None of this isn’t to say that Phelps can’t surprise his doubters in 2016. But the age and steady progress of other swimmers will be working against him should he compete in Rio. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, announced this week that he was returning to competitive swimming. Phelps had retired following a six-medal performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, aren’t saying whether he’s gearing up for another run at the Olympics, but it’s hard not to speculate about one of the best athletes ever returning to competition. (Remember the hype surrounding a 38-year-old Michael Jordan’s return to basketball?)I’m not here to speculate about whether Phelps will make it to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. But if he represents the United States for a fifth time — he would be 31 — how might he perform?Putting aside conditioning concerns — Phelps only swam occasionally in the year following his retirement, though he is reportedly now working out with Bowman five days a week — the specter of age looms large. Thirty-one is ancient for an Olympic swimmer. Since 1968, only 17 athletes 31 and older have participated in any of the individual events Phelps would probably attempt (100- and 200-meter butterfly; 200-meter freestyle; and 200- and 400-meter individual medley). The average age of medalists in those events was 21.4.Of course, Phelps isn’t the typical Olympic swimmer. At his peak, the 2008 Games, he set the world record in four of the five individual events (he had to settle for just an Olympic record in the 100-meter butterfly; he broke the world record in that event in 2009). So, in 2016, Phelps might be a shadow of his former self, but even a diminished version of history’s best swimmer could be a force to be reckoned with.In the 2012 Olympics, Phelps took individual gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter medley, and also grabbed silver in the 200-meter butterfly. If we look at how swimmers in those events tend to age, perhaps we can get an idea of whether Phelps is likely to be competitive if he takes to the water in 2016. Unfortunately, the data is sparse on competitors in their 30s, but here’s how the average male swimmer who participated in back-to-back Games tends to see his times change from one Olympics to the next (since 1968, with a minimum sample of four swimmers in each age group): In each graph, the trend is unsurprising: Swimmers get progressively worse with age. If Phelps follows the same paths, he could expect to post average times of 52.2 seconds in the 100-meter butterfly (which wouldn’t have gotten him out of the semifinals in London), 1:57.4 in the 200-meter butterfly (which would have missed qualifying out of Round 1 in 2012), and 1:58.1 in the 200-meter individual medley (which would have qualified for the final, but not earned a medal, in London). Obviously, there’s plenty of uncertainty around those extrapolations, but they give us a sense of how age may affect Phelps — even if he’s prepared and in shape for Rio.There’s one other factor working against Phelps: The rest of the field is getting faster. The average time for a finalist and a gold medalist has steadily decreased in each of Phelps’s best events since 1968:
OSU redshirt junior Quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) breaks into open field during the fourth quarter against Northwestern on Oct. 29, 2016. The Buckeyes won 24-20. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorIt might not have been the way that Ohio State football fans wanted it, but the Buckeyes walked away with the 24-20 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday night in the ‘Shoe. In a hard-fought game that OSU coach Urban Meyer called a “dogfight,” OSU regained a little of the swagger lost after falling to Penn State. In the press conference following the game, Meyer and players were berated with questions once again about all the things the team is doing wrong. It was an interesting take, considering the team had just beat a solid Northwestern squad.“You had a very balanced, ran for 200 and threw for 230. Most places that’s a pretty good day,” Meyer said. “I understand here it’s a little off a little bit. We’ve got to get that 500 number, I guess. But I’m very happy with it. I’ll enjoy myself tonight.”Sure, OSU didn’t exactly set the world on fire with an outstanding offense or make big, flashy plays on defense. But the effort was there from the No. 6 ranked team, and so were the plays when they were needed.Here are five takeaways from the Buckeyes’ bounce-back win against Northwestern.Curtis Samuel is important, but so is Mike WeberMeyer had some serious flak thrown his way after junior H-back Curtis Samuel touched the ball 10 times last week. After naming him the No. 1 playmaker for the Buckeyes in the offseason, most fans thought Meyer kept the ball out of his hands against Penn State.On Saturday, Samuel saw an increase in his touches by four. He ran the ball seven times as well as carried the ball seven times, but gained a full 40 yards less than he did last game.So what does that mean for the OSU offense when Samuel isn’t the leading rusher, but the team still finds a way