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Decision on overseas Olympic spectators to be made by end of March

The new president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee stopped short of saying there would be no foreign fans at this year’s games, but she certainly hinted at it Wednesday after online talks with IOC President Thomas Bach and others.

The Japanese newspaper Mainichi reported Wednesday that the decision had already been made to exclude foreign fans. It cited only unnamed sources “involved in the discussions.”

“If the situation is tough and it would make the [Japanese] consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said.

The newspaper report came just before Hashimoto’s meeting with Bach. She said a decision on foreign fans will come by the end of the month, and she wants one by March 25, when the torch relay begins from northeastern Japan.

The Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23.

“In the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators,” the Mainichi newspaper said, citing an unnamed government official.

WATCH | Olympic officials release 1st COVID-19 playbook:

Olympic officials have unveiled the first in a series of ‘playbooks’ for how they’ll keep the upcoming Tokyo Games safe during the pandemic. The guide dictates how people can travel, where they can go and even how they can cheer. 1:57

Hashimoto was asked after the meeting how Japan could even consider letting in thousands of overseas fans, given how unpopular the idea is at home where up to 80% want the Olympics cancelled or postponed again. Japan has attributed about 8,000 deaths to COVID-19, but has controlled it much better than most countries.

Hashimoto confirmed that the subject of fans was a key part of the “five-party” talks with Bach, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa.

IOC hopes to have as many Olympians vaccinated as possible

Bach hinted at hard choices to be made in comments before the meeting was closed to reporters.

“We will focus on the essentials,” Bach said. “That means mainly the competitions. This has to be the clear focus. In this respect we may have to set one or another priority.”

The exclusion of foreign fans has been almost a foregone conclusion with the games being held during a pandemic. The Japanese public has been openly opposed to the games, and one sticking point has been the risk presented by visitors entering the country. The other has been the soaring costs.

The games will involve 11,000 Olympic athletes, and later 4,400 Paralympians, and tens of thousands of coaches, judges, sponsors, media and VIPs. Bach said he was encouraged at the number of national Olympic committees that were getting athletes vaccinated. The IOC said it encourages vaccinations but will not require them.

Bach said his hope was “to have as many participants as possible arriving vaccinated to Tokyo.”

“There I can inform you that a considerable number of national Olympic committees has already secured this pre-Tokyo vaccination,” Bach said.

The general plan is to isolate athletes in the Olympic Village alongside Tokyo Bay; put them in a bubble when they arrive, and until they leave Japan.

Hashimoto said a decision on venue capacity will be made by the end of April. She said the “zero-fans option” was not discussed.

Tokyo Games will be most expensive Olympics on record

“We need to look at the overall situation before we decide on any percentage rates,” she said. “We believe we will not be accepted unless the citizens feel confident that sufficient countermeasures are taken.”

Having fewer fans will be costly. The organizing committee has budgeted income of $ 800 million US from ticket sales. That shortfall will have to be made up by Japanese government entities.

These are the most expensive Olympics on record. The official cost is $ 15.4 billion, though two government audits suggest it might be almost twice that much. All but $ 6.7 billion is public money.

The Tokyo Games have been haunted by problems. A bribery scandal tied to the bid in 2013 forced the resignation two years ago of Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda. He denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, former organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign after making sexist comments about women. Essentially, he said they talk too much.

Mori was replaced by Hashimoto, who cautioned on Tuesday of the unpredictable problems that await.

“The biggest challenges is the countermeasures against COVID-19,” she said. “Nobody can foresee how the situation will be this summer.”

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CBC | Sports News

Canada Soccer condemns ‘hateful,’ racist comments made toward Alphonso Davies, Jordyn Huitema

Canada’s soccer body posted a message on Twitter on Saturday condemning ‘hateful’ racist comments directed toward Canadian national soccer team stars Jordyn Huitema and Alphonso Davies, who are in a relationship.

A photo posted to Huitema’s Instagram account in late August of the two players vacationing in Spain drew a flood of racist comments.

