Rugby mania is coursing through Japan. It’s not just the sudden of burst of generously sized foreigners wandering around Tokyo, Sapporo and Kumamoto. Japan’s national team is beating virtually all expectations, even besting top-ranked Ireland.
Yet the Rugby World Cup is really a dry run for the main event of Shinzo Abe’s premiership: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Hosting the Summer Games is a career topper for Abe, whose grandfather, the former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, brought the 1964 Olympics to Tokyo. Fifty-five years on, that event still enjoys a bull market in nostalgia. It marked Japan’s return to the world stage from the ashes of war and humiliating defeat.
And wow, did it ever. Japan’s futuristic bullet trains, avant-garde stadiums and neon-lit skylines captured the global imagination. The nation hadn’t just risen, phoenix-like, it was suddenly setting the technological tone, serving as a preview for Japan’s economic boom of the 1970s and 1980s.
Can Japan do it again? Doubtful. In fact, there are valid reasons to worry next year’s Olympics might do more to limit Japan’s potential than unleash it.
For Abe, scoring the Olympics was partly about unfinished family business. Though his beloved grandfather secured the 1964 Games, history has been less kind on account of Kishi’s wartime exploits. He was part of the cabinet of Hideki Tojo that ordered the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. In the mid to late 1930s, Kishi played various senior roles in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. It was a ghastly and brutal an episode as historians found amid World War II. Kishi beat the odds–and war-crime charges. He became prime minister in 1957.
Much of what’s driven Abe in politics can be described as Kishi legacy rehabilitation. In Abe’s first stint as leader from 2006 to 2007–and in the current one since 2012–he’s worked to whitewash Japan’s wartime aggression. Securing the 2020 Games was in part a historical bookmark to open yet another period of rebirth–this time from a two-decade deflationary malaise.
Might Japan be courting a post-2020 funk instead? I don’t just mean the debt-laden hangover from giant and costly facilities that will go underused. It’s more the 1964-like magical thinking behind the dialogue surrounding Tokyo 2020.
Indonesia’s bid for the 2032 Olympics has a certain logic. Surely, its infrastructure needs could benefit from becoming the fourth Asian nation to host the Games after Japan, South Korea and China. But Japan’s construction boom amounts to redundant upgrades to already highly developed megacities.
Japan has long since been discovered. A weaker yen, relaxed visa restrictions and aggressive marketing already morphed Japan into a tourism mecca. In 2018, Japan welcomed more than 31 million tourist arrivals, equal to one-quarter of the population. Already, cities like Kyoto are studying ways to limit tourism, or ease the side effects from overcrowding to pollution.
Asia’s No. 2 economy doesn’t need stadiums, but a societal transformation. It needs to rekindle its innovative spirits, increase gender diversity, reduce rigidities across industries, improve productivity and welcome more foreign talent to offset an aging and shrinking population–talent that stays on long after the five-ring circus of sporting events leaves town.
Abe views Tokyo 2020 as the key to the “revitalization of Japan.” The city’s governor, Yuriko Koike, says the Olympics can “usher in a new Tokyo.” But where are the underlying politics to bring about this epochal change? A few weeks of events will come and go. Japan, though, will be stuck with the same dismal demographics, the same crushing debt load, the same overbearing bureaucracy and the same risk aversion that starves it of a vibrant tech startup scene.
In the magical thinking of Abe’s inner circle, 2020 is a, well, game-changer. Just as 1964 was a chance for his grandfather’s generation to showcase technological advancements, 2020 is Abe’s moment to display Japan’s “Society 5.0” street cred. Trouble is, China, Korea and Indonesia also are moving upmarket and innovating. Indonesia, for example, has already produced twice as many “unicorns” as Japan.
Japanese society often does a poor job keeping up with technological change. A few weeks of medal ceremonies, it’s worth noting, will do little to restore Japan to its 1980s innovative greatness. It won’t increase productivity, internationalize corporate practices or end senior-based promotion practices that reward mediocrity. It won’t morph Tokyo into a global financial center or endear Japan Inc. stocks to overseas investors.
The Olympics won’t usher in a pro-growth energy policy that moves Japan away from coal and nuclear reactors. It won’t prod millennials or General Z members to take greater risks. It won’t narrow the gender pay gap or challenge Japan’s patriarchy. And it won’t incentivize companies to boost wages, kicking off the virtuous cycle Abe hoped to generate.
Only bold, forward-looking reforms can generate the upgrades needed to restore Japan to vitality. The economics of nostalgia in which Abe’s government is indulging only treats the symptoms of why Japan’s economy has underperformed for 20 years.
