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Sports news from @latimes.
20 Jul
Olympic organizers are scrambling to avoid a superspreader event in Tokyo.

New arrivals have become accustomed to spitting into plastic tubes for COVID saliva tests.

There is no dining in local restaurants or visiting tourist attractions.

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Athletes have been encouraged to stay away from Tokyo until five days before their first event and depart within 48 hours of finishing competition.

Gatherings and socializing inside the athletes village also will be curtailed.

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International health officials have expressed doubt about whether the Games can be held safely as the Delta variant makes its way around the globe, and IOC executive director Christophe Dubi conceded “there is no such thing as zero risk.”

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20 Jul
Cassius Marsh is always evolving.

As an NFL player.

As a partner and father.

As co-founder of his own trading card shop.

“Life is my personal [role-playing game],” the former UCLA star says.

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Some players might bring a book on the road to occupy their spare time. Marsh brings some of his “Magic: The Gathering” decks — a strategic, turn-based fantasy card game.

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Marsh founded Cash Cards Unlimited with business manager Nick Nugwynne.

The Westlake Village shop is an upscale haven for the trading card fan, with Marsh and a doting staff waiting to engage customers in a magical world he's loved since childhood.

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20 Jul
🧵Our Olympics coverage today ...

@LATimesWharton on how these Games have already been affected by COVID and what the IOC and organizers are doing to avoid a superspreader event in Tokyo

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U.S. soccer opens group play Wednesday against Sweden, which upset the U.S. five years ago in the Olympic quarterfinals.

No player was left with a more bitter taste from that loss than Christen Press, whose missed penalty kick sealed her team's fate.

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Meet the 22 U.S. women’s national team players coach Vlatko Andonovski took to Tokyo for the Olympic Games.

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20 Jul
Vin Scully sounded strong.

He also sounded sad.

In some of his first public comments since the Jan. 3 death of his beloved wife, Sandi, Scully answered a recent phone call from @BillPlaschke with both resignation and hope.

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What ensued was a 30-minute conversation that revealed the human side of a Los Angeles sports deity, the city’s most trusted voice lowering his tone to share the anguish of his loss, the path toward his recovery, and the wisdom gained on the journey.

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Scully spoke from his heart, which was indelibly broken when his wife of 47 years died of complications from ALS.

“I believe it’s God’s plan. We had wonderful times together,” he said. “He’s called Sandi home, and I’m just waiting for the call.”

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20 Jul
The Dodgers lost 7-2 last night in the first game of a four-game series against the Giants.

It’s clear the Dodgers will need better pitching than they got last night ... and Tuesday promises a touch of Gray.

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Every time a Dodgers starting pitcher is sidelined because of injury or idiocy, the same name is flagged as a potential replacement: Is Josiah Gray ready?

For Game 2 against the Giants tonight, the answer appears to be yes.

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Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Dodgers’ consensus top prospect will follow an opener — a pitcher who will try to get through one or two innings — and attempt to carry the load into the late innings.

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19 Jul
Your soon-to-be favorite Olympic event features humans scaling a 50-foot competition wall, scurrying from one small climbing hold to the next and tapping the buzzer - all in about six seconds

Here's everything you need to know about speed climbing.

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When sport climbing was added for the Tokyo Olympics, its international federation decided to combine the results of three events into one final score.

The first two, bouldering and lead, involve problem-solving, with action that tends to be deliberate.

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These cautious games of chess probably won’t draw as much attention as the head-to-head racing of the third segment.

In speed climbing, the holds are placed in standardized spots — the wall has looked the same at every competition for some 15 years.

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19 Jul
With Tokyo under a state of emergency because of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, these Games will be contested against the backdrop of unprecedented skepticism about the existential purpose of the Olympic movement, @dylanohernandez writes.

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About the only person pretending the once-delayed Games are being staged for the public good is IOC President Thomas Bach.

This is about money — specifically the broadcast rights fees that account for the majority of the IOC’s revenue.

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The Japanese government wants to recover whatever it can of the tens of billions of dollars it has sunk into these Games, even though medical resources will have to be redirected from the pandemic and less than 20% of the population is fully vaccinated.

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19 Jul
🧵Our Tokyo Olympics special section is very, um, SPECIAL!

It's got everything you need to know going into the Games, which by the way start in a matter of days.

Here's some of what you'll find inside ...

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Tokyo is under a state of emergency because of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How the Games unfold from a public health standpoint will ultimately decide whether these Games represent the best or worst of humanity, @dylanohernandez writes.

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The team U.S. soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski inherited from Jill Ellis following the 2019 Women’s World Cup triumph was already the best in history.

The one he will take into the Tokyo Olympics this week is arguably better.

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8 Feb
How has James stayed at the top of the league longer than any of his peers?

It’s a combination of three distinct factors — an ever-evolving skill set, a devotion to his health and fitness and an ever-expanding mind, @DanWoikeSports writes. lat.ms/39Ylx7x
James has worked himself into a player who not only launches a lot of three-point shots, but also connects.

In his rookie season, six players took at least six three-pointers per game. This season, 52 players are doing it, with James one of 16 making more than 40%.
The shooting improvements are amplified by his remarkable durability, with James maneuvering past defenders 10 years his junior, combining strength, speed and agility to still get to the rim when he wants.
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