Canada Soccer posted that the organization “stands firm against racism and discrimination of any kind both in the game and around the world. We are appalled with the hateful comments made to members of our players through social media.

“Share love not hate and work together for a better world.”

Canadian national men’s team head coach John Herdman echoed the sentiment, posting a message on Twitter 

“We see the best in human nature from Alphonso/Jordyn two kids I’ve worked with and then the worst with the moronic comments from the small minority of humans that will just never get it. … ” Herdman wrote.

Davies, 20, was named the top Canadian men’s soccer player for 2020 and co-winner of the Lou Marsh last week. This past season he helped his Bayern Munich club capture the German championship and went on to become the first Canadian man to win a Champions League title.

Huitema, 19, signed a four-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain of the French Division 1 Féminine in 2019, and has seven goals in 27 appearances with the club.

WATCH | 2020 showed the whole of sports is greater than the sum of its parts:

Athletes around the world raised a collective voice in an unprecedented show of power. 5:03

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CBC | Sports News

From Hill to Osaka to Ogwumike, some of the athletes who made a difference to us

As observers of sports, we often find ourselves in wonder at the physical achievements of the people we cover. The actions of so many of them over the past 12 months has shown us something else to admire. Here are some who left an impression with the CBC Sports staff:

Naomi Osaka

The 23-year-old Japanese tennis star didn’t wait to see how other athletes would protest for Black Lives Matter. She was at the forefront of the protest. 

She boldly wore the names of Breonna Taylor and others on her masks as she walked into matches at the U.S. Open

She unapologetically used her voice to make her mark on the BLM movement. When people asked her to stick to sports and not get political, she used that as fuel to win matches and protest more. 

– Monika Platek

George Hill

When the NBA restarted in its bubble in Florida, the players had used their voice to raise awareness and push for change over systemic racism. On the courts and jerseys were phrases such as “Black Lives Matter”, “Say Their Names”, “Vote”, “I Can’t Breathe”, “Justice”, “Peace”, “Equality”.

But on Aug. 26, George Hill and the Milwaukee Bucks took it further. Just three days before, Jacob Blake had been shot by police in Kenosha, Wisc. Hill and other NBA players grew frustrated with the lack of change. 

Minutes before their playoff game against the Orlando Magic, Hill and the Bucks announced they were not going to play. Hill read out a statement and sat down for an interview to discuss why the players decided to boycott their games to protest the continued social injustice they saw. 

WATCH | Milwaukee Bucks on why they won’t play:

After becoming the first team to boycott games in the NBA bubble, the Milwaukee Bucks players made a joint statement to the media. 1:54

Hill would not answer any basketball-related questions as he wanted all the talk to be about Blake and his family and the social injustice. Immediately after Hill and the Bucks’ decision, the rest of the NBA, WNBA, several MLB teams, and eventually, the NHL paused action for two days.

– Cole Shelton

Pam Buisa and Charity Williams 

Usually when you go on a professional athlete’s Instagram page you’ll see mainly professional shots of them competing, training or pushing a sponsored post like the influencers they are. Many will use their platforms to share the ups and downs of competition, or an inspiring #motivationmonday type message. 

Not all will use their platform as authentically and passionately to support social change as we saw from Rugby Canada players Charity Williams and Pam Buisa. Since this summer’s protests in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the pair have been vocal on Instagram and at protests and gatherings in support of Black Lives Matter. 

– Tanya Casole-Gouveia

Kim Clavel

Stop me if you’ve heard the one about the championship winning athlete from Quebec, who took a break from sports to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in long-term care homes in Montreal.

Kansas City Chiefs guard, Super Bowl LIV champion and McGill medical school graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif?

No. While his story is well known, Kim Clavel’s is not.

After taking a year off from nursing to train for boxing, Clavel, from Joliette, Que,. won the North American Boxing Federation female light flyweight title last December. She was set to fight — and make her first real payday — in the main event at the Montreal Casino on March 21 before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the cancellation 10 days before her bout.

After absorbing that body blow, Clavel went back to work as a replacement nurse, fighting COVID-19 in the pandemic-ravaged long-term care homes in Montreal. In June, Kim Clavel was named the ESPY Awards 2020 recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for Service.

