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Super Nintendo World opening delayed due to Osaka state of emergency

Universal Studios Japan has announced that Super Nintendo World will not be opening next month as planned. The Nintendo-themed zone of the Osaka park was supposed to open on February 4th after its launch was delayed from last year, but with Osaka being placed under a state of emergency declaration yesterday until at least February 7th, that’s no longer going to happen. USJ says it will announce a new opening date once the state of emergency has been lifted.

The state of emergency in Japan was initially issued for Tokyo and its surrounding areas, but yesterday the order was expanded to cover a total of 11 prefectures, Osaka included. The countermeasures aren’t particularly strong compared to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions elsewhere — people are discouraged from making non-essential trips outside, and establishments like restaurants and movie theaters are asked to close earlier in the evening — but it obviously still is not the ideal time to open a theme park.

Super Nintendo World is an important project for Nintendo, representing the most ambitious attempt yet to expand its IP into new business opportunities. The park was initially set to open in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which themselves remain in serious doubt. When it does eventually open, it’ll feature attractions like an AR-powered Mario Kart rollercoaster.

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Football USA Headline USA Ohio

LeBron James, Naomi Osaka, and Patrick Mahomes honored as SI’s Sportsperson of the Year

Rather than a single recipient, Sports Illustrated awarded its 2020 Sportsperson of the Year honor to five individuals who exemplify the modern ‘Activist Athlete’: Lakers star LeBron James, tennis champion Naomi Osaka, WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart, and Kansas City Chiefs teammates Patrick Mahomes and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

Like past winners, all five had success in their respective sports in 2020.

James got his fourth title, Osaka won her second US Open, and Stewart’s Seattle Storm captured another WNBA crown, while Mahomes and Duvernay-Tardif helped Kansas City win its first Super Bowl in half a century.

This year, though, the 66-year-old publication isn’t just celebrating team, or individual accomplishments, but rather the athletes’ efforts to help their communities.

Two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka

Breanna Stewart (left), the WNBA Finals MVP, and Naomi Osaka (right), the US Open champion, were honored for keeping the names of black victims of police violence in the news

Each recipient's impact was described in an essay by another athlete, such as former Sportsperson of the Year winner Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who credited LeBron James for his work fighting voter suppression

Each recipient’s impact was described in an essay by another athlete, such as former Sportsperson of the Year winner Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who credited LeBron James for his work fighting voter suppression

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Chiefs right guard-turned-hospital orderly Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Chiefs teammates Patrick Mahomes (left) and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (right) were honored for their work fighting voter suppression (Mahomes) and COVID-19 (Duvernay-Tardif)

‘And so our Sportsperson of the Year award goes to five men and women who in 2020 were champions in every sense of the word,’ the SI editors wrote, ‘champions on the field, champions for others off it.’

Each recipient’s impact was described in an essay by another athlete, such as former Sportsperson of the Year winner Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who credited James for his work fighting voter suppression.

The former Lakers center had other options to choose from.

James was one of the NBA’s most vocal players in the weeks and months that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. He also continued his work with the ‘I Promise’ school he helped build in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

But to Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, nothing was as tangible as James work with More Than a Vote — an organization he funded to fight voter suppression.

James was one of the NBA's most vocal players in the weeks and months that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. He also continued his work with the 'I Promise' school he helped build in his hometown of Akron, Ohio

James was one of the NBA’s most vocal players in the weeks and months that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. He also continued his work with the ‘I Promise’ school he helped build in his hometown of Akron, Ohio

‘He did what will resonate more deeply than anything else in his legacy: He got out the vote,’ Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

‘In 2020 we saw the largest, most egregious campaign of voter suppression since the Civil War,’ Abdul-Jabbar continued, apparently referencing what many believed to be a coordinated effort to disenfranchise low-income and African-American voters.

James, like many athletes, spent 2020 reminding fans about the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville police

James, like many athletes, spent 2020 reminding fans about the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville police

‘In response, LeBron waged his own war—against political lethargy and social disenfranchisement. The organization More Than a Vote, supported by LeBron, Offset, Odell Beckman Jr. and other Black athletes and artists, aggressively set out to inspire young people, particularly young Black people, to vote.

‘It worked: More voters turned out than in any election in the nation’s history. With open racism spreading through the U.S. like kudzu, LeBron’s efforts gave African Americans their voice, which so many have tried to silence.’

Similarly, Mahomes helped the NFL embrace the Black Lives Matter movement after previously quarreling with players over the right to protest during the national anthem.

