes the entire organization to be our BEST.

“We need participation at higher levels to contribute to this new direction, I’m hoping that can happen.

“I’m hoping to be witness to these changes that are coming.”

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UFC star Conor McGregor: I’m retiring from fighting

Evan Lewis

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UFC star Conor McGregor: I'm retiring from fighting

Conor McGregor, who is considered the biggest star in UFC history, posted on Twitter late Saturday night that he’s retiring from the Octagon.

The announcement, which came after Amanda Nunes’ impressive flyweight title defense in UFC 250, came as a surprise, but already some believe it’s insincere and could be more of a publicity stunt. Retirements are often used as a bargaining tool in combat sports.

The 31-year-old McGregor, who has a 22-4 record in mixed martial arts, fought as recently as Jan. 18 when he scored a a first-round TKO victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in UFC 246.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor tweeted. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!”

The skepticism from this retirement announcement comes from the fact that the controversial fighter has made this dubious declaration before. It’s now the third time in four years the former two-division champion has announced his retirement. He also said he was done with fighting in 2016 and 2019, only to return.

McGregor recently hasn’t sounded like a fighter ready to call it quits. On May 28, he posted on Twitter that he would accept a fight with Anderson Silva, another UFC legend. According to ESPN, this summer McGregor was once tied to a potential fight with current top lightweight contender Justin Gaethje, and there also had been speculation of a trilogy bout, tiebreaker bout against Nate Diaz.

Earlier this week, UFC president Dana White said McGregor might be best served to wait and face the winner of the title bout between Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov, a McGregor nemesis who has a win over him.

After McGregor’s victory over Cerrone, there also was speculation that he would fight Floyd Mayweather again. But a boxing rematch vs. Mayweather would be a bit more challenging to hype again after McGregor was clearly beaten in his 10th-round TKO loss on Aug 26, 2017.

Though White likely would love to have McGregor in another high-profile fight, he told reporters Saturday night that if “The Notorious” wants to retire, he should call it quits, but also noted that people have been acting strangely during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight,” White said after UFC 250. “And if Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement — you should absolutely do it. And I love Conor … there’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me. And he’s one of them.”

White, who has been feuds UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and star Jorge Masvidal, said the “the amount of people that I have gunning at me right now is insane.”

But the famous promoter, who also has been feuding with HBO host John Oliver, chalked up the heavy amount of UFC intrigue to the turbulent times.

“If that’s what Conor is feeling right now — Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, I feel you,” White said. “It’s not like I’m going, ‘Holy s—, this is crazy, this is nuts.’ Nothing is crazy and nuts right now, because everything is crazy and nuts right now, on a certain level. I totally understand it and get it.”

McGregor, who has been a subject of controversy throughout his career, has made a lot of history in the Octagon. When McGregor knocked out Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight belt at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, 2016, he became the first UFC fighter to hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time.

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Tennis: Mouratoglou targets new fanbase with innovative league

Evan Lewis

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Tennis: Mouratoglou targets new fanbase with innovative league

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Patrick Mouratoglou, the long-time coach of Serena Williams, feels tennis needs to reinvent itself and hopes his new league will make the sport more attractive and engaging for a younger generation.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 12, 2019 Serena Williams of the U.S. coach Patrick Mouratoglou before practice REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), which kicks off in France next Saturday, will have three top-10 players from the men’s ATP Tour in Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and David Goffin, joining seven others to compete in a round-robin format over five weeks.

Among the changes from the main tour, players will not face sanctions for emotional outbursts on court while fans will be able to question them during changeovers as they watch a livestream of matches.

“For many years I have been worried about the future of tennis. The average age of a tennis fan is 61, which is very old for a fan base,” Mouratoglou told Reuters.

“Tennis is failing to renew its fanbase. And that’s very worrying, because the future doesn’t look bright.”

Mouratoglou teamed up with Alex Popyrin, the father of world number 103 Alexei, to create the league that he says will showcase “new tennis”.

“I mean different tennis. Taking into consideration what was better back in the 1970s and the 80s and also bringing some modernity,” he said in an interview.

“I’m excited to showcase that and to see if this is much more attractive to the younger generation.”

UTS will be held at Mouratoglou’s academy in Nice with 10 matches every weekend for a total of 50 matches and prize money on offer for each clash.

With the professional circuit halted at least until the end of July due to COVID-19, a number of exhibition events have recently been held as lockdown rules are slowly eased.

Mouratoglou, who has been working with 23-times Grand Slam singles winner Williams since 2012, said the UTS will not be another exhibition event.

“It’s a real competition and it’s a new tour,” he said. “The players are going to win points, they’re going to earn prize money. And at the end of the year there will be a champion.

“So they’re going to really compete with the same motivation as if they were playing a tournament.”

The games will be shorter and more dynamic and will “surprise” traditional fans, according to Mouratoglou, who turns 50 on Monday.

The event will be held without fans in attendance. They will, however, be able to listen to conversations between players and coaches as they watch from home.

The Frenchman feels fans currently miss personalities who are easily identifiable – such as those from the past like John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase and Yannick Noah.

“I want authenticity, I don’t want players to make a show. I want players to be able to be themselves on court and express all kinds of emotions,” said Mouratoglou.

The Frenchman added that they had studied what had made different formats in other sports successful while they had also taken inspiration from esports.

The event will be live-streamed and fans will be able to watch it on utslive.tv, subscriptions for which will be less than 10 euros (about $11) a month.

UTS will distribute a major part of its advertising and broadcasting revenue to help lower-ranked players, who have been heavily affected by the sport’s shutdown. Each match will have a prize pot with the winner bagging 70% and rest going to his opponent.

“The idea is to create the tennis of the future,” said Mouratoglou. “I don’t plan to be a competitor to the ATP and the WTA. My plan is to bring new fans to the game.

“And if it works, and if the ATP and the WTA want to have the UTS under their umbrella, I’ll be happy to.”

($1 = 0.8862 euros)

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