For NHL fans of a certain age,1Full disclosure: I am of this demographic, albeit one of the younger members. the definitive Los Angeles Kings team is Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings team. The franchise existed for 21 seasons before Gretzky arrived in Los Angeles in 1988, but the banality that he single-handedly made hockey relevant in LA is largely true. Kings attendance soared with No. 99 in the fold,2Increasing 27 percent in Gretzky’s first season with LA and another 11 percent in his second, per Rodney Fort’s data. the team’s value increased sharply during his tenure there,3The Kings ranked as the NHL’s third-most valuable team in 1994, according to contemporary estimates by Financial World magazine. In 1995, the team sold for a price ($113 million) nearly three times its value in 1988, when Bruce McNall bought 51 percent of the team for $20 million. and Gretzky instantly transformed the on-ice product into a legitimate contender by powering one of the best offenses in the game. Behind a 40-point postseason by Gretzky, the Kings reached their apex in 1993 — losing in five games but earning what was, at the time, the franchise’s lone Stanley Cup Final berth. For years, the Gretzky era easily represented the high-water mark of hockey’s four-decade experiment in Southern California.Not anymore. The Kings now are back in the finals for the second time in three years, and are looking for another Stanley Cup victory to follow the one they won in 2012. But this team isn’t Gretzky’s. It’s constructed differently and it plays a different game. And it might be better for it.If you’re looking for an NHL “Moneyball,” the modern Kings may be as close as any team to embodying the ethos of hockey’s sabermetric revolution. As FiveThirtyEight contributor Eric Tulsky has noted before, the current Kings pursue a strategy of constant control of the puck. With a host of possession superstars, the Kings have led the NHL in close-score4To filter out the influence of score effects. Fenwick percentage — a proxy for time of possession that measures a team’s share of all unblocked shots directed at either net during its games — for two years running, and the year before that they dominated the metric down the stretch after swapping defenseman Jack Johnson5A particularly poor Fenwick player, it should be noted. for center Jeff Carter at the trade deadline.No opposing team can score (or even shoot) when it doesn’t have the puck. During the regular season, LA allowed the league’s third-lowest rate of unblocked shots per minute of 5-on-5 play, and its second-lowest rate of total shots allowed per game. Along with decent goaltending from Jonathan Quick, that’s how the Kings helped clinch the William Jennings Trophy, given to the goaltenders on the team that allows the fewest goals all season. Maximizing possession is a hockey hack that helps at both ends of the rink.But all that possession hasn’t guaranteed the modern-day Kings a bushel of goals. The Kings spent most of the 2013-14 regular season struggling to light the lamp, despite firing the league’s second-highest rate of unblocked shots at the opposing net.6Per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play. Their 5-on-5 shooting percentage with the score close, which had been average in 2012-13, slumped to third worst in the NHL this season. Still, LA kept emphasizing possession and putting the puck on net, seeming to trust that shooting percentages tend to regress heavily to the mean.And the Kings rediscovered their scoring touch at just the right time. During the playoffs, they’ve scored on a substantially higher proportion of shots than they did during the regular season. It doesn’t hurt that they also acquired right wing Marian Gaborik — whose career shooting percentage ranks among the best of any active player’s — at the trade deadline. But the biggest reason for the Kings’ offensive resurgence is that they rode out their poor shooting luck and continued to focus on dominating the puck, the way statheads have been calling for teams to do for years.The Kings squad that Gretzky tearfully joined on Aug. 9, 1988, played a very different kind of hockey.We don’t know for sure because play-by-play records from that era are not available, but it’s unlikely that Gretzky’s Kings dominated possession of the puck. According to estimates of close-score Fenwick percentage for older seasons, Los Angeles ranked among the top half of teams in possession rate just