Ex-NFL player killed in parking dispute with neighbor, police say

first_img Written by FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailUniversity of Colorado Athletics(AURORA, Colo.) — A former NFL player was fatally shot over the weekend in a dispute with a neighbor over a parking space, according to police.Anthony “T.J.” Cunningham, a former defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks and an assistant principal at a high school in Aurora, Colorado, was allegedly shot by a neighbor on Sunday and taken to a local hospital, where he died the following day, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.Police charged his neighbor, 31-year-old Marcus Johnson, with first-degree murder on Monday, accusing him of shooting Cunningham multiple times in the head and chest.Witnesses said the two neighbors met at a high school in Aurora, located about 10 miles east of Denver, to settle an ongoing parking dispute, according to a probable cause affidavit.Cunningham’s brother told police he accompanied the former player to the school’s parking lot, where the two planned to “box it out,” according to the affidavit.The two men were walking towards each other when Johnson allegedly shot him three times, striking him in the head and chest, according to the document.Johnson called 911 to report the shooting and police said they found a handgun in his vehicle. Johnson said Cunningham was armed with a bottle when he pulled the trigger, but Cunningham’s brother said he didn’t have a weapon, according to the affidavit.Johnson was originally booked on attempted murder, but the charge was amended after the victim’s death. He was being held without bail and it’s unclear if he has retained an attorney.Cunningham, 46, played for the Seahawks during the 1996 season until injuries ended his NFL career, according to the team’s website. He also played wide receiver and defensive back at the University of Colorado.The university’s football team said he was a “tremendous part of the CU community” who “touched countless others” during his time there, according to a statement.“We were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of T.J. Cunningham,” the Colorado Buffaloes said in a tweet on Monday. “He was a good family man and had a strong passion for working with young people.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. February 20, 2019 /Sports News – National Ex-NFL player killed in parking dispute with neighbor, police saycenter_img Beau Lundlast_img read more

Totally Trivial With Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman of Front Country

first_imgMelody Walker and Jacob Groopman are grabbing attention everywhere they go.  Along with their progressive bluegrass band Front Country, they have garnered gold in band competitions at both Rockygrass and Telluride, Melody’s debut record, Gold Rush Goddess, was named one of the top 50 records of 2012 by No Depression, and Melody won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in April of this year.That is a nice collection of kudos for a couple of musicians who have been on the scene for just a couple years.Melody and Jacob, who live in Northern California and hail from San Francisco and Richmond, respectively, can be found recording and playing as a duo when not on the road with Front Country.  Just this week, they set out from California on a two month tour that will take them all over the country.  Jacob and Melody are touring in support of their new release, We Made It Home.BRO recently caught up with Jacob and Melody to get Totally Trivial.BRO – One thing you can get in NorCal that you can’t get in Richmond?Jacob – Seriously amazing authentic dim sum.  I never even knew about this until I moved out to California.  In Richmond, we didn’t even get a sushi place until I was in high school.  Of course, I’ve not lived in Richmond for almost 15 years, so maybe there is some dim sum there now.Melody – Poison oak.  Y’all have poison ivy over there, but apparently the rash is the same, so . . . .BRO – One thing you can get in Richmond that you can’t get in NorCal?Jacob – Great Civil War history!Melody – All kinds of weird Southern foods that don’t even exist on the West Coast.  What is creasy salad?  Chitlins?BRO – In five words or less, finish the following statement – “Winning the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest was better than . . . . “Jacob –  . . . not winning!Melody – . . . getting tarred and feathered.BRO – Most recent song that you heard and immediately had to listen to again?Jacob – This is random, but it was a song by a UK artist named Goldfrapp.  I was in our neighborhood record store, heard it, and had to go home and find it.  The album is called Tales of Us.Melody – I do this all the time, but most recently it was “Gone and Back” from Alaskan songwriter Anna Lynch.  She released it as a teaser for her new album, and you can listen to it here – http://annalynch.bandcamp.com/track/gone-and-back. It’s super catchy and has this cajuny swing that makes me want to dance.BRO – Favorite guilty pleasure while on the road?Jacob – White Cheddar Cheez-Its.Melody – Chex Muddy Buddies.  But we do not give in to these pleasures anymore.  Why, you got some?BRO – Last movie that made you cry?Jacob – Forrest Gump.  It’s the only move that’s ever made me cry.  “I miss you, Jen-nay!”Melody – It doesn’t take much.  I guess Gravity got me for a second, even though that movie was stupid!BRO – Most played song on your iPod?  You proud of that?Jacob – I have no idea.  It might be “Bubbles,” by Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussain.  I can’t get enough of that song and I am very proud.Melody – I’ve worn out Graceland – the whole album – pretty good on road trips over the years.  It never gets old and always puts a smile on my face.  That’s basically like musical heroin.  I will never quit you, Paul.BRO – What state do you anticipate driving through least on the big tour?Jacob – Nebraska, because it NEVER ends.  This time, though, we’re actually stopping for a gig in North Platte so maybe I’ll change my tune.  Texas is also really large.Melody – Sorry, Nevada, but it’s always you.  There no gig here and you not very scenic on I-80.BRO – Favorite tune on the new record?Jacob – I’m a big fan of how “Betelguese” came out.Melody – I like “O Heartbreaker” because it’s really a pop song snuck onto a folk record.BRO – If you could have just one guest sit in on the big tour, it would be . . .Jacob – Tim O’Brien.  One day it will happen.Melody – David Rawlings.  Sorry Jacob.Melody and Jacob will be racking up some serious miles in the car over the next couple months.  If you get a chance, catch them when they hit a town near you.  For our Colorado readers, the duo will be in Carbondale, Longmont, and Boulder by the end of this week.  Jacob and Melody will be in the Southeast by the end of November, hitting Washington, D.C., Richmond (VA), and Johnson City and Knoxville (TN).For more info on tour dates and how to get your hands on the new record, check out www.melodywalkermusic.com.  Also, be sure to listen to “We Made It Home” on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

