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Demon Ima död: ”Var en häst med det lilla extra”

Demon Ima har haft en kort men framgångsrik karriär på travbanan. Den femårige valacken vann i sju av sina 14 starter och spåddes en fin framtid på travbanan.

Nu skriver Demon Imas tränare Johan Untersteiner på Facebook att hästen har dött.

”Har tyvärr en tråkig nyhet att meddela i dag. Demon Ima fick somna in i dag efter en tids sjukdom”, skriver Untersteiner och fortsätter:

”En häst med det lilla extra och en underbar personlighet. På endast 14 starter sprang han in 600 000 kronor och segrade i hälften av sina starter.”

Demon Imas mor är Ellie America och hans far är Maharajah.

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‘I’m living with the person I’m trying to beat!’ – Laura Kenny on Olympic history

Britain’s most successful female Olympian, Laura Kenny, says she is barely thinking about making more history at Tokyo 2020 – but admits it is hard to escape the fact that she is targeting husband Jason Kenny’s record of six gold medals.

The four-time Olympic champion has a 100% record at the Games and has confirmed she will compete in three events in Japan – the team pursuit, omnium, and the madison with Katie Archibald.

Continuing her extraordinary Olympic performances would take her above Sir Chris Hoy and her husband’s British record of six golds, although Jason will be looking to increase his own haul. But she insists it is not something which is really on her mind, despite being constantly reminded.

Tokyo 2020

‘She’s a fierce competitor’ – Clancy backs Laura Kenny for more Olympic glory

09/06/2021 AT 09:25

#Returnto2012 – Trott, King and Rowsell break world record again to win team pursuit

“I don’t really think about it, I just go in to do a bike race,” she said.

“When you’re in that velodrome, you could literally be anywhere and we’re just preparing for the race in the same way we would for any other.

“It was actually in Rio when someone said ‘you realise no female has ever won more gold medals’ and I was like, no, I hadn’t realised!

Obviously this one, a lot of people have told me – I am living with the person I’m trying to beat! But I don’t really think about it.

Kenny is an athlete who has perhaps benefited more than most from the Olympics being postponed for a year, having broken her shoulder and arm in crashes just months before when the Games were scheduled for last summer.

“Covid has been such a terrible thing for so many people, and I would never have wished this on the world,” she said.

“For me as an athlete, having this extra year has just helped me. When you’re trying to train for an Olympics, you want to think when you get there you are physically at your best, and I would have been okay.

“I put my hat in the ring for three events. How I would have been selected for that madison I do not know, I just wouldn’t have had the opportunities I needed.

“It was June last year, by the time I realised I could actually do a madison change, and in the run up to the Games I want to be at my best, I don’t just want to be at an Olympics.”

Priorities have changed for Kenny since Rio 2016, with the birth of her son Albie, who will turn four this August. Track cycling’s golden couple will be away from him for the longest time they ever have been by going to the Olympics, as he is not allowed to travel due to a ban on overseas spectators put in place by the Japanese government. But she admits it was a concern anyway – and says she now has his childcare planned to the smallest detail.

“British Cycling have been great in terms of allowing him to come to our holding camp, so he’s going to come to Wales with us, with our parents obviously there to help look after him – but after that they’ll drive home and we’ll go off to Tokyo.

“In a funny way it almost took making a decision out of it. There’s been two flights now where athletes have come back from places and had to self isolate.

To have that risk, knowing it’s your family and you could do nothing about whether he has to isolate out there, because we wouldn’t be on the flight with him, we were umming and ahing anyway so in a funny way it took the decision out of it.

“I’m an organiser, I have no worries telling people that we need help here, there and everywhere, it’s great because both sets of grandparents are retired.

“It’s funny actually, I sat down with Jessica Ennis-Hill when I was pregnant and she told me she was pregnant with her second baby and she said to me, ‘you need to make sure you have a timetable, that you have everyone around you exactly when you need them’, and I thought ‘how on earth am I going to tell my parents I need you here at this time’ and Jason’s parents ‘I need you here at that time’, it doesn’t sound very me, that.