– Bill Cooney

WATCH | Devin Heroux on the year that was:

Athletes around the world raised a collective voice in an unprecedented show of power. 5:03

Lewis Hamilton

Not only has Lewis Hamilton raised awareness and led the way in pushing Formula 1 to adopt a strong anti-racism stance, he formed his own Hamilton Commission aimed at making motorsport more diverse. 

Although many in racing have supported Hamilton, including his own Mercedes team switching out their traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ look for an all-Black livery, and adopting Black Lives Matter masks, it hasn’t been easy for Hamilton to raise awareness for social change. 

New rules were put in place by the the sport’s governing body to force drivers to remain in their race attire because Hamilton had worn a t-shirt with the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” before a race and on the podium. 

Hamilton started his racing career in F-1 14 years ago and was the first driver of colour in the sport. Today he remains the only Black driver on the circuit. 

Hamilton won his record-tying seventh world championship this season but never changed his focus from promoting social change, diversity and raising awareness on key issues.

– Marcus Rebelo

Chiney Ogwumike

When Los Angeles Sparks’ Chiney Ogwumike opted out of the WNBA’s 2020 season in the Bradenton, Fla., bubble it was for two reasons: to heal her body and to fight for social justice. 

She took that second reason to heart.

Ogwumike has been a vocal member of the LeBron James-led More Than a Vote organization encouraging American citizens to register to vote, and providing them the resources to do so. 

Ogwumike then turned that message into action. When it became clear younger poll workers were needed during the pandemic to replace the more vulnerable elderly volunteers, she stepped up herself. She joined her two sisters, including fellow WNBA all-star Nneka Ogwumike, as election workers in Houston, an effort that was even recognized by former President Barack Obama.

– Alexis Allison

Marcus Rashford

Throughout the pandemic, Marcus Rashford has dazzled both on and off the field. As the United Kingdom went into lockdown, the Manchester United star worried not about himself as he is today — a multi-million dollar athlete — but as the kid he once was, dependent upon the state for his meals.

Recognizing the effect that school closures would have on those in need, the 23-year-old launched a public campaign to end child poverty. The tidal wave of support he received helped convince British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, not once, but twice, to alter his policies and pledge nearly $ 300 million to help low-income families struggling as a result of COVID-19.

– Ignacio Estefanell

Matt Dumba

While the NHL and its players have been accused of being tone deaf in the past with regards to social issues, Matt Dumba helped change that perception with his speech before the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“For those unaffected by systematic racism or unaware, I’m sure that some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple months. But let me assure you, it has not,” the Minnesota Wild defenceman said.

The speech (and his kneel that followed) was a powerful message on hockey’s biggest stage.

– Rob Pizzo

Colin Kaepernick

Slightly forgotten in the midst of athlete protests against racism is one of the people who helped start it all. After first taking a knee during the U.S. national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality, Kaepernick was ostracized and effectively blacklisted from the NFL.

Four years later, taking a knee was the dominant image of the Black Lives Matter movement across sports worldwide. The NFL finally invited all 32 teams to sign Kaepernick (even though he still hasn’t been), league commissioner Roger Goodell said he wished the league listened more when Kaepernick first took a knee, and the movement he started went from a powerful, public stance to something more tangible. 

He started the “Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defence Initiative” to provide legal aid to people affected by police brutality. 

– Steve Tzemis

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

In a year of great challenges, the greatest was (and still is) the coronavirus pandemic. The Montreal native tackled that challenge head-on. Just weeks after helping Kansas City win the Super Bowl by protecting the NFL’s biggest star, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the aspiring medical doctor gave up his high-profile job (and his multi-million-dollar salary) to help protect our most vulnerable people — those in long-term care homes. Offensive line to front lines: doesn’t get any more inspiring than that.

– Jesse Campigotto

WNBA / Maya Moore

Social activism isn’t anything new in the WNBA. Maya Moore, arguably the best player ever, led her Minnesota Lynx in protest after the police killing of Philando Castile in July 2016 — two months before Colin Kaepernick first kneeled. It’s no wonder, then, that the WNBA’s players have been leaders as people around the world organized to protest racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in May.