Olympia : Champions Workshop Tuesday September 20th

first_imgAn amazing fact: most of our behavior is driven by beliefs held in our sub-conscious mind. Imagine you had on a pair of dark green sunglasses. You may want to see a piece of white paper, but you can’t; no matter how hard you try. You need a revelation, a new perception – a hole poked through the sunglasses to see the paper as white. The “sunglasses” or belief systems, from which we operate from, most often unconsciously, prevent you from seeing solutions and strategies all around you that lead to the results you really want to produce. All your goals, dreams and desires are tied to seeing a new, more effective point of view.  In this shift, offered in K&A’s, experiential learning format, people actually experience the change(s) they wish to achieve and leave the seminar with this new skill firmly in their possession not relegated to their notes or memories. Klemmer & Associates Training goes far beyond “how-to” approaches and motivation to assist people in identifying these operative, yet unknown or unconscious beliefs and teaches people how to begin poking holes through their own sunglasses. Unlike most seminars, K&A’s unique and highly acclaimed style is experiential learning combined with self-discovery tools.  In their seminars people learn how they can explore their own sunglasses as an ongoing tool so that they can produce the specific results they desire for themselves and their companies. Facebook0Tweet0Pin0Klemmer & Associates, The Premiere Leadership & Character Development Company, specializing in producing large amounts change in a short period of time through quickly and easily shifting values and fundamental beliefs is coming to Olympia!  Klemmer and Associates, has been praised by such experts as Mark Victor Hansen, Les Brown and John Gray for their unique work with individuals and corporate clients such as: GE, Suzuki Motors, AETNA, HP, Walt Disney, and numerous direct sales and network marketing organizations. K&A renowned Champion’s Workshop, an extraordinary introductory leadership seminar, will be held on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 7pm.  In this 3 hour, interactive workshop, you will learn The Secret Formula of Champions:  a multi-million dollar formula that thousands of people use to solve problems, lose weight, dramatically increase their incomes and create more success in their lives in as little as 30 days or less! Tens of Thousands have attended the Klemmer & Associates seminars worldwide and an outstanding 99% in recorded surveys say that it was worth the time and money invested or more. This event is only $20 if purchased in advance, $59 at the door.  It will be held September 20th, 2011 at 7pm at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, WA.  To purchase your tickets in advance call Linda Jensen at 360-908-0612, register online at www.klemmer.com or call the Klemmer & Associates office at 800-577-5447.  The first 100 registrants will receive a free copy of Brian Klemmer’s bestselling book: The Compassionate Samurai.last_img read more