to win?It means redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber had a pretty good day. As in 87 yards rushing, an average of 6.2 yards per carry and two scores.He also had three catches for 20 yards, and helped provide a mostly sound pocket for redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett when he was asked to block. Overall, Weber provided the difference in terms of scoring, although Samuel scored the winning touchdown.Weber is the lead back in the OSU backfield, while Samuel continues to impress in his receiving ability. Meyer said he is a true hybrid back, the exact reason why his touches were split down the middle on Saturday.While the junior H-back is vital to the Buckeyes success, Weber has to be an integral part as well.The Silver Bullets are mastering the phrase “bend but don’t break”In back-to-back weeks, the OSU defense gave up some big plays that burnt the team. Be that as it may, there was a huge difference between the plays given up last week as opposed to this week: The defense eventually buckled down.Right before halftime in Happy Valley, the Buckeyes surrendered arguably the biggest play of the evening. Redshirt junior Gareon Conley smothered Penn State junior wideout Chris Godwin, but the ball found its way into the receiver’s hands, and the Nittany Lions brought the game to a 12-7 mark, with all the momentum gone for OSU right before the midway point.This week, OSU was presented with a similar scenario, as Northwestern received a punt on its own 40-yard line. With good field position and an offense that had 157 yards in the second quarter alone to that point, the Buckeyes appeared to be in trouble.Instead of trouble, OSU pushed the Wildcats back a yard and prevented a score.“At that point in the game, that’s more just the bond we have for each other,” redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker said. “We’re so strong and so close together on the defense overall that stuff like we know we’re competing (for) who’s going to make the play. We know that anybody’s liable to step up and make the play on the defensive side of the ball.”It hasn’t been the stifling defense the team enjoyed in the first few weeks, but it’s a defense that dominated against Oklahoma and helped bring home a win on Saturday. Bend but don’t break is not going to win a national championship, but it gives them a chance to keep the dream alive.Austin Carr from Northwestern is as real of a receiver as there is in the Big TenIt’s rare that a former walk-on player torches the OSU secondary. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, senior wide receiver Austin Carr did just that on Saturday, hauling in eight passes for 158 yards. Although Carr failed to score, he did show off an impressive skill set, lining up in both the slot and on the outside. Running crossing post routes, he was able to find space in the middle of the field with linebackers picking up coverage along the way.This year, Carr has hauled in nine touchdowns and is well on track to rack up 1,000 yards. While the Buckeyes are hunting for a wide receiver to pick up big chunks of yardage at a time, Northwestern has Carr running rampant over Big Ten defenses.The offensive line has recovered some groundLast week was about as ugly as it gets for an any offensive line. OSU allowed 11 tackles for loss, while Barrett was sacked six times. Sophomore tackle Isaiah Prince gave up 14 hurries by himself last week, but fellow offensive linemen like redshirt junior guard Billy Price stood by his side.Northwestern had a much harder time getting in the backfield and penetrating the pocket, as the Buckeyes allowed four tackles for loss with just one sack. It was a game that was far from perfect, but had obvious improvements throughout.“There was a couple good points from last week. We struggled in a few aspects,” Price said. “And to have that confidence to go back out and to perform and to put the game as we offensive lineman call it on us, let’s go out and win on us. Don’t depend on a receiver out in the corner. Put the ball on us, put who our program is driven on — the offensive line. Isaiah did a lot better.”In all, the Buckeyes put up 431 yards of total offense. The success of an offensive unit is usually measured by the play of its blockers up front. It wasn’t a perfect day, but anything is an improvement from last week.Close game or not, the team can still winNorthwestern might not have been the game that could put OSU in a playoff position, but a strong showing and a blowout could have helped mightily down the road. Although the team had a relatively strong performance, the way the Buckeyes played is nowhere near good enough to be within the upper echelon of the NCAA at the end of the year.Sure, it wasn’t a 50-point drubbing, or a thrilling finish against a ranked opponent. But it was a win, which is the most important thing, right?OSU continues to be a question mark as the year progresses in terms of postseason play, but Saturday’s game proved the team is still more than capable of getting the job done no matter what. Meyer himself said a win on Saturday is something to be proud of.“Nothing was perfect, but we’re going to enjoy that win and go,” he said.
