Tag Archives: 2021

MLB moving 2021 all-star game out of Atlanta in response to voting restrictions

Atlanta lost Major League Baseball’s summer All-Star Game on Friday over the league’s objections to sweeping changes to Georgia voting laws that critics — including the CEOs of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola — have condemned as being too restrictive.

The decision to pull the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park amounts to the first economic backlash against Georgia for the voting law that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed into law March 25.

Kemp has insisted the law’s critics have mischaracterized what it does, yet GOP lawmakers adopted the changes largely in response to false claims of fraud in the 2020 elections by former President Donald Trump and his supporters. The law includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft from Atlanta after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd last year, the commissioner said in a statement. A new ballpark for the events wasn’t immediately revealed.

Manfred said he also spoke with the Major League Baseball Players Association, which at the time of the commissioner’s decision said it had still not taken a stance.

“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB draft,” Manfred said. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

Kemp called it a “knee-jerk decision” that means “cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.”

“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from (President) Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” Kemp said in a statement, referring to the Democratic candidate whom he narrowly defeated in the 2018 election. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied.”

Georgia state House Speaker David Ralston, a powerful Republican who backed the voting law changes, said the baseball league’s decision “robs Georgians of a special celebration of our national pastime free of politics.”

Like other Republicans in the state, Ralston vowed to stand behind the new law, which adds strict identification requirements for voting absentee by mail, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line, among many other provisions.

Georgia Republicans say changes were needed to maintain voter confidence in the election system. Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately affect communities of colour. On Wednesday, two of Georgia’s most prominent business leaders sided with the law’s opponents.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian labeled the law “unacceptable,” while Coca-Cola chief executive James Quincey called the legislation a “step backward.”

Atlanta team ‘disappointed by decision’ 

The Atlanta baseball team issued a statement Friday saying the team is disappointed by Manfred’s decision.

“We are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city,” the team said. “The [Atlanta baseball] organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion.”

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who is to guide the National League All-Star team, applauded MLB for moving the game from Georgia.

“I think in a world now where people want and need to be heard — and in this particular case, people of colour — for Major League Baseball to listen and do something about it, to be proactive, it sets a tone,” said Roberts, the son of a Black father and Japanese mother.

Abrams, who has championed voting rights since her loss to Kemp, blasted the new voting law. The Democrat is being closely watched to see if she seeks a rematch against Kemp in 2022.

“Georgia Republicans must renounce the terrible damage they have caused to our voting system and the harm they have inflicted on our economy,” Abrams said.

Heated political divide

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, said she supports MLB’s decision. Atlanta will no doubt share in the economic loss, though the Braves’ home stadium is now located outside the city, in suburban Cobb County.

“Unfortunately, the removal of the MLB All-Star Game from Georgia is likely the first of many dominoes to fall until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed,” Bottoms said in a statement.

Some Democrats from the Georgia county where the game was to be held said they oppose MLB’s move. Lisa Cupid, the Black chairwoman of the Cobb County Commission, said she urged the league to stay rather than harm hotels and other businesses still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

State Rep. Teri Anulewicz, a Democrat whose district includes the stadium, added: “I don’t know who Major League Baseball feels they are punishing. The governor, from his statement, has made clear he doesn’t feel he is being punished.”

MLB still plans on saluting Hank Aaron

The relocation of high-profile sports events from cities in response to social issues has a long history in the U.S.

The NFL originally awarded the 1993 Super Bowl to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, but decided in March 1991 to move it to Pasadena, California, after the state failed to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official holiday. Arizona became the last state to adopt an MLK Holiday when voters approved it in November 1992.

The NBA first scheduled its 2017 All-Star Game at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, then shifted it in July 2016 because of its objections to a North Carolina law that limited anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The law was partially repealed in 2017, and the 2019 All-Star Game was held in Charlotte.