Little Library a Big Plus for Highlands Readers

first_imgBy John Burton HIGHLANDS – Books and reading are important to Christine Mihok.When Super Storm Sandy blasted through Highlands last October, severely damaging the borough’s small, modest library and putting its future in jeopardy, Mihok found a way to bring books to Highlands readers.With the support of the borough council, Mihok established the Little Free Library on Waterwitch Avenue, making books available through an honor system.Highlands Borough Councilwoman Tara Ryan, left, and Christine Mihok stand next to the Little Free Library on Waterwitch Avenue.The name is something of a misnomer for those who think of a “library” as a structure with books, videos, magazines and a librarian. The “library” in this case is more akin to a large home mailbox or birdfeeder. It sits atop a cement post in front of the Water Witch Coffee and Tea Company, 67 Waterwitch Ave.The borough re-established its public library about 2 ½ years ago, operating out of the community center, at the corner of Snug Harbor Avenue and Beach Boule­vard, and independently of the county library system. Borough Councilwoman Tara Ryan described it as “a really old fashioned library. Well used and well loved.” It relied on old-school card catalogs and the efforts of volunteers like Mihok.But, the library was devastated by the storm. Flooding caused considerable damage to the entire community center. “We’re not sure if we’re going to rebuild,” Ryan said.Mihok, a lover of books and reading, stepped up, Ryan said Mihok read about the Little Free Library program, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based not-for-profit organization, and applied for a grant the program offers to get one for the community and was awarded one of the “libraries.”The mission of Little Free Library is to promote literacy, a love of reading and a sense of community worldwide by establishing free book exchanges, according to the organization’s website.Little Free Library organization is looking to establish 2,510 of their libraries to match – and exceed – the number of libraries built by Andrew Carnegie. It has established little libraries around the country and around the world, including in Africa and Australia.“The whole idea is to put them in areas where people don’t have easy access to libraries,” Mihok said.Mihok, her husband and Kenny Haber, who owns the Baking Company located in the same building as the coffee and tea company, installed the library box after it was delivered in late April. It’s painted in bright colors, has a door that closes to keep out the rain and is decorated with artwork reflecting the seashore. It can hold about 3 dozen books.“It’s adorable,” Ryan said.Since starting, about 300 books have moved in and out of the library in a box, according to Ryan and Mihok.“It is potluck,” as to which books someone will find as people pick up one and drop off another, Ryan noted.Mihok has been advising people to drop off titles that area schools recommend to students for summer reading.Ryan said a local 12 year old, who has been coming by since the Little Free Library was installed, told her, “It’s like magic,” the way new books keep coming.Monika Ivy, a Highlands resident, stopped by earlier in the week with her 5-year-old daughter, Devon, to exchange books.They pass the library every day on their way to and from Highlands Elementary School with Devon regularly exchanging books.“You know, you go to Barnes & Noble and you buy the kids books and they read them and they’re not that interested in them that long,” Ivy said. “I think this is awesome. I think when I finish my book I’ll put it in there.”Mihok lives in Phila­delphia, Pa., and grew up in Atlantic Highlands. She continues to feel a connection to the area, especially to its libraries, remembering the role the Atlantic Highlands library once played in her childhood when she went there on Saturdays with her mother. “It was our day out,” she said.Ryan sees the Little Free Library as a viable way for residents who don’t have transportation or Internet access or e-readers to go to a brick-and-mortar library to get books into their hands.“When books are right there, you don’t need a library card,” she said.Mihok hopes to get another library box to put on the other side of town to make it more accessible for those living there.last_img read more