once (1990-91) in the eight seasons the Great One wore silver and black. Most of the time, they were actually somewhat bad at keeping control of the puck, ranking 18th out of 26 teams in estimated close-score Fenwick percentage during Gretzky’s tenure.Instead, they lived off a suspiciously high shooting percentage that modern analysts might decry as luck. During Gretzky’s first three seasons as a King, LA finished no worse than second in goals per shot. But Gretzky’s playmaking wizardry was probably a very real effect. Over that span, he paced the league in assists by a wide margin,7He notched 107 more helpers than No. 2 Adam Oates. You could have finished 70th in assists over the same period with the leftovers Gretzky didn’t need to pass Oates. and his teammates shot 9.1 percent better in those seasons than they would over the rest of their careers.The defense couldn’t measure up to the offense, though. Those Kings allowed the league’s second-highest number of shots8Only the miserable San Jose Sharks, in their second year of existence, played softer D. and its fourth-highest number of goals.Gretzky’s squad didn’t have a deep roster, either. According to Tom Awad’s catch-all summary stat Goals Versus Threshold (like Value Over Replacement Player for hockey), the 1992-93 Kings were a notably top-heavy team. They were led by stars such as Luc Robitaille and Jari Kurri. (Not to mention Gretzky, who recovered from an injury in time to post 65 points in 45 games.) But they also lost 17.8 goals because sub-replacement-level talent was on the ice, one of the largest totals in recent memory by a team that won more than half its games.The current iteration of the Kings has superior depth, and nary a Gretzky type to be found. Since LA’s top scorer Anže Kopitar debuted with the club in 2006-07, his best offensive season was 86 adjusted points. Gretzky’s worst full-season mark as a King by far was 83 adjusted points9Adjusted points are, well, adjusted — meaning they remove the influence of scoring environment — so Gretzky doesn’t get an unfair advantage for playing in a more high-flying era. in 1994-95 — and he cracked the century mark in five of his six full seasons in Los Angeles. Today’s Kings rely less on a single superstar to carry the bulk of the offensive workload.Superior depth and puck possession don’t automatically equal a better hockey team, though they often do. The proof is in the results for the current Kings, who over the last three seasons are already twice as close to a quantifiable dynasty as the franchise was during Gretzky’s entire stay in Southern California.10200.0 dynasty points compared to 97.6. If advancing deep into the postseason is the standard for success, today’s Kings beat No. 99’s in a landslide.Gretzky himself has said that the present-day Kings are impressive. Of the Cup-winning 2012 team, the Great One said, “They’re a much better team than we were in ’93.”He’s right. Gretzky’s team was an exciting offensive squad, and one of the last successful relics of the high-octane playing style that had ruled the game in the 1980s. But today’s Los Angeles Kings are exemplars of the modern game. They know that if you always have the puck on your stick, you can’t lose.
Apparently it’s the season of athletes making statistically unsupported comparisons to their peers. Back in May, Patrick Peterson claimed superiority over Richard Sherman in the NFL (something that, according to the numbers — is dubious), and now Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry told Dan Patrick Tuesday that he thinks he’s a better offensive player than LeBron James:A better offensive player, me or LeBron? That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that question … Me. He obviously demands a lot of attention on the floor, but I like to say I can distribute, get my teammates involved and be a playmaker as well.With all due respect to Curry, a true offensive force in his own right, this is another case where the majority of statistical evidence doesn’t do the challenger any favors.According to the advanced box-score metrics, James spent the 2013-14 season outclassing Curry in usage rate, scoring efficiency, offensive rebounding, avoiding turnovers and drawing fouls. The only offensive areas in which Curry beat James were jump-shooting — Curry made 42 percent of his 3-point shots and 49 percent of his midrange jumpers; James knocked down those shots at rates of 38 and 39 percent, respectively — and passing (whether measured by assist percentage or SportVU’s optically tracked passing metrics).But James is no slouch in terms of distributing the ball, either; he ranked 19th among qualified NBA players in assist percentage a year ago. Distance shooting is really the only offensive category in which Curry claims a substantial edge over James — and it’s an advantage mitigated by the fact that James’s shot distribution skews so heavily toward easier shots at the rim. So Curry is a better long-range shooter than James, but James doesn’t take that many long-range shots.Zooming out, James’s personal offensive rating was higher than Curry’s even though James used a higher proportion of his team’s possessions (so subscribers to skill curve theory would have a hard time siding with Curry in this debate).Case closed? Not yet. There have been instances when such box-score-based metrics fail to tell the whole story, and players with gaudy combinations of usage and efficiency don’t always have the impact we’d predict from their individual stats. These are the kinds of incongruities that ESPN’s Real Plus Minus (RPM) is supposed to detect. RPM estimates a player’s effect on his team’s efficiency after accounting for the quality of his teammates, opponents and a host of other variables.By RPM, James was easily the offensive player who had the most impact in the NBA last season. Curry was second, slightly outpacing reigning MVP Kevin Durant.The comparison gets a little more interesting, though, when you look at these adjusted Four Factors ratings, which apply the same technique — estimating a player’s on-court impact via regression — to the four essential barometers of a team’s offensive performance: effective field goal percentage (which adjusts ordinary shooting percentage for the fact that 3-pointers are worth 1.5 times as much as 2s), turnover percentage, offensive rebounding rate and free-throw rate.In two of the four factors, James and Curry exert similar degrees of influence: Both boost team shooting percentages and reduce team turnover rates at levels greater than 95 percent of all NBA players. And despite his inferior individual offensive rebounding numbers, Curry is also associated with a much better rate of team effectiveness on the offensive glass than James is. This is probably due in part to the increased likelihood that 3-pointers result in “long rebounds” which can be rebounded more readily by the offense (of course, Miami’s incredibly low offensive rebounding percentage — at least some of which was part of a conscious strategy — bears mentioning).Through this lens, the biggest disparity between the two players is in free-throw rate: James was in the 99th percentile in that category, while Curry ranked in the 54th percentile. But free-throw rate is the least important of the Four Factors. Crafting an overall average based on the suggested weights for each category, Curry would actually place slightly ahead of James on offense (even if the overall adjusted plus/minus ratings generated by the same data set have James at No. 1).That would be an anomalous ranking, however, as the vast majority of advanced statistics side with James in this debate. The more interesting tidbit from such analysis might just be that Curry is within striking distance in most of the numbers, and that, statistically, there’s a good case to be made that Curry is superior on offense to Durant. James’s statistics are too overwhelming to be surpassed, but Curry is as close as anyone in the game.
Costa RicaCONCACAF0.09-0.300.02 HondurasCONCACAF-0.61-0.61 SpainUEFA2.012.102.01 There aren’t too many surprises at the top; out of the five biggest European leagues, four are in the top five, with La Liga in Spain and the Bundesliga in Germany pretty far ahead of the pack. The Premier League in England, despite being the most valuable league in the world, has struggled to compete in the Champions League recently, and their match-based rating lags far behind their market value rating. Another league whose recent performance according to our ratings has lagged behind their market value is Major League Soccer in the U.S., whose last CONCACAF Champions League title was in 2000. MLS shows up in 28th place, between the Danish and Croatian leagues and a long way behind their regional rivals Liga MX in Mexico.To generate these league strength ratings, we’ve set up a system where we first assume that all leagues are of equal strength and determine how far above or below