Floyd’s death came as the WNBA was preparing to play out its season from a bubble in Florida. The WNBA offered players a chance to opt out of the season to pursue their cause and still get paid in full. 

Four players, including Moore, took that opportunity. The rest of the league protested from the bubble. The season was dedicated to Breonna Taylor, killed by Louisville police in March, with a rallying cry to arrest those responsible. 

“Black Lives Matter” was written on the courts and jerseys. Atlanta Dream players publicly endorsed team owner Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s opponent Raphael Warnock in a Georgia senate race after Loeffler questioned the Black Lives Matter movement. That race was so close it’s headed to a runoff in January. Players refused to play after Jacob Blake was shot.

As for Moore? In her second straight season off, she accomplished her goal of freeing Jonathan Irons, a wrongfully accused man serving a 50-year sentence, from prison. Moore and Irons were married in September.

– Myles Dichter

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CBC | Sports News

Canadian NBA player Kelly Olynyk grew up around Raptors as mom made history as team’s scorekeeper

On Nov. 3, 1995, the Toronto Raptors played their first game in franchise history, defeating the New Jersey Nets 94-79 in front of more than 33,000 fans at what was then called the SkyDome.

It was a big night for Canadian basketball as across the continent in Portland, Ore., expansion cousin the Vancouver Grizzlies were also playing their first game, defeating the Trail Blazers 92-80. 

The pair were the first NBA teams in Canada since the Toronto Huskies in 1947, which were part of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), the forerunner to the NBA. (The Grizzlies would have less success than the Raptors, however, and relocated to Memphis in 2001.)

Less obvious, however, was the history being made courtside at the SkyDome, where Arlene Olynyk served as scorekeeper, the first female to do the job in NBA history.

Soaking it all in was her four-year-old son Kelly, who would grow up to be an NBA player and member of Canada’s national team.

“He grew up as a gym rat there,” Arlene Olynyk told CBC’s Sarah Penton of Kelly, now 29 and a member of the Miami Heat who recently played in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, losing in six games.

LISTEN: Sarah Penton’s interview with Arlene Olynyk:

Arlene Olynyk talks about her career working for the Toronto Raptors, which started during their inaugural season, her son Kelly’s NBA career, and how the game has grown. 12:59

Kelly was 14 when his mom wrapped up her time as scorekeeper for the Raptors, and having special access to the team on game days during those 10 years helped his early development as a player.

‘He would see some of these players behind the scenes’

With free tickets to every game and behind-the-scenes exposure to the team, Kelly got an up close look at the life he would grow up to live.

“He liked to go to as many games as he could, and he would come into the players’ room,” Olynyk said. “He would see some of these players behind the scenes; he would see how big they were. He would see how they were warming up before the game because he had to come down with me.”

They moved to Kamloops B.C., where Kelly won the province’s high school player-of-the-year honours in Grade 12.

When Kelly would tell his mom he wanted to be an NBA player when he grew up, Arlene responded by telling him he needed a backup plan, as there was no predicting he would eventually grow to be six-foot-eleven, having just completed his seventh season in the league. He spent his first four with the Boston Celtics.

“I’m really, really happy that he’s enjoying the journey,” Olynyk said of her son’s success.

1st female scorekeeper in NBA

While being the NBA’s first female scorekeeper was an important league milestone, it also had its challenges.

Women employees of any kind were rare at the time, and Arlene said she had deal with sexism during games when referees would report to the score bench.

Arlene Olynyk, pictured third from left behind score bench, was the first female scorekeeper in NBA history and the first scorekeeper hired by the Raptors. (CBC)

“They would report to the closest male, and I wouldn’t get it all,” Olynyk said. “So I had to teach them in Toronto who they were looking at and who they were looking for.

“That was the little bit tougher part — a couple of referees just didn’t get it that they were reporting to a female.

Olynyk also had to record statistics as part of her role with the Raptors, something she and her co-workers were adamant to get right.