NCAA officials decided in 2001 to ban awarding championship sites in advance to states that displayed the Confederate flag but did not alter events whose sites were determined by seeding or ranking. That was expanded last June to prevent any NCAA championship event from being played where the flag had a prominent presence. Mississippi’s governor signed a law less than two weeks later to retire the flag.

WATCH | Hank Aaron, home run king who fought racism, dies at 86:

Sports legend Hank Aaron has died at age 86. The baseball hall-of-famer, who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, is being remembered for his skill and his perseverance in the face of hate. 2:10

Manfred said despite the change of venue, MLB still plans to use the All-Star Game this year to honour Hank Aaron, the Atlanta’s Hall of Famer and former career home run champion who died on Jan. 22 at age 86.

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, a former teammate of Aaron’s, applauded the move and said the late outfielder “always had the rights of the people in the forefront of his mind and in his heart.”

“This is what Hank would have liked, even if it was his town,” Baker told reporters.

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MSI Expects GPU Shipments to Continue Dropping, May Raise Prices in 2021

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Buying a video card has been an exercise in futility for the last year, and don’t hold your breath for it to get better anytime soon. During a recent investor call, MSI chairman Joseph Hsu said the company expects the supply of video cards and other in-demand gaming components will continue to drop. MSI points to dropping shipments from both Nvidia and AMD as the primary culprit, and as a result, GPU prices could increase even before they get to the resellers who are charging an arm and a leg. 

Currently, you’d be extremely lucky to find a GPU in stock at any reputable retailer. The listings available online are almost all resellers who have used bots and other sketchy methods to vacuum up the very limited supply. Then they’ll sell those cards for as much as double MSRP, and people will pay it. For example, if you wanted to pick up an RTX 3090 that should retail for around $ 700, you’ll probably have to pay about twice that. That’s if you can find one! Even scalpers are starting to come up dry. 

MSI says that its 2020 sales rose by 30 to 50 percent compared with 2019. Although profits in the final quarter of the year were softer than expected, the company still saw its highest annual profits ever. The problem going forward is that 53 percent of MSI’s revenue comes from GPU sales. With shipments expected to continue dropping, MSI says it’ll probably have to charge more for each card. The situation is unlikely to improve in 2021. MSI has projected interest in GPUs, motherboards, and gaming notebooks will continue to rise at double-digit rates. 

The shortage is the result of numerous interconnected events, all conspiring to make gaming hardware obscenely expensive. There’s the pandemic, which has made gaming a more attractive way to pass the time. The global disruptions stemming from COVID-19 also affected supply chains, leading to semiconductor shortages. Technically, it exacerbated a problem that already existed, but the results are the same. 

At the same time, the increasing price of cryptocurrency has made GPU-based mining profitable again, prompting miners to scoop up many of the cards intended for gaming. Nvidia hopes its upcoming CMP cards will loosen demand a bit. These cards are specifically designed for crypto mining — they don’t even have video outputs. Nvidia also said CMP production would not further reduce its shipments of gaming cards, but it’s just not a great time to be a gamer.

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Here Are Your Options for an Affordable GPU in 2021

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The semiconductor shortage shows no signs of slowing down and GPUs of every stripe have been difficult to find for months, to the point that prices are now the most-skewed they’ve ever been. It’s never been harder to buy a video card than it is right now, and even five-year-old budget cards are selling for 1.5x above MSRP.

We’ve spent some time sorting through the market to surface the best deals we can find. There may not be any truly good deals right now, but there are some that suck less than others, and one GPU family, in particular, that’s a rather ironic good deal.

None of the options available are great, but there are still some valid ways to maximize your performance per dollar. Due to age, we do not recommend any GPU with less than a 4GB frame buffer if you want to play modern titles at 1080p. 3GB cards may handle this resolution, but they may not. 2GB cards probably won’t, under any circumstances. 3GB cards will likely still support 720p at playable frame rates.