first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (June 17, 2015)–Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah, who will return to his Santa Anita base Thursday morning, will make a public appearance between races at The Great Race Place on Gold Cup at Santa Anita Day, Saturday, June 27, it was announced today.“We want to again thank American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat and his trainer, Bob Baffert, for being so incredibly generous in sharing this horse with fans from coast to coast,” said Santa Anita Chairman, Keith Brackpool. “We look forward to American Pharoah’s return home here to Santa Anita on Thursday and we’re excited to be able to present him to the public on June 27. It should make for a tremendous day for those joining us on-track and on television throughout the world.”In addition to a blockbuster card that will include the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes, the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes and the Grade III, $100,000 Senorita Stakes, all fans will receive an officially licensed “American Pharoah Triple Crown Champion” T-shirt, free with paid admission and Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club membership. (Thoroughbreds Club signups will be available, free of charge, at all T-shirt distribution locations).First post time on June 27 is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m. For more information on American Pharoah’s appearance between races, or to make dining and seating reservations, please visit santaanita.com/featured-events/. SANTA ANITA-BASED ‘PHAROAH’ TO RETURN HOME ON THURSDAY MORNING FROM LOUISVILLElast_img read more

Fire services tackle blaze in popular holiday town

first_imgFire crews were called to the scene of a fire in Bundoran last night.The alarm was raised after 11pm when emergency services received reports of a fire at a caravan.The caravan was unoccupied at the time of the fire. The fire was brought under control and no injuries were reported from the incident.Fire services tackle blaze in popular holiday town was last modified: August 8th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

Fifa recognises Bafana’s win over Spain

first_img29 November 2013South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan expressed his delight on Thursday after Fifa confirmed Bafana Bafana’s 1-0 victory over Spain as an “A” category international friendly.Fifa had initially suggested that the match, played at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 19 November, would not be recognised because Spain used more than the allowed six substitutes when they sent on a seventh player, goalkeeper Pepe Reina, to replace Victor Valdez in goal. Valdez had taken over from Iker Casillas earlier in the game.After receiving a letter from Fifa on Thursday, Jordaan said Fifa had confirmed Safa’s position on the contest.‘The country must savour this win’“We complied with all the regulations for this historic victory and I am happy this matter has been laid to rest. The country must savour this win, as Bafana Bafana were the first country to beat Spain on the African continent,” Jordaan said in a statement.“We expect that the impact of the victory will be reflected in the next December Fifa rankings as the ruling arrived on the date the November rankings were released.”Bafana Bafana’s win over Spain, the world number one since 2008 and the reigning European and world champions, was South Africa’s first victory ever over a team ranked number one in the world.SAinfo reporter and South African Football Associationlast_img read more

