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Could Dara Torres, the 45 Year Old Swimmer’s Olympic Career Be Coming To An End?

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Dara Torres Olympic Swimmer

You heard the saying age is nothing but a number, and that you’re only as young as you feel? Well for 45- year old swimmer Dara Torres she has been feeling youthful for decades now. The now 12-time Olympian started her swimming dominance at the young age of 14, it was then that she would start a unbelievable winning streak, and picking up numerous awards. At the University of Florida Torres was far beyond a swimming standout, she was one of the greatest swimmers the gators had ever seen at the time. While at Florida she captured a staggering 28 NCAA All-American swimming awards which is actually the maximum amount of awards an individual can obtain.

The Florida alum would go on to become the first US swimmer to compete in four Olympic games, five total Olympic games after a brief brake from competition. She made her first appearance in the 1984 summer Olympic games in Los Angles where at only 17 years old captured a gold medal with the 4×100 meter freestyle relay. Four years later in the summer Olympic games in Seoul she added two more medals to her collection with a bronze and silver medal in two relay events. In the 1992 games in Barcelona Torres brought home a gold medal from yet another hard fought relay according to sports reference.

She would take a bit of a break after the Olympics to just relax and take a break from competition. Dara Torres loved the thrill of competition and  in Sydney, Australia in 2000 Torres had her best Olympic performance medal wise in her career. At age 33 Torres was able to win 5 total medals during the games with two of them being individual races. She won three bronze medals in all three of her individual races, and won two gold medals in her relay events. After the Sydney Olympics she retired momentarily to start a family, but just six years later Torres showed that she still had it, and showed the world she was not your normal athlete. In 2006 just weeks after giving birth to her daughter she broke a world record at the masters nationals according to Dara Torres.

Just a year later she broke yet another world record this one was her own that she had set seven years prior in the 50 freestyle race. Her never die attitude and remarkable motor kept her going and somehow she made her fifth Olympic team in 2008, and proved to the world she was still in great shape. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics she took home an outstanding three silver medals, two in relays, and one in the 50 meters freestyle.  Many people believed that Torres would call it quits after Beijing because lets face it, she was not getting any younger, but as you may know Torres keeps her body in top shape and is anything but a 45 year old woman.

Four years after her gusty performance in Beijing, Torres wanted to see if she could make here sixth Olympic games. She tried her luck at the US Swimming Olympic trails in Omaha,NE this past week. On Monday June 2 she barely missed out on her trip to the London Olympics by getting fourth place in the 50 meters freestyle. She missed second and third place and her fifth Olympic games by nine-hundredths of a second.

“I was at the peak of my career four years ago, if anybody would have ever told me in 2008 that you would have been competing in the 2012 Olympic trials, I probably wouldn’t have believed them.” Torres said in a statement to USA Today.

“Just being there, it turns out, was a victory in itself,” Torres said.

It looks like the 12-time Olympian stellar career may be coming to an end, but she has defined what hard work and determination can take a person. She has gained thousands of fans and even more respect from her competitors, she has and will be seen as a role model to young swimmers all across the world. A huge salute goes out to Torres and her amazing swimming career, they may not be another swimmer to swim as long as she did.

Dara Torres Training Day (Complete 4 Part Series)

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US National Women’s Team Wins FIFA World Cup And Spotlights Equal Pay Among Athletes

The USWNT has won their fourth World Cup and choose to celebrate by shining light to their political causes.

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Photo: Jamie Smed | Flickr.com | CC BY 2.0

The US National Women’s Team (USWNT) won the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands held in Lyon, France last July 7. The win marks the US Team’s second win at the World Cup. 

Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle led the USWNT to their victory. Rapinoe scored a goal during a penalty in the first half. Lavelle later surged forward with another goal eight minutes after. 

Rapinoe was awarded the Golden Boot, an award for being the top goal scorer, for scoring six goals and three assists in the entire season. The 34-year-old athlete bet out her teammate Alex Morgan, who also had the same stats. However, Rapinoe took the award with 428 minutes per goal as compared to Morgan’s 490 minutes. Morgan received the Silver Boot, while Ellen White of the England Team received the Bronze Boot.

Rapinoe also won the Golden Ball; an award presented to the best player in the FIFA World Cup finals. England’s Lucy Bronze and US Team’s Rose Lavelle received the Silver and Bronze Ball, respectively.

The US team’s coach, Jill Ellis is also the first coach to win FIFA Women’s World Cup twice in the history.

The Dutch Team did not let the Americans win that easily. The US team struggled to get a goal in the first half. All this thanks to Netherlands’ goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who block a volley from Julie Ertz and another two from Morgan. 

Van Veenendaal won the Golden Glove, an award given to the best goalkeeper in the tournament. The FIFA Young Player Award was given to Giulia Gwinn, the 20-year-old midfielder from the Germany Team. 

The US Team’s 2019 win is their fourth in the eight editions that they’ve joined. However, this is one of the most historic because of the political protests done by the team, with Rapinoe mostly leading it.

