Naomi Osaka, the champion of U.S. Open women’s singles, smiles during a press conference in Yokohama, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Osaka defeated Serena Williams of the U.S. on Saturday, Sept. 8, to become the first Grand Slam singles champion from Japan. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s victory in the U.S. Open has added her to a growing list of athletes, Nobel Prize winners, and beauty pageant contestants who have raised the issue of what it means to be Japanese.The daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka was born in Japan but raised in the United States. But she is being lauded in Japan as the first from the country to win a Grand Slam singles tennis title, which has upstaged most questions about her mixed background.Some children from mixed race families in Japan often get bullied and demeaned, called “hafu” — from the English word “half” — and are chided that they aren’t fully Japanese.Japan has embraced the 20-year-old Osaka, and she — despite barely speaking Japanese — talks fondly of her affection for her adopted country. But her victory also challenges public attitudes about identity in a homogeneous culture that is being pushed to change.“It is hard to say for sure if the extremely narrow conception, unconsciously or consciously, held by many Japanese of being Japanese, is being loosened,” Naoko Hashimoto, who researches national identify at the University of Sussex in England, wrote in an email to Associated Press.“In my opinion, it still appears that Japanese are generally defined as those who are born from a Japanese father and a Japanese mother, who speak perfect Japanese and ‘act like Japanese’.”Athletes and celebrities seem to fall into a different category. Osaka has lots of company in this realm with an increasing number of sports stars claiming mixed backgrounds.For instance:— Yu Darvish, the Chicago Cubs pitcher: son on a Japanese mother and Iranian father. Born in Osaka.— Mashu Baker, an Olympic gold-medal winner in judo: son of a Japanese mother and American father. Born in Tokyo.— Asuka Cambridge, Olympic silver-medal winner in the 4×100 track relay: born in Jamaica to a Japanese mother and Jamaican father, but grew up in Japan.— Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, track and field sprinter: son of a Japanese mother and Ghanaian father. Born in Tokyo.— Koji Murofushi, Olympic gold- and silver-medal winner in the hammer throw: son of a Romanian mother and Japanese father. Born and raised in Japan.Murofushi said he’s always felt Japanese.“I know that I have a mixed heritage,” he told AP. “But I always feel Japanese.” He added it’s “not something that really concerned me or anything.”The visibility of mixed-race athletes in Japan is sure to increase as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approach and the country hunts for competitors in sports where it has little history.The reverse happened two years ago in the Rio de Janeiro Games, where Brazil found athletes with Japanese roots — more than 2 million Brazilians claim Japanese ancestry — to compete in non-Brazilian specialties.One thing is clear, Osaka is cashing in.The U.S. Open victory was worth $3.8 million in prize money. And on Thursday, Osaka was introduced in Japan as a “brand ambassador” for the Japanese car maker Nissan. It’s a three-year deal, though financial terms were not disclosed.Osaka defeated Williams in Saturday’s chaotic final . Forbes magazine reports that Williams is the highest earning female athlete with income of $18.1 million, almost all from endorsements and sponsorship deals. She’s topped the list for several years.But Osaka’s mixed-race profile, her appeal in the huge Asian market, and her links to Japan’s world-wide brands should drive her long-term earning potential.Osaka was asked if she’s a “new type of Japanese” — mixed race and representing three cultures.“For me, it’s just who I am,” she said. “When someone asks me a question like that, it really throws me off because then I really have to think about it. I don’t know. I don’t really think that I’m three separate — like mixes or whatever. I just think that I’m me.”Osaka said people tell her that she acts “kind of Japanese.” But she added: “I think my tennis is not very Japanese.”Jonathan Jensen, who researches sports marketing at the University of North Carolina, told AP by email that the size of the Nissan contact would depend on how much of her time the company uses. And how many tournaments — and what tournaments — she wins.“She seems very shy and it’s not for everyone,” Jensen wrote. “But the potential is there if that’s the route she wants to take, particularly with brands based in Asia, like Nissan. Tech firms and consumer electronics would also be a natural fit.”Osaka has charmed Japanese audiences with her grace and gentleness off the court, and her ferocity on it. She’s talked about her fondness for Japanese food — curried rice topped with a pork cutlet is a favorite.She’s also been a spokeswoman for two years for the Japanese cup noodle brand Nissin, which is launching a new noodle cup to commemorate her victory.Kazuyoshi Minowa, a spokesman for Windsor Corp, which operates tennis shops in Tokyo, said customers are asking to buy the same racket that Osaka uses. He said he met her two years ago when she visited a store.