Khwezi Oils shakes up South Africa’s green fuel market

first_imgBrian Sibusiso Mpono is Playing his Part in ensuring that South Africa has a cleaner, greener future. His company, Khwezi Oils, is exploiting a new niche in the South African fuel market by making biofuel, refined from waste cooking oil, and it’s proving a hit with local trucking companies.Brian Sibusiso Mpono, founder of Khwezi Oils Biodiesel and Brand South Africa ambassador. (Image: Brian Sibusiso Mpono)Brand South Africa reporterThirty-year-old Mpono, from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, recognised the knock-on effects of volatile crude oil prices on the South African market, and that fossil fuels are creating environmental problems.He says, “I came to learn that biodiesel was the next big thing in the fuel industry and understood the volatility of the crude oil price and its effects on the South African economy. Too, that it was the prime answer to global warming and climate change as an alternative environmentally friendly energy fuel; this I researched and got from the rest of the world.”In 2011, Mpono founded Khwezi Oils Biodiesel and Khwezi Biodiesel; “At this point I realised that my business was to pioneer an innovation that did not exist commercially, by a young black South African … in the history of ‘petro-fuels’ at a refinery level.“The scale and enormity of the industry of my business is a colossal; Brent crude supplies are dwindling, and South Africa relies heavily on Brent crude oil for its refineries, which is why the price of fuel is out of control in South Africa. However, bio-diesel on the other hand uses sunflower oil (waste), collected from hospitality industry hotels, restaurants, fast food franchises and the like so dependency shifts from Brent crude to oil that is always available and also environmentally friendly, saving the ozone from carbon emissions and ultimately global warming.”Mpono is turning “trash-into-cash” now, supplying mainly the construction and trucking and logistics industries for the past three years. In its first year of trade Khwezi Oils generated R1.2-million in turnover, of which 30% was gross profit.When speaking about his love for the environment and his green initiatives, Mpono said he simply looked at where the “world is going and where it will be over the next 50 years”, and his common denominator was “green energy”.“The sulphur content in fossil fuels was the main cause of global warming because of carbon emissions, and biofuels was the answer.”He said he had always had the ability to meet communities’ needs.“The Wright Brothers revolutionised aviation; they foresaw that soon air travel will be necessary, whether they would still be living in that century or not didn’t matter; Jimmy Dunlop saw it necessary that just like human beings vehicles need ‘shoes’ and invented the rubber tyre; William Burton, the father of petroleum fuel, burnt oil at extremely high temperatures to refine fuel; Karl Benz and his wife, [created] the first petroleum powered engine. Just like all these pioneers, I have always had a knack for providing solutions for what the market wants and needs and meeting that.”Khwezi Oils Biodiesel began after a conversation about eco-friendly biofuels. (Image: Brian Mpono)Kwezi Oils starts upInitially Mpono ran a communications company, Khwezi Communications. He’d studied in the field, but the company didn’t succeed and he found himself unemployed.Then in early 2011, Mpono says,”I met a gentleman who ran a business with a fleet of trucks; we were just having a casual chat and he said to me he makes his own diesel! I said ‘nonsense’, because only Sapref, Engen and Chevron have refineries making fuel from brent crude oil.”“He said he makes it from sunflower oil, ok! He said come see it; I went to see him and yes he was making biodiesel as a hobby. Then me and my media knowledge I start going on telling where what and how, then he turns around and says to me; ‘Brian, if you can commercialise this biodiesel plant and make a business concern out of it, I will assist you in making it happen. Put your ideas and plans on paper and come see me tomorrow; I will teach you everything there is to know about biofuels’.“The next day I was back at his office; we sat down and spent a couple of hours going through formalities. By the close of business that day I had a fully-fledged biofuel business… he backed me to the tune of R300 000.”Despite the company’s early success, biodiesel was still relatively unknown in South Africa; Mpono says, “Overseas it was as common as spring water; maverick approach; I took my product to where it was needed; taxi and bus ranks, trucking companies; my product was not tried and tested, but I did it anyway risking the impact it might have on the engines on my clients’ vehicles. I did it anyway because I rested on the vision that come 2013 it will become a hot topic… I pursued with trial and error with an existing business concern.“Others shunned it because they were surprised by a black South African involved in fuel production; unheard of between Cape Town and Limpopo; those who tried it, tried it and were happy; those who weren’t, well I just didn’t convince them so I soldiered on.”Khwezi Oils is a two-fold business; creating profits for Mpono and his suppliers, many of which are local households. Mpono pays R4 per litre for waste oil, which would usually be thrown away.“In effect, waste cooking for me is liquid oil, and these households are throwing away money they could get back passively but they don’t know. Through Play Your Part, I have always envisaged educating communities, schools, universities about the environmental impact of ‘waste oil’, and how trash can be turned into cash.“Using open areas within these townships, set up recycling stations for disposing of used cooking oil, I would then pay that community for … each litre they dispose of. Through this initiative I am empowering and developing that community through environmental education at the same time – awareness for the environment they live in; because the very same waste cooking oil they dispose of for me, is the same ‘waste’ that will contribute to developing their community through the money generated from the oil; essentially I am subsidising their spend on cooking oil.“I am conscientising these communities to contribute actively and positively to saving the country and world from global warming by being environmentally friendly. But it takes a game changer like me to make them aware.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Case for defence presents penalties to settle A-League grand final