The coach of both the Ohio State men’s track and field and cross country teams, Ed Beathea, announced his resignation Tuesday, according to an OSU press release.The Indiana native is set to head back to Indiana University, where he spent 10 seasons as both an assistant coach and the Hoosiers’ associate head coach, and is slated to assume his former position as associate head coach for the 2014-2015 season, according to the Indiana athletics site.Beathea, who has been the coach of the men’s track and field program at OSU since 2012 and an associate coach in the program since 2006, is set to continue coaching the Buckeyes through the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships later this month.In a statement in the press release, Beathea expressed his gratitude for the eight years he spent at OSU as a coach in the track and field program, and expressed that it was the right time for him to move forward.“My family and I will always be grateful for the opportunity the Ohio State University has provided me and the university will provide us with fond memories,” Beathea said. “I am leaving this program in a very positive place. We have built a strong team that has proven the ability to compete at a national level. It was a difficult decision but in the end it is a good decision for me and my family. Thank you for supporting me and our program.”T.J. Shelton, the associate athletics director for sport administration at OSU, also made a statement in the release thanking Beathea for his time in Columbus.“The department of athletics would like to thank coach Ed Beathea for his leadership over the past eight years, including two as head coach of the men’s track field and cross country programs,” Shelton said. “We wish Ed and his family the best as they move forward with their next chapter of their lives. We will begin a national search immediately for the next head coach to lead our program.”Since taking over the program in 2012, Beathea has coached 2013 First Team All-American Michael Hartfield, 2014 Second Team All-American LaMar Bruton, and the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Champion in the 4×400 relay, Jordan Rispress.The 2014 NCAA Track and Field Championships are slated to run from June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore., and both Burton and Rispress are set to represent OSU at the event.
OSU’s Logan Stieber (right) wrestles with North Carolina State’s Kevin Jack in a 141-pound semifinal during the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 20 in St. Louis.Credit: Courtesy of TNSTwo weeks removed from making history with his fourth individual national title, Ohio State redshirt-senior Logan Stieber has put his collegiate accolades on the back burner for an even bigger desire — the 2016 Olympics.“It has always been a dream of mine to be an Olympian and to win gold,” Stieber said. “Doing that would be a great conclusion to my competitive career.”Stieber was awarded the Hodge Trophy, which is equivalent to what the Heisman is for football, on Monday. On that same day, he was also supporting his younger brother, Hunter, who was in surgery to attach a ligament in his right elbow.“The Hodge has been a goal of mine since my sophomore year,” Stieber said. “I would say it’s one of the highest honors I have received, and to have my brother come out of surgery OK as well, it made for a great day.”The four-time Big Ten and National Champion finished his career at OSU with a 119-3 record and was named the Big Ten Most Outstanding Wrestler and Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Big Ten Championships. Even after receiving these major individual awards, Stieber managed to keep his focus on his teammates, and is able to stay calm on the biggest of stages.“I have been blessed to be in a lot of big matches and moments in my life and I think I have learned from each one,” Stieber said. “That keeps me calm.”With a winning percentage of .975 — a school record — Stieber is used to being on top of the podium. Now he’s focused on remaining there as he looks to make the U.S. World Team this summer in hopes of qualifying for the Summer Olympics next year in Brazil.“I believe I can make the team and win gold,” Stieber said. Olympic wrestling uses the freestyle form of wrestling instead of the folkstyle used in college. Despite the different style, Stieber said, with the help of known World Team members such as former Buckeye Reece Humphrey, he will be able to make the transition quickly.