Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis talk to Yahoo Entertainment about the 35th anniversary of Janet Jackson's Control album.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis talk to Yahoo Entertainment about the 35th anniversary of Janet Jackson's Control album.
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Brad Gushue won his first Canadian men's curling championship in a sold-out hometown venue that erupted in joy after his game-winning throw. The three-time champion will try to win another Tim Hortons Brier title in an arena setting that will be the complete opposite. Play begins Friday night in a spectator-free Markin MacPhail Centre as elite men's domestic curling returns after a long absence due to the pandemic. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts provided a successful kickoff to a run of six straight bonspiels at Canada Olympic Park. Now the Brier takes centre stage as 18 teams — many of them competing for the first time in months — square off for the right to hoist the Tankard. "It's going to be interesting and really I have no idea what to expect," Gushue said. "I think once we get through the first weekend, you'll probably settle in and know the level (everyone) is at and then you just kind of accept it and battle it out." The preliminary round will continue through March 11. The top eight teams will qualify for the two-day championship round. The top three teams will advance the playoffs on March 14. The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal with the winner to face the first-place side in the evening final. It has been four years since Gushue won his first Brier in front of a euphoric crowd in St. John's, N.L. He beat Alberta's Brendan Bottcher last year in Kingston, Ont. The Canada skip is listed as an early 2.35-to-1 favourite to repeat by online sports book Coolbet Canada, just ahead of Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs, wild-card entry Kevin Koe and Bottcher. "I think the fact that there have been so few games and the practice time hasn't been there for a lot of teams, it's a bit of a crapshoot to be honest," Gushue said. "I think this could go a lot of different ways than what it would if we had all had our regular run-up to the Brier." Like many rinks at the recent Scotties Tournament of Hearts, most Brier teams were invited by their respective associations to play after the cancellation of annual playdowns due to the pandemic. "I think we'll probably be as patient as we can because I think everybody is going to make some mistakes," Gushue said. "It's the teams that don't compound those mistakes that are going to be successful." There is no play-in game this year. Ontario's Glenn Howard, Koe's Alberta-based team and Mike McEwen's rink from Manitoba are the wild-card entries. Koe will attempt to win a record fifth Brier title as a skip, a mark he shares with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin. Koe is a headliner in Pool B along with Gushue, Ontario's John Epping and Saskatchewan's Matt Dunstone, who finished third last year in Kingston. They're joined by Quebec's Mike Fournier, Greg Smith of Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I.'s Eddie MacKenzie, Nunavut's Peter Mackey and Jamie Murphy's Nova Scotia team that will be skipped by Scott McDonald. Bottcher, McEwen and Howard are in Pool A along with Jacobs, Manitoba's Jason Gunnlaugson, B.C.'s Steve Laycock, New Brunswick's James Grattan, Greg Skauge of the Northwest Territories and Yukon's Dustin Mikkelsen. The Brier winner will represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men's curling championship in the Calgary bubble. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill connected with the longtime ‘Inside the NBA’ host to discuss the upcoming documentary on the TNT basketball show, his Slam Dunk contest ‘Mount Rushmore’ and how he has been inspired to coach the virtually during the coronavirus pandemic.
With 100 days until the rescheduled European Championship, UEFA is considering cutting three cities from its list of 12 host venues across the continent. Bilbao, Dublin and Glasgow are at risk of being dropped over the lack of guarantees about the number of fans that could be allowed into stadiums by June, people with knowledge of the tournament planning told The Associated Press on Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the situation ahead of a looming deadline for UEFA to receive the plans from host countries. UEFA wants the hosting plan settled within weeks after being forced to postpone its showpiece tournament last year due to the pandemic. The governing body would like stadiums to have at least half of the seats filled — despite much of Europe still playing games in empty venues due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions. UEFA is willing to take games away from cities that cannot guarantee a significant number of spectators based on an expected easing up of the pandemic by June. Although Britain has had Europe’s deadliest outbreak, its vaccination program is the fastest in Europe which has raised UEFA's confidence in London's staging of seven games at Wembley Stadium, including the semifinals and final in July. The British government has plans for up to 10,000 fans to return to stadiums from May but more seats could be filled within weeks, dependent on trials of coronavirus testing for fans and plans to lift many social contact restrictions from June 21. But that only applies to England, with Scottish authorities adopting a more cautious path out of lockdown and offering no indication when fans could be allowed back into sports venues. “We’ll see whether or not it’s possible at any point along that road for fans to actually be present to witness (the Euros),” Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said Wednesday. But that uncertainty in Scotland, whose leader Nicola Sturgeon is mired in a political crisis, has left UEFA weighing the option of stripping Hampden Park in Glasgow of its four matches. The three games in the group stage and the last-16 encounter could move south of the border to England in a blow to the Scots after qualifying for their first men's tournament since the 1998 World Cup. UEFA could use another London location, with the country's newest large venue — the 62,000-capacity home of Tottenham — an option. Stadiums in Manchester or Liverpool would also be considered to spread the additional games, especially if UEFA decides to shift the four games slated for Dublin's 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium across the Irish Sea to England. UEFA has yet to receive positive information from Irish authorities with the ban on fans attending games running through April 5. “The public health advice is that it is too early to say how and when these restrictions should be eased given current uncertainties,” the Irish government said in a statement to the AP. "At the request of UEFA, Dublin’s hosting partners ... are examining possible scenarios for staging the games scheduled for Dublin in this COVID-19 environment. We are in constant dialogue with UEFA and our intention is to work to finalize our best possible scenario consistent with public health guidelines.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been in contact with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, said this week “we’re certainly on” for hosting additional games. UEFA is also in contact with Spain's Basque Country but has yet to receive assurances about fans attending matches in Bilbao, which is also due to stage four games across the group stage and round of 16. That has left UEFA assessing moving Bilbao’s games elsewhere in Spain. Basque Country officials gave no indication Wednesday of being rushed into approving the return of spectators, instead sticking to a cautious approach determined by the health conditions. “With three months to go, we must be cautious,” the Basque government told the AP. “But we will continue to work with UEFA and other venues to see if European Championship matches can be held with fans, what the capacity limits will be and under what conditions.” La Liga President Javier Tebas said Tuesday he was hopeful of some fans returning to matches in his competition before the end of the domestic season in May. There had already been discussions in the Basque Country about the limited prospect of an economic boost from staging Euros games. On top of that, Spain's national team has lacked popularity in a region with a strong separatist movement. Athletic Bilbao has a policy of only having playing from the region or neighbouring areas. These Euros have a unique format after UEFA veered from its usual preference of hosting the tournament in one or two countries under a logistically-complex plan instigated in 2012 by then-President Michel Platini. The new format provided an opportunity to stage games in some countries that wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to host the tournament on their own. But the pandemic has complicated the hosting arrangement even further. UEFA says it plans an announcement in April on how the pandemic-era tournament will look and the ability for fans to attend games, having already sold tickets. The Euros are scheduled to open in Rome on June 11 with Italy playing Turkey. UEFA also remains hopeful of retaining Baku (Azerbaijan), Copenhagen (Denmark), Munich (Germany), Budapest (Hungary), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bucharest (Romania), and St. Petersburg (Russia). Long before the pandemic, Brussels was stripped of hosting because its planned new stadium wasn't going to be built, with the four games handed to London. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
Our fantasy baseball analysts reveal their favorite draft target on each of the five American League East teams.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, grounded last year by the pandemic, will return in May with a pair of women's events. But the men won't see action on the circuit until September. And there is no Canadian stop, as yet. World Rugby says discussions continue with Vancouver and London on possibly hosting men’s events in the window between the Tokyo Olympics and HSBC Singapore Sevens in late October. Tim Powers, chair of Rugby Canada, says the hope is the Canada Sevens will take place in September at B.C. Place Stadium. In addition to current COVID-19 restrictions, there is also a non-sports-related date conflict with the venue that has to be resolved. A secondary issue is a possible men's World Cup qualifier that could happen around the same time. The Sevens Series schedule does not feature Langford, B.C., Canada's traditional stop on the women's circuit. Powers said the hope is the women's stop will return to Vancouver Island in the spring of 2022. He cited difficulties in setting up the infrastructure needed to stage a tournament during a pandemic as the problem there. "It's a COVID management challenge in Langford for 2021," he said in an interview. The 2020 Sevens Series was halted after the men's event in Vancouver on March 7-8. The 2020 Langford women's event, scheduled for May 2-3, never happened. The condensed 2021 schedule includes five women’s and four men's rounds, pending decisions on Vancouver and London. New Zealand was crowned champions of both the women's and men's series in 2020, which ended early following five of the eight scheduled women’s rounds and six of the 10 men’s rounds. The Canadian women stood third and the men eighth when the 2020 season was called. The 2021 schedule kicks off with back-to-back women’s events in Paris on May 15-16 and 22-23. The Sevens Series will then break for the Olympics and restart with a men’s event in Singapore (Oct. 29-30), followed by joint men’s and women’s rounds in Hong Kong (Nov. 5-7), Dubai (Dec. 3-4) and Cape Town (Dec. 10-12). The Olympic sevens competition is scheduled for July 26-31 at Tokyo Stadium. Canada's men and women have both qualified for Tokyo. The Canadian women won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games, which the Canadian men missed out on. World Rugby says, with help from the International Olympic Committee, it is investing US$4 million to help qualified teams prepare for the Olympics. Pre-Olympic competition includes a joint women’s and men’s event in Los Angeles June 25-27. Further events will be announced at a later date. Japan will join as a core team in 2021 following its promotion from the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Challenger Series in 2020. Given it is an Olympic year, the England, Scotland and Wales teams will combine to compete as "GB Sevens" in both the men’s and women’s competitions. That will create two additional berths, with invitational teams to be announced at a later date. World Rugby concedes the pandemic may result in more openings. "Given the unique and unprecedented nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its various international travel restrictions and quarantine measures, it is accepted that some teams may not be able to travel or participate in all 2021 Series events," the governing body said in a statement. "Where possible, World Rugby will invite replacement teams to fill the places of any core Series team unable to participate in a series event." --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press