After joining with other players on a messaging campaign in response to Floyd’s death, Mahomes and his foundation then helped pay for new voting machines in Kansas City.

‘He understands the issue of voter suppression in America,’ wrote former Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to start in the Super Bowl. ‘He wanted to make sure that people had an opportunity for a fair election—that whoever you support, you just get the chance to vote.’

Osaka, 23, was the tennis world's most vocal star on the subject of social justice, but it may have been a fashion statement that caused the biggest stir. En route to her second US Open title in the last three years, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father began wearing a facial covering emblazoned with the names of victims of police violence

Osaka, 23, was the tennis world’s most vocal star on the subject of social justice, but it may have been a fashion statement that caused the biggest stir. En route to her second US Open title in the last three years, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father began wearing a facial covering emblazoned with the names of victims of police violence

Osaka, 23, was the tennis world’s most vocal star on the subject of social justice, but it may have been a fashion statement that caused the biggest stir.

En route to her second US Open title in the last three years, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father began wearing a facial covering emblazoned with the names of victims of police violence.

The more she won, the more audiences were reminded of the likes of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville police during a botched raid at her apartment in March.

‘By wearing seven masks at the U.S. Open— with a new one for every round, each honor­ing a different Black victim of police violence or a racist attack—Naomi made an extremely powerful statement,’ wrote tennis legend Martina Navratilova. ‘Every time she walked out to play people were talking about which name was going to be on the mask. Breonna Taylor. Elijah McClain. Ahmaud Arbery. Trayvon Martin. George Floyd. Philando Castile. Tamir Rice.’

Breanna Stewart, 26, rebounded from a season-ending injury in 2019 to win her second WNBA title with the Storm. Like Osaka, Stewart and her fellow WNBA players continued to emphasize the Black Lives Matter movement, while honoring the victims of police violence. She even tweeted her hope that the WNBA would have 'BLM' on its court inside the league bubble in 2020 — a move that was ultimately adopted by both her league and the NBA

Breanna Stewart, 26, rebounded from a season-ending injury in 2019 to win her second WNBA title with the Storm. Like Osaka, Stewart and her fellow WNBA players continued to emphasize the Black Lives Matter movement, while honoring the victims of police violence. She even tweeted her hope that the WNBA would have ‘BLM’ on its court inside the league bubble in 2020 — a move that was ultimately adopted by both her league and the NBA

Stewart, 26, rebounded from a season-ending injury in 2019 to win her second WNBA title with the Storm.

Like Osaka, Stewart and her fellow WNBA players continued to emphasize the Black Lives Matter movement, while honoring the victims of police violence. She even tweeted her hope that the WNBA would have ‘BLM’ on its court inside the league bubble in 2020 — a move that was ultimately adopted by both her league and the NBA.

The essay on Stewart was written by last year's Sportsperson of the Year, US soccer star Megan Rapinoe (left) - the fiancé of Stewart's teammate Sue Bird (right)

The essay on Stewart was written by last year’s Sportsperson of the Year, US soccer star Megan Rapinoe (left) – the fiancé of Stewart’s teammate Sue Bird (right)

‘When Stewie posted on Twitter about wanting the WNBA to paint Black Lives Matter on the baselines this season, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy,’ wrote last year’s Sportsperson of the Year, US soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who happens to be the fiancé of Stewart’s teammate Sue Bird.

‘A lot of players wanted to dedicate the season to Breonna Taylor and BLM, but there’s more weight to it when your best player—the No. 1 pick out of UConn in 2016, the MVP two years later and certainly the future of the league—is pushing for it. For her not only to understand that but also be willing to take that on made a huge difference.

‘She realizes she has an opportunity to be more than what she is on the court—and also, as a white player in a predominantly Black league, to be an ally, or accomplice. Not a lot of white athletes have done that in the past: said their cause is my cause, and I’m as willing to fight for it as they are.’

Duvernay-Tardif’s off-field efforts weren’t strictly symbolic.

After winning a title with the Chiefs in February, the 6-foot-5, 321-pound offensive lineman opted out of the 2020 season so he could serve as an orderly at a long-term care facility in his native Quebec, where he graduated medical school two years earlier.

