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Bianca Andreescu brings ‘fighting spirit’ into Miami Open final against Barty

Bianca Andreescu admits she sometimes surprises herself with her ability to chase down tough shots.

“Sometimes I literally feel like I’m an octopus out there, running side to side,” the Canadian tennis star said early Friday morning. “I feel like I have eight legs. It’s insane, sometimes I don’t even know how I get to some shots. It’s that fighting spirit that I’ve always had in me, never giving up.”

That competitive drive has been front and centre this week with Andreescu back in the spotlight in a hurry following 16 months off.

The 20-year-old Andreescu, in her third tournament back after the layoff, has won four three-set matches in a row to reach the final of the Miami Open. She will play top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia on Saturday in the championship of the WTA 1000 event — the level directly below Grand Slams in women’s tennis.

In her return after a knee injury and a decision to stay off the courts later in the pandemic, the 2019 U.S. Open champion was well off top form and exited in the second round of the Australian Open in February. A trip to the semifinals of a smaller event in Australia followed, but Andreescu injured her leg there and didn’t play again until starting in Miami last week.

Now, the native of Mississauga, Ont., is producing a run that has similarities to her journey to the title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2019. Andreescu won four three-setters in a row at her hometown event, too.

A day off Friday was a nice break for Andreescu after 12 hours 12 minutes of court time in five matches over seven days in Miami. The third-set semifinal tiebreaker against Greece’s Maria Sakkari ended at 1:35 a.m. ET and Andreescu didn’t wrap up her press conference until close to 3 a.m.

“I found a way somehow and I’m super proud of myself with how I dealt with everything,” she said. “It was very up and down, but I did it.”

WATCH | Andreescu to play in Miami Open final: 

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., defeats Greece’s Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4). The Canadian will face world No. 1 Ash Barty in the Miami Open final. 3:11

Andreescu, who will move up three spots to No. 6 in the rankings next week, will face Barty for the first time on Saturday.

The champion at Miami and the French Open in 2019, Barty also is coming off a long break. After the pandemic hit last March, she did not play for the rest of 2020.

Barty won a tournament in Australia before the Grand Slam and now has a shot to win back-to-back titles in Miami (the event wasn’t held last year).

Both Barty, 24, and Andreescu won their first and only Grand Slam to date in 2019.

“It’s going to be great. Definitely have wanted to play her,” Andreescu said. “I have my chance on Saturday. I know it’s going to be really tough. She’s playing great tennis. I hope I can be on my A game.”

Barty says she doesn’t watch a ton of tennis when she’s not playing, but is well aware of what Andreescu brings to the table.

“Bianca has shown in big tournaments that she’s got the ability to beat the very best,” Barty said. “I know from the little that I have seen that she’s got a way of moving around the court that is extremely physical.

“She’s got great hands and got options off both sides. She’s got a chisel off both sides. She has the ability to flip the ball up or hit through the court. That’s what makes her game exceptionally challenging. She’s got so many different assets and so many different things she can go to to ultimately let the competitor in her figure it out.”

Andreescu is one of many Canadian athletes or teams to be competing in Florida this spring. She has played her best tennis in North America, going 33-1 since the start of 2019.

Andreescu says it helps having familiar faces watching her. Her parents and her dog, Coco, have received plenty of television time in the stands this week.

“My parents are putting her up and making her dance to the music, which is super cute,” Andreescu said. “It’s nice to have that during these tense moments because I’ll throw a little smirk in there and things will be better.”

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CBC | Sports News

Field-Tested: DJI’s New FPV Drone Brings VR to the Real World

Plenty of solutions exist for flying a drone while looking through an AR or VR headset (we reviewed the Epson Moverio when it came out). But until now, they have all involved compromises in video and control latency — unless you cobbled together your own as a DIY. DJI crossed part of that divide by combining its DJI Glass VR headset with a high-speed video link add-on, but it wasn’t a fully integrated solution with a drone capable of race-level performance. The company has addressed that with its new DJI FPV drone (Combo package $ 1,299, Fly More Kit $ 299, Motion Controller $ 199). We’ve been fortunate enough to have a DJI FPV in-house to fly for a few weeks, and can let you know what we’ve found.

DJI FPV By the Numbers

DJI FPV DroneThe DJI FPV is a performance beast. In full manual mode, the company says the drone can reach speeds of up to 87 mph and has a 0-60 time of around 2 seconds. I think that’s roughly the same as the fastest Tesla in its fastest mode. I’m sure we’ll see someone race them soon enough.

Lest that sound kind of scary to fly, the drone starts life in a more mild-mannered “Normal” mode and reacts essentially the same way as any other DJI drone to the controls (although like a car with a more powerful engine, it responds very quickly). In Normal mode, the drone has forward-facing obstacle detection. There is also a “Sport” mode that turns off obstacle detection and serves as a middle ground between Normal and Manual.