Sure, Japan is politically and societally stable. Nor have deflation and stagnant wages led to the kind fissures–crime remains low and homelessness rare–they might emerge elsewhere. But in the Chinese era, Japan has two choices. One, accept lower living standards as regional upstarts boom. Two, ramp up innovation that creates new jobs and wealth.
Clearly, option No. 2 is the wiser route. But if Tokyo thinks the Olympics is the answer, it’s setting itself up for failure. How did the 2016 Games work out for Brazil? Or 2012 for a United Kingdom torching its future with the brawl over Brexit?
Did the 2008 Games revolutionize China, which has become even more of a black box since then? In 2004, Greece won a gold medal for overspending and hastened the onset of a financial crisis from which it’s still extricating itself.
Japan isn’t courting a crisis. But history is almost sure to show that the seven years between winning the Games in 2013 and the actual event were a lost period for major policy moves to ensure forward motion. Japan needs to level the playing fields, not just provide a few for visiting athletes.
I am a Tokyo-based journalist, former columnist for Barron’s and Bloomberg and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.” My journalism awards include the 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers prize for commentary.
Next stop: Tokyo! The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang just had their closing ceremony and that means the world turns it’s attention to Japan. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games are 2 years away, and here is what we know right now. ▶︎ WHEN ARE THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES? July 24, 2020 to August 9, 2020 ▶︎ The New National Stadium It’s built on the same site as the 1964 Olympic Stadium. Designed by Kengo Kuma, it’s a very natural design surrounded by a lot of trees and parks. ▶︎ The Venues: There are 34 Venues separated into 2 zones. ▶︎ Heritage and Tokyo Bay: The Heritage zone is where the 1964 Olympics took place. Tokyo Bay is where the aquatics center, BMX and Skateboard course will be as well as other event. There are 12 events outside of these zones including foot / soccer, baseball, basketball. ▶︎ Ticket Prices for Tokyo 2020 Olympics: The average ticket price will be 7,700 yen ($72) and the opening and closing ceremonies will be between 25,000 yen ($235) and 150,000 yen ($1,400). Tickets will be sold online and at designated ticket centers in Tokyo. There are 33 sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics including 5 new ones: Aquatics, Archery, Athetics, Badminton, Baseball / Softball, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Football / Soccer, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Karate Modern pentathlon, Rowing, Rugby sevens, Sailing, Shooting, Skateboarding, Sport climbing, Surfing, Table tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling Within these sports, there are 324 events. Football / soccer actually starts 2 days before the opening ceremonies. URL: https://tokyo2020.org/en/ ★ ONLY in JAPAN on instagram: http://instagram.com/onlyinjapantv Music credits: “Running Fanfare” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Enter the Party by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… Artist: http://incompetech.com/
When Coco Gauff drilled a crosscourt backhand passing shot during the first set of her match Thursday night at the US Open, the crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium roared its approval.
About two hours later, the crowd, which included Kobe Bryant and C.C. Sabathia, roared again when Gauff ended a raucous, back-and-forth match by finishing off qualifier Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in 2 hours, 23 minutes to advance to the third round on Saturday.
There Gauff will likely make her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut against world No. 1 and defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka. The 15-year-old Gauff has now made $163,000 by advancing to the third round of her home Slam. She’s the youngest player to reach the third round at the Open since Anna Kournikova made the fourth in 1996.
“I don’t have any thoughts on it right now because I have to play doubles tomorrow with Caty [McNally] so I’m really focused on that,” Gauff told the crowd of the Osaka match. “Saturday I’m going to think about the match but tomorrow I’m worried about my doubles match.”
Osaka, who beat Serena Williams in last year’s controversial final, looked ahead to Gauff after her 6-2, 6-4 victory earlier Thursday over Magda Linette.
“Yeah, she’s super sweet and I would love to play her, of course,” Osaka said. “For me, when I hear people talking about someone, I want to have the opportunity to play them just to assess it for myself.”
Timea Babos, of Hungary, yells after winning a point against Coco Gauff, of the United States, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Gauff was the biggest story at the Open on Thursday night, especially after Rafael Nadal won his match in a walkover and never played his night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Tennis was played there but fans with grounds passes and general admission seating flooded in to the upper bowl of Armstrong to focus on Gauff, who made a magical run to the fourth round of Wimbledon earlier this summer.
But this is New York, not Wimbledon. And Gauff is showing she can make it here, too.
At one point as she was serving during the second set, the 7-train loudly rolled by behind Gauff but it didn’t seem to bother her at all. She held serve without issue.
Throughout the match, fans came and went from their seats even as play was beginning, perhaps to pick up an evening cocktail or two.