“They [players] get paid in bonuses by what they do, and they want their stats,” Olynyk said.

Statistics dispute with Michael Jordan

But Olynyk still dealt with disputes over statistics with players, including an incident with NBA legend Michael Jordan.

“We had one time when Michael Jordan was still playing, at quartertime he gets his stats printed out, he looks at them and then came and sat on the score bench and looked at us and said, ‘you’ve missed two assists,'” Olynyk recalled.

“He made sure that we knew that he was counting.”

Olynyk said one of the most enjoyable parts about her time with the Raptors was being involved in the pre-game ritual of some players as they stepped onto the court.

“Some of the early players, some of their good luck thing was to fist bump the whole row of the score table,” Olynyk said. “So you come down and you’d be fist bumping Tracy McGrady or whoever had that in their part of superstition before they went out to play.”

Olynyk was an important part of the early history of the Toronto Raptors, and her son’s NBA journey is a testament to the influence the league has had in Canada since the Raptors arrived 25 years ago.

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CBC | Sports News

Someone Made a Free Browser App to Play Stadia Games on iOS, and Then Apple Killed It

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Apple’s animosity toward cloud gaming services like xCloud and Stadia are well-known at this point, but one iOS developer Zach Knox thought he had a good solution. The free “Stadium” app runs a stripped-down browser on the iPhone and iPad designed specifically to play titles from Google’s Stadia streaming service. Well, it did. Apple removed the app from the App Store after it started to gain popularity, citing its esoteric API rules. 

Like other cloud gaming services, Stadia renders games in the cloud and streams that video to your devices over the internet. Stadia launched almost a year ago on Android and Chrome, but Apple has consistently refused to allow cloud gaming clients unless they adhere to the same rules as standalone apps. That means each game (and game update) needs to be reviewed and approved by Apple, and they all need to have individual store pages on the App Store. Clearly, that doesn’t mesh with the model of cloud gaming, which is probably Apple’s intent. 

Stadium was a clever workaround, as it used the WebKit engine that Apple requires for all browsers on its platform. There was no UI — Stadium simply loaded Stadia and let you stream games. It also tied into the iOS Bluetooth framework for controller support. The app launched just a few weeks ago, and Apple has already smacked it down. The developer now says the app has been removed because of the way it leveraged Bluetooth. 

Apple justifies its action by pointing to App Store Review Guideline section 2.5.1, which requires apps to only use public APIs “for their intended purpose.” In the case of Stadia, the dev “extended” WebKit to allow Stadia to access the Bluetooth stack. Without that, you wouldn’t be able to control your game. However, this isn’t the intended purpose of the API, so Apple is within its rights to block the app from its store. Since there’s no supported way to install software from another source, the app is effectively dead. Although, Knox says he has some plans for Stadium in the future. 

This once again leaves iOS users with no easy way to play Stadia titles on their devices. It’s unlikely Google will completely redesign its service to adapt to Apple’s app-centric rules, and Apple is never going to accept cloud gaming services that can circumvent Apple’s 30 percent cut of sales. It’s quite a pickle.

Now read:

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Lea Michele Apologizes Following ‘Glee’ Co-Star’s Accusations That She Made Her Time on Set ‘A Living Hell’

Lea Michele Apologizes Following ‘Glee’ Co-Star’s Accusations That She Made Her Time on Set ‘A Living Hell’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Doctor linked to Campbellton COVID-19 cluster says he made ‘an error in judgment’

The doctor at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton, N.B., area says he’s not sure whether he picked up the coronavirus during a trip to Quebec or from a patient in his office.

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola made the comments to Radio-Canada’s program La Matinale on Tuesday morning — his first media interview since the emergence of 12 new cases in the northern New Brunswick health region starting May 21. Before then, it had been two weeks since the province had an active case.

Ngola has been suspended by the Vitalité Health Network, one of the province’s two regional health authorities. He said he decided to speak out because he’s become the target of racist verbal attacks daily and false reports to police, and he feels abandoned by public health officials.