“But then actually it came very easily to me! I do like organising people as it happens, and they’ve just been great, we couldn’t have done it without them. This year’s been a little bit easier because he’s started nursery as well, he starts school in September, so this year has definitely been easier!”

Kenny says having Albie has made her a more relaxed athlete, as she has fewer opportunities to over analyse her performances in training as soon as he gets home from the velodrome. Removing herself from the sport works well for her – but she says he is only now starting to realise what she does for a living.

“I don’t think he understands the Olympics, he knows that bike races you try to win,” she said.

But they’ve been doing balance bike sessions at the track with their nursery, and when he came back, because they’ve obviously been watching videos of track races, he said ‘mummy, I know what you do at work’ and I said ‘oh right?’ and he said ‘you ride a bike’.

“That was the first time he had any association that is what I do. He knows I have bikes, because when I go out he says ‘which colour are you going on today?’ and so he has an interest that we ride bikes but he’s never actually said, ‘oh I get it, I know now that’s what you go and do’.”

Tokyo 2020

Jason Kenny can become Britain’s most decorated Olympian in Tokyo – Hoy

30/04/2021 AT 10:39

Tokyo 2020

‘Disappointing’ family cannot attend Olympics – Laura Kenny

08/04/2021 AT 11:55

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'Unbelievable' – Wales boss Page slams Ampadu red card

Wales coach Robert Page questioned the decision to issue a straight red card to Ethan Ampadu during the defeat to Italy.

Ampadu was given his marching orders in the 55th minute when his studs connected on the ankle of Federico Bernardeschi.

Referee Ovidiu Hategan showed no hesitation in showing Ampadu a red card and Wales were forced to see out much of the second half with just 10 men.

Euro 2020

Italy beat 10-man Wales as both sides go through

YESTERDAY AT 15:27

With Switzerland comfortably beating Turkey in the other group game, Wales couldn’t afford to fall further behind to Italy and risk losing their qualification spot for the next round to the Swiss.

Page was clearly at odds with Ampadu’s sending off, branding the decision “unbelievable”.

“It didn’t quite go to plan the press in the first half,” Page told BBC Sport.

“We addressed it at half-time and we managed to get Ethan Ampadu as the centre of the diamond and get him on the ball a little bit more at the start of the second half.

The sending-off changed the course of the game. I haven’t seen it again yet. I thought it was harsh to get a booking but to see the red card come out was unbelievable.

“Then of course it’s an even bigger hill to climb.”

Wales hung on, however, and can now look forward to a last 16 clash. Italy top Group A after a perfect record in the group stages.

Page’s side will play the Group B runners-up in their next game, which is likely to be Russia, Finland or Denmark with Belgium expected to finish top of that group.

Wales will be without Ampadu due to suspension and midfielder Aaron Ramsey was also disappointed with the referee’s decision to send off the 20-year-old.

Federico Bernardeschi of Italy is fouled by Ethan Ampadu of Wales before he is shown a red card during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match

Image credit: Getty Images

“It was tough for long periods. We were up against a great team who have gone 30 games unbeaten – that’s some achievement,” Ramsey said.

But we showed great character, you can never question this team, we always give everything and we dug in.

“I feel sorry for Ethan [Ampadu] – it was a bit harsh maybe. He certainly caught him, it was one of those decisions that could have gone either way.

“It was important to create a couple of opportunities and we could have nicked a draw on another day.

“We need to be more consistent throughout the game but we are through in second place and we are delighted.”

Euro 2020

Opinion: Ramsey and Bale combine to suggest 2016 heroics can be repeated

16/06/2021 AT 20:18

Euro 2020

‘The best moment of my career’ – Wales players reflect on historic Euro win

16/06/2021 AT 18:48

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ATP And WTA Announce TopCourt As Official Tennis E-Learning Platform

The ATP and WTA have today announced a partnership with TopCourt, which sees the digital learning platform become the first official tennis e-learning partner of the ATP Tour and WTA Tour.

TopCourt offers tennis fans the educational tools for learning the game from the world’s best players of the past, present, and future, as well as the sport’s legendary coaches. Exclusive content includes tennis lessons, drills, strategy and training tactics, player interviews and behind the scenes footage, offering fans unprecedented access to their favourite players.