“It’s been amazing,” she said of the atmosphere. “Timea, she played so good and I’m so happy that I was able to get through, she played amazing.
“I was tested a lot. I think we were both just testing each other. If I didn’t win that last point maybe she would’ve won the match. It was just that type of match where anyone could have won.”
Bryant, who watched Osaka’s match alongside Colin Kaepernick, jumped into the ESPN booth for the Gauff match and heaped praise on the 15-year-old.
“At 15, God knows I wasn’t like that,” Bryant, a former teenage star himself, said on air.
He was asked to expound upon the differences between an individual sport like tennis and a team sport like basketball.
He said that in tennis you’re “constantly negotiating with yourself,” whereas “in team sports you have guys that can pick you up.”
Earlier he said he was impressed by Gauff’s poise and composure at such a young age.
“She’s a phenomenon for sure,” he said.
Coco Gauff, of the United States, eyes the ball during a match against Timea Babos, of Hungary, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Gauff is already surrounded by an elite inner circle that includes Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches Serena Williams and is advising Gauff, and Tony Godsick, Roger Federer’s agent. Both sat in her player box.
“The things in common is they have to go into the match with the right mindset,” Mouratoglou said on air of Gauff and Williams. “But the right mindset for Coco is different for Serena.”
He added that for Gauff, that meant being “happy about what she’s doing,” whereas for Williams it was “more intellectual and more tactical.” Williams has to “fight against the pressure that is enormous on her shoulders.”
Williams, of course, continues to bid for career major No. 24, having lost three Grand Slam finals since becoming a mother, one of which came to Osaka in last year’s US Open final.
Now it will be Gauff who gets a shot at Osaka, the 21-year-old two-time major champion who has what Gauff eventually wants.
“Naomi Osaka is waiting in the wings,” 18-time Grand Slam champion Chrissie Evert said on air. “That is going to get everybody pumped up if that happens.”
I’m a Basketball Insider and tennis writer. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), I am also the author of two books and an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. My articles have appeared in SLAM, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. I also won an Emmy award for my work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, I have competed in numerous National and World Championships. My Death or Glory (DoG) team won the GGM World Championship in 2018, and my teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championship in 2011 and 2013. I live in Manhattan with my wife and children.
The human body is made to move, and physical activity is a requirement for lifelong health. But exercise-related injuries are a significant concern few people think about until it’s too late. Even a mild sprain can sideline an athlete for weeks, and a sports-related injury can be debilitating for an older adult. “I think a lot of people, especially those in their 20s and 30s, are interested in doing a lot of exercise but they’re not really thinking about injuries,” says Dr. Brian Werner, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the University of Virginia.
Running, for example, is among the most popular forms of exercise in America. But up to half of all runners are injured each year, according to a 2010 study in Current Sports Medicine Reports. “I’m a long-distance runner myself, but it’s a high-impact form of exercise and it’s not optimal for people trying to avoid getting hurt,” Werner says. Also, many runners tend to overdo it. When it comes to running’s longevity benefits, researchers have found that running two or three times per week at a slow or moderate pace is optimal.
Especially for those age 40 and older, exercises that place heavy amounts of stress on the knees, shoulders and other joints are going to come with a high risk of injury, Werner says. Examples he raises are basketball, soccer, tennis, or other sports that involve lots of jumping, twisting, or quick changes of direction.
That’s not to say these activities are unhealthy, or that people who enjoy them should give them up. A recent study in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that, compared to solo exercise pursuits, activities that involve spending time with others are associated with longer life expectancies. Studies have independently linked both exercise and social interaction with longer lifespans, so it makes sense that combining the two would be beneficial. But while healthy, many of these activities nonetheless carry a high risk for injury.
Why Swimming Is So Good For You
Every type of exercise has its selling points, but swimming is unlike any other aerobic workout in a few important ways
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Scientists Have Found Water Inside Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano. It Could Trigger Explosive Eruptions. If a person’s goal is to minimize those risks while still getting all the health and longevity benefits of exercise, experts highlight walking and swimming as two low-risk, high-reward pursuits. “Unless you’re swimming competitively or for hours every day, it’s easy on the joints,” says Dr. Kyle Yost, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Swimming also combines aerobic exercise and resistance training, meaning it improves fitness and strength, he says.
Walking, meanwhile, is associated with both long life and a reduced risk for medical-related expenditures, according to a 2011 study in BMJ Open. A recent study found that brisk walking is especially healthy. “Walking is an outdoor activity that can include spending time with other people, and I think any exercise that combines those two things is going to be very healthy,” says Dr. James O’Keefe, a cardiologist and medical director of the Cardio Health & Wellness Center at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute.