DJI has put a lot of work into the drone’s video connectivity. There is a dedicated emergency stop capability — which is important once you start using the advanced modes. The FPV uses DJI’s O3 system for connectivity with the drone and claims a range of up to 10km (which in practice should mean a better ability to fly in noisy environments). The FPV also features an ADS-B receiver, so you’ll get an alert in the goggles if there is an aircraft nearby.

Because it is an FPV drone, designed to be piloted by someone looking through the camera, it only has a 1-dimension gimbal (up and down). The battery pack is beefy, but because of the drone’s high-performance characteristics, its flight time of up to 20 minutes is slightly less than similar, less-powerful models. The headset receives a 1440×810 feed from the drone. It is lower resolution than current VR gaming headsets, which can make it a little hard to read the icons on the screen, but not impossible. There is a flexible IPD (inter-pupilar distance) adjustment, which is great to see. However, there isn’t a focus adjustment, so if you wear glasses to see distance, you’ll need to make sure they fit inside the headset. Mine do, fortunately.

Setting Up a DJI FPV

For the most part, the process should be pretty familiar to anyone who has flown a DJI drone before. You download the DJI Fly app (not the Go app used by the Mavic family), log in, and power everything up. Everything, in this case, includes the headset (which is powered from an external battery attached via cable), the remote (which doesn’t need to physically connect to anything), and the drone itself. Then you connect the headset to your phone, hit Go Fly (assuming all the pieces have found each other), and put the headset on.

Of course, you are now managing a headset, a cabled battery, your phone, and the remote. So it is a little more complicated than simply flying with a remote — especially once you put your headset on. For example, I inadvertently switched the DJI Fly app into playback mode when I stashed my phone in my pocket and put the headset on, so I had to try and juggle everything at once to set it back to Fly mode. Since technically you need a second person to keep an eye on the drone while you fly, there is also a role for them to help manage the devices.

One big improvement in the DJI FPV over previous DJI models is that it’s user-repairable. Using the provided hex key, you can disassemble it and replace individual components. DJI will sell replacement parts directly to owners. That’s especially important if you are going to make full use of the drone’s high-performance capabilities or race it.

The DJI Fly doesn't fold, so even if you remove the props and the antennas from the goggles, it takes some space when traveling

The DJI Fly doesn’t fold, so even if you remove the props and the antennas from the goggles, it takes some space when traveling.

Flying the DJI FPV

If you haven’t flown an FPV drone before, the closest experience I can think of is a VR-based flight simulator. Except that you’re flying in the real world. Unless you’re in line for a jet pack or one of the emerging class of single-person drones, this may be the closest you can get to experiencing personal flight. It’s definitely fun, and at least in my case a little bit freaky. I’m even more in awe of professional drone racers now that I have some experience trying to do even simple maneuvers in first-person. DJI recommends flying their free simulator before even switching to the drone’s more-advanced modes. In any case, if you’re at all tired of your current drone flying options, this is an excellent choice for a new, and different, experience.

Caveats for First-Time FPV Fliers

If you aren’t already familiar with flying an FPV drone, there are a couple of caveats that go along with any of them. The first is that in the US, and many other countries, you are legally required to have your drone in sight. For an FPV drone, that means a second person with you. Now, I’m not exactly sure how well that person will be able to keep track of your drone if you crank it up to over 80 mph, but presumably, a lot of high-performance flying is done in special circumstances such as pre-cleared drone racing venues.

Second, if you have an issue with motion sickness when using a VR headset, flying an FPV drone may be an issue for you. I don’t know if the problem is the lag time (over 25ms, which is well outside the VR magic window of under 15 ms) or simply that you’re basically messing with your head the same way as if you’re flying in a VR application. Probably some of both. I enjoy VR experiences, but only for about 20 minutes at a time. In comparison, I’m good for one flight with the DJI FPV at a time, but I don’t think I’d want to do two back-to-back, at least not until I get more used to it.

The DJI FPV Is a Work in Progress

The beta application we have been using during the pre-release period is fairly limited. For example, you currently can’t record the headset view, even though it has a microSD card slot. So I can’t really show you what I saw while flying. Of course, you can record on the drone itself, so it’s definitely possible to impress your friends with your awesome flying ability or dramatic crashes.

Speaking of which, DJI has also introduced a cool new motion controller for the DJI FPV. It is essentially a 3D controller that allows the drone to move the way your hand does. DJI is particularly excited that it will create opportunities for new FPV fliers who may not be comfortable with the traditional 2-stick solution. Unfortunately, due to shipping delays, our review motion controller didn’t arrive before the announcement, so we can only speculate on how effective it will be.

Is a DJI FPV the Right Drone For You?