Hawaii, Tonga Are Your Best GPU Options in 2021

The launch of the AMD R9 290 and R9 290X was supposed to be a moment of triumph for Team Red over Team Green. AMD’s Hawaii, which launched in late 2013, was a decisive blow against Nvidia’s Kepler microarchitecture. Unfortunately, lopsided cryptocurrency demand destroyed AMD’s price model and drove consumers out of the market. Nvidia’s cards weren’t used for mining and maintained normal prices.

Right now, there’s a sharp delineation between the earlier model GCN hardware that AMD shipped in 2012 – 2013 and even the prices on later Fury-class GPUs. Fury-class cards and Maxwell-based GPUs like the GTX 980 are still running well above where used cards should be. Hawaii, on the other hand, is much cheaper (though still more expensive than where it ought to be by this point in its life):

This is what affordable looks like, in 2021.

There are Hawaii-class GPUs (R9 290, 290X) selling for between $ 100-$ 200, and cards like the R9 390 can sometimes be found on eBay for under $ 250. The R9 290 and R9 290X are the best values we’ve seen available today, as far as striking a balance between still-playable frame rates and affordable prices. Here’s Anandtech’s Bench report showing a 1050 Ti versus an R9 390X — the R9 390X was only modestly faster than the R9 290X, and it decisively outperforms the 1050 Ti. The R9 390X is far more expensive than the 290X, which is why we prefer the earlier model.

Orange is the R9 390X, blue is the 1050 Ti. Knock 10% off the R9 390X to approximate the R9 290X and it’s still much faster than the 1050 Ti.

Power consumption on 28nm GCN-based cards of this vintage is not great, but we’ve been reduced to stopgaps and catch-as-catch-can, so you may have to sacrifice some features you’d otherwise prefer. Your top GPU choices in this category are going to be the R9 290, R9 290X, R9 390, and R9 390X, but the latter two are very hard to find for reasonable prices. The R9 380X may present a lower-end alternative, with some available in the $ 90 – $ 120 range, but we do not recommend even attempting to dip lower.

Be advised that AMD has dropped support for pre-GCN GPUs from its drivers. We don’t recommend considering anything from AMD that isn’t based on GCN or above.

Nvidia’s Older Cards Aren’t as Well Positioned

There are some good prices to be found on older Nvidia hardware, but VRAM buffer size is a concern when buying a 2013-era GPU for 2021 gaming. No GPU with a 2GB memory buffer is going to handle modern titles at 1080p. This knocks out a lot of older Nvidia cards, and even 3GB GPUs like the GTX 780 or 780 Ti may very well choke due to VRAM limits. A 3GB buffer may still be enough for 720p gaming on these cards.

The GTX 680 and GTX 770 can sometimes be found with a 4GB VRAM buffer, but the 4GB variants are often over $ 150 and AMD Hawaii-era cards can be found for less. You might also be able to snag a 4GB GTX 960 for a reasonable price, though the overall performance level will not be high. We do not recommend wasting time with GPUs like the GTX 950 or cards that predate Kepler. Even the highest-end cards from these previous families are too old to offer much useful performance.

AMD’s tendency to equip its high-end GPUs with more VRAM than their Nvidia counterparts may not have done much for its cards when they were new, but it definitely makes them a better deal eight years after the fact. If you absolutely demanded we pick an Nvidia target, it’d be either a 4GB GTX 770 (provided you can score one for $ 120 or less) or a 3GB GTX 780 Ti if and only if you’re comfortable playing in 720p. The 780 Ti can be had for $ 130 – $ 160 used and we’d recommend it more readily if the 3GB VRAM buffer wasn’t such a concern.

Tips and Tricks

If you intend to buy an AMD Hawaii GPU, we recommend looking for one of the quieter aftermarket cards built around the R9 290, R9 290X, R9 390, or R9 390X. AMD’s original default blowers for these cards were rather loud.

AMD R9 290 - 2

This GPU is not quiet.

It may also help to repaste the GPU. Thermal paste can dry and degrade over time and OEM cards aren’t known for their amazing applications of the stuff. Pay attention to the power supply requirements of old cards — the R9 290X still required a 500-600W PSU, for example.