Since launching less than a year ago, TopCourt has already gained the support of more than 50 star ambassadors and coaches, boasting an eclectic roster of current stars, Grand Slam champions and legends of the sport, including Bianca Andreescu, Victoria Azarenka, Taylor Fritz, Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov, Frances Tiafoe, Venus Williams, Alexander Zverev, the Bryan Brothers, Lindsay Davenport and Chris Evert. TopCourt also features an incredible roster of the sport’s most legendary coaches such as Paul Annacone, Nick Bollettieri and Brad Gilbert.

Through the partnership, content from various TopCourt players will be featured on the ATP and WTA’s digital platforms, highlighting TopCourt ambassadors on the tours’ rankings pages. Designated via the signature gold court icon, fans will have access to new releases, exclusive trailers, and extended player profiles, linking them back to the TopCourt site.

“Everything starts with our fans, and TopCourt’s premium content, which provides mentorship from some of the biggest stars in tennis, promises to add value to their experience and engagement with the sport,” said Daniele Sanò, ATP Chief Business Officer. “Together with WTA, this partnership represents an exciting opportunity to leverage the inspirational and educational power of both tours.”

“We’re excited to team up with the ATP and TopCourt,” stated WTA President Micky Lawler. “Through high-value digital tennis instruction with the most elite professionals in our sport, we’re able to present our fans with a seamless experiential product that celebrates the success and expertise of our athletes, while also delivering content and instruction that enhance the fans’ personal tennis journey.”

“TopCourt’s mission is to bridge professional tennis and its biggest stars with the everyday tennis athlete and fan. We want to modernise tennis instruction and make it accessible to everyone so we can inspire and grow the global tennis community. Partnering with the ATP and WTA will help us further reach our goals and provide TopCourt subscribers with a deeper and more meaningful connection to their favourite players,” said Taylor Meyer, TopCourt’s Board Member.

To learn tennis from the world’s best, sign up for TopCourt at www.topcourt.com and enjoy a 14-day free trial. Learn more in this Forbes article.

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Golden Knights vs. Canadiens: 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinal preview

Yes, the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs (and other NHL postseasons) are often about favorites vs. underdogs. Take one peek at the Vegas odds and you’ll realize just how strongly the Golden Knights are favored over the Montreal Canadiens in their Semifinal series.

Yet, when you break down how teams play — rather than how most people feel about their Stanley Cup chances — you can see clashes of styles.

Sometimes, you get too different-but-effective teams. You could argue that both the Golden Knights and Canadiens faced Second Round opponents who flipped the switch; where Vegas and Montreal own the quantity, Winnipeg, in particular, hoped to eke out just enough quality.

(Truthfully, when they’re buzzing, the Avs kind of nabbed both — just not against Vegas.)

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Beyond the don’t-bet-your-mortgage odds favoring the Golden Knights against the once-again-underdog Canadiens, this series is intriguing because of styles.

Broadly speaking, the Golden Knights and Canadiens play similarly. Both teams bombard opponents, hoping to create enough offense by force of will. These are two of the strongest even-strength teams you’ll find.

If you pay attention to “fancy stats,” you’ve likely noticed that Montreal’s been potent in that way for some time. So what’s changed? Well, you probably saw this coming: “Playoff Carey Price” entered the building.

Among all of the swirling considerations, the most important X-factor in the Canadiens – Golden Knights series remains if we’ll see “Playoff Carey Price” or the more troubling recent regular season version.

CANADIENS VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTSseries livestream link

Game 1: Mon., June 14: Canadiens at Golden Knights, 9 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
Game 2: Wed. June 16: Canadiens at Golden Knights, 9 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
Game 3: Fri. June 18: Golden Knights at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (USA Network / Peacock)
Game 4: Sun. June 20: Golden Knights at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
*Game 5: Tues. June 22: Canadiens at Golden Knights, 9 p.m ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
*Game 6: Thurs. June 24: Golden Knights at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (USA Network / Peacock)
*Game 7: Sat. June 26: Canadiens at Golden Knights, 8 p.m ET (NBCSN / Peacock)

*if necessary

Offense

During the regular season, the Golden Knights scored 190 goals, the third-most in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Canadiens were slightly lower than middle-of-the-pack, generating 158 (17th overall, between the Blackhawks and Stars).