If you’ve wanted to experience the thrill of FPV flying and have the money, the DJI FPV is an excellent way to get started. (FPV flying is really popular locally with high school students, but their budgets are typically a lot less, so they build their own.) For $ 1,299, you get the DJI FPV drone, non-LCD remote controller, FPV Goggles V2, cables, charger, and one battery. For another $ 299, you can get two additional batteries and a charging hub. The Motion Controller will set you back another $ 199. Based on my experience so far, I’d definitely also recommend getting the DJI Refresh insurance.

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ExtremeTechExtreme – ExtremeTech

B.C. brings in sweeping new measures to control COVID-19, including mandatory masks

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has announced wide-ranging new rules for controlling the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory masks in indoor public and retail spaces and restricting social gatherings to household members only for everyone across B.C.

The new orders and guidelines come as another 538 cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in B.C., and one more person has died. As of Thursday, there are 6,929 active cases of the virus across the province — the highest total to date — including a record high 217 patients in hospital, of whom 59 are in intensive care.

“We’re seeing increased community transmissions and effects on our hospitals in all areas of the province,” Henry said Thursday as she announced a long list of new measures meant to stem the second wave of COVID-19.

“We need to relieve the stress on our health-care systems, or else people with all types of urgent care needs will suffer.”

She noted that in the past week, a person in their 30s died from the virus, proving that no one is invulnerable to COVID-19.

Henry’s public briefing included a long list of new orders and recommendations that will severely limit British Columbians’ social lives and recreational activities in an attempt to address spiking case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.

She said she is extending an earlier order limiting social gatherings in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions until Dec. 7 and making it apply provincewide.

That means no one should be meeting for social reasons with anyone outside of their immediate household, although a distanced walk with a friend or arranging for grandparents to pick up the kids from school is still acceptable. People who live alone can create a small exclusive “bubble” with one or two others, Henry said.

With a wide-ranging set of new public health orders announced Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry is appealing to B.C.’s youth and young adults to do their part in reducing the spread of COVID-19. 0:52

She’s also reversed course on a longstanding resistance to public mask mandates, asking Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to implement a requirement for workers and members of the public to wear face coverings in all retail environments, restaurants and indoor public spaces, including common areas of workplaces, except when eating or drinking.

The order for mandatory masks is effective Thursday. It does not include schools.

High-risk indoor group fitness activities, including high intensity interval training, hot yoga and spin classes will be suspended as well. 

Other measures announced Thursday include:

  • All indoor and outdoor community and social events suspended for the next two weeks, even if they’re under 50 people.
  • In-person faith services suspended.
  • No spectators allowed at any indoor or outdoor sport, and no travelling outside the local community for sports.
  • Businesses are being asked to suspend any returns to the office for employees who’ve been working at home.
  • They’re also being told to re-evaluate whether safety plans are appropriate and being followed.
  • Inspections of businesses and enforcement of public health orders are being stepped up.
  • Officials are asking everyone not to travel outside their communities for non-essential reasons and asking people from other provinces to postpone their trips here.
  • Funerals, weddings and baptisms are permitted as long as fewer than 10 people are involved and there is no reception.
  • Medical group meetings including addiction support sessions are permitted as long as COVID safety plans are in place.

Virus spreading in health-care system and workplaces

Regional orders on social gatherings were originally implemented for a two-week period on Nov. 7 in a bid to curb B.C.’s rapidly climbing case count.

But numbers have only continued to spike since then, and Henry said she’s seen concerning levels of transmission within health-care settings and community gatherings across the province.

She said there has also been a pattern of disease transmission within workplaces, mainly when co-workers gather together for lunch or carpooling. Part of Thursday’s new guidance to businesses is to take measures to prevent that from happening.

All indoor group fitness activities were also suspended on Nov. 7, though some have been allowed to reopen this week in the Vancouver Coastal Health region after public health workers approved new safety plans. Henry said Thursday that approvals for reopening have been rescinded for high-risk businesses, and other indoor group fitness activities will be watched closely.

Thursday’s update also includes four new outbreaks in health-care settings. There are now 40 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living facilities and 19 in acute care units of hospitals.

There has also been one new community outbreak at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat where 14 people have tested positive.

Despite the discouraging news and the prospect of a lonely few weeks ahead, Henry said there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with increasingly positive news about a vaccine or even multiple vaccines.

She issued a call for everyone to step up and do their part to bend the curve back down again.

“I want to appeal to young people and young adults: help us. I know how difficult this has been,” she said.

“Young people have proven they have resilience. I’m calling on all of you — I need you. I need you to be superheroes. Step up, hold the line, help all of us get through this.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C. has now hired an additional 702 contact tracers, and there are more than 100 people who’ve received offers to join the team, along with 434 who are being interviewed.