Right now, there’s a clear premium being placed on even older GPUs with more than 4GB of VRAM, and on newer GPUs made after 2015. Better deals are sometimes available if you target legacy high-end cards with a 4GB VRAM buffer, especially GPUs that were part of AMD’s high-end Hawaii and Tonga families from 2013 – 2015.

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Why moving to daylight time is ‘a challenge on top of a challenge’ in 2021

Clocks jumped forward in most parts of Canada this weekend and sleep experts say the ritual will cause more stress for those already tossing and turning at night during the pandemic.

Generally speaking, many Canadians are spending more time at home and less time outdoors; pre-pandemic routines are no longer in place. 

It’s all having an effect on how we’re living and how we’re sleeping, according to Rébecca Robillard, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa.

“We’re seeing such a high level of people who are having sleep difficulties during the pandemic,” she said, listing insomnia and shifts in sleeping patterns as just some of the issues affecting Canadians.

Rébecca Robillard, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, has been studying how people’s sleep has been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Rébecca Robillard)

Within the pandemic context, Robillard said Sunday’s time shift poses “a challenge on top of a challenge.” Canadians — assuming they don’t live in Yukon, or other regions that don’t change their clocks this weekend — will have to adjust to the time change in addition to feeling fatigued by pandemic-era sleep issues.

The Yukon government announced last year that it would ditch the twice-a-year switch following public consultations that found a strong majority of respondents supported ending seasonal time changes.

‘Harsh’ health outcomes

The time shift was already a challenge for many people before the onset of the pandemic anyway.

Kimberly Cote, director of Brock University’s Sleep Research Laboratory, says there is growing opposition among sleep experts toward the process. 

“The bottom line is that shift, twice a year, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for our health, for our physiology,” she said.

Kimberly Cote, a professor of psychology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., said there is growing opposition among sleep experts toward the time shift. (Submitted by Kimberly Cote)

As an example, Cote says research has consistently shown that a higher number of traffic collisions and workplace accidents occur on the Monday following the annual spring switchover.

“It’s a pretty well-established phenomenon that what seems like a small change in sleep — like, a loss of up to an hour — would have such a consequence, but it does,” she said.

That phenomenon could look a bit different this year, due to a lot more people working at home — though Cote points out accidents can also occur at home.

Many parts of Canada — at least those that make the switch to daylight time — will be turning their clocks forward this weekend. (Elise Amendola/The Associated Press)

Robillard said the shift to daylight time is also associated with “some pretty harsh outcomes” for people’s physical and mental health.

“There are some indications that there’s a surge at the population level, in terms of psychiatric admissions, for example, or issues with mental health,” she said.

Robillard said there are increased cases of cardiovascular problems, strokes and heart failure occurring.

“On that specific day, we see those things happening,” Robillard said.

How to adjust

In terms of tips for adjusting to the time change,  Cote and Robillard have a few suggestions.

“Don’t fight the adjustment,” said Cote, who recommends setting a schedule, not taking long naps and sticking to regular sleep times.

Robillard said it’s important to minimize light exposure when winding down the evening, which means thinking about the screens we are staring at.

“That includes tablets, computers, televisions, because those are all little lamps,” she said.

Robillard recommends avoiding phones, tablets and similar devices, in the final hours of your day as you prepare for bed. (Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

“Bring back the books, bring back the discussions, or slow-paced yoga, or whichever kind of peaceful, relaxing activities that you could do in the evening might be especially important now,” said Robillard.

Cote and Robillard both recommend staying active.

“Even if we might feel a little bit more tired, doing a bit of exercise during the daytime is … [a] strong signal to adjust to the new timing,” said Robillard.

Cote said staying active is “always good advice,” but keeping a consistent exercise routine helps with your sleep.

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Watch the 2021 freestyle skiing world championships

Click on the video player above to watch live action from the freestyle skiing world championships in Aspen, Colo.

Live coverage begins on Friday at 3 p.m. ET with the halfpipe competition.