He has been working as a doctor in Campbellton since 2013. He previously practised in Europe and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Jean-Robert Ngola practises at the Campbellton Regional Hospital in northern New Brunswick. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Ngola said he did not self-isolate after returning from an overnight return trip to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter. Her mother had to travel to Africa for her father’s funeral.

“What was I supposed to do?” he said in French. “Leave her there alone?”

Ngola said he drove straight there and back with no stops and had no contact with anyone. He said none of his family members had any COVID-19 symptoms at the time.

He returned to work at the Campbellton Regional Hospital the next day.

“Maybe it was an error in judgment,” said Ngola, pointing out that workers, including nurses who live in Quebec, cross the border each day with no 14-day isolation period required.

“Who hasn’t made an error in judgment?” he said. “That’s why I have compassion towards everyone.”

‘How many people are unwitting carriers?’

Ngola said he received a call from a public health official on May 25 informing him one of his patients had tested positive.

He has about 2,000 patients at his clinic, about 1,500 of them active.

Ngola had seen the man May 19 for a prescription renewal or something that did not require any touching or a physical exam. He said the man had no COVID-19 symptoms and was wearing a mask.

Ngola said he immediately called the patient, who had cold-like symptoms and was doing OK.

He said he cancelled his shift that night at the hospital and got a test for himself and his daughter. Neither of them were showing symptoms, but they both tested positive.

Ngola said he still doesn’t know how they were infected.

“Who can say? … The virus is circulating everywhere. … How many people are unwitting carriers?”

Hate messages pour in, doctor says

He said one hour after he spoke with hospital and public health officials about his contacts to facilitate the investigation and protect the public, his name, face and address were being advertised all over the internet as “the bad doctor who brought the virus to kill people.”

Ngola said that’s not who he is.

“I only have compassion towards sick patients … the role of doctors is to care, to heal, to help … not to spread viruses.”

Premier Blaine Higgs labelled the doctor’s actions as “irresponsible” in a May 27 press conference. 

“If you ignore the rules, you put your family, your friends and your fellow New Brunswickers at risk,” Higgs said at the time.

There are 12 active in cases in the province — all in the Campbellton health region, known as Zone 5. Four residents and a staff member at a long-term care facility in Atholville are among the most recent cases.

Accusatory calls from U.S., Africa, Europe

Ngola said he’s been looking into the people making hateful posts, and most are from outside the region. He said he feels they are trying to incite violence against him because he is black.

He said he’s been getting accusatory calls from people in the United States, Africa and Europe, and people are also making false reports about him to local police. 

Ngola said he is not pleased with the way he’s being treated by public officials.

“I’m a patient. I have a right to confidentiality, to protection from the system.”

He said he remains devoted to serving the community.

“I have a family. I have a right to live. Please, I’m not a criminal.”

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CBC | Health News

Canada’s Erin McLeod eager to make return to NWSL, comfortable with precautions made for return

Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod smiles each time she hits the pitch to train with the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, though she could never have imagined she’d be playing under these circumstances. 

The NWSL announced this week it will resume play with a 25-game tournament next month, making it the first North American team sport to return to competition during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“My initial reaction was ‘I love to play,'” said McLeod, a warrior for Team Canada through four FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Olympic Games, winning bronze in London 2012. “Health is everyone’s main concern right now and it’s nice to know there’s the opportunity to play competitively while being in a really safe environment. 

“I’ve been incredibly impressed with the medical side of things and the attention to detail. A lot of mixed emotions for sure, but if you know me, I feel like I’m five years old again. I’m always excited to play soccer when I can.” 

The 37-year-old native of St. Albert, Alta., is one of 16 Canadians plying their trade in the nine-team NWSL. Among the others include longtime national team stars Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash) and Diana Matheson and Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC).  

The Challenge Cup, which will run June 27 through July 26, will see all teams stay and play in facilities on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, Utah. Each team will play four group stage games, with the top eight teams continuing to a single-elimination format. Games will be televised and streamed by CBS and its online and broadcast affiliates. And like most professional sports making their return, there will be no fans in the stands for games.