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CBC | Health News

Kelly Hrudey brings awareness to mental health during COVID-19 pandemic

Former NHL goaltender and current Calgary Flames colour commentator Kelly Hrudey has never shied away from talking about mental health, and he is continuing to bring awareness to the important issue in an effort to help those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing measures and the current global health situation have increased the challenges faced by those suffering from mental illness, but Hrudey also pointed out that people are now dealing with new mental health challenges brought on by the pandemic.

The 59-year-old shared his thoughts and offered some advice amid the uncertain and unprecedented times.

“Whatever we’re all going through, don’t discount it; it’s real,” Hrudey said on Instagram Live with CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo on Friday. “Your feelings, your stress, your anxiety, your angst, it’s all real and we’ll get through it, but please talk to somebody about it.”

‘This affects all of us’

Hrudey opened up about his own challenges and concerns that have surfaced because of the pandemic, pointing out that it is normal to be struggling with mental health right now.

“This affects all of us, it really does,” Hrudey said. “I have some really good days, and I have some really terrible days trying to figure out what’s going to happen, not only in our lives but our kids’ lives, because financially everything is changed for them.”

WATCH | Kelly Hrudey opens up about mental health:

The broadcaster and former NHLer gets vulnerable and transparent about how self-isolating affects everyone’s mental health. 3:39

The issue of mental health is of personal importance to Hrudey, as his daughter, Kaitlin, has endured a battle with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder over the years. He said the topic is extremely important right now with so many people facing mental health challenges for the first time while in isolation.

“This is important to talk about because I doubt there is anybody out there that is sitting back and going ‘This is great. I’m fine, I’m OK with the time off.’ Nobody is feeling that way. We all feel alone at times, so this is a great conversation to have.”

Hrudey said he recently spoke with fellow Canadian mental health advocate Michael Landsberg about the situation people are currently dealing with.

“Michael talked to me about his depression and another person in his life that he loves that has the same thing as Kaitlin, and they were saying ‘Welcome to my world.’ So all of us now are new with this pandemic and going through a strange time, and that person is saying ‘That’s what I’ve been living with my entire life.'”

Making progress

Hrudey is happy to see an increasingly large number of people, including athletes, stepping up to shine a light on mental health​​​​​​. He views it as a sign of progress that reflects the message on his T-shirt that reads “It’s OK to not be OK.”

“I’m extremely proud of the work that everyone has done raising awareness for mental health issues,” Hrudey said. “Kaitlin went very public in 2013. We’re so proud of her and how strong she is.”

Hrudey acknowledged how far things have come regarding the openness toward conversations about mental health over the past 15 years, especially among males that might have previously felt shame and remained silent.

“This is so heartwarming to me that we can have this conversation and not be ridiculed,” Hrudey said. “Most people would say ‘What a step in the right direction.'”

‘We still need to be louder’

But Hrudey also made it clear that there is still a lot of work that has to be done in order to continue the progress that has been made.

“We still need to be louder,” Hrudey said. “We need to get governments to do more because it’s not right that people have to wait in line for six months to see somebody. Our governments at the federal level, provincial level, municipal level, they have to be willing to give resources so people don’t suffer.

“There are too many men and women out there who are suffering, and they shouldn’t be.”

Although Hrudey enjoyed a successful 15-year NHL career that included an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, he said bringing awareness to mental health ranks above everything else in his career.

“I’m really proud of my playing career, proud of my broadcasting career, but I think when it’s all said and done I’ll be most proud of the work my family and others have done in the field of mental health.”

ICYMI | Dan Carcillo discusses hockey culture:

Former NHL player Dan Carcillo says hockey culture silences players and protects abusers. 9:04

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CBC | Sports News

‘We’re really at a tipping point’: COVID-19 brings research into other medical conditions to a grinding halt

Ever since their son Michael was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Terry and Georgia Pirovolakis have been racing to find a cure. They were getting close, and then everything came grinding to a halt.

“We had a whole bunch of researchers around the world doing different things. All of our research has basically stopped,” says Terry Pirovolakis.

Michael is two-and-a-half years old and has spastic paraplegia type 50 (SPG-50), a rare neurodegenerative disease caused by a missing gene that is progressively robbing him of his ability to walk.

Over the past year, his parents have raised more than $ 1 million to help finance a clinical trial for custom gene therapy that promises to halt the disease. But the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed research around the world, and their hope along with it.

“It’s hard to accept the fact that we were making so many gains,” says Georgia Pirovolakis. “You know, we were hoping he would be walking by September.”

Therapies Michael has been doing to maintain the movement he has now, like physical and occupational therapy, have been canceled, so his parents Georgia and Terry are doing what they can for him themselves. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Michael is just one of the many casualties of the global health crisis. From new gene therapies to help children like Michael, to the latest in cancer treatments, thousands of clinical trials deemed non-essential are on hold.