first_imgShare via Email Australia sport Reuse this content Topics Sydney FC Read more If there was one criticism amongst this admiration of defensive resilience it was the lack of chaos embraced by either coach. Only on rare occasions did a defender or midfielder look to break the first line while further forward attackers were so fixated on combinations the unpredictability of a speculative long-range shot or a wrecking ball dribble were declined. Five of the six players with the most possession during the match formed the central phalanx of Glory’s rearguard. Just three shots on target in 120 minutes tells its own story.While the defensive strategists and their foot soldiers deserve credit there was no shortage of highly credentialed creative talent on display. Much has been expected of Siem de Jong, for example, but the former Ajax and Newcastle schemer ended his maiden A-League campaign an expensive ghost while Tony Popovic’s decision to start Joel Chianese and test Sydney’s back four with split strikers ended tamely after 73 minutes.And so in a game where both sides were playing chicken, each waiting for the other to make a mistake, the plot overtook all protagonists and demanded an error. Glory blinked first.It is heartbreaking that Brendan Santalab’s last act in professional football was to miss one of those seven kicks. It is heartwarming that Alex Brosque’s was to lift the championship trophy.At the end of a long challenging night, at the end of a long challenging season, it all came down to seven kicks. Share on Twitter Perth Glory It’s common to bemoan the ending of a football match in such sudden death fashion, but not on Sunday night. Penalties were welcomed in Perth like Betjeman welcomed bombs in Slough. Never mind 120 minutes, these two teams could have played 120 hours without scoring or even looking like breaking the deadlock.We’ve been spoiled in recent months. Fed on a diet of absurd Champions League comebacks, a thrilling English Premier League title race, and no shortage of grandstand finishes domestically, we’ve come to expect goals, drama and controversy. Football isn’t always like that. It can be attritional. Defences can dominate. It may reduce the ongoing entertainment but it doesn’t diminish the intensity. The stakes of next goal the winner – whether it’s the first of the night or the seventh – remain exhaustingly high.The regulation 90 minutes of the grand final were played almost exclusively between the two defensive lines. In that space Chris Ikonomidis and Adam Le Fondre buzzed, Diego Castro and Joe Marston medallist Milos Ninkovic probed, but both sides executed near perfect defensive displays. Rarely was a man out of position. Runs were checked, ball carriers in the attacking third were double teamed, and turnovers in vulnerable areas were kept to a minimum. Even a flaming airborne dragon would have struggled for penetration such was the organisation and communication on display.The most nuanced passages of play involved the full-backs. For Sydney Rhyan Grant was a pest down the right flank, engaging in a running battle with Jason Davidson. The pair carried on like Bash Street Kids, occasionally tumbling over in knots of limbs a cloud of dust away from a comic strip. But it was Michael Zullo down Sydney’s left that created the clearest chance of the opening half. Or did he? Zullo was ruled offside by the assistant referee as he struck the cross that led to an own-goal, a decision VAR refused to overturn for failing to reach the margin of error threshold. In a match lacking in incident this decision will be sliced and diced like the Zapruder film.It was a similar story for Perth with Ivan Franjic’s sorties down the right posing the greatest threat. His dinked cutback to Castro forced Redmayne into one of the rare saves of the match in the second half and on 75 minutes his cross failed to find a purple shirt after his overlapping run was honoured beautifully by his skipper. That was perhaps the only precisely executed attacking set play of the night. A-League grand final: Sydney FC beat Perth Glory in penalty shootout – as it happened features A-League Share on WhatsApp Seven kicks. A championship season 140 matches long spanning seven months came down to seven kicks. Sport can be grotesquely cruel.Those seven kicks formed the A-League grand final penalty shootout after 120 minutes of combat between Perth Glory and Sydney FC ended in stalemate. A record crowd of 56,371 saw five of those seven kicks find the back of the Optus Stadium net. Crucially, they saw two of them repelled by goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to steer the Sky Blues to a fourth championship trophy. Read more Sydney FC crowned A-League champions for fourth time after shootout win in Perth Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Messengerlast_img read more