Return on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET for the slopestyle event.

For more freestyle skiing coverage, tune into Road to the Olympic Games on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET.

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International Women’s Day 2021

Eva Havaris has been through nearly everything in her 20-plus years as a Canadian sports executive. From being the only woman in the boardroom and a CEO at 30, to having people treat and speak to her differently because of her gender, it’s been a journey with bumps and barriers along the way.   

“It’s only been the last few years that I’ve thought and reflected on that and for sure there’s been challenges because of my gender,” Havaris said. “Even when you do prove yourself, you still have to prove yourself. I find that’s pretty consistent across the [sports] system.”  

Now the executive vice-president of strategy and operations/chief of staff for the Canadian Premier League franchise York FC, Havaris started the Leadership Mindset by Design, a combination of virtual one-on-one and group sessions to help emerging and established leaders reach their full potential in the sports and coaching worlds and beyond.   

“I was there and didn’t have someone that looked like me, that was relatable, to actually be a confidant for me and say ‘hey wait, actually some of this stuff that’s going on this is not you, it’s the environment that you’re in, it’s some of the people and some of their own wounds and some of their insecurities,'” she said. “It took me years to figure that out.” 

One bright spot in the COVID-19 pandemic has been a spotlight on women excelling in leadership roles, particularly in government and health authorities. In the coaching and sports executive realm, there have been significant milestones, too.

As a Canadian example, Havaris had a short runway of two and a half weeks to pull together the 2020 Island Games for the CPL, which involved eight teams and 300-plus individuals over a six-week bubble in Charlottetown. 

(Photo by Jodianne Beckford)

There are multiple other instances of women rolling up their sleeves when the going got tough and others being among the first to ever serve in their position. 

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and the WNBA Players’ Association collaborated on a landmark collective bargaining agreement, giving all players a livable wage, proper travel conditions and maternity benefits, to name a few. That on top of the heavy lifting the players did in fighting for social justice.  

Lisa Baird took on the job of commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League just two days before the sports world came to a halt. In her first five months, she navigated a return to sport during a pandemic — it was the first North American pro league to restart —  negotiated a landmark broadcast deal, secured big-name sponsors and announced a star-studded ownership group for expansion franchise in Los Angeles. 

The aforementioned Angel City FC, owned by women tech entrepreneurs, Hollywood stars and Olympians, spawned other women athletes to step up into ownership groups, including four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka with the North Carolina Courage and U.S. hockey Olympic gold medallist Kendall Coyne Schofield and ESPN personality Sarah Spain with the Chicago Red Stars. 

Kim Ng became the first woman to hold a full-time general manager role in any of the major men’s sports leagues in the United States. She was chosen for the top job by the Miami Marlins after spending three decades with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball. 

Becky Hammon became the first woman to coach a major American professional men’s team in December when she ran the San Antonio Spurs bench after head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected during a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. There are eight women coaching full-time in the NFL, including Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust of the Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Red Sox hired Bianca Smith as a minor league coach, making her the first Black woman to serve as an on-field coach in baseball history. 

“There’s an adage: You can’t be it if you can’t see it,” said Ng when she was introduced by the Marlins back in November. “Now you can see it.”

Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng walks around a field during spring training practice in Jupiter, Fla., in February. (Associated Press)

But despite all the high-profile firsts, there is still room to grow. 

“Anecdotally it certainly feels like we’re seeing progress in that there are some really visible examples of women gaining access to leadership spaces that women have been almost entirely excluded from historically,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, president and CEO of Canadian Women and Sport. 

“What we need to stay awake to is that the success of one woman in this space does not necessarily mean there is the structural change that needs to happen for us to get to a place of real equity, where women are equally respected, and valued and hired and promoted and paid in those.

“Progress for sure, but we just need to be careful about celebrating it as if we’ve accomplished [balance] yet.”