“My impression was that she was very quiet, unlike her powerful image playing the game,” he told Japanese broadcaster NHK.Questions about race also surfaced in 2016 when Priyanka Yoshikawa was crowned Miss World Japan. Her mother is Japanese and her father is Indian and she was born in Tokyo.This came a year after Ariana Miyamoto won the Miss Universe Japan title. She was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and African-American father.Hashimoto, the researcher at the University of Sussex, pointed out that under Japanese law, Osaka will have to decide on her nationality before she turns 22. She’s 20 now and cannot legally hold two passports.Hashimoto referenced three Nobel Prize winners born in Japan who eventually took other nationalities. The writer Kazuo Ishiguro holds a British passport, and scientists Yoichiro Nanbu and Shuji Nakamura both now hold American passports.She said the strict one-passport rule “could risk leading to brain drain of great talents out of Japan.”“While Naomi Osaka’s victory should be celebrated on its own,” Hashimoto said. “Her case provides those Japanese with a narrow conception of Japanese-ness with an excellent opportunity to rethink what it means to be Japanese.”
The Russian doping affair that became public with a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency-supported independent commission in 2016 is only the latest doping scandal to rock the world of track and field. From the wide-scale doping programs in the 1980s Soviet Union and East Germany, to Ben Johnson and the Balco scandal that snared Marion Jones, doping has a long history in the sport.Now, a proposal developed by European Athletics and submitted to track and field’s international governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, aims to wipe the slate clean.The proposed rules would essentially annul records set before 2005, when new anti-doping standards took effect. “It’s a radical solution for sure, but those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long,” EA President President Svein Arne Hansen said in a statement. IAAF President Sebastian Coe has also expressed support for the proposal, and the IAAF plans to consider it by the end of the year.We gathered a few runners and sports journalists to discuss the proposal, the ethical issues it raises and what track and field might do to improve the sport’s credibility. The transcript has been lightly edited.Our participants:Christie Aschwanden is a lifelong runner and lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight.Bonnie Ford is an enterprise and Olympics reporter for ESPN, where she has written extensively about doping in sports.Kara Goucher is a two-time Olympian, an American record holder, World Championships silver medalist, and one of America’s most accomplished distance runners.Alex Hutchinson is a former physicist and national-class runner who covers the science of endurance sport for Runner’s World and other publications.Christie: Let’s talk about the specifics of the proposed rules in a minute. But first, I want to ask about the intention here. According to the proposal’s text:The sad reality is that there are records on the books at the World, Area (continental) and national levels in which people in the sport, the media and the public do not have full and complete confidence.Do you agree that there are records on the books that are questionable? Solutions aside for a moment, is the EA’s characterization of the problem accurate?Kara: Yes, I’d agree that there are records that are suspect.Bonnie: True. I’d add that this could be said of any modern sport.Alex: That’s an understatement. There are records we know were drug-aided. And there are some that are suspect for other reasons, i.e., Florence Griffith-Joyner’s record was almost certainly wind-aided.Christie: It’s interesting to see track and field address the doping issue in this way. Bonnie, do you know of any other sports that have seriously considered revising their records to account for doping (or other forms of cheating)?Bonnie: There was a big debate in swimming after the introduction/impact of the “tech suits,” [special suits that increased buoyancy and decreased drag] and 43 world records went down at the 2009 Rome worlds. Suits are now far more strictly regulated, but those records were ultimately left standing. Some “tech suit” records now have been broken or are being challenged.Christie: So in track and field, is this a case where there are certain records that are widely considered suspect, or are all of them suspect?Kara: That’s a good question. I think some are considered more suspect than others, but sadly, suspicion looms over most now.Bonnie: I do NOT by any means think all the extraordinary performances in track were achieved by doping.Alex: I don’t think it’s a binary answer. There’s no record I’m 100 percent sure is clean and no record I’m 100 percent sure is dirty. But as Kara says, some are a heck of a lot more suspicious that others. If the records are reset, there will