Somebody Get Katie Ledecky A Time Machine

The 2012 London Olympics were filled with so many dramatic victories for the U.S. swimming team that the debut of then-15-year-old Katie Ledecky was a bit overshadowed. She entered only one event and won it easily. Three years later, Ledecky is the most dominant freestyle swimmer on Earth. She’s the first to own world records in three different freestyle distances simultaneously since Ian Thorpe. Barring the unforeseeable, the 2016 Olympics will undoubtedly make her one of the biggest stars in athletics.Over distances of 400 meters or more, she’s already faster than Mark Spitz. Yes, Mark Spitz, winner of nine Olympic gold medals — tied for the most of anyone not named Phelps — the guy who set world records at three freestyle distances, including the 400 meters, in which his top world-record time (4:07.7) now trails Ledecky’s (3:58.37) by over nine seconds.But this week she made headlines at the swimming world championships not only for her usual slate of fresh records and golds in her usual distances, but also for expanding her dominance by taking gold in the 200-meter race. Being able to win both sprints and endurance events is much more common in swimming than in track,1There have been 32 different swimmers who owned world records in at least three freestyle distances, including eight who have held both the 1,500- and the 200-meter records and two who have held the world record for all five traditional distances (100 meters through 1,500 meters). though it has been getting rarer of late.And Ledecky, who turned 18 in March, is just getting started. Who knows what heights she might reach? For now, we know she has been getting better and better at every distance — despite racing some only occasionally and/or in lower-pressure situations:While her meteoric improvement has started to flatten out a bit (as we would expect), there are no indications that she has peaked (or valleyed, as the case may be). She just matched her personal best of 1:55.16 in the 200 meters, and her times in that event are still declining (with a fairly linear trend). She is currently just over 2 seconds off of Federica Pellegrini’s record of 1:52.98 — which Pellegrini set just before turning 21. Pellegrini first set the record in this event at age 18, with a time of 1:56.47 — more than a second slower than Ledecky’s time Wednesday at the same age. Ledecky’s 100-meter time is a little bit further away from Britta Steffen’s record — about 2.5 seconds back — but Ledecky has been improving that mark by about 1 second per year even without it being one of her main races. It’s conceivable that she could become the first swimmer since Shane Gould to own all five traditional distance records (the 50-meter sprint only became recognized in 1976).Ledecky’s dominance has led to inevitable comparisons to men. She made a splash in April when she matched Michael Phelps’s time in a 400-meter preliminary, and her latest 1,500-meter record time has only been bested by 80 men in the world this year.She will likely rise even higher in those ranks in coming years, although she is still unlikely to topple any current male records. (Sorry to be a party-pooper!) Her best shot would theoretically be in the 1,500 meters, where she is about 55 seconds behind Sun Yang of China. While she seems to break her own record in that event practically every day, she has improved it by only 11 seconds in the past two years.However, she has caught up with or surpassed many record-holding men from the past (like Spitz). We can compare the lifetime progression of her personal-best swims (she has been on USA Swimming’s radar since she was 6) to the progression of the men’s world record for each distance like so:It’s fascinating that even her juvenilia has often been faster than many swimming legends. At just 13 years of age, Ledecky swam the 100-meter event faster than Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku, who set his 100-meter world record time of 1:00.4 in 1920 — at age 30. (It’s almost like athletes get better and better over time.)By now, she has put the whole first half of the 20th century in her wake. For example, it’s highly probable that before June 1975, no human in history had ever swum 1,500 meters faster than Ledecky did Tuesday.So here’s a timeline of just when Ledecky’s current bests would have been the fastest ever:2I’ve left out the 50-meter event because there’s no record before 1976, but based on an eyeballing of the trendlines above, it looks pretty similar to the 100. In other words, it’s not just that she can play with the boys. If you took Katie Ledecky in a (backward) time machine to some point before August 1961, she would quite likely be the fastest human being in water in the history of the Earth — over any distance.3Barring “marathon” distances substantially greater than 1,500 meters — like the Olympics’ 10-kilometer open water event, which Ledecky doesn’t compete in. Yet.As she keeps improving her times and lowering her records, I like to think of each new milestone as her advancing through time, knocking down legend after legend as they pop up. It isn’t just a new record — it’s another period of history in which no one could beat her. How far can she get?(UPDATE: Aug. 10, 3:50 p.m.): The charts in this post have been updated to include Ledecky’s latest 800m world record, which she set at the world championships on Saturday. read more