Even during these 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the name of Montreal’s game hasn’t exactly been offense. Memorably, the Canadiens upset the Maple Leafs in seven games even after Toronto actually scored more goals (18-14).

With essentially “two first lines,” and often the luxury of Alex Tuch on the third, the Golden Knights can throw out a truly intimidating offense. Not many teams would even try to trade haymakers with the Avalanche; the Golden Knights stood in there and actually knocked Colorado out.

Unlike many other powerful offenses, the Golden Knights can beat you with brute force. A ferocious forecheck helps Vegas wear down opponents, forcing turnovers and rush opportunities.

While the Canadiens’ offense hasn’t always been spectacular, you can’t totally dismiss them. As deep as Vegas is, Montreal’s a bit deeper. Josh Anderson‘s endured a quiet 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs (one goal, zero assists in 11 games), but is an example of Habs who could make a difference.

Watch out for the combination of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. As Montreal’s trusted them more and more, they’ve added a dynamic dimension to the Habs’ offense. They might need some magic from those two against the vigorous Vegas attack.

(Oh, and no doubt, Max Pacioretty vs. his former team is a fun storyline.)

Advantage: Golden Knights

Defense

This one’s tricky.

If you conducted a “fantasy draft” of the defensemen in this series, you might pick Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore before you happen upon a Habs defenseman. With other options like Alec Martinez, the Golden Knights offer some depth, too.

You can’t credit offense and Marc-Andre Fleury alone for the Golden Knights beating the Avalanche. Their defense — and Peter DeBoer’s structure — made a big difference, too.

But if you go through the ways this series can play out in Montreal’s favor (think Dr. Strange calculating how Thanos could be defeated), it’s easiest to picture the Canadiens winning thanks to a bend-not-break structure.

We’ve certainly seen it in the past: an opponent allows the Golden Knights a ton of shots, but does a decent job limiting quality. If it comes down to that, Montreal won’t flinch at such a style.

But there’s an elephant in the room: Jeff Petry‘s health.

Yes, everyone’s banged up by the Semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But, as of this writing, it’s unclear if Petry can play in Game 1 on Monday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN), and maybe beyond that.

Even today, Shea Weber deserves hype, and could be Montreal’s best defenseman. Petry has some say in that argument, however, and he’s crucial to that team finding some balance. Joel Edmundson‘s been impressive for the Canadiens, but without Petry, might the cracks show in his foundation?

Advantage: Golden Knights

Fleury
Getty Images

Goaltending

If we were looking at the regular season alone, Fleury would give the Golden Knights a huge advantage over Price and the Canadiens. (Honestly, considering how much Price wavered as the starter, it would’ve been tempting to phrase it as Jake Allen and the Canadiens.)

But people — especially Carey Price’s most eager boosters — might roll their eyes at talk of Price’s regular-season struggles at this point.

Whether you should throw out those numbers or not, there’s no denying that Price has been brilliant during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Frankly, the Canadiens needed that out of Price vs. the Maple Leafs. Maybe Price could have cooled off a bit vs. the Jets, but he was mostly keyed-in there, too.

Yet, while Price’s save percentage (.935) these playoffs is even better than Fleury’s (.923), you can’t dismiss degree of difficulty. If any team can make a goalie look bad, it’s Colorado. MAF passed those tests with flying colors, though.

In case injuries or struggles happen, both the Golden Knights and Canadiens boast strong backups. Again, Allen encroached on Price’s starting job, although neither were lights-out during the regular season.

If things went as Vegas drew things up, it would be Robin Lehner shutting the door this season and postseason. That could make for some awkward offseason decisions, but for now, Fleury – Lehner gives the Golden Knights the equivalent of two above-average (often elite) starters.

Advantage: Golden Knights

Special teams

As far as the four teams remaining in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs go, only one can really live off of its power play: the Lightning.