Brad Wouters is executive vice-president of Science and Research at Toronto’s University Health Network, Canada’s largest academic hospital. He says an example of the impact is a patient currently being treated for pancreatic cancer.

“He was part of a medical research study here that looked at the underlying genetics of that tumour, and that information revealed a potential new therapy that could be very effective for that patient in immunotherapy. But we only have access to that drug through a clinical trial. And so he won’t get it.”

Wouters says the only new research happening at the moment is around COVID-19. About 200 of UHN’s researchers have pivoted to that, but thousands more risk losing their jobs, Wouters says, because in the past month alone UHN has lost $ 6 million in industry funding. It’s why UHN is asking the federal government for help.

Brad Wouters, executive vice-president of Science and Research at Toronto’s University Health Network, says in the past month alone UHN has lost $ 6 million in industry funding. (CBC)

“We’ve been doing everything we can to try and support these jobs and support this research sector,” says Wouters. “But it’s over a month now, and we’re really at a tipping point where we’re going to see significant job losses if something can’t be done.”

Canada’s $ 3-billion medical research industry relies on that brain trust, much of it made up of international students, says Martha Crago, vice-principal of Research and Innovation at McGill University.

“We wouldn’t want to lose this wonderful set of brains coming into our country and helping bring solutions to the public domain,” Crago says. “We need to do what we can to keep them.”

The pandemic will be over at some point, Crago says, and those researchers will be needed to help regain lost scientific momentum.

‘He’s going to degrade’

Meanwhile, the Pirovolakis family fear they’re running out of time.

All the therapies Michael has been doing to maintain the movement he has now, like physical and occupational therapy, have been cancelled. They’re trying to improvise at home to keep him moving, and to keep their hope alive too.

The stalled research efforts means a cure for Michael may be delayed for up to a year. That could mean the difference between him ever walking or not.

“It means he’s going to degrade,” says Terry Pirovolakis. “The progression of the disease is going to kick in, he’ll slowly become more and more paralyzed.”

We get an update from the Pirovolakis family and their search for a cure for their son who has a rare genetic disorder. 4:01

It’s why the couple are trying to keep research into Michael’s gene therapy going.

They’re considering using money the family has raised so far to finance early toxicology tests on a potential treatment researchers in the U.S have already developed. They are also lobbying Canada’s National Research Council to help develop a treatment or help with funding.

Georgia Pirovolakis says there are so many unknowns, and she can’t bear to dwell on them.

“I just look at one day at a time. I’m not thinking about, you know, tomorrow. I’m not thinking about one month from now. I’m not thinking about the research stopping, him potentially not getting cured.”

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CBC | Health News

Justin Bieber Brings ‘Yummy’ New Singles to ‘Saturday Night Live’ Stage in First Appearance Since 2013

Justin Bieber Brings ‘Yummy’ New Singles to ‘Saturday Night Live’ Stage in First Appearance Since 2013 | Entertainment Tonight

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Atlanta bombing movie brings back memories of terror for Canadian Olympians who were there

Donovan Bailey awoke on the morning of July 27, 1996 with two items on his personal to-do list.

The first was to set a world record in the men’s 100-metre Olympic final. The second was to claim Olympic gold as the world’s fastest man.

“My coach, Dan Pfaff, felt I was going to break the world record,” says a reflective Bailey, now 52. “So the time really was not going to matter to me. I knew I was going to run faster than I had ever run before.”

Initially, Bailey thought Pfaff was playing a mind game when he told him a bomb had exploded at 1:25 a.m. in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, the free concert zone with no metal detectors, no scanners and no controlled access 

Without another word, Pfaff left the room.

“That’s just the relationship between Dan and myself,” Bailey says. “Dan is always trying to test me.”

WATCH |  News coverage of Atlanta 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing:

CBC News’ Eric Sorensen reports on the infamous Centennial Olympic Park bombing on July 27, 1996 from Atlanta. 5:16

So Bailey sat down to eat his omelette, fresh fruit and toast, while sipping his English breakfast tea with milk and honey. The house manager flipped the television on and the mind game became real.

“I didn’t know how many people had died,” Bailey says of the carnage he saw on the screen. “I didn’t know if they were going to cancel the Olympic Games. I didn’t know what was happening.”

That same morning, Marnie McBean woke up and saw a yellow Post-it note slipped under her door by her coach, Al Morrow.

Jewell was hounded by media after an erroneous report linked him to the bombing. Jewell died in 2007. (The Associated Press)

The note read: Last night, a bomb went off at Centennial Olympic Park. People were injured and/or killed. Expect security delays and/or cancellations. You might want to get an earlier bus.

“Personally, I had 30 family members come down to Atlanta,” McBean says. “And my family, they’re all precarious adventurers. People barely had cell phones, so I couldn’t call them up and make sure everyone was okay.