“The freestyle circuit is different because of the amount of times you compete and the weigh-in rules are different,” Stieber said. “Also the training is more focused on skill and less on conditioning. I’ll be ready.”Looking back on his high school career and the way it ended, Stieber said he couldn’t have written a better script on how similarly he ended his collegiate career. Not only did he win four individual titles at both levels, but he led Monroeville and OSU to their first-ever team titles as well.“To have him win his fourth title on the same day as winning the team’s first is incredible,” Stieber’s father, Jeff, said. “It was always one of his biggest goals to do that and to see it happen is truly amazing.”Stieber finished his career on a 50-match winning streak dating back to December 2013, and won 96 of his 119 matches via bonus points. He tied for the most career falls in OSU history with 50 and also became just the second wrestler ever to win four Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational titles.Once again, the individual accolades have piled up, but he stressed they don’t compare to the success he shares with his teammates.“Winning individual awards and achieving personal goals is something I obviously want to do, but being able to share a team title with my family and friends has been pretty cool,” Stieber said.Instead of taking it all in and enjoying the moment, wrestling season hasn’t ended for Stieber. He has already begun training for the 2015 Las Vegas/ASICS Open Wrestling Championships in May and even after he graduates, he still hopes to be a part of OSU and wants to continue to work with the team, he said. “I hope to keep wrestling in Columbus for a while and I want to see our team continue to get better and competing for titles.”
The Ohio State wrestling team earned four individual Big Ten titles en route to the program’s second team conference title in three years. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe Buckeyes entered the Big Ten Championships as a slight underdog to Penn State and Iowa, but that didn’t stop them from taking home the Big Ten title outright for the first time since 1951. It’s OSU second title in three years.Four wrestlers were named individual champions, two earned second-place finishes and a seventh earned third place.Redshirt junior Nathan Tomasello won his third Big Ten title and first at 133 pounds, junior heavyweight Kyle Snyder won his second, redshirt junior 174-pounder Bo Jordan won his first after two finishes as a runner-up and redshirt freshman Kollin Moore took home the 197-pound title.In addition to the four champions, two others made it to the finals, including 2016 174-pound national champion sophomore Myles Martin, who lost to Iowa’s Sammy Brooks, and 149-pound redshirt sophomore Micah Jordan, who lost to Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen.At the end of the day, OSU scored 139.5 points as a team — Penn State was their closest competition with 130 — and were crowned Big Ten champions, but not without some drama involved.Tomasello carried an undefeated record into competition, and was challenged fiercely throughout the tournament. Rutgers’ Scott DelVecchio battled, but Tomasello took him down with a 6-4 decision before beating No. 5 Stevan Micic of Michigan to advance to the finals.There, Tomasello faced his toughest opponent yet, and one he had little familiarity with this season — Iowa’s Cory Clark. Clark was the second-highest ranked wrestler at 133 pounds at the tournament, and was absent from the Buckeyes’ Jan. 27 matchup with the Hawkeyes.This lack of familiarity may have been a hurdle for Tomasello, but he emerged victorious with a last-second escape to seal a 5-4 decision victory. Bo Jordan, who has been battling injury for much of the season, recently returned to the lineup and was defeated by Cornell’s Brian Realbuto on Feb. 19, the Buckeyes’ last competition before the Big Ten tournament. The injury didn’t affect his pre-seeding, as he entered the tournament as the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class.In the quarterfinals, Bo Jordan notched a 10-8 decision over Indiana’s Devin Skatzka and then a 14-8 decision over No. 4 Myles Amine of Michigan to advance to the finals. There, he faced No. 2 Penn State wrestler Mark Hall in one of his toughest matches to date. Hall jumped out to a 2-1 lead with more than a minute of riding time accumulated after one period, but Jordan was able to trade blows with Hall in the second, before a scoreless third period sent the match to overtime at 4-4.Bo Jordan then took down Hall 20 seconds into sudden victory to clinch his first Big Ten championship.Moore has been impressive all season for the Buckeyes, as he suffered only three losses during the dual meet season — but two of those losses came against Minnesota senior No. 1 Brett Pfarr.Those dual-meet losses seemed to provide some motivation for Moore heading