Equal Pay and Civil Rights Causes

For years, women soccer players have been fighting for equal pay. However, this year, the issue was highlighted because of the US team were blatantly talking about it in every media.

As the US team take a bow on their latest win, shouts of celebration erupted. What’s deafening wasn’t only the shouts of joy, but also chants of “Equal Pay!” rocking the stadium.

In 2016, Rapinoe with four members of the USWNT filed a Charge of Discrimination against the United States Soccer Federation for wage discrimination. The women athletes cited instances when the women’s team were paid less than their male peers. 

This discrepancy is glaring, especially with the fact that the USWNT has won their third World Cup in 2016 (and now their fourth), while the men’s team have not yet advanced past quarterfinals in the recent years. 

Rapinoe protested by using her platform in sharing their causes in the media. In a game in 2016, Rapinoe gave the nod to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Rapinoe had to give up taking the knee when the United States Soccer Federation adopted a rule requiring players to stand and honor the flag. 
Since then, Rapinoe stands without singing the National Anthem or placing her right hand over her chest. 

Aside from Rapinoe’s refusal to sing the National Anthem, her interview with Eight by Eight started her feud with the US President. 

It all started with a reporter asking Rapinoe if she was excited to visit the White House. The superstar athlete scoffs and tells the reporter that she is not going to the White House. Furthermore, she tells the reporter that the Women’s Team will not be invited to visit at all. 

The remark prompted President Donald Trump to respond on Twitter. President Trump wrote. “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!”

The President’s tweet prompted Sue Bird, Rapinoe’s partner, to write a post in The Players Tribune titled So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend. In the article, Bird emphasized that President Trump has never invited a WNBA champion to a White House, contrary to the President’s tweet that athletes love coming to the White House. 

Since then, Rapinoe and the rest of the US Team have been invited to the House of Representatives and Senate. 

Now that the US team secured their fourth win, the team aims to continue the conversation on equal pay among national teams. 

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Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff Continues To Wow In Wimbledon

Cori “Coco” Gauff wins over the audience at Wimbledon.

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Photo: Carine06 | Flickr.com | CC BY-SA 2.0

Cori “Coco” Gauff secured another victory at Wimbledon on Friday against Slovenian veteran Polona Hercog. The 15-year old Atlanta tennis player advances to the fourth round after winning a match in the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.

On Friday’s match with Hercog, Gauff had a rough start. Hercog led the first match with six match points versus Gauff’s 3. However, Gauff did not lose confidence and came back with a 7-6 and a 7-5 victory in her favor.

The Wimbledon crowd motivated Gauff, as the teen’s fans grow in number. “The support has been outstanding. Every match they’re calling her name. I sit there and go, like, ‘What in the world is going on?’,” Gauff’s father Corey told reporters. 

Gauff also told ESPN how much the audience supported her. “The crowd was amazing, even when I was down a match point they were still cheering me on,” she says.

During the match, Gauff impressed Hercog after coming back from the loss in the first round. Hercog’s slices defeated Gauff’s backhand, which had been the teen’s main weapon. However, the teen adjusted and started serving Hercog with her own slices instead of attacking Hercog. 

Mats Wilander, a multiple grand slam winner himself told CNN, “I thought that Coco tactically changed her game, which is very encouraging to me. She didn’t hit her way through Hercog so to speak, she was slicing the ball back and giving Hercog no pace suddenly. That’s for me the biggest sign of something special in Coco.”

In the last match, Hercog missed two forehand plays. During a break, Hercog called for a trainer to work on the onset of leg cramps. Gauff went on a bathroom break and came back with the same motivation from the previous marathon rally. 

Gauff is now the youngest player in the Open. After qualifying in the tournament’s main draw during the wild card stage, the teen sensation faced her first match with her childhood idol, Venus Williams.

“I’m still in shock,” Gauff said about her qualifying into the tournament, “Playing against the top players in the field is going to be a different feel.”

Big Win Over Williams

Gauff shot to fame last July 1 when she defeated Venus Williams in her first round at the tournament. Williams, now 39, is out of the competition with match points 6-4 and 6-4 in favor of Gauff. 

Gauff considers Williams as an idol and one of the reasons why she chose to compete. The teen broke down in tears after her match with the tennis legend. 

“I don’t really know how to feel, this is the first time I’ve cried after a match, after winning,” said Gauff. “I never thought this would happen. I’m living my dream right now, not many people get to say that.”

According to CNN, Williams shared good tidings to Gauff after their match. The tennis veteran said, “Congratulations, keep going, and good luck.” The starstruck teen replied, “I just told her I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t[sic] for her, she’s so inspiring. I’ve always wanted to tell her that, but I’ve never had the guts to before.”

Before her match with Williams, Gauff had to walk a hallway full of William’s photos, each one holding a tournament trophy. Gauff’s father recalled feeling nervous that Gauff may feel intimidated while walking that stretch of hallway. 