expectation each league has performed over the past five years. In order, we:Run through all domestic matches in history and calculate domestic team SPI ratings throughout time.Look at each inter-league match from the past five years and calculate the expected score of the match based purely on each team’s domestic rating at the time.Take the difference between our expected score of the match and the actual score and run these results through Massey’s Method to find a rating for each league, expressed in how many goals better or worse than average that league is.Regress these calculated ratings toward market-value based ratings, weighted by how many inter-league matches we have for each league.Run through all matches in history again, incorporating league strengths into the predictions for any inter-league matches to improve the final team ratings.Our league strengths can be interpreted as a bonus (in goals) given to each team in an inter-league match. So, for example, if Real Madrid (league strength of 2.01) were playing PSG (league strength of 1.48) and Real Madrid were a 0.2 goal favorite based only on their domestic SPI ratings, our model would give Real Madrid an extra 0.53 goal bonus because of the difference in the two teams’ league strengths.A nice feature of these league strength ratings is that they let us generate global SPI ratings for any club team in the world. These global SPI ratings are a combination of each team’s domestic SPI rating and the strength of the league they play in. To generate them, we set up a mock match on neutral ground against a team with a domestic offensive and defensive SPI rating of 1.35 that plays in a league with strength of 1.25. (These values are just arbitrary ratings that we use for a baseline team against which we can compare any other team.) We calculate the number of goals we expect each team to score in the match as well as the chances of each team winning. So each team’s global SPI ratings can be interpreted as follows:Offensive SPI: the number of goals the team is expected to score in such a matchDefensive SPI: the number of goals the team is expected to concede in such a matchOverall SPI: the percentage of points the team is expected to take in such a matchWe’ll be adding a list of all SPI-rated teams to our club soccer predictions soon. For now, you can find forecasts from 24 leagues. They’re available in three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) and will be updated after every match. Czech RepublicUEFA0.710.440.69 PortugalUEFA18.104.22.168 COUNTRY▲▼CONFEDERATION▲▼INTER-LEAGUE MATCHES▲▼MARKET VALUES▲▼OVERALL STRENGTH▲▼ HungaryUEFA-0.360.11-0.29 GermanyUEFA1.891.881.89 GreeceUEFA0.810.620.80 ItalyUEFA1.481.891.50 SwedenUEFA0.730.290.70 Not all leagues have market values on Transfermarkt.Sources: ESPN, Transfermarkt MaltaUEFA-1.65-0.63-1.44 COUNTRY▲▼CONFEDERATION▲▼INTER-LEAGUE MATCHES▲▼MARKET VALUES▲▼OVERALL STRENGTH▲▼ GuatemalaCONCACAF-0.64-0.64 IsraelUEFA0.220.230.22 NetherlandsUEFA0.711.050.73 IcelandUEFA-0.31-0.69-0.36 UruguayCONMEBOL0.600.150.58 BulgariaUEFA-0.150.27-0.10 BelgiumUEFA0.971.000.97 AustriaUEFA0.860.590.84 DenmarkUEFA0.590.380.57 MacedoniaUEFA-0.74-0.88-0.76 BoliviaCONMEBOL0.530.53 LuxembourgUEFA-1.41-0.84-1.29 WalesUEFA-1.60-0.88-1.46 PeruCONMEBOL-0.06-0.03-0.06 BrazilCONMEBOL1.481.641.49 ArgentinaCONMEBOL1.480.711.45 Faroe IslandsUEFA-1.70-0.88-1.54 STRENGTH BASED ON … CroatiaUEFA0.550.490.55 Relative strength of club soccer leagues from Europe, North America and South America, by countryBased on matches played in the past five years and the current market value of each league FranceUEFA1.511.011.49 ParaguayCONMEBOL0.900.90 ChileCONMEBOL0.740.180.71 KazakhstanUEFA0.400.270.39 EstoniaUEFA-1.67-0.52-1.47 ScotlandUEFA0.140.440.17 ArmeniaUEFA-1.05-0.42-0.92 RussiaUEFA1.491.271.48 AlbaniaUEFA-0.77-0.30-0.70 CyprusUEFA0.04-0.300.02 USACONCACAF0.540.660.56 AzerbaijanUEFA0.01-0.040.01 SwitzerlandUEFA1.070.751.06 Northern IrelandUEFA-1.63-0.88-1.48 BelarusUEFA0.150.020.14 TurkeyUEFA22.214.171.124 GeorgiaUEFA-0.79-0.30-0.71 MexicoCONCACAF1.120.931.09 ColombiaCONMEBOL1.020.460.99 All our significant changes are in how we assess the relative strength of domestic leagues. The goal was to improve our forecasts for the Champions League and Europa League and to better compare clubs in different countries — say, Juventus in Italy to Ajax in the Netherlands. We’re using recent matches played between teams from different leagues, supplemented with