Fun Fact of the Day: Yesterday, after a few seasons of decreasing production, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent OF Yasiel Puig to the minors. This is an unfortunate development for Puig, who endured a harrowing journey to become an MLB star. He escaped Cuba, defected to Mexico, and was sold to a Miami smuggler in exchange for 20% of his future MLB earnings.
That sweet, sweet honey. The Arizona Cardinals signed safety/cornerback Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu to a big $62.5M, 5-year contract extension. Despite a couple of big knee injuries, Mathieu has become one of the best and most versatile defensive players in the game. Buying low. The Cardinals drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL. He was considered a risky bet at the time, because he had failed multiple drug tests, was kicked off LSU’s team, and was arrested for marijuana possession. So far the Honey Badger has kept clean in the pros and the Cardinals’ gamble has paid off.
A cautionary tale. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for 10 games because he tested positive for “purple drank”—a mix of Sprite, cough syrup and codeine. He is so dependent on the ‘drank’ he’s gained 40 pounds in the offseason and it’s unclear if he will play football again. McClain has had a rough time since joining the NFL in 2010, including 3 arrests, 2 ‘retirements’ from football, and a positive test for marijuana. So far his status for the season is murky, but the Cowboys hope he will be able to work out his dependency issues.
Spotlight on Simone Biles
Can you believe it? The Olympics Opening Ceremony is this Friday! Throughout the Games we will spotlight the big winners and athletes to watch. To get us started, we are featuring Simone Biles, the teeny tiny gymnast that everyone is talking about.
What should I know about her? Simone is the favorite to win the all-around title, because she hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013. You didn’t see her at the London games in 2012, because she was too young to compete. Now, at 19 years old, Simone says she’s just a normal teenager, including harboring a deep, abiding love for Zac Efron.
How does she win? In competitions, each gymnast starts with a max score based on the difficulty of the skills in her routine. Judges deduct points from that score for imperfections. Simone is the favorite because she performs routines that are much harder than those of other gymnasts. If she doesn’t make too many mistakes, it’s almost a mathematical certainty she will take home gold. In particular, watch out for a tumbling skill on floor called the "Biles"—yep it’s named after her, because she’s the only gymnast in the world who can do it.
Humble beginnings. Simone’s biological mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. She was unable to take care of her 8 children, so many were sent to foster care. Simone and her younger sister were taken in and later adopted by their grandfather and his second wife.
A serendipitous start. Simone first became interested in gymnastics when she was 6 years old. Her daycare was scheduled to take a field trip to a ranch but it was too hot outside, so they went to a gymnastics camp instead.
Breaking barriers. In 2013, Simone became the first black woman to win the all-around title at the world championship. Unfortunately, her win was not without controversy. Carlotta Ferlito, an Italian gymnast who came in 11th place told the Italian media “I told [a teammate] that next time we should also paint our skin black, so then we could win too.” Ferlito later apologized for her remarks. Simone went on to win again in 2014 and 2015, becoming the first woman to win 3 consecutive world championships.