Yoga also garners some shout-outs as a low-risk, high-reward form of physical activity. “It has to be done correctly and with good supervision, especially when just starting out, but I think yoga offers a great combination of flexibility and strength training,” says Dr. Steven Struhl, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health. Flexibility is a “neglected” component of proper health and fitness, he says. “It improves balance and reduces stiffness, which leads to strains or injury.”
For fitness enthusiasts who recoil at the idea of a life filled with long walks and yoga, there are ways to lower the injury risks associated with more intense, high-impact sports.
The first tip may induce some yawns. But experts say a moderate approach to any sport or workout is a good way to avoid getting hurt. “Overtraining leads to a lot of injuries,” says Yost. If you’re playing the same sport or doing the same type of exercise every day—and especially if you’re pushing yourself hard—you’re asking for trouble.
Taking it easy at the start and slowly working your way up to more intense workouts is another safety measure. “A lot of people start off too heavy or with too much volume,” O’Keefe says. If you’re intent on running a half-marathon, for example, sign up for next year’s—not this year’s—and try to mix in some other non-running forms of exercise (swimming, yoga) to build your strength and endurance.
Finally, don’t neglect your core. “You get your power from your core, and if it’s weak, you tend to overuse your arms or legs, which leads to injury,” Struhl says. Pilates classes can improve your core strength. So can gym machines that target your upper and lower back, obliques, and abdominal muscles, he says.
All that said, if you’re looking for safe, healthy activities that will lower your risks for injuries—as well as for disease and mortality—easy-on-your-body activities like walking, yoga and swimming are great options.
The 83rd Masters will go down as one of the most memorable events in modern golf history.
Many fans point to Jack Nicklaus’ unexpected run to a sixth green jacket in 1986 at 46 years old as the ultimate Augusta moment, but Tiger Woods, who has been chasing Nicklaus’ legacy his entire career, might have just topped the Golden Bear.
Woods, decked in his trademark red, won the Masters by one stroke Sunday, holding off a stacked leader board of seasoned, elite golfers. It was a moment that many sports fans thought would never happen after a series of back surgeries pushed Woods to the brink of retirement.
Americans love to see their brightest stars fall, and few have fallen from a higher point than Woods, who was the most marketable athlete on the planet for a decade-plus. But the one thing Americans seem to love even more is the redemption story. Sports fans had waited 11 years for Woods to take another step toward Nicklaus’ hallowed record of 18 major titles.
Woods’ Tour Championship win last year was an indicator of what was to come, and he’s once again a marketing force. Woods and Phil Mickelson had a $9 million winner-take-all pay-per-view event in November, and Woods signed a multiyear content deal last fall with Discovery’s new over-the-top streaming service, GolfTV. He will do weekly golf instructional videos and is set to do a series of showdown-type events in Asia as part of the Discovery partnership.
Here are some of the numbers behind Woods and his history at Augusta.
4: Back surgeries for Woods.
5: Wins at Augusta for Woods, but the most recent was 14 years ago. It is the longest gap between Masters wins ever.
11: It has been just shy of 11 years since Woods won his last major tournament (2008 U.S. Open).
11: Number of times Woods has won the Player of the Year award.
43: Woods is the second-oldest Masters champion, with only Nicklaus having been older when he put on the green jacket.
81: Career PGA Tour wins for Woods, one shy of Sam Snead’s record.
281: Consecutive weeks Woods was ranked No. 1 in the world between 2005 and 2010.
$1.19 million: Payout for a bettor who put down $85,000 at 14/1 odds at William Hill’s Las Vegas sportsbook on Woods to win. “It’s great to see Tiger back. It’s a painful day for William Hill—our biggest golf loss ever—but a great day for golf,” says Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill U.S.’s director of trading.
$2.07 million: Woods’ prize money for the 2019 Masters win.
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The nascent esports industry resembles the Wild West. Esports companies are constantly buying and selling teams and players to compete in the best leagues and build audiences on Amazon’s Twitch and Alphabet’s YouTube. Facilities are being built where gamers can train. It’s a shootout to see who can be the biggest and baddest brand. There are some similarities to traditional sports leagues. Riot Games began selling franchises for $10 million a pop for its game League of Legends in the summer of 2017……..
It’s common knowledge that there are many benefits to being fit, but one large new study found that skipping out on the gym is practically the worst thing you can do for your health. In fact, the study claims not exercising might be more harmful to your health than smoking. New findings, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, detail how researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied 122,007 patients from 1991 to 2014, putting them under treadmill testing and later recording mortality……..