league market values (from Transfermarkt), to assign a strength rating to every league that we’re forecasting. Our new league ratings also give us the ability to a calculate a global Soccer Power Index (SPI) rating for each team — a number from 0 to 100 that represents the overall strength of each team.We’ll get into more detail about that methodology below, but to start, here are our league strengths for most of the top-tier domestic leagues in Europe, North America and South America: FinlandUEFA-0.45-0.38-0.44 This methodology article is for an old version of our club soccer forecasts. See how our latest club soccer predictions work.We’ve launched a big expansion of our soccer predictions here at FiveThirtyEight. We’re now forecasting 24 club soccer leagues, with two more — Champions League and Europa League — to come in a few weeks. We’ve added leagues from South America (Brasileirão and the Argentine Superliga), along with 14 new European leagues, including five second-tier leagues, such as the English Championship.For the most part, the methodology behind our forecasts is the same as last year’s. We’re still using four metrics from each match — goals scored, adjusted goals, shot-based expected goals and non-shot expected goals — to evaluate team performances. Those evaluations are expressed as offensive and defensive ratings for each team. And those ratings, in turn, let us calculate win/loss/draw probabilities for future matches and simulate the season thousands of times to estimate each team’s chances of winning the title. RomaniaUEFA0.750.240.71 SerbiaUEFA-0.110.12-0.09 EnglandUEFA1.582.281.60 El SalvadorCONCACAF-0.46-0.46 PanamaCONCACAF0.070.07 UkraineUEFA1.100.881.09 MontenegroUEFA-0.99-0.43-0.87 AndorraUEFA-2.79-0.88-2.25 VenezuelaCONMEBOL-0.09-0.11-0.09 LatviaUEFA-1.46-0.35-1.27 STRENGTH BASED ON … IrelandUEFA-0.28-1.07-0.40 BosniaUEFA-0.61-0.03-0.51 EcuadorCONMEBOL0.770.460.75 LithuaniaUEFA-2.08-0.43-1.69 SlovakiaUEFA0.19-0.160.15 PolandUEFA0.630.210.60 MoldovaUEFA-0.63-0.88-0.67 SloveniaUEFA-0.160.01-0.14 NorwayUEFA0.500.190.48
The 2015-16 Ohio State men’s basketball season didn’t go as planned: that much is known. With only one junior on the roster and no seniors, leadership, experience and chemistry was a question.Perhaps going into the 2016-17 season, maturity and learning from last season’s second-round exit from the NIT could be OSU’s greatest asset.On Thursday afternoon, the Buckeyes held their annual media day inside the practice facility at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. OSU returns its six leading scorers from a season ago, looking to start a new trend of consecutive NCAA tournament berths — a streak that was snapped last season after seven straight appearances into “The Dance” from 2009-2015.The only returning member not available to the media was redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson. Coach Thad Matta and the rest of the returning Buckeyes fielded questions on the offseason and the upcoming 2016-17 campaign.Matta still hard on Buckeyes after last seasonSince taking over the OSU program in 2004, coach Matta has come to expect, and deserve, to be a top contender in the conference every year. Last season’s team simply didn’t come close to the requirements. Failing to make the NCAA tournament for just the second time in his 12 seasons in Columbus, Matta isn’t letting his players soon forget about it.“The biggest message (in the offseason) was we are going to fight for our culture every single day,” Matta said. “From the littlest of things, there’s going to be a demand of … we aren’t going to take anything for granted. We feel like we know what it takes to win here. I think we have the type of guys who are willing to do that.”Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams said when he misses a shot in practice, Matta shouts, “That’s how you end up in the NIT!” Albeit harsh, Matta said his sarcasm isn’t always understood by his players, but he said that has to be the mindset.When Matta took over the Buckeyes program, OSU was a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team who often received a whomping by conferences powerhouses Indiana and Michigan State. Matta has been to two Final Fours, one national championship game, won five regular-season Big Ten titles, won four Big Ten Tournament titles and has won more games on the OSU sideline than any coach in school history.For all of that to return, he brought back former coaches Chris Jent and Alan Major to the staff, and Matta said he and the coaching staff have changed the structure of practice. Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle said the players are being held accountable for their actions on the court and, most especially, off the court and in the classroom.“I don’t think we’ll be like we were last year just because we don’t want that feeling again,” Lyle said. “We remember that feeling after the Michigan State game (in the Big Ten tournament) when we knew we weren’t going to the (NCAA) tournament and then playing in the NIT. Nobody wants that feeling again.”Jae’Sean Tate ready to goThe junior forward underwent season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in February. Tate also had a minor surgery in the offseason on his right ankle to remove a loose body that was bothering him for much of the season. Now just six weeks before the team leaves for Annapolis, Maryland, for its first game of the season against Navy, Tate says he’s fully recovered.“If we played today, I could play,” he said.Before Tate went down with injury, he was the undeniable leader on and off the court for a team that was hanging by a thread for an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament. Tate averaged 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 2015-16. He said that not being able to finish the season last year is a chip on his shoulder he’s taking into this season.“I feel like we’re hungrier this year,” Tate said. “Going into it — especially me and (senior forward) Marc (Loving), he’s going into his fourth (year), I’m going into my third (year), I wasn’t able to finish the year last year and we still haven’t won. I’ve won at every level and I feel like to let Marc leave here without any awards, it just isn’t right.”Chris Jent making a differenceWhen assistant coach Jent left OSU after the 2012-2013 season, the Buckeyes just missed out on a Final Four appearance. Now Jent is back next to coach Matta on the sidelines and has been infectious thus far.“With coach Jent coming back, there’s a lot of basketball wisdom from higher levels of playing that guys want to reach here,” senior forward Marc Loving said. “He’s a high energy guy. He’s very passionate about the game. I felt like that just oozes out of him and translates to us, where guys want to get to the gym and are looking for times to get in and get a couple reps before class and after class. Just having him around is definitely a plus.”It’s no secret that Matta wants to get back to his winning ways at OSU. Recently he’s been criticized for letting in-state high-school talent leave the state for other top-notch programs, while OSU continues to be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big Ten for the past three years. Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop said that Jent only knows OSU as a contender from his time as a player, from 1988 to 1992, and as a coach, so it’s natural for Jent to set high standards for this team.“That’s what he expects of Ohio State,” Bates-Diop said. “No matter who’s the coach, no matter who’s playing.”JaQuan Lyle, year twoJust like OSU’s season, the same can be said about sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle — there were some great moments, and some not so great moments. This season, however, Lyle is noticeably slimmer checking in at 210 pounds, looking to impose his will on the Big Ten and all of college basketball in 2016-17.“Me personally, I think I’m at a good place right now. (I have) pretty much doubled my basketball smarts from last year just off of having that one year under my belt,” Lyle said. “I think the biggest thing for me when the season starts is consistency. Being able to come out every night and compete. When my shot isn’t falling, still being able to do something.”Lyle occasionally showed the immaturity as a freshman, often times in big games. But in other instances, he would explode for a triple-double against Rutgers, 27 points on the road at Wisconsin and 29 points and eight rebounds at Indiana, among others. Consistency is undoubtedly a key for Lyle in his sophomore campaign, but he is attempting to channel the dominating player he knows he can be, which, in turn, might lead to a greater total in the win column.“I want to play more minutes than I did last year,” Lyle said. “I want to compete at a higher level than I did last year for a longer period of time. That really drove me to start getting my body right.”