After a stellar soccer career at Western, Havaris went into sport management, first landing at Rugby Canada then spending the next eight years at national sport organizations such as Taekwondo Canada and Equestrian Canada. She got her first CEO job at the age of 30. In some of those early roles, she would look around the boardroom at people much older than her and as much as there were incredible people supporting her journey, she was still looking around for someone she could truly relate to. Her work now is helping women avoid some of the obstacles she faced. 

Actors Natalie Portman, left, and Eva Longoria are two of the women that make up the ownership group of the expansion NWSL team in Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, left, presents the Challenge Cup to Rachel Daly of the Houston Dash after the championships game in July. (Getty Images)

Limiting language

“It’s saving people from going down a path or a hole or even before they see these [barriers] so they can be in their early 30s at an executive position just like I was 12 years ago,” she said. “There’s some things that I experienced that I know didn’t need to be as difficult if I’d had a great confidant with me. And we’re able to talk it through, do it in a safe place, put it all on the table.”

What she hears most from the women in her groups is limiting language and the feeling that they can’t use their voice. Things like ‘I’m not confident’ or ‘I’m not your typical leadership type’ or the feeling like they need to settle in their careers or they know where they want to go but feel like they can’t fully express themselves to get there.  

By diving into some of their often inherited negative thoughts and then their strengths, values and how they want to show up for others, that’s when she says the ‘aha moment’ comes.  

“That’s when the boulders fall off of them,” she said. “You can feel the weight just drop and go away and now they’re just on fire, to show up exactly who they are.”

Havaris, right, played and coached soccer and is now an executive with York FC of the Canadian Premier League. (Courtesy Eva Havaris)

Poor representation

Increasing the numbers of women in sports leadership positions in Canada, especially in coaching, continues to be a challenge toward finding equity. One of the findings in Canadian Women and Sport’s 2020 Rally report was poor representation of women in leadership roles. 

“We do have a system where 75 per cent of coaches are men and in some sports it might be 100 per cent, so a lot of girls are growing up in a sport where all the experts, all the authorities in their sport that they can see, that are visible to them are men,” Sandmeyer-Graves said. “So unless someone says to them, you’d be really good at this, have you thought about it, they will probably maintain an identity of a participant and never imagine themselves in another role in their sports.

“Having women in those daily training environments, as those authorities and those experts just subconsciously signals to girls that this is something that women do. That on its own can be very powerful.” 

Seika Hashimoto was recently promoted to president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, replacing Yoshiro Mori after it was revealed he’d made disparaging remarks about women. One of her first moves was to appoint 12 more women to the seven who already sat on the 45-member executive board — changing the male-female ratio on the board from 80-20 to 60-40. Not equal, but a step in the right direction, and an example of how women in leadership positions can make an immediate impact for women who follow.

But for all the steps forward, Sandmeyer-Graves warns that diligence is required to prevent slipping back.

“In Canada there has been progress when it comes to women in senior leadership roles, the CEOs of our national sports and other major bodies like Own The Podium and the Coaching Association … We’re creeping toward parity which is exciting, but our data last year showed that in some areas we started to backslide a little bit and so what we know is if we don’t pay attention to this and make this a priority, progress can really quickly be unwound.”

SHATTERED GLASS | CBC Sports reflects on International Women’s Day:

CBC Sports’ Anastasia Bucsis wants to know when society will address the injustices faced by women everyday. 2:05

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Sony Will Ship New VR Hardware for PS5, but Not in 2021

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Up until now, Sony has been pretty quiet about their plans for VR on the PlayStation 5. While the company assured gamers that the PS4-era PSVR would still work with the PlayStation 5, it hasn’t said much about how much it intended to advance or extend the VR capabilities of the new console. The company has now announced a new PSVR headset, meaning one that’s specifically tuned for the PlayStation 5.

Sony is only teasing its design for now, but the company claims the new headset will improve on both the PS4-era PSVR’s field of view and its resolution. The first-generation PSVR had a 1920×1080 display (960×1080 per eye) and a 100-degree FoV. Competing headsets like the first-generation Oculus Rift claimed a 110-degree FoV (evaluations measured less) and the recent, high-end Valve Index claims a 135-degree FoV.