“She’s got her earphones on, she’s listening to music. She’s walking and I’m walking behind her and I’m hoping she’s not intimidated because as we’re walking we see Venus holding up a trophy, go a little further, Venus [is] holding up another trophy,” Corey Gauff shared laughing. 

“Go a little bit further, there’s another picture of Venus holding up the trophy and in my mind I’m thinking, just don’t look to the left or right. Just keep going straight ahead. You need no reminders that she won this five times.”

Williams started her professional career in tennis at the age of 14. Nineteen years ago, Williams won her first Grand Slam Singles title defeating Lindsay Davenport. 

Considered as an American tennis prodigy, Gauff has been touted to be the next Serena Williams. Last year, Gauff won the French Open girl’s championship. Her Women’s Tennis Association singles standing rose sharply within the last eight months, dropping from 874th to the 301st place. 

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Israel Folau ‘GoFundMe’ Page Shut Down; Joins List of Unsuccessful Campaigns

Israel Folau’s GoFundMe page was removed today joining the growing list of “ridiculous” campaigns.

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Israel Folau was recently terminated from Rugby Australia due to his homophobic posts on social media. Photo: www.davidmolloyphotography.com | Flickr.com | CC BY 2.0

GoFundMe removed Israel Folau’s campaign after violating the for-profit crowdfunding platform’s rules. Folau used the website to ask for funds to back his legal action against Rugby Australia (RA) for wrongful termination. 

A spokeswoman for GoFundMe, Nicola Britton said, “as a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.” 

According to the site’s Terms and Conditions, the company may forfeit your GoFundMe page if you are running “campaigns [that are] deem, [in the site’s] sole discretion.” In other words, “legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases,” is not allowed.

Folau asked the public to donate A$3 million ($2.1 million) for his legal battle with RA. The page went live last week and already received about A$760,000 ($530,000) donations — which will be refunded after shutting Folau’s campaign. 

RA terminated Folau’s contract due to the star player’s Instagram posts that proclaim hate against LGBTQIA+. According to Folau, his termination was related to his religion. He is suing RA claiming that his removal was an act of religious discrimination.

Chief executive Raelene Castle announced that RA has terminated Folau’s contract due to the “values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect, and teamwork.” 

Folau posted that “hell awaits you” to a list of people including homosexuals last April 10. According to BBC, RA gave warnings to Folau related to his anti-gay social media posts in the past.  

GoFundMe‘s Social Fundraising Strategy 

Folau is not the only one who’ve used the GoFundMe website to raise funds. 

According to its website, GoFundMe is the largest social fundraising platform. Launched in 2010, the company boasts a network of 70 million donors.

Fundraising campaigns range from education, medical, to memorial assistance. Individuals can set up a campaign and share their story to GoFundMe‘s donors. Nonprofit organizations can also create a campaign to raise money for their projects. 

In 2016, CEO Rob Solomon revealed that celebrities and influencers who used the platform increased over time. Notable personalities who donated to their chosen causes are Taylor Swift, Kristin Bell, and Jon Bon Jovi

Aside from donations, famous personalities also used the GoFundMe platform to raise money for causes that they believed in. Rapper The Game raised money for a community police officer in Arkansas. 

Related: Karen Black Seeks Donations to Help Pay for Experimental Ampullary Cancer Treatment

In 2018, The Times Up Movement launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the victims of sexual harassment and assault with legal fees assistance. It raised a total of $24.2 million backed by 21,664 people in its 18-month run. 

Sarah Hyland received backlash when she promoted a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds for her uncle’s hospitalization and cousin’s funeral costs last year. Most of the backlash is coming from the fact that Hyland reportedly gets over $100,000 per episode in Modern Family.

Other ridiculous GoFundMe campaigns

Reporter Paul Johnson has criticized Folau for using the GoFundMe platform to raise money for his legal battle. Aside from the campaign being tagged as “self-serving,” there were also criticisms about the campaign’s target amount. 

Josh Bornstein, an employment lawyer from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, tweets, “Israel Folau’s case, should not cost more than 300k.”

Aside from Folau, numerous failed campaigns that have since made the fundraisers infamous.

In 2016, a fan named Jeremy Piatt set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Kanye West out of debt after the rapper/entrepreneur ranted on Twitter on how he is broke and can not create his art due to his financial restraints.

Last March, a couple pleaded guilty to federal charges for setting up a GoFundMe account for a homeless veteran to con donors into giving money to them. Their GoFundMe campaign raised nearly $400,000 in 2017. After raising the money, the homeless vet who coerced with the couple sued them on suspicions of withholding money raised on his behalf. The legal suit opened investigations that out-ted the plan of theft through deception in the open. 

Another controversial GoFundMe campaign is from an Instagram couple who was asking for money to fund a cycling trip in Africa. Many people criticized the influencers for asking strangers to support their lavish lifestyle while refusing to get a job. 

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