Any Buckeye will tell you there’s not much that tops the feeling of defeating “that team up north.” The Ohio State wrestling team is no exception. “It’s Ohio State — Michigan. We don’t like each other,” senior captain Colt Sponseller said. “That’s evident when we wrestle each other.” The misconception that the rivalry is limited to football is something the team looks to dispel. “A lot of people think it’s just football, but it’s all sports,” Sponseller said. “It’s a real big deal.” The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan the past three years, and look to extend that to four when they host the Wolverines at 7 p.m. Friday. “We’ve won the last three; we want to continue to win against Michigan,” coach Tom Ryan said. “Our group understands the importance of the rivalry.” The competition brings a different approach to the week preceding it. Ryan said he showed his team a video of the football rivalry, and the wrestlers know it is not just an ordinary dual. “The whole Ohio State atmosphere with Michigan — we want to beat them; they want to beat us,” sophomore captain Ian Paddock said. “So, that always adds to the competition.” Members of the winning team will receive gold singlets, like the gold pants trinkets given to victorious football players. Though their records are near opposites — Michigan is 7-2 and the Buckeyes are 2-6 — Ryan said he believes a win is within the Buckeyes’ sights. “We’re looking for a win,” he said. “Despite the struggles we have had, I think the matchups are favorable for us.” A Buckeye victory against the Wolverines rests on the outcome of one key matchup. “It’ll come down to the 197 pounds,” Ryan said. “It’ll be the key match of the night for both programs.” Sponseller said his team is ready for the dual and eager to take on its rival. “Everybody gets geared up,” he said. “It always feels like there’s a rivalry.” Ryan said his captains need to step up for the dual and lead the team to victory. Sponseller said he isn’t taking the challenge lightly. “Not trying to be an enforcer,” he said, “but trying to be a motivator.” The fans will play a key role in Friday’s dual, Sponseller said. “The crowd means a lot,” he said. “It feels like you have an 11th man out there.” Sponseller said he has one plan. “I just plan on going out there,” he said, “and beating Michigan.”
The Ohio State rowing team secured the its third Big Ten Championship on Sunday in Indianapolis, earning the seniors their first championship rings. “It was our goal from the first practice this year,” senior MacKenzie Pecor said. The team previously won Big Ten Championships in 2002 and 2006, and Pecor said she’s excited about the opportunity to graduate with a championship. “It is honestly so awesome. Last year was the first class from OSU that graduated without ever winning a championship ring, and we did not want to be the second class to do the same thing,” Pecor said. “You row for four years; you want to win at least once.” Senior Jill Mohr agreed. “It was really a dream come true,” Mohr said. “It’s something that we’ve been looking forward to and something we’ve been working toward since I was a freshman.” Coach Andy Teitelbaum said he was proud to watch his players earn a championship for the school. “It’s just gratifying to see the kids hard work pay off with a championship,” Teitelbaum said. “It was really nice to see a group that lived their talk so well to be rewarded.” The team competed against all six other Big Ten schools that field a rowing team: Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Big Ten title assures it a spot in the national championships scheduled for May 27–29 in Gold River, Calif. Pecor said she expects a change in training to prepare for the national championship but that she does not know how it will differ. “It’s probably going to be a little bit of different training, but we haven’t really discussed it,” she said. “We’re kind of still on a high from the Big Ten.” Teitelbaum, who has coached the Buckeyes since the program’s inception in 1995, said it’s important to continue to progress and stay in shape leading up to the national championships. This year will be the team’s 12th consecutive national championship appearance. Mohr said the team will have to put in a lot of work to succeed. “Our chances as a team are looking really strong going into the national championships,” Mohr said. “We have a lot to prove on the national level and that’s what we’ve been working toward.”
Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week Monday for his performance that helped the Buckeyes defeat Wisconsin 33-29 on Saturday. Miller accounted for three total touchdowns in the game as he completed 7-of-12 passes for 89 yards and added 99 more on the ground. A 44-yard touchdown scamper by Miller gave the Buckeyes a 12-point lead with just 4:39 remaining, but the Badgers stormed back with two quick touchdown drives to take the lead, 29-26. The Buckeyes got the ball back with just 1:18 left on the clock, but that was more than enough time for Miller and the Buckeyes. On first down, Miller escaped the pocket, scrambled to his right and heaved a 40-yard pass to fellow freshman Devin Smith in the end zone to give the Buckeyes a 33-29 lead that the Buckeyes would never relinquish. The win brought the OSU’s record to 5-3 on the season with a 2-2 mark in Big Ten play, but also put the Buckeyes right back in contention for the conference championship. OSU will remain at home this week to take on Indiana. