Australia Pushes For Hosting Candidacy of 2022 Commonwealth Games

Representatives of the cities of Perth and Melbourne have been leading a push for their country to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
 
This news comes after Durban dropping out of hosting duties due to a lack of finances needed to host the games.
 

 
Back in 2006 Melbourne was the host of the Commonwealth Games and fully welcome a return of the event to their city. When talking to the mayor of the city, he went on to mention, “Melbourne already has the infrastructure in place to host an event of this magnitude, there are not a lot of cities in the world that can say that.”
 
Australia isn’t the first country to display interest in hosting the event, as the British cities of Birmingham and Liverpool have also sent in bids to the committee.
 

 
Both Perth and Melbourne have been hosts of the games in the past, and are now just looking for a push from the government to help secure a spot to host.

Sports Drinks Help Less Than Intended, May Actually Cause Harm

From eight glasses of water a day to protein shakes, we’re bombarded with messages about what we should drink and when, especially during exercise. But these drinking dogmas are relatively new. For example, in the 1970s, marathon runners were discouraged from drinking fluids for fear that it would slow them down.
 
Now we’re obsessed with staying hydrated when we exercise—not just with water, but with drinks that claim to do a better job of preventing dehydration, even improving athletic performance. Yet the evidence for these drinks’ benefits is actually quite limited—they might actually be bad for your health in some instances. So how did sports drinks come to be seen as so important?
 

 
Much of the focus on hydration can be traced back to the boom in road running, which began with the New York marathon in the 1970s. Sports and drinks manufacturers spotted a growing market and launched specialist products for would-be athletes. The first experimental batch of Gatorade sports drink cost $35 to produce but has spawned an industry with sales of around £260 million a year in the UK alone. And consumption is increasing steadily, making it the fastest-growing sector in the UK soft drinks market in recent years. What started life as a mixture of simple kitchen food stuffs has become an “essential piece of sporting equipment.”
 

Marketing victory

 
The key behind this huge rise in sports drinks lies in the coupling of science with creative marketing. An investigation by the British Medical Journal has found that drinks companies started sponsoring scientists to carry out research on hydration, which spawned a whole new area of science. These same scientists advise influential sports medicine organizations, developing guidelines that have filtered down to health advice from bodies such as the European Food Safety Authority and the International Olympic Committee. Such advice has helped spread fear about the dangers of dehydration.
 
One of industry’s greatest successes was to pass off the idea that the body’s natural thirst system is not a perfect mechanism for detecting and responding to dehydration. These include claims that: “The human thirst mechanism is an inaccurate short-term indicator of fluid needs … Unfortunately, there is no clear physiological signal that dehydration is occurring.”
As a result, healthcare organizations routinely give advice to ignore your natural thirst mechanism. Diabetes UK, for example, advises: “Drink small amounts frequently, even if you are not thirsty—approximately 150 ml of fluid every 15 minutes—because dehydration dramatically affects performance.”
 

 
Drinks manufacturers claim that the sodium in sports drinks make you feel thirstier, encouraging you to consume a higher volume of liquid compared with drinking water. They also claim these drinks enable you to retain more liquid once you’ve consumed it, based on the observation that the carbohydrates found in the drinks aid water absorption from the small intestine.
 
This implies that your thirst mechanism needs enhancing to encourage you to drink enough. But research actually shows natural thirst is a more reliable trigger. A review of research on time trial cyclists concluded that relying on thirst to gauge the need for fluid replacement was the best strategy. This “meta-analysis” showed for the first time that drinking according to how thirsty you are will maximize your endurance performance.
 
On top of this, many of the claims about sports drinks are often repeated without reference to any evidence. A British Medical Journal review screened 1,035 web pages on sports drinks and identified 431 claims they enhanced athletic performance for a total of 104 different products. More than half the sites did not provide any references—and of the references that were given, they were unable to systematically identify strengths and weaknesses. Of the remaining half, 84% referred to studies judged to be at high risk of bias, only three were judged high quality, and none referred to systematic reviews, which give the strongest form of evidence.
 

More harm than good?

 
One of the key problems with many of the studies into the benefits of sports drinks is that they recruit highly trained volunteers who sustain exercise at high intensity for long periods. But the vast majority of sports drink users train for very few hours per week or exercise at a relatively low intensity (for example, walking instead of running during a race). This means the current evidence is not of sufficient quality to inform the public about benefits deriving from sport drinks.
 
Even more importantly, as sports drinks rise in popularity among children, they may be contributing to obesity levels. A 500 ml bottle of a sports drink typically contains around 20 g of sugar (about five teaspoons’ worth) and so represents a large amount of calories entering the body. But endorsements by elite athletes and claims of hydration benefits have meant sports drinks have shrugged off unhealthy associations in many people’s eyes. One study found more than a quarter of American parents believe that sports drinks are healthy for children.
 

 
That’s not to say hydration research into different drinks isn’t useful. For example, it could help identify which drinks help the body retain fluids in the longer term. This would be of real benefit in situations where athletes have limited access to fluids or can’t take frequent toilet breaks.
 
But the current evidence is not good enough to inform the public about the benefits and harms of sports products. What we can be almost sure about is that sports drink are not helping turn casual runners into Olympic athletes. In fact, if they avoided these sugar-laden drinks they would be probably be slimmer, and so, faster.

U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Boycotting World Championship Tournament

For the last year, the women on the U.S.’s national soccer team went to battle against the U.S. Soccer Federation as they demanded equal pay and fair wages as their counterparts.
 
Now the women’s hockey team is demanding the same.
 

 
It was announced by some members of the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team on Wednesday that they will not participating in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship tournament in Plymouth, Michigan set to take place this month.
 
By boycotting the tournament, the women are hoping that USA Hockey, the governing body for the sport, will provide them with fair wages and benefits.
 
What does it mean for the Women’s World Championship that is set to begin on March 31st? Well, for one, the U.S. women’s team will be absent and the tournament will be without its host team.
Having won six gold medals out of the eight championship gold medals, the tournament will also be void of its defending champion.
 

 
For over a year now, the hockey players have been seeking a contract with the governing body that will allow the players better compensation. The situation for the majority of the women is that their current pay comprises of the insignificant $1,000 a month stipend over the Olympic training period that lasts six months long.
 
According to the lawyers of the players, USA Hockey is paying them “virtually nothing.” This has resorted in half of the players to finding other jobs outside of ice hockey to produce enough funds.
 
Other than fair compensation, the female hockey players are also asking to receive more funds for equipment, more staff, expenses and marketing as they bring up the notion that the men’s team receive much more compared to them.

Legitimacy of eSports: Can it Be Considered A ‘Traditional’ Sport?

eSports have experienced a boom in popularity in recent years. Prize money, viewership, and exposure have all grown to previously unimaginable scales. With competitive gaming becoming commonplace, questions of legitimacy are still raised by its detractors, both by traditional sports fans and analysts alike.
 
ESports are competitive computer gaming leagues that showcase strategy and teamwork encompassing a variety of genres and game types. The most prominent leagues and circuits are made up of strategy games, such as Dota 2 and League of Legends, and first-person shooters, like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and multiple iterations of Call of Duty.
 

 
The debate over the legitimacy of eSports centres in large part around whether the precision and strategy characteristic of competitive gaming is enough to compensate for the lack of physical activity. In response, proponents of eSports tote the necessity of extraordinary hand-eye coordination and refined motor skills. In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, reporter and neuroscience student Tom Burns reported on the “extremely complex” nature of eSports, claiming the “careful planning, precise timing, and skillful execution” essential to competitive gaming make eSports worthy of recognition. Similar arguments have come up before in support of different sporting events like poker and Formula One racing. However, their respective statuses as real sports remain ambiguous to this day.
 
Additionally, viewership and industry revenue shows widespread growth. According to Newzoo–the foremost authority on eSports demographics–total revenue reached nearly $500 million with over 300 million viewers in 2016. Newzoo predicts that by 2019, eSports revenue could jump to well over $1 billion and viewership could reach 500 million worldwide. While the projected revenue would only make up a fraction of the billions of dollars mainstream sports bring in each year, the high rate of growth in competitive gaming may bring the industry into contention with the revenue figures seen in other sports industries.
 

 
Player compensation has also been feeling the effects of the industry’s growth. The top 100 highest earners in competitive gaming have made from just under $400,000 to over $2.7 million. The majority of these high salaries come from the Dota 2 circuit, where prize pools can generate over $9 million for first place teams and over $20 million in total. For comparison, the average MLB salary is $3.2 million, making the highest of eSports prizes seem merely average at best and demonstrating once again that eSports does not currently have the numbers to generate the same publicity as other sporting events.
 
While the figures may still not rival traditional athletics, first-hand testimony suggests eSports players train as hard as any other sport. According to a string of Tweets from Astralis, an eSports team from Denmark competing in the Counter Strike: Global Offensive circuit, each of its players spent almost half of 2016 away from home attending events and competing in 29 tournaments. As each competitive gaming tournament consists of multiple games, an eSports team may have the same time commitment to their events as a baseball or football team does, linking what some claim to be completely different types of competitive events.
 

 
With all factors considered, eSports will continue to grow despite its critics. The traditional notion of a ‘real’ sport may be centred on physical activity, but competitive gaming shows that the intense strategy, planning, and skill required to compete make eSports just as legitimate a sport as football or soccer.

Twitter Inks Deal with National Lacrosse League

Looking to branch out in the realm of sports live-streaming, Twitter has expanded their roster with the addition of Lacrosse to their roster. The NLL will join the NFL as one of the leagues on the sports live streaming platform.
 
This is a huge win for the National Lacrosse League, as the sport will now see a bigger opportunity to be broadcast around the world, as traditionally there is little appeal for the sport and television networks don’t wish to air the sport on their stations for this reason alone. This deal will help Twitter in the long run build their sports network, as they see a build up of numerous niche markets could work out in their favor over the long run.
 

 
With this arrangement, Twitter will have exclusivity for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. They will stream one game a week – for free, and the deal also includes all playoff games and even the Champions Cup. Both companies look at this as a way to build up the niche market, and attract those of a younger demographic, which Twitter sees as a huge part of their user base.
 
It may seem that there is low appeal for Lacrosse, but statistics have shown that Lacrosse ranks third for audience attendance. They are only behind the likes of the NBA and NHL, which is a huge deal.
 

 
To catch any of the games streamed in the future, be sure to follow the official NLL account at @NLL or on NLL.twitter.com.

Mayweather Proposed $15 Million Fight Offer, McGregor Declines and Countered with $100 Million

Former welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather said Wednesday he was “interested” in a fight with Conor McGregor and had already offered the mixed martial arts star $15 million to climb into the ring with him.
 
Mayweather, who retired in 2015 with a perfect 49-0 record, told ESPN’s First Take program that a McGregor bout was the only thing that could tempt him to end his exile from the ring.
 
The 39-year-old was responding to a question about whether he would consider a rematch with Filipino star Manny Pacquiao following the duo’s much-heralded “Fight of the Century” two years ago.
 
“Only thing I’m probably interested in is the Conor McGregor fight,” Mayweather said. “I’m a businessman and it makes business sense. I believe in what me and (business adviser) Al Haymon talk about every day — I believe in working smarter, not harder.”
 

 
Mayweather revealed initial talks with McGregor’s representatives had taken place, but stalled.
 
“We tried to make the Conor McGregor fight,” Mayweather said. “They know what my number is. My number is a guaranteed $100 million. That was my number.
 
“We are willing to give him $15 million and then we can talk about splitting the percentage — the back end — on the pay-per-view.
 
“But of course, we’re the ‘A side.’ How can a guy talk about making $20 or $30 million if he has never made $8 or $9 million in a fight?”
 

 
Mayweather appeared to suggest that McGregor’s recent comments calling for a fight were insincere.
 
“You guys keep hearing all these different rumors about different fighters want to face Floyd Mayweather,” he said.
 
“Everybody keeps talking about Conor McGregor. He’s blowing smoke up everybody’s ass. Dana White, the UFC — let’s make it happen. Bring him over to the boxing world and I’ll show him what it’s like.”
 
In November, McGregor challenged Mayweather to a fight under mixed martial arts rules and said he would only face Mayweather in a boxing ring for $100 million.
 
“Much respect to Floyd. He’s a solid businessman… as far as real fighting — true, pure unarmed combat — Floyd don’t want none of this,” McGregor said.
 

 
“He does not want none of this. He wants it under boxing rules. He wants a boxing match. He doesn’t want a fight.
 
“Give Floyd a shout, tell him I’m coming. Tell him to run around Showtime offices. I want $100 million to fight him under boxing rules because he’s afraid of a real fight.”

Eugenie Bouchard Smashes Her Way to Aussie Open Semifinals

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard continued her strong start to the year with a 6-2, 6-3 quarter-final win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Wednesday at the Sydney International.
 
Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open before making the final at Wimbledon. But she has only gone past the fourth round at a major once since then and slipped to No. 46 at the end of last year.
 

 
“I feel more and more confident every day,” Bouchard said Wednesday. “I feel like I’m getting back into the rhythm of things a little bit, but it’s a long road …”
 
The Westmount, Que., native’s semifinal opponent will be Sydney-born Johanna Konta of Britain, who beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5. Konta broke Kasatkina’s service in the 11th game, helped by a double-fault to set up break point in that game.
 
Last year at the Australian Open, Konta became the first British woman to make a Grand Slam semi since 1983 before losing to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.
 
Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki’s streak of not advancing past the quarterfinals in her past seven Sydney Internationals was extended in stifling heat on Wednesday.
 
In temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for much of the match, Wozniacki lost 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to Barbora Strycova in a duel that stretched to 3 hours, 19 minutes.
 
Both players were treated for foot injuries during a grueling second set on Ken Rosewall Arena. Wozniacki came back from 5-2 down in that set, and then 5-0 in the tiebreaker, to win it and force a third set.
 
“It was brutal out there … but you just try and think like you’re on a beach drinking pina coladas,” Wozniacki said. “That’s basically your train of thought. You know that it’s the same for both players, so I was just trying to mentally just try and keep cool.”
 
Strycova will meet the winner of the night match between second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and qualifier Duan Yingying in Friday’s semifinals.
 

 
In men’s play at Sydney, two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-4. Second-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay defeated Nicolas Mahut of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
 
At Auckland, New Zealand, American John Isner narrowly avoided the fate of two former champions when he beat Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri in a third-set tiebreaker to advance 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) to make the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic.
 
Isner won his last three points with volleys at the net.
 
“The way I need to finish points is that if I can I have to try and finish them at the net,” Isner said. “I did that three times in a row and I’m very proud of that.”
 
Four former champions were scheduled to play second-round matches Wednesday but by the time the second-seeded Isner took the court, two had bowed out.
 
Defending champion and No. 1-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut was forced to withdraw before play began because of a stomach virus, handing New Zealander Ruben Statham a place in the second round as a lucky loser from the qualifying rounds.
 
The 2015 champion Jiri Vesely was due to play Bautista Agut and thought he had caught a break when the Spaniard withdrew and the 434th-ranked Statham took his place. But Vesely had a tussle on his hands before winning 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-3.
 
Four-time champion David Ferrer was first up on centre court and lost 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4) to Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
 
At the WTA’s Hobart International, former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova was beaten 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 by Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki. Ozaki will next meet Romanian Monica Niculescu.
 
Top-seeded Kiki Bertens advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.

Teen Canadian Soccer Prodigy Adonijah Reid Anticipates Upcoming MLS Draft

The youngest player at the MLS Combine may also be one of the MLS draft’s biggest mysteries.
 
At 17, Canadian forward Adonijah Reid is very much a work in progress. But his raw talent combined with a Generation Adidas Canada contract that does not count against the salary cap should draw interest in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft in Los Angeles.
 
The five-foot-five talent from Brampton, Ont., who does not turn 18 until mid-September, has honed his talents at the ANB Futbol Academy in suburban Toronto since he was 11.
 

 
“He is an attacking-minded player, I don’t like to say forward because he can play behind the striker, as a striker and he can be on the wing,” said ANB Academy director Bassam Naim.
 
“He is a very lethal finisher,” he added. “He will bury the ball most of the time.”
 
ANB Futbol Academy wasted little time showcasing his talents to European teams.
 
“This young man has been very well-travelled … He has been offered many scenarios,” said Naim. “But due to the fact that he doesn’t have European documents — he’s Canadian-born — it was difficult for us to keep him in Europe.”
 
As a 15-year-old, Reid tied for the scoring lead in League 1 Ontario with the ANB Futbol team. More recently he has been playing for the Academy’s under-20 side.
 
“He’s definitely able to compete with older players,” said Naim. “That’s an edge he has. He’s motivated to play with older men … I think the future is bright.”
 
Reid has spent time with Canadian under-15, under-16 and under-18 camps, while drawing plenty of interest from U.S. colleges.
 

 
“He’s got undoubted talent,” said Canadian under-20 coach Rob Gale. “It’s really going to be interesting how he develops and grows once he’s in that full-time professional environment. But he’s a dynamic forward. He can probably play in any of four front positions.”
 
Reid has a knack for getting into goal-scoring positions.
 
“He’s got a big upside … He’s always been the best player in his current environment,” said Gale. “And now he needs that extra push which I think is going to be very very good for him.”
 
Quiet off the field, the youngster will likely be a project for an MLS team willing to give him the time needed.
 
The Vancouver Whitecaps have the highest pick among the Canadian team at No. 7. Montreal picks 19th and Toronto 21st.
 
Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson plays his cards close to his chest and has a shopping list with various needs. But the franchise has not been shy in the past about young talent, using the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to take 17-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh.
 
Reid is joined by 19-year-old FC Edmonton midfielder Shamit Shome in the inaugural Generation Adidas Canada class.

Will Ronda Rousey Return to MMA? Mental Health Being Questioned

If you thought Ronda Rousey’s 2015 defeat to Holly Holmes signalled the end of her MMA career, the beating she took at the hands of Amanda Nunes in December would seem to be the final nail in the coffin.
 
The psychological toll of Rousey’s first professional loss over a year ago, which sent her into hiding for six months, has been compounded by the defeat to Nunes, who knocked out Rousey in less than a minute.
 
As a result, Rousey’s future in the octagon is in doubt, while some worry about her mental state.
 
Her recent Instagram post suggests the soon-to-be 30-year-old is at least beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
 

A photo posted by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on


 
Overconfidence, holding false beliefs of invincibility, and aggressive competitiveness motivated by unresolved anger are just some of the psychological traps athletes can fall into which can make overcoming major upsets especially difficult.
 
Despite the mounting odds against her successful return, elite-level sports psychologist Douglas Smith has faith that Rousey can get back on top of her game but says it will be impossible for her to do it without the right kind of help.
 

Distorted identity


 
Prior to getting into mixed martial arts at age 21, Rousey had a long career in elite sport, competing in judo at two Olympic Games before retiring in 2008.
 
Based on how devastated she seemed after her MMA defeats, she may have had little sense of her identity outside of sport — something Smith says is “extremely common,” especially among athletes who become stars at a young age.
 
“When there’s isn’t the balance, there aren’t other areas where they can be a ‘star’ in the sense of self-esteem,” says Smith, who has worked with high-profile athletes from various sports. “It’s very understandable for someone to [mentally] crash when there’s an injury or there is a major defeat or loss.”
 
Smith says that, in order to be mentally heathy, athletes must have the tools to deal with all scenarios— wins, defeats and extreme injury.
 

‘Anything is possible’

 

 
A triumphant return to the octagon may seem unlikely at the moment for Rousey, but Smith believes it’s possible if she works at it.
 
“The whole mental side of sport is about resilience, and that doesn’t come because you are born with it,” Smith says. “It’s something that must be developed and trained. I know a lot of athletes don’t believe they can create miracles, but they can.
 
“There are countless examples of athletes that are able to achieve the seemingly impossible — Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile in 1954, or Gordie Howe playing processional hockey into his 50s. So anything is possible if you get the right kind of help.”
 
Whether or not she continues her MMA career, Rousey’s legion of fans certainly hope she gets whatever help she needs.

Major League Soccer Scores 5 Year Deal With TSN and TVA Sports

Major League Soccer has extended its TV deal with TSN for five years while striking a new five-year French-language agreement with TVA Sports.
 
MLS is coming off a bumper season in Canada that saw Toronto FC beat the Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference final before losing the MLS Cup final to the Seattle Sounders via penalty shootout. The championship game drew more than 1.5 million viewers in Canada.
 
“Coming off the record-setting season the league had in Canada, we are excited to announce these new deals with TSN and TVA Sports,” Gary Stevenson, president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures, said in a statement. “These agreements are a clear indication that our media partners – along with the league and our Canadian clubs – are investing in the growth of the sport in Canada.”
 

 
RDS previously held French-language rights in Canada. TSN has been a broadcast partner since 2011.
 
This season TSN will show every Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps game and a “select number” of Montreal Impact matches as well as “marquee matchups” featuring U.S.-based teams as well as English-language coverage of the MLS all-star game, playoffs and MLS Cup.
 
MLS coverage will include Friday night coverage and a game of the week Saturday nights. The full broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.
 

 
TVA will provide French-language broadcasts of Montreal Impact matches plus the all-star game, playoffs and MLS Cup – more than 50 games in total per season.
 
South of the border, MLS is about to start the third season of an eight-year rights deal with ESPN, FOX and Univision.