Sony also plans to bring “some” of its DualSense technologies to its new VR controllers. This means the company will finally be retiring the PlayStation Move controllers that it relied on for PSVR. The DualSense has been widely praised for its haptic feedback and variable resistance triggers, and we can safely assume any new control mechanisms will be more accurate than the 2010-era PS Move. The new PSVR system will connect to the console via a single cable. There is no mention of a wireless option.

Just how dedicated Sony is to this platform remains to be seen. In an October 29 interview with The Washington Post, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan poured cold water on the idea that VR would get a big boost on the PlayStation 5: “I think we’re more than a few minutes from the future of VR,” Ryan said. “PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that.”

When the company building the product isn’t willing to commit to more than “We think this could be big, at some distant point in the future,” it’s not unrealistic to ask just what kind of plans Sony is making, and in what time frame. For now, all Sony is saying is that the updated PS5 version of PSVR won’t launch in 2021.

We did it. We finally found a semiconductor-based product that didn’t sell well in 2020. Data and graph by IDC.

As of last January, Sony had moved 5 million headsets, but IDC reports total VR shipments from all vendors absolutely fell off a cliff last year. Sales fell 43.3 percent in Q1 2020, 43.7 percent in Q2, and 60.1 percent in Q3. SuperDataResearch, a division of Nielsen, estimates that the PSVR only moved 125K units in Q4 2020, for example. Since Q4 may have been the high water mark for shipments, it’s possible Sony moved fewer than 500K PSVR kits in total last year. Five and a half million wouldn’t be nothing for lifetime sales, but the company has shipped 115M PS4 and PS4 Pros to-date. This means PSVR adoption is under 5 percent.

The problem is, Sony has done very little to improve this situation. The PS5 is only backward compatible with the PSVR if you get a (free) adapter from Sony. Sony’s pointed comments about VR not being the future of gaming for now, and the fact that we won’t see a new PSVR until sometime in 2022 doesn’t send a strong message of faith in the platform. That’s unfortunate for anyone who doesn’t want to be part of Facebook’s VR ecosystem, as Sony is one of the few companies offering a relatively low-cost headset with paired controllers that can be paired with a larger system for increased rendering horsepower. The Valve Index wins a lot of rave reviews, but it also costs $ 1,000.

Right now, VR is stuck in the liminal zone between “nig enough to attract the mass market” and “too small to care about.” It’s great for Sony to support the capability, but it’s hard not to think that more attention and support from the company would bring about the VR future it predicts a little more quickly. It’s completely understandable that getting the console out the door was Sony’s first and largest priority. But the company is still sending mixed signals on what kind of long-term support potential customers should expect.

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Watch the 2021 speed skating world championships

Click on the video player above to watch live action from the 2021 speed skating world championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands. 

Coverage continues on Saturday at 7:35 a.m. ET, and on Sunday beginning at 6:25 a.m. ET.

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Canada’s Deanne Rose ready for ’emotional,’ whirlwind 2021 soccer season

In a span of two short weeks, Canadian soccer striker Deanne Rose went from getting ready for the second half of her senior year at the University of Florida, to being selected in the first round of the NWSL draft to learning she’d finally be reunited with her Canadian teammates for the first time in almost a year. 

Let’s just say 2021 has started off pretty well.  “I’m just really excited,” she said of being drafted 10th overall by the North Carolina Courage and being named to Canadian training camp for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Fla., an hour-and-45 minute drive south from her collegiate home in Gainesville, Fla.

“It’s going to be pretty emotional. We haven’t been together in so long,” Rose said of seeing her Canadian teammates in person. “I think it’s going to be a kind of ‘coming-home feeling.'”

Not only is it the first time the reigning two-time Olympic bronze medallists from Canada have been together in 11 months, it’s also the first time they’ll be under the watchful eye of new head coach Bev Priestman, who took over the position at the beginning of October. 