“So we got on an earlier bus. We didn’t know what was going on, and we’re on the bus that’s supposed to go to our Olympic final.”

Bailey and McBean are among scores of Canadians who remember the terror depicted in the new Clint Eastwood movie, Richard Jewell. The film is based on the true story of Jewell, the Atlanta security guard wrongly suspected in the Centennial Park bombing.

Jewell likely saved many lives that night when he discovered an unattended backpack containing three pipe bombs during a rock concert attended by about 50,000 people. He helped clear the immediate area before a bomb exploded, killing a woman and injuring 111. (A Turkish television camera operator also died when he suffered a fatal heart attack as he rushed to the scene.)

I didn’t know if they were going to cancel the Olympic Games. I didn’t know what was happening.– Donovan Bailey, 1996 100-metre champion

Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell’s life fell apart on July 30 when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran the headline: ‘FBI suspects hero guard may have planted bomb’.

Though police never charged him, many people still thought Jewell — who died in 2007 from complications of diabetes — was responsible for the bombing. It wasn’t until 1998 that authorities charged Eric Rudolph, who pleaded guilty to the bombings in 2005 and is serving a life sentence.

“I think most of us still had the feeling in Atlanta that Olympic security would keep everybody safe and sound and that nothing like this could happen,” says Mark Lee, a broadcaster who worked the 1996 Games for CBC. “It was pre-9/11. You still thought with all the security, you would be safe.”

After a long day of calling volleyball, Lee and commentator Charlie Parkinson arrived back at the International Broadcast Centre. In a scene familiar to every Olympics, they stood outside waiting for a bus that never came.

They managed to arrange a ride, and at around 1 a.m., less than half an hour before the bomb would explode, the pair found themselves about 100 metres from the sound tower at Centennial Olympic Park waiting to be picked up.

At 3:30 a.m., Lee’s phone rang.

“Are you okay?” a CBC manager asked.

“Yeah, I’m asleep,” Lee replied. “What’s going on?”

The manager told Lee he was listed as last being seen leaving the broadcast centre around the time of the explosion.

We started chasing people down. We were trying to find everybody.– Dave Bedford, Canadian Olympic Committee media attache at 1996 Olympics

It was also where Canadian Olympic Committee media attaché Dave Bedford had trudged through Centennial Olympic Park at around the same time before heading back to his sleeping quarters at Clark Atlanta University.

The ringing phone interrupted his slumber with an order to report to the Main Press Centre as soon as possible.

Half asleep, Bedford rushed back but shortly after arriving, the facility received a bomb threat and went into lock-down.

“That kind of scares the hell out of you,” he says. “You’re in there by yourself and none of the other COC staffers can get in or out. It’s a little disconcerting.”

The phone in the COC office rang constantly, with panicked parents calling to check on their loved ones.

“We started chasing people down,” he says. “We were trying to find everybody.”

Olympic security protocols are much more sophisticated these days, but back in Atlanta, Bedford and his colleagues connected with the manager assigned to each team. The manager then physically went out and found each team member.

No injuries to Canadian team members

“Once we determined everyone was accounted for then the messaging was really simple,” he says. “It was just, ‘hey, you, everyone’s accounted for and there are no injuries with Canadian team members.’

“Parents and family members were very happy to hear that.”

Lee woke up around 7:30 a.m. — he had willed himself back to sleep for fear of not being at his best on air — and immediately called his wife.

“I needed to let her know I was okay,” he says. “The Olympics are such a huge undertaking. When you have your loved ones away from an Olympics and they hear something has happened — like a bombing or shooting — everyone thinks you’re right in the middle of it even though it was nowhere near you.”

Except in this case, Lee was way too close for comfort.

Marnie McBean, right, and Kathleen Heddle won gold in the double sculls on the morning after the bombing. (Bongarts/Getty Images)

That morning, all was quiet when the bus pulled up to the Olympic rowing venue at Lake Lanier. At the entrance, the driver killed the engine and crews conducted their routine bomb sweep before granting the vehicle entrance.

McBean looked over and saw actual spectators in the grandstand — which she saw as a good sign. After all, they wouldn’t let people in if the event was cancelled.

Once inside, McBean huddled with her coach and found out the band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack was performing the night before at Centennial Park.

“[The band] was nobody my family had ever heard of,” McBean says. “So I was like, ‘Odds are super high that my family never went.’ It was just a guess that my family was fine and then we went on with the race day.”

In Lane 4 for the women’s double sculls final, McBean and her partner, Kathleen Heddle, sat in their boat with gold in their sights. Heavy favourites, the Canadians lived up to the hype.

‘Huge chunk of perspective’

Holding off the Chinese and Dutch at the finish, McBean leaned over and kissed her oars in sweet celebration of Canada’s first gold of the Atlanta Games.