absolutely be some clean athletes who lose records.Kara: I agree with Alex, and that’s why I think the reset is dangerous.Christie: OK, so let’s get to the proposal itself, which says that world and European records can only be recognized if:the performance is achieved at competitions on a list of approved international events where the highest standards of officiating and technical equipment can be guaranteed;the athlete has been subject to an agreed-upon number of doping control tests in the months leading up to the performance; andthe doping control sample taken after the record is stored and available for retesting for 10 years.Reasonable?Kara: I like the idea of stricter testing. I like the idea of scheduled retesting. But I think this must be grandfathered in. I am opposed to erasing records set prior to 2005.Bonnie: No. 1 seems like a no-brainer. No. 3 is now WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) standard and, as Kara said, should be grandfathered. Broad philosophy-wise: I oppose scrubbing any records for a few reasons. First, it does not give athletes due process. Second, record books are a reflection of actual events, not a perfect text.Alex: I think the specific rules are fine. In a sense, I think they just wanted some change in rules as a legally defensible way of wiping the record slate clean. They say as much in their report.Christie: So Kara, you would be in favor of adopting these rules going forward but not eliminating the existing records?Kara: Yes, I could agree to that. But I’d like to see more clarification on how many tests they need and how often the will retest the stored sample. No. 2 is the hardest to implement.Bonnie: No. 2 is the tricky one. It LOOKS like a simple, easy fix to require a certain number of drug tests. But that would require a change in the WADA code and would be a nightmarish extra layer of bureaucracy.Christie: Kara, you have been a whistleblower and a vocal advocate for clean sport. Do you have a sense of how this proposal is being received among your peers?Kara: I think most people are for the proposal moving forward, but we are more concerned with what is happening in competitions right now. We are a little frustrated that it is focused on world records and not just clean competition across the board.Bonnie: The International Olympic Committee has also advanced this notion of having a required number of tests in a period before the Olympics, but the global infrastructure simply doesn’t exist to do this right now.Kara: Agree with Bonnie that it sounds good but will be nearly impossible to implement.Bonnie: And how would you account for someone who was not in a testing pool but qualifies for an Olympic or world team? It happens.Kara: It does happen.Christie: You raise an interesting issue, Kara. With these sorts of proposals I wonder how much of it is aimed at showing that the bureaucrats are doing something versus doing the most effective things they can to address the problems.Kara: Christie, that’s honestly how I feel. This is to show they care, to get good press. But what are they doing about actual everyday problems? Are they addressing competitions now?Alex: That’s an interesting point — focusing on world records is “easier” than cleaning up the sport at large.Christie: Do we know that new records are cleaner? There’s been a lot of suspicion about some recent records.Kara: We don’t know that new records are cleaner. We have seen two “unbreakable” records go down in women’s distance running in the last two years. Are those breakable?Bonnie: I view erasing sports history as just as dicey as erasing other history! If there are questionable records, letting them stand is a continual reminder that the system failed the industry, the athletes and fans, and that the system needs to be constantly monitored and improved.Kara: Yes, and the IAAF doesn’t like that.Alex: It’s maybe worth pointing out that history won’t be fully erased. Those times will still be in the books as part of IAAF history, much like Uwe Hohn’s javelin record under the old specifications. They just won’t be recognized as the current records. No one will forget, say, Marita Koch.1Koch set the world record in the 400 meters in 1985 as a member of the East German team, which was later found to have carried out a systematic doping program.Christie: Given how many of the recent doping scandals have been exposed due to whistleblowing and investigative work, not doping tests, is the reliance of these proposed rules on doping tests going to assure that new records are clean?Kara: I’d say absolutely not.Christie: Yeah, one of the problems with doping (and the fallibility of testing) is that it makes every good performance suspect. How do you balance the need to root out cheaters with the desire to recognize truly great performances?Kara: That’s the sad part of all of this. It makes all great performances be taken with a grain of salt.Bonnie: I can’t stress this enough: You can’t ever be completely sure.Kara: Agree — you can never be 100 percent sure either way.Christie: Right, you can’t prove you’re clean. Remember when Lance Armstrong talked about how many tests he’d passed? And that Nike ad where he said, “What am I on? I’m on my bike, bustin’ my ass, six hours a day.” It really comes down to trust. How does the sport win that back?Kara: Well, that’s the frustrating part. Lance never failed a test (although that is now disputable), so what does that prove? Nothing. Trust will only be won when the IAAF isn’t afraid to nail big names.Christie: Good point. The Armstrong case shows just how vested a sport and all its stakeholders can be in the sport’s stars.Bonnie: So what truly is the point of putting some world records back “within reach”? It does not eliminate the mistrust factor, so is it to benefit athletes who would get bonuses, or sponsors who would promote those athletes? Kara — you would know more about this; are there big incentives for world records written into contracts, or has that faded from fashion?Kara: No, there are still big incentives.Christie: So one question is whether the focus on records actually has a negative effect here, by incentivizing unbelievable performances.Kara: I think that people want records; they think that makes the sport more popular and interesting. But the competition can be sold in a way that is interesting. We don’t need world records for people to watch.Alex: So to me, it feels a little extra unfair for once-in-a-generation athletes who spend their careers being compared to ridiculous records. But then again, I thought that about the women’s 10,000 record too, which, as someone mentioned above, went down last year.Bonnie: I know track is a point-A-to-point-B sport, but shouldn’t the work and results be its own reward? (Easy for me to say, I know.) For example, there are mountains in the Tour de France that will likely never be climbed as fast as they were a while ago, but there’s still a winner and a best athlete on the day.Kara: I like Bonnie’s point. We need better marketing and selling of stories and personalities.Alex: There’s always a tension in the sport between those who think it should be all about head-to-head competition and those who think it’s about the clock or measuring tape. I think both are important and exciting, but I definitely think the ability to compare current stars to “all time” is one of the sport’s attractions. So records do have some meaning, even given the haziness surrounding some of them. To me, that’s one argument for trying to make at least some sort of attempt at keeping the records “real.”Bonnie: Alex is right in that there is a thrill, even in the press box, of being present to see a world record broken.Alex: I’m actually kind of ambivalent about the proposal.But given that Kara and Bonnie seem to be skeptical, I’ll try to articulate a bit some of the pros … 🙂Bonnie: Alex, I am interested in the pros, because I’m totally down on this proposal. I see it as a mixture of shell game and ill-conceived PR.Kara: Alex, I hear what you are saying, but you liked the sub-two-hour marathon attempt, right? It was interesting. It was captivating. But at the end of the day, it wouldn’t have been a real record.Alex: Yeah, that turned out to be way more exciting than I expected — but to me, that sort of argues that the pursuit of never-been-done times does have an attraction.Christie: As a fan, I prefer to watch a race like the 1500, where tactics come into play, over a race where everything spreads out and one runner dominates.Bonnie: Same with the marathon, Christie. I like seeing how athletes interact in real (and imperfect) conditions.Kara: There is a place for records and fast running, but there is still just as much thrill in head-to-head competition on the track or on the field. We’ve gotten away from that.Alex: It seems we’re sort of arguing here that world records aren’t that important. But if so, why the angst about resetting them?Kara: Well, they are important. But a world record is a world record, and it should be hard and it should be rare and it shouldn’t be taken away because we don’t like that they haven’t been broken in a long time.Alex: To me, you scan down the list of current records, and the message it sends is a white flag of surrender — like we’ve given up even pretending that the records are supposed to be undoped. Marita Koch’s doping regimen was released after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and there are other records that aren’t much more credible than hers.Bonnie: There are outlier cases like Koch’s where there is specific evidence out there, but that doesn’t exist for many/most old world records. My angst is from the athletes’ rights perspective.Kara: Imagine you are Mike Powell and you had a magical day and now you are told that your record doesn’t matter because no one has broken it. That’s insane! World records should be rare — they are magical moments when people achieve a new level of human greatness.Alex: Maybe it’s a messaging problem. The proposal clearly states that they’re not implying guilt or “taking away” records. They’re just starting a new list as of 2005. Just like the javelin, which changed technical specs in the 1980s. Instead of talking about “erasing” world records, maybe we should talk about starting a new list of post-2005 records, which will be listed alongside the pre-2005 records in the books.Just like, since turning 40, I get to keep track of my new “masters” PRs …Bonnie: I hear you, Alex. But what I don’t like is the implication that anti-doping now is foolproof. What happens when the “new” records get upended after retesting? Even more of a credibility issue, IMO.Alex: I guess I don’t take the implication that anti-doping is foolproof. No one could possibly believe that. They’re not trying to be perfect, they’re trying to be better.Kara: And yes, I think that is a huge part of it. We are seeing people beat some of these records now that were thought to be unbreakable. So now we are just supposed to believe it because of stored samples?Bonnie: Christie said that for this discussion, we should pretend we’re at a bar. I feel like I’m a couple drinks in.Christie: Ha 🍸Alex: 🙂Christie: So what would you all think of adopting these new rules, but only henceforth? So the old records stay, but new ones have to meet the new criteria. Then you have a line in the sand where records before/after either did or didn’t meet these criteria. (For whatever the criteria are worth.)Kara: I’m fine with requiring more testing. Athletes should always want more testing. But it should not erase what has happened in the past.Alex: Yeah, people like Powell, Paula Radcliffe — I totally understand why they’d be opposed. And maybe that’s sufficient reason not to do it. But then again, maybe there are broader sport-wide benefits that outweigh their needs. (And of course, me naming those two names carries a lot of implicit judgment that is totally fallible!)Christie: Alex, to me this is one of the most insidious things about doping — the atmosphere of suspicion that it creates. It’s totally unfair to clean athletes, but every athlete insists that s/he’s clean! I wrote a story about doping in advance of the 2012 Olympics and while interviewing an athlete who’d started a foundation to promote clean sport, all I could think of was, this is great PR.Kara: Christie, I don’t blame you. And that’s sad! But that’s the world we are in now. To be honest, I am the most skeptical person. I hardly believe anything I see. But I feel so strongly that it is wrong to put an asterisk next to records before 2005.Alex: Kara, you’ve now got a World Championship silver — surely that’s the kind of past that deserves updating! 🙂Kara: But that’s the frustrating thing. I don’t have a WC silver. I have never heard from the IAAF or USA Track & Field [the governing body for the sport in the U.S.]. I still have my bronze. How about they help athletes who have been cheated? Focus on that instead of a big PR move about world records.Alex: Ha, well that’s a fair point.Christie: Kara, I will throw you a huge party and ceremony when they finally deliver that medal! (Hopefully I’ll still be young enough to stand up and clap.)Kara: Haha, I’d love that! I hope that it can be something special I can share with my son and not just mailed to me 10 years after the fact.Christie: OK, let’s start to wrap up. If you were put in charge of the IAAF, what would you do to address these issues and improve the sport’s integrity?Bonnie: 1) Get their own house in order. 2) Show leadership in quality and geographic reach/fairness of testing. 3) Show leadership in quality of service to athletes denied medals by doping. 4) Serious consequences for nations/federations with multiple violations (standard TBD) of organized doping.Kara: All of Bonnie’s points are spot on. How can we trust anything until WADA and IAAF get their act together?Alex: I wish I had a useful answer. Stop accepting bribes?Kara: Yes, that would be a start!Bonnie: I just downed another fictional drink! O-pa!Kara: 😂Alex: Seriously, I don’t have any magical solutions. They should start by doing all the stuff that people like me assumed they were doing all along, until the scandals really started breaking the last few years. As for world records, it doesn’t really bother me one way or the other. I’m not sure I see enough positives from resetting the records to be worth the hassle and ill will it creates. But if they do it, I won’t be too upset either. As long as they don’t touch my City of Toronto Grade 9 1500 record (which was actually scrubbed from the books when they changed the age categories, now that I think about it).Kara: Sounds like a good record!Alex: And now no one can break it. 🙂Christie: 🏆 for you, Alex. I held my high school 1600-meter record for 22 years. For most of those years, I thought the event was the mile, but then I found out that 1600m is just short of a full mile! Not only that, the official record was 3 seconds slower than I remembered it. (The older I get, the faster I was …)Bonnie: I have no records, other than “time spent procrastinating while writing.”Kara: Well, I’m sure that record is clean, Bonnie.Bonnie: Fortunately, chocolate and Diet Coke are not on the banned list.Christie: This has been really fun. Final thoughts?Kara: I do think that athletes should be demanding more change. The more people are outspoken and join forces, the more likely people in charge will be to listen. Look at how amazing the response was for Lily King in Rio. We need more of that.Bonnie: Athletes have more power than they know. I truly think they are the only ones who can force/shape a more rational, honest system.Alex: I agree with Kara that athletes have an important role to play in demanding change. But as Kara and others know, that’s a very, very hard role to play while also trying to compete at an elite level.Kara: People in charge don’t like “whistleblowers.” They are a problem. Do you think the IAAF is reaching out to them and asking what they know? They are not.Bonnie: There’s some interesting research ongoing now about how athletes themselves can probably exert the most pressure on each other, but that is hard for any human in any field.Kara: Competing while being outspoken has been impossible at times. But the more people that do it, the easier it becomes.Bonnie: But if we look at some of the really seminal labor events in sports — the women’s tennis tour, for example — active athletes can have such a huge impact. And anti-doping is part of working conditions, when you come right down to it.Christie: That feels like a nice note to end on. Thanks everyone!Alex: Thanks, all!Kara: Thanks for respectful dialogue!!Bonnie: Thank you! Fun and informative.
This week, Hot Takedown is taking a focused look at the lawsuit filed by the U.S. women’s soccer team in advance of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Twenty-eight players have sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming patterns of gender-based discrimination. One of the plaintiffs is USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who released the following statement:“The bottom line is simple: it is wrong for us to be paid and valued less for our work because of our gender. Every member of this team works incredibly hard to achieve the success that we have had for the USSF. We are standing up now so that our efforts, and those of future USWNT players, will be fairly recognized.”To unpack this lawsuit and assess the U.S. women’s 2019 World Cup chances, we’re joined by journalist and author Caitlin Murray, whose book, “The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Changed Soccer,” is out now.Finally, our Rabbit Hole fields an imaginary baseball team full of the most preposterous injuries that have plagued players of the sport. Who knew pillows could be so dangerous?Here’s what we’re looking at:Brooks Koepka’s historic performance at the PGA Championship.Bodexpress’s solo ride at the Preakness States that captured America’s heart.Michael McCann’s analysis of the USWNT lawsuit for Sports Illustrated.Excuse us while we try not to laugh at Johan Camargo’s epic fall. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code FiveThirtyEight
After a closely fought, and tightly officiated, first half, the Ohio State men’s basketball team cruised to a 71-45 victory against Minnesota Wednesday night at the Schottenstein Center behind junior forward Deshaun Thomas’ 19-point performance. After dropping three of their last four games, the Buckeyes were able to get back on track against the Gophers. “When you get knocked down, it’s always good to pick yourself back up and regroup, and that’s what we did tonight,” Thomas said. The Gophers stubbornly hung around, though, trailing by only six points with 13:30 left to play in the contest, before OSU surged ahead thanks to a 16-0 run over the next six minutes. Well before that span, though, the game started off with nine fouls in the first 2:29 of the game. But Thomas said the team responded well to the avalanche of early calls. “We didn’t let them get in our head,” he said. “We stayed together and kept our composure as a team and still were aggressive.” All the early calls did provide an opportunity for several players to come off the bench early, including sophomore guard Shannon Scott and freshman guard Amedeo Della Valle. Scott, who ended the game with 11 points, came in after junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. picked up his second foul 2:31 into the game. Despite the early foul trouble, OSU’s defense appeared to have woken up from the sleep they were in at Wisconsin Sunday, when the team gave up 71 points and lost by 22. In addition to limiting the Gophers to just 45 points, OSU held Minnesota to 29 percent shooting from the floor. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith gave a lot of credit to the Buckeyes. “Ohio State really turned up the heat defensively,” he said. The Buckeyes held the Gophers to just 25 percent shooting in the second half. OSU coach Thad Matta, though, deflected some of Smith’s praise. “They went cold,” he said. “They had some good looks at the basket that didn’t go down and we’ve seen that a time or two.” Adding to the Buckeyes’ defensive effort were junior guard Aaron Craft’s three steals in the game. OSU’s offense still seemed to sputter throughout the first half, scoring just 29 points on 38 percent shooting. With two minutes to go in the first half, no OSU player had more than one field goal. That would change. The Buckeyes finished out the first half on an 8-2 run in the final minutes, including a 3-pointer by Craft at the buzzer to take a six point lead into the game’s intermission. That sort of offensive performance carried over into the second half as OSU shot nearly 42 percent from the field and 39 percent from behind the arc. Smith said the Gophers’ struggles from the field and 21 turnovers played a big role in the game’s outcome. “The combination of shooting poorly and turning the ball over, that’s a perfect storm for getting beat,” he said. OSU is set to next play Michigan State Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann applauds his team during the second half with Texas Southern at the Schottenstein Center on Nov. 16. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media EditorOhio State head coach Chris Holtmann continues his campaign to generate interest in the men’s basketball program this fall. On Friday, Holtmann announced students will be able to attend the Buckeyes’ game Nov. 29 against Clemson for free. “Ever since my arrival to campus, I’ve been energized by our passionate students,” Holtmann said in a video on The NutHouse Twitter account. “Whether it’s seeing you on campus or at football games on Saturdays, your presence has been felt. We need that presence at our men’s basketball games this season. I want to give everyone an opportunity to see our team in action.”The free ticket giveaway is the latest in Holtmann’s efforts to get students excited about Ohio State men’s basketball. He paid for students’ lunches at Raising Cane’s on Wednesday, and had spoken earlier in the year about how he hopes to get the Schottenstein Center “rocking again.”Students can claim their free tickets by clicking here. Ohio State will next take to the Schottenstein Center court at 2 p.m. Sunday when it hosts Northeastern.? SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM @ChrisHoltmann AND @OhioStateHoops ? FOLLOW THE LINK TO SECURE YOUR FREE TICKET https://t.co/UX7UibgjPK pic.twitter.com/wsNMdwnZFK— The NutHouse (@BuckeyeNutHouse) November 17, 2017
Ohio State then-freshman linebacker Baron Browning warms up prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Former Sports EditorOhio State sophomore Baron Browning is a different type of linebacker than redshirt sophomore and team captain Tuf Borland. While talking about Borland’s sense of on-ball defense during Monday’s press conference, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano praised Browning’s ability to cover ground, using his 6-foot-4, 238-pound frame to cover receivers and tight ends, an ability his coach calls “unbelievable.” Browning’s physical attributes, his ability to run and his ability to cover is not something that is hard for him. “You can’t give anybody credit except God,” Browning said. “I’m just using the abilities he blessed me with.” Browning has not been without his own set of challenges in his second season with Ohio State, though. After Borland went down with an Achilles injury in March, Browning, primarily an outside linebacker, moved to the middle, taking on the responsibilities of what many call the “quarterback” of the defense, a position that he had never been in before. “You have to get yourself lined up as well as everybody else,” Browning said. “You have to make all the checks, the calls, get the D-line set.” Browning said he watched and sought counsel from former teammates that have played the middle inside linebacker position, players like former Ohio State linebackers Chris Worley and Raekwon McMillan. He said he even talked to Borland after the captain returned from his injury, with both giving each other positive feedback and tips to make each other better. One of the main things he took away from these players was the amount of responsibility Browning now had on his shoulders at the middle linebacker position. To him, his new position carries a considerable weight in terms of leadership, more than he ever had on the outside. “It’s more of a responsibility versus just being outside, getting the call and worrying about your job,” Browning said. “You got to take care of everybody.”Browning described it as having a “different personality” when playing in the middle linebacker spot. This was something he had to get used to quick, starting each of the first two games for Ohio State this season. He said he was nervous prior to the season opener against Oregon State, but felt more confident with each snap he took, especially going into the second game against Rutgers. As Borland continues to rehab, getting closer and closer to consistent in-game action, Browning said linebackers coach Bill Davis and the rest of the Ohio State coaching staff has not given clarification about the rotation between him and Borland and if it would continue. Browning was not surprised about the linebacker rotation heading into the season. “Our room in general, we have a lot of talented linebackers,” Browning said. “It’s going to be a big rotation. From inside to outside we have a lot of guys that can play.” Browning now knows, even despite growing pains in the middle linebacker spot, he has to become one of the leaders of the defense on the field. He said he has started to act like it. “Just being loud and knowing I got to get everybody set and make all the calls and I can’t be wrong,” Browning said. “Even if I am wrong, be loud with it.”
The Buckeyes give a shout out to the crowd after they defeated Indiana 2-0 on March 24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternThe Ohio State softball team (26-14, 9-5 Big Ten) ended its final nonconference game of this season with a 4-3 victory against Ohio (28-17, 9-6 MAC). Ohio State freshman third baseman Ashley Prange homered to the left field, putting the Buckeyes on the board first in the second inning. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Ohio State extended the lead to 3-0 as senior second baseman Emily Clark and senior shortstop Lilli Piper both scored on a two-RBI single by Prange. “It’s good to beat an Ohio team.” Prange said. “I thought we played well.”Ohio cut the deficit in the sixth inning. Senior third baseman Alex Day homered down the right field line, scoring three for the Bobcats and tying the game at 3-3. The Buckeyes soon took back the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Piper reached on a throwing error, which allowed senior outfielder Bri Betschel, who was on base due to a double, to make it home, scoring the eventual game-winning run for Ohio State. “They are a college in Ohio. We like to see that. We want all those Ohio wins. It’s just important to come out.” Piper said. “They are a good team. They are gonna get some good wins this year.”Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said she was super proud of how her team bounced back. “They got their runs in and we responded right back,” Schoenly said.Ohio State will head to East Lansing, Michigan to return to Big Ten action against Michigan State. Game one will start at 6 p.m. on April 26.
Andrew Marr, the broadcaster, said a new treatment he received after suffering a stroke has resulted in subtle changes, but not the “dramatic improvements” he hoped for.The BBC presenter, who had a stroke almost four years ago and remains semi-paralysed on his left side, travelled to Florida to try a new anti-inflammatory drug called Etanercept.Marr had described the treatment – which involved having the drug injected into the spinal fluid while hanging upside down – as a Christmas present to himself. It hasn’t been ‘pick up thy bed and walk’ but it hasn’t been nothing, eitherAndrew Marr Show more Andrew Marr, pictured interviewing Boris Johnson, has recovered from his stroke enough to continue presenting his BBC showCredit:Victoria Jones /PA In a piece for The Spectator recently, talking about the new treatment, he detailed some of the effects of stroke he has to deal with.He wrote: “I’m not complaining too much: I can work, drink, see friends, paint, listen to music and irritate my children like before. I’m a lucky fellow.”But I can’t run or cycle or swim, and I walk very unsteadily and slowly. I drop things and take ages to get dressed.” He said he will now work to build on the small changes he has seen.Marr said in a statement: “Although I haven’t seen the dramatic improvements that I hoped for, there have been subtle and useful changes which I am going to work on through physiotherapy and exercise over the coming months.”It hasn’t been ‘pick up thy bed and walk’ but it hasn’t been nothing, either.”We will tell the fuller story in a BBC documentary scheduled to be broadcast in January.”Marr’s stroke in January 2013 left him spending two months in hospital and undergoing extensive physiotherapy to help him walk. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
But in a remarkably well-timed twist of fate, one contender, Harewood House, is to find its on-screen fortunes revived at the perfect moment, as the blockbuster film of the same name brings the story of its little-known royal resident to the world. The rest, ordinarily, would be history. A decade ago, the makers of Downton Abbey chose one stately home to film what would become one of Britain’s most popular period dramas, turning down its rivals along the way. Harewood House is to “star as itself” in the new Downton Abbey film, weaving together royal historic fact with movie fiction. Its former chatelaine Princess Mary, the daughter of George V and Queen Mary, will appear as a character, just…