WATCH | The latest plans for sports returning to play:

Sports around the world are formulating plans to get back to action, Rob Pizzo rounds up the latest news from each.  3:20

All players and team personnel will be tested for COVID-19 before leaving for Utah, and will be regularly screened thereafter. The league is covering the cost for 28 players and seven staff members from each team to travel to Utah and there are talks to have five substitutions per match to combat fatigue.

Players can opt out of the tournament if they have concerns about their safety. There are salary guarantees and insurance for all players — regardless of whether they play or not.

Since being shuttered like the rest of the sports world on March 11, the NWSL and its commissioner Lisa Baird, the players’ association and a 15-doctor task force have been putting together a robust protocol for a return to play.  

It ramped up this past week with small-group training, with any player or staff undergoing testing before participating. No more than eight players can be in attendance at one time. Players have a set arrival time, they must wear their masks upon entry and go through symptom and temperature screening. Coaches, athletic trainers, sport scientists, team physicians and equipment managers can be on-site as essential staff. Everything is sanitized before and after each session. 

Utah’s Rio Tinto Stadium will be empty of fans when it plays host to the semifinals and finals of the NWSL’s Challenge Cup tournament in July. (Getty Images)

“It isn’t too different, except three-quarters of your team is missing,” McLeod said with a laugh. “Considering everything, I think this club has done a really good job of keeping as much normalcy as possible.” 

Once a team has completed five days of small-group sessions, they can move onto full squad training as of Saturday using the same precautions. 

Perhaps no one is happier to be on the field right now than McLeod. She’s back in the NWSL after spending the past few seasons in Europe with various clubs in Germany and Sweden. 

Last year was a tough one for her because of injuries. A foot injury ruled her out of contention for a spot on Canada’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad. It was initially thought to be plantar fasciitis but was later diagnosed as tarsal tunnel syndrome, which caused severe pain and swelling in her foot. 

“I’m so grateful that I can walk without being in so much pain. I guess the one thing that this virus has made you think about is that there are no guarantees. So everyday I show up for training and put my boots on, I’m so grateful for that moment.” 

While COVID-19 has been the chief concern, so has the overall health of the players including the possibility of an increase in injuries. 

It’s an intense schedule and the teams have just five weeks to get ready for it. Teams could play as many as seven games in a span of 29 days. On average there would be three days rest between games. 

Players had expressed concerns about the compressed timeline and that almost all of the games would be played on artificial turf at Zions Bank Stadium. The semifinals and final will be on grass at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of the Utah Royals.

With a month to go before the showcase, McLeod is enjoying getting to know her teammates.

“Everyone has been super welcoming and very professional. It’s also nice to be the new kid, you know, being a little nervous, not knowing where you fit in. I think it’s good to feel those things every once in a while,” she said. 

“This is such a unique circumstance. Optimally you want to gel as much as a team, amp up in a way that’s calculated and safe and smart. A lot of people haven’t played for about a year. I expect to see a lot of growth game to game once the tournament starts.” 

And as for whether Canadian soccer fans may see McLeod add to her 118 caps with the national team, perhaps even for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, that’s up in the air. She’s one of four goalkeepers in a talented group that includes Kailen Sheridan, Sabrina D’Angelo and Stephanie Labbe. McLeod says she’s taking it day by day. 

“Right now, I’m considered an option,” she said of Tokyo. “The Olympics have been such a big part of my heart, my passion, my drive, but I’m in a place where I’ve done the time, I’ve done a lot of things I’m very proud of, so what happens from now on is kind of just the icing on the cake. I would love to go, who wouldn’t want to go. 

“If I could wear the Maple Leaf on my chest one more time I would definitely be up for that.”

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Cancelled world curling championships will not be made up

The 2020 world curling championships, cancelled because of COVID-19, will not be played at a later date.

When the World Curling Federation cancelled the women’s, men’s and mixed doubles championships set for March and April, it said it would be discussing potential options including rescheduling the events — perhaps playing them in the fall at one venue.

CBC Sports has learned that will no longer be the case.