Around 2 p.m., McBean and Heddle walked into the lounge in the athlete’s village and saw Olympians from around the world glued to the TV in hopes of learning more about the bombing.

“Kathleen and I were staring at real life,” McBean says. “We had just done this sporting thing, but there was this huge chunk of perspective that came into that moment.”

Already guarded by the RCMP at a safe house in the upscale district of Buckhead, Donovan Bailey received word mid-morning that his 100-metre race was on. From that moment, he intentionally banished any thought of the bombing.

“The 100 metres is the biggest event of every Olympic games since 1896,” he says. “So, for me, coming in being the reigning world champion, and obviously, being a favourite to win, my responsibility was to stay focused and compartmentalize as best as I could the events of that day so that I could really get the job done.”

WATCH |  Donovan Bailey reacts to news of Atlanta bombing

Donovan Bailey discusses his reaction to the infamous Centennial Olympic Park bombing, in an interview with CBC Sports’ 1996 Atlanta Olympic host Brian Williams. Bailey won 100 metre Olympic gold on the same day the bombing took place, on July 27, 1996. 1:01

Competing in spite of a torn left adductor, Bailey concentrated on his game plan.

“I felt that the semifinals and obviously the finals would kind of undo the negativity and the clouds around the Olympics,” he said. “And I’m no stranger to that because I did compete for Canada.”

On Bailey’s ample shoulders rested the hopes of Canadians still scarred by memories of 1988 when Ben Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold after testing positive for steroids at the Games in Seoul, South Korea.

That night, Bailey rode to the stadium in a motorcade with police vehicles both in front and behind him.

“I was the king of the world.” he says with a chuckle.

In the final, the king was the second last man to burst out of the blocks.

“I realized I had a terrible start,” he says. “What I had to do was step back, breathe a little bit and get into my drive phase knowing that when I hit top speed, I would pass everybody.”

And pass everybody he did. Knowing he would win at 70 metres, Bailey glided over the finish line and saw a sea of Canadian flags to his right.

He looked at the clock: 9.84 seconds — a new Olympic and world record.

Canada’s Donovan Bailey won the gold medal and set a world record in the 100 metres hours after the Olympic bombing in 1996. (Getty Images)

“I opened my mouth,” he says. “It was a reactionary thing. I got it done. Let me take my flag and take my place in history.”

Standing to the right of that historical moment was an exhausted Dave Bedford, still working after the terrifying experience at the Main Press Centre.

“Donovan ran right by me with both his arms down going at his side and his mouth gaping open,” says Bedford, now the chief executive officer of Athletics Canada. “It was wild for sure. Highs and lows to the extremes.”

All these years later, Bailey hopes people will look back at the highs of Atlanta even when reliving the lows while watching Richard Jewell at the local movie theatre.

“The Olympic Games should never be about politics — about somebody with some sort of agenda,” Bailey says. “The Olympic Games are all about sports and celebrating the greatest athletes on the planet.”

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Chevrolet Brings Tech to Its New 2021 Suburban and Tahoe SUVs

DETROIT – America’s oldest vehicle nameplate, the Chevrolet Suburban, advanced to its twelfth generation Tuesday night with significant changes. Switching to an independent rear suspension (IRS – no, not the tax people) lowers the rear floor for more cargo and legroom. More driver/safety assists were added, technology was enhanced, and the cockpit gets up to five big displays. As Chevy adds more sensors that create more data, GM upped compute power so the vehicle is capable of processing 4.5 terabytes of sensor and infotainment data per hour, a 5X improvement. For those who want an improvement in mpg, a diesel will be offered along with two gasoline V8s.

Chevy also rolled out the Suburban’s regular-large-size sibling, the Chevrolet Tahoe that is the better seller. The Tahoe is now 211 inches long where the extra-large Suburban is 226 inches. The same features set applies to Tahoe. These are 2021 models that ship mid-year 2020. Expect to see the same changes applied to the GMC variants, the Yukon and Yukon XL, in the near future.

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is the normal length for a full-size SUV at 204 inches, or 17 feet, exactly. The Suburban is 224 inches with a big cargo bay but can be awkward to drive in tight spaces.

30 Safety Features on Tap

Chevrolet cites 30 safety and driver convenience features standard or available. It cites a restraint system with driver inboard seat-mounted side-impact airbag, an HD rear vision camera, automatic emergency braking, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, rear parking sonar, automatic headlamp control, and hitch guidance for trailering. Optional are an HD surround camera system, rear pedestrian alert, lane change alert with slide blind zone alert (including trailer), lane departure warning/lane keep assist, and a head-up display (HUD) with a huge 15-inch perceived size.