Patrick Mahomes not only encouraged fans to vote, but he also paid for new voting machines

Patrick Mahomes not only encouraged fans to vote, but he also paid for new voting machines

LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes both supported the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020

LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes both supported the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 

Duvernay-Tardif is now on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus by working as an orderly at a long-term care facility in his native Quebec, where he earned his medical degree

Duvernay-Tardif is now on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus by working as an orderly at a long-term care facility in his native Quebec, where he earned his medical degree

‘To choose to go back to the front lines, because he’s a doctor, and he wants to help people, even if that’s performing tasks like changing diapers and dispensing medications at a long-term care facility just outside of Montreal, it shows how much he cares,’ wrote Dr. Jenny Thompson, a decorated Olympic swimmer who is now an anesthesiologist. 

‘It shows that he’s not only a caring doctor but above all a good person and the perfect choice for Sportsperson of the Year in turbulent 2020.’

Duvernay-Tardif has also become a leading voice among athletes, encouraging fans to take coronavirus seriously and help protect themselves and others.

‘Most who go into medicine do so because they love science, sure, but also because they love people and humanity, because they want to make a difference in the world,’ Thompson continued.

‘Clearly, that is coming through for him right now, as he forgoes the glory inherent in defending a Super Bowl title to help his fellow humans, to wade back onto the front lines and fight COVID-19 at that long-term care facility in Quebec, while also studying public health at Harvard. His choice was difficult but admirable, in the most staggering way, and he should be celebrated not for his accomplishments on the field but for the choice he made in 2020 to leave the gridiron for something more important. Well done, doctor.’

SI will honor its Sportsperson of the Year award recipients during an online award ceremony on December 19.

Other awards, such as Breakout of the Year and Team of the Year will also be presented.

Mahomes (left) and Duvernay-Tardif (right) react after a touchdown in the AFC title game

Mahomes (left) and Duvernay-Tardif (right) react after a touchdown in the AFC title game 

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Entertainment USA

U.S. Open Winner Naomi Osaka Looks Triumphant In A White Bikini During 23rd Birthday Celebration


This is how champions relax! After Naomi Osaka took home her second U.S. Open Women’s Singles title last month, she’s now basking on the beach in white bikini for her 23rd birthday.

After one of the most powerful comebacks in recent U.S. Open history, the 2020 Women’s Singles champ Naomi Osaka is ready for some rest and relaxation. The inspiring tennis sensation headed to the Caribbean to celebrate turning 23 on Oct. 16. She shared three photos to her Instagram page on the eve of her big day, wearing a white bikini while chilling at the shore of the clear, aqua blue sea.

Naomi could be seen in the first photo with her normally curly hair cascading in long, thin braids. She sat in the sugary white sand while wearing a white cover up over her two-piece, and had a scrunchie wrapped around her wrist in case she wanted to put up her hair and go for a swim.

Naomi showed off her incredible style sense with a zebra print frame on her sunglasses, with matching long dangle earrings. She added several delicate gold necklaces and a gold ankle bracelet with tiny charms on it. In the accompanying photos, Naomi stood up for fans to get a better look at her beach ensemble, as white sand stuck to her shin from kneeling on the beach. In the third picture, Naomi outstretched her arm so that her followers could get a better look at her fit professional athlete figure in the chic white bikini.

Naomi Osaka hoists her trophy in the air after winning the 2020 U.S. Open. Photo credit: AP.

The beach behind her was endless and white, with the clear water making her fans have serious FOMO. Naomi didn’t mention exactly where she was, though the sea color and flat topography seemed to indicate a vacation to the Turks and Caicos. Some of her followers thought she might be in Haiti, as he father Leonard François is Haitian. But the county has more hills and mountains than was seen in the distance of Naomi’s snapshots. All she wrote next to the photos was “chill,” which was exactly what Naomi was doing.

On Sept. 12, Naomi pulled off a stunning come from behind victory at the U.S. Open to beat former world number one, Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, 31. Naomi — who plays for her mother’s native Japan, though she has called the U.S. home since she was three — was down 1-6 after the first set. But she came roaring back with 6-3, 6-3 sets to take home her second Open title in two years. Naomi beat Serena Williams, 39, in the 2018 final  for her first Grand Slam victory. She followed it up by taking home the 2019 Australian Open title.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka shows off her amazing style in a red patterned dress as she holds up the U.S. Open championship trophy at New York’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sept. 13, 2020. Photo credit: AP.