“We were holding out hope, but I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” skip Brad Gushue told CBC Sports on Wednesday from St. John’s, N.L.. “I think based on the environment we’re in right now it’s not a surprise at all. But I was certainly hoping that we would get some good news in a month or two.”

Gushue and his rink from Newfoundland and Labrador were preparing to make their third world championship appearance in the past four seasons after capturing the Brier in Kingston at the beginning of March.

Gushue won the title in 2017 and lost the championship game a year later to Sweden’s Nik Edin.

“At this point in my career, I’m 39 years old, I don’t know how many more opportunities I’m going to get. You feel like you’re cheated a little bit,” Gushue said.

Kerri Einarson’s all-skip team from Manitoba was eager to represent Canada at the world championships that were set to take place in Prince George in mid-March.

It would have been Einarson’s first appearance skipping at the tournament.

WATCH: Colleen Jones sounds off on team changes:

On Instagram Live with Devin Heroux, the curler explains how being a lead is an art form, and how making too many changes doesn’t necessarily improve your team. 2:30

Gushue said he’s had the privilege of being on the world stage before so he can put it all in perspective, but he sympathizes with Einarson and her team.

“I really feel for Kerri and her team,” he said. “They haven’t had a chance to go to the worlds. This would have been our third time. Mark (Nichols, a Gushue team member) and I had the Olympic experience as well.”

Gushue won Olympic gold in 2006 in Turin, Italy.

Gushue understands that health and safety are the most important thing, but he admitted to being disappointed about the missed opportunity to capture another world title for Canada.

“When it was leading up to when it was supposed to start, it started to hit me. I had a couple days where I was probably more grumpy than normal,” he said.

WCF to decide new Olympic qualification process

The curling federation will now decide how they are going to move forward and what ramifications the cancellations have on the Olympic qualification.

Olympic qualification points accumulated from the two world championships leading into the Olympics in Beijing 2022 were going to initially determine what countries would qualify for the Games.

After the completion of the 2021 world championships the top seven highest-ranked countries would qualify for Beijing.

But now that this year’s tournament has been removed from the process, it’s up to the WCF to determine how to move forward.

The WCF told CBC Sports on Wednesday it would be announcing new guidelines soon.

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Tesla Shows Off Ventilators Made From Model 3 Parts

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk likes to speak his mind on Twitter, which has occasionally gotten him into trouble. Most recently, Musk’s inaccurate and tasteless comments on coronavirus have drawn criticism, as has his attempt to keep Tesla facilities open in defiance of quarantine orders. The company is trying to do its part during the pandemic, though. Tesla is designing a new ventilator that could save the lives of coronavirus patients, and it’s using Model 3 car parts to do it. 

Musk promised to work on building ventilators late last month after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asked the company for help. Tesla said it would work on creating a new ventilator system, which many saw as a waste of time when there are already designs ready for production. In a new video demo of the Tesla ventilator, the team explains its decision to create something entirely new. 

While designing a new ventilator takes time, that’s not the only consideration. Tesla isn’t set up to manufacture ventilators, so using existing designs would come with some trial and error that slowed the process down regardless of the availability of designs. That would cause Tesla to consumer materials and components that the medical industry desperately needs. Tesla’s design doesn’t take away from current medical supplies, and the engineers doing the work to build these machines know the Tesla parts well and have facilities to produce them in bulk. 

In the video, Tesla showed off two prototypes, one of which was spread out on a table and another that was mounted inside a box as it would be in a hospital. The ventilator uses a Model 3 suspension accumulator as the gas mixing chamber, and the display and some electronics are straight out of the Model 3’s infotainment system. If Musk is right, using these components will speed up manufacturing when the devices are ready for production. However, we don’t know when that will be. 

Tesla is not the only company trying to design a new ventilator to help with COVID-19. Dyson is also looking to make its own hardware to fulfill a 10,000-unit UK government contract. It’s unclear if either Tesla’s or Dyson’s units will be ready in time to help with peak hospitalization. Many areas expect the number of seriously ill patients to exceed hospital capacity in the coming weeks.

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