The safety features spill over to convenience features for trailering enthusiasts: nine camera views, stored trailer towing profiles for a big trailer/small boat trailer/work trailer, trailer tire pressure monitoring, and blind-spot detection that includes the trailer’s length. Chevrolet did not mention a cool camera feature in the General Motors stable of technologies, the transparent trailer rear camera view, which mounts a rear camera on the back of the trailer, then stitches the view inside the vehicle’s rear camera and puts it the center stack display as if the vehicle camera had X-ray vision.

The cabins of the Suburban and Tahoe define the term “spacious.”

Six Trim Lines: Choices, Choices

Center stack display is now 10 inches.

The Suburban and Tahoe allow the buyer to have a near-infinite set of model variants (trim lines), engines, paint colors, and options. The lineup runs, from around $ 50K to $ 70K, plus options and packages, this way: LS, LT, RST, Z71 (off-roading), Premier, and High Country. The Premier focuses on safety and technology, Chevy says:

Premier adds features such as Magnetic Ride Control, navigation, an eight-inch-diagonal reconfigurable instrument cluster, premium Bose 10-speaker audio system, 12-way power vented and perforated front bucket seats, power releases for both rows of rear seats, heated steering wheel, Safety Alert Seat (vibrating seat warnings from the vehicle sensors), Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Front and Rear Park Assist and 20-inch wheels.

Some of the safety features are offered on lower trim lines. It will be interesting to see if Chevy makes more of them standard to keep up with higher levels of standard driver assists on less costly vehicles not in the Suburban/Tahoe competitive set. For example, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata sedan – the polar opposite of the Suburban – makes every imaginable driver assist feature standard on all but the entry trim line, which lacks only blind spot detection. On the flip side, the near-universal presence of onboard telematics and mayday calling (OnStar) on GM cars for two decades may have convinced makers such as Hyundai to do the same.

Upscale models can have magnetic ride shock absorbers and air springs. On a comparison ride at GM’s Milford, Michigan test track, prototype Suburbans felt more composed on bumps and expansion strips than its nearest competitor, the Ford Expedition with its uplevel suspension, which didn’t have air springs.

Rear-sear occupants can get 12-inch infotainment displays. Placed on the backs of the front seats, they can be seen from rows two and three.

Five Big Displays Including Rear Infotainment

Big SUVs are meant for long-distance cruising, and passengers want to be entertained along the way. The Suburban/Tahoe can have up to five big displays. The standard 10-inch center stack display “is the largest in its segment,” Chevy notes, although on a car this roomy, a 12-incher will be needed to match the competition shortly. An 8-inch instrument cluster LCD (multi-information display) is optional. So, too, are optional dual 12.6-inch rear-seat infotainment displays that have HDMI connectors to accept or cast media. Rear seat passengers can use the infotainment system to look up destinations and send them to the navigation system.

The fifth display is the big HUD that is truly useful for providing lots of information – lane departure, following distance, speed, speed limit – without getting in the driver’s sight. The 15-inch diagonal refers to the perceived size of the display as if it were a physical display at the end of the hood.

The Tahoe and Suburban accounted for 42 percent of full-size-SUV sales last year. The midsize, unibody Ford Explorer, 5 inches shorter than Tahoe, is a better seller, while the Tahoe and Silverado are more profitable per vehicle sold.

Chevy, GM Own the Big SUV Business

Shifter is now buttons next to the center stack display.

The market for big SUVs was about 400,000 units last year, 2.3 percent of the 17.3 million vehicles sold. It would be higher but for the price. A lot of people would love something that roomy inside, were it not for the price that can push $ 80,000, or even more for the Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator.

The stretched Suburban (15 inches longer than Tahoe) is the one to get if you plan to haul the luggage a family of up to eight would want to stow on long trips. Although Chevrolet notes that the independent rear suspension is a big deal for cabin comfort. The seats in the third row no longer sit just a few inches off the floor, and there’s more luggage room as well. It’s just that 226 inches is a lot to get into a perpendicular or parallel parking spot or fit into a garage.

In conjunction with a slightly longer wheelbase (116 to 121 inches on the Tahoe) and length (204 to 211 inches on Tahoe), rear legroom jumps from 39 to 42 inches (a lot), third-row legroom increases from 25 to 35 inches, and cargo room behind the third row goes from 15 to 26 cubic feet. On the Suburban, wheelbase climbs from 130 to 134 inches, length from 224 to 226 inches, legroom increases 39 to 42 and 35 to 37 inches, and cargo capacity goes from 39 to 41 cubic feet or, with all seats folded, from 122 to 145 cubic feet. That’s also a lot.

The Suburban/Tahoe duo are both based on the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck introduced in summer 2018. The Silverado sold 586,000 vehicles last year, second only to Ford F-Series among the 280 vehicle models on the market last year. The full-size pickups and SUVs are Chevy’s most profitable vehicles, so a lot of attention goes into keeping them up to date.

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Harry Styles Brings Sexual Energy, Hilarious Weirdness to Stellar ‘Saturday Night Live’

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