Neither the Canadiens nor the Golden Knights have been overwhelmingly powerful in that area. But Montreal has the edge in power-play efficiency in both the regular season (19.2-percent to 17.8) and 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18.8 to 14.3).

The key question might be about the PK. The Golden Knights were the best penalty-killing team in the regular season (86.8-percent vs. Montreal’s 78.5), while Montreal has been incredible during this run. The numbers get drastic because of the small sample size of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Montreal’s PK (90.3-percent) is eye-popping, while Vegas mainly survived (71.4).

Talent-wise, it’s not outrageous to imagine Vegas “turning it on” and producing on the power play for a series. It just hasn’t happened often enough to chalk it up as an advantage.

Advantage: Canadiens

Golden Knights – Canadiens prediction: Vegas in 7

In our staff predictions, the Golden Knights and Lightning were both unanimous choices. The biggest area of variation was how many games the Canadiens might push the Golden Knights to.

Simply put, the Golden Knights are huge favorites against the Canadiens. To the point where you … probably shouldn’t bet on it.

But, particularly during these playoffs, would it be that shocking to see Montreal win?

Overall, this Golden Knights team looks like it could very well make its second Stanley Cup Final trip, unless the Canadiens have more upset magic in them.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Djokovic Regains Race Lead As Nitto ATP Finals Battle Intensifies

Novak Djokovic has passed Stefanos Tsitsipas to lead the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, after the World No. 1 fought back from down two sets to love for the sixth time in his career to win the Roland Garros title.

Djokovic started the fortnight in Paris just 190 points behind Tsitsipas and on Sunday he beat the Greek star 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 for his 19th Grand Slam championship crown. It leaves the Serbian superstar just one trophy away from all-time major title leaders Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (both on 20). 

Tsitsipas, who had led the 2021 year-to-date standings ever since he clinched his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on 18 April, is now 610 points behind Djokovic (5,170) on 4,560 points following his first Grand Slam final appearance. Djokovic beat 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal, who is up to fourth place (2,940), in the semi-finals.

FedEx ATP Race To Turin (View Latest Standings) 

 Player  Points
 1) Novak Djokovic  5,170
 2) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,560
 3) Alexander Zverev  2,970
 4) Rafael Nadal  2,940
 5) Andrey Rublev  2,770
 6) Daniil Medvedev  2,590
 7) Matteo Berrettini  1,805
 8) Aslan Karatsev  1,730
 9) Jannik Sinner  1,510
 10) Hubert Hurkacz  1,470

The 34-year-old Djokovic has captured the Nitto ATP Finals title on five occasions (2008, ’12-15) and is bidding to finish 2021 as year-end No. 1 for a record seventh year, which would break a tie with Pete Sampras (1993-98) for the most year-end No. 1 finishes in FedEx ATP Rankings history. Djokovic has compiled a 27-3 match record in 2021. 

Alexander Zverev (2,970), Nadal, Andrey Rublev (2,770) and Daniil Medvedev (2,590 points), who are in third through sixth places respectively, are separated by just 380 points as the battle to secure a spot in Turin starts to intensify at the mid-point of the 2021 season.

Matteo Berrettini improved his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the second time in three years (also 2019) following a run to the Roland Garros quarter-finals (l. to Djokovic). He rises two places to move up to seventh (1,805), 75 points ahead of eighth-placed Aslan Karatsev (1,730), this year’s Australian Open semi-finalist (l. to Djokovic) and Dubai champion.

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Djokovic Extends Big Titles Lead Over Nadal, Federer

Jannik Sinner, the 19-year-old #NextGenATP Italian, lost on Parisian clay to Nadal in the fourth round, but also jumped two spots to ninth (1,510) and remains ahead of Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (1,470), the Miami Open presented by Itau champion, and Casper Ruud of Norway (1,465).

Diego Schwartzman has moved into contention for a Nitto ATP Finals spot for a second consecutive year, jumping 14 places to 13th (1,030 points) after the Argentine advanced to the Roland Garros quarter-finals (l. to Nadal). Another player who made the last eight in Paris, Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, rose 18 spots to 14th (950 points). Schwartzman remains 700 points behind Karatsev, while Davidovich Fokina is 780 points adrift of the final automatic qualification place.