into the finals matchup, and Moore was aggressive from the start with Pfarr, getting a takedown within the first 10 seconds of competition.Moore began to take control of the match at the end of the first, as he closed the period with an 11-4 lead and nearly 40 seconds of riding time. It was a lead that Moore wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the match. Moore finished with a 15-11 win over Pfarr for the Big Ten title.At heavyweight, not only were the two wrestlers the top Big Ten pre-seeds, but they were also the top-ranked wrestlers in the division, regardless of conference in Snyder and Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery.Snyder, a world champion and defending Big Ten champ, again proved why he continues to claim the top spot in heavyweight rankings.Snyder pulled away to a 4-1 lead after two periods, but Medbery fought hard in the third, pulling the score to 7-5 in the last 10 seconds to make the match close.Snyder notched a last-second escape to score the final point of the match, and secured an 8-5 victory in the Big Ten championships.As for the Buckeyes who lost in the finals, they were not without their impressive moments. Martin upset top-ranked Bo Nickal in the semifinals. Nickal and Martin have quite the history, as Martin took down Nickal to win the 174-pound national championship in 2016, but then Nickal defeated Martin during the Buckeyes’ regular season loss to Penn State Feb. 3.Micah Jordan also took down an opponent who beat him in the regular season, as he battled for a 2-1 victory over Iowa’s No. 2 Brandon Sorensen. Jordan lost to Penn State’s Zain Retherford in the championship match.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has labeled Tottenham Hotspur as title contenders after their 6-2 victory at Everton on Sunday.Current Premier League leaders Liverpool and Champions Manchester City were initially tipped as the only title contenders this season, but Spurs have been in incredible form winning 11 out of their last 13 games in all competition and Neville believes they have a shot the league title.“I don’t think they will win the title, but they are in the race because they are so close,” Neville told Sky Sports.“They have three fixtures over Christmas that are very winnable and with Manchester City playing Liverpool on January 3 they can get even closer if they win their matches.“They have been outstanding over the last three seasons, it would almost be the culmination of Mauricio Pochettino’s work in his fourth year at Tottenham.“You keep hearing people say that Pochettino hasn’t won a trophy and it would be the ultimate.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“They are good enough to win the league, but the problem is the two teams above them are exceptional and better. They are in the race but I don’t think they will have enough.“I think when the Champions League returns the depth and quality of the squads of Liverpool and City will make them just a touch better.“But I remember saying two years ago that I wanted the quality of the Premier League to improve and I have no doubt that it has.“The Premier League is getting better and better and that’s because of the quality of managers that have been introduced over the last few years.“We have a far better league but I think the two at the top are just a bit better, which means Spurs won’t win it.”
Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanović is looking ahead after their Champions League exit on Tuesday night.Inter Milan were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night after failing to beat PSV at San Siro, and Handanovic has called on his teammates to bounce back from the disappointing result as soon as possible.“Today is a new day and we’re now looking ahead. We’re back in action on Saturday, and playing and winning is the best medicine in situations like this,” Handanovic told the club’s website.We knew we had to win our game without thinking about what was going on elsewhere, but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do so.Capello calls Lukaku “a modern striker” Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The former Italian manager believes Romelu Lukaku is perfectly suited for Antonio Conte’s Internazionale Milan in the Serie A.“We have missed out on our objective, but come February we’ll be treating the Europa League as a new opportunity, as will the other teams with a chance of winning it.“We have a team that can go all the way. We haven’t even reached the halfway stage of the season and we’ve still got targets we want to achieve.“We’ve played well in recent games, but unfortunately, we haven’t managed to pick up the results we wanted. We need to find that spark again.”