At the 2020 U.S. Open, Naomi used her power to draw attention to the Black victims of police shootings, attending her matches with the names of six Black victims killed by police brutality (and one shot by George Zimmerman) sewn onto her face masks. She began the tournament wearing one in tribute to Breonna Taylor, and ended with Tamir Rice‘s name. On her quest to the title, she also paid tribute to George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin, Philandro Castile and Ahmaud Arbery. After her first win in the tourney, she told reporters, “I have seven,” face masks for the US Open. “It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get to the finals and you can see all of them.” She got through her names, and made a poignant tribute to the victims in the process.

 





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IPL

Western and Southern Open: Osaka withdraws to protest racial injustice; Djokovic advances, Medvedev ousted


Fourth-seeded Naomi Osaka reached the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday and withdrew a few hours later in a call for racial justice, drawing quick support from other players.

The last Top 10 seed in the women’s bracket joined professional athletes in basketball, baseball and soccer in demanding change after Jacob Blake was shot by police.

Osaka tweeted that as a Black woman, she feels compelled to pull out of the tournament to put a focus on police shooting Black people.

“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction,” the Japanese player tweeted. “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.

“I’m exhausted from having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?”

Her move quickly got support from others players on the tour.

Sloane Stephens retweeted the message and added: “Say it louder! Proud of you” and in a separate tweet added, #Proud of all the sports teams and athletes taking a stand tonight #BLM”

After reaching the semifinals late Wednesday, Milos Raonic said the ATP and WTA should consider a joint action that goes beyond a small group of players.

“I think real disruption, that’s what makes change, and I think a lot of real disruption is caused by affecting people in a monetary way and can force some kind of change,” he said. “I’m hoping at least we on the men’s tour as well as the women’s, we band together and we show support.”

All NBA and WNBA games, three Major League Baseball games and five of six Major League Soccer games were called off Wednesday as athletes demanded racial justice.

Osaka beat No. 12 Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 on Wednesday afternoon, reaching the semifinals as the only Top 10 player left in the bracket. Late Wednesday, she was still scheduled to play No. 14 Elise Mertens in the semifinals.

Victoria Azarenka will play eighth-seeded Johanna Konta in the other women’s semifinal. Konta beat Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-3, and Azarenka advanced in straight sets against Ons Jabeur.

Azarenka, who was No. 1 in 2012, acknowledged Wednesday that she had considered retiring at the start of the year. She’s currently No. 59 but has reached her first semifinal since April 2019.

“In January, I didn’t know if I was going to play at all,” she said. “So the end of January, I decided: You know what? I might try, last time, and see what happens.”

In the men’s bracket, top-ranked Novak Djokovic had no problems with his creaky neck or the swirling winds during a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff that was by far his best showing of the week.

So far, no rust at all after the long layoff from competitive tennis.

“Everything was worked on in the last six months, I had plenty of time,” Djokovic said. “I worked on every single thing. It’s great it’s paying off so early after the break.”

Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 after exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia in June with no social distancing.

In his match Monday against Ricardas Berankis, Djokovic had his sore neck massaged twice by a trainer during a 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory that included seven double faults. The neck has gotten better, and so has his overall game.

“Right now it’s not a concern,” he said. “It’s still not 100% but it’s close to that. I’ve been gaining more range in my movement of the neck every single day, so no complaints.”

In the semifinals, he’ll face Roberto Bautista Agut, who knocked out defending champion Daniil Medvedev earlier in the day.

Medvedev failed to close it out in the second set, and Bautista Agut rallied for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory that eliminated yet another top player out of the tune-up tournament for the U.S. Open. Djokovic is the only player left in the tournament with an ATP Masters 1000 title to his credit.

Medvedev led 4-3 in the second before letting it slip away. He converted only five of 20 breakpoints in the match and swatted his racket against the court in frustration at the end.

“Even in the third set I had my chances and didn’t take them,” Medvedev said.

Bautista Agut reached his third Master’s semifinal and his first since 2016. He needed a set to adjust to the breezy, cooler conditions on court.

“It’s never easy to come back and play well at first,” he said. “I have to be patient, to try to enjoy every single match I play here after six months without competing. Just pleased and happy to be in the semifinals.”

Medvedev hoisted the champion’s Rookwood Pottery cup last year in Mason, Ohio, where the tournament is held annually. This year’s event was moved to the U.S. Open site in Flushing Meadows because of pandemic precautions, creating a two-tournament event without spectators.

Fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas also advanced to the semifinals when Reilly Opelka withdrew during the first set of their match Wednesday after getting treatment for an injured right knee. He’ll face Raonic, who beat Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5.





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