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Signa Butler interview with Deanne Rose:

Deanne Rose speaks with Signa Butler about going in the first round of the NWSL draft, dealing with the pandemic, and the SheBelieves cup. 3:07

29 players for Feb. 6 camp

Priestman called 29 players to the Feb. 6 camp for the SheBelieves Cup, a four-team invitational tournament featuring some of the top nations in women’s soccer, including FIFA women’s World Cup champions, the United States and No. 8-ranked Brazil. This year, due to Covid restrictions, Canada (also No. 8) took the place of No. 6 England and Argentina (No. 31) is filling in for Japan (No. 10). 

The roster will be trimmed to 23 before Canada opens against its longtime rivals, the U.S. on Feb. 18.

Since making her senior team debut in 2015 at just 16, Rose, a native of Alliston, Ont., has gradually become a mainstay in the lineup and was a member of the 2019 World Cup team.

Known as an explosive, attacking player no matter which position she plays on the pitch, Rose enjoyed a breakout performance in Canada’s bronze-medal match versus Brazil at the Rio 2016 Olympics. 

Superb Olympic debut

Making the 11th start of her young career, Rose scored the game’s opening goal in the 24th minute, becoming the youngest to score in Olympic competition at age 17. She added an assist on Christine Sinclair’s eventual game winner and nearly added another goal, but hit the crossbar. It was a superb Olympic debut.

Rose, right, facing Jamaica goalie Sydney Schneider during a CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying soccer in 2020, is now a veteran on Canada’s national team. (Delcia Lopez/Associated Press)

“I was part of the 2016 Olympic staff where I felt Deanne was fantastic,” Priestman said on a recent call. “Not just on the pitch, either. What I’m learning through the last couple months being in this role is she gives some great insight and has a really good awareness of where the group’s at and what the group might need.

“Deanne, when she is fit, is absolutely outstanding and is a great addition to this group and a great threat for any team to defend against. [I’m a] big fan, big fan of Deanne.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some NCAA conferences chose to split their season into two parts — fall and spring. Rose was limited to half of the Gators’ eight fall games due to a nagging hamstring injury. Still, when she was available, she made an impact, scoring twice and assisting on two others in those four games.

The good news for Priestman is Rose is healthy and ready to go. 

“I’m cleared now and I haven’t been injured since the season,” Rose said, smiling ear to ear.  “I’m pretty excited to get back on the field injury-free and play freely.” 

Like many Olympic athletes, this past year hasn’t unfolded the way she’d hoped. Whether it was the ongoing global pandemic, the postponement of the Tokyo Games, heightened awareness around the Black Lives Matter movement, coaching changes on Team Canada and recently at Florida, and an injury in her senior year, Rose found strength in the lessons learned from Rio 2016.

“The lesson of this last year is you have to control what you can control and you have to be ready when you’re called upon. That was something that I learned in Rio. It doesn’t matter what your role is, you have to be ready to perform. No matter your age, no matter your status, anything like that, you’re part of this team.”

Rose, right celebrates the bronze medal with her parents after Canada’s victory against Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

Next generation

That lesson really defines this Canadian team, one that the most experienced group of players established and have passed down to the next generations of players. The blend of older veterans (e.g. Christine Sinclair) with younger veterans (Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence), newer veterans (Rose) and now the fresh faces (six uncapped players invited to camp) keep the culture rolling.

“What I love about the Canadian program is they’re always willing to give younger, new faces an opportunity,” Rose said. “I think it’s great for our team to push everybody having new players come in. They have a fresh set of eyes. They’ve been watching for the last four, five years so they’re going to come in with new ideas as we all did in the past.”

For now, Rose is concentrating on her national team duties. After that, possibly joining the Courage, though that’s still up to be determined once she wraps up her senior season with the Gators. 

“I want to have the greatest impact I can on my teammates,” said Rose, a sociology major. “The Gator Nation is important to me as well, but if I can show my love and support for my teammates, then that’s the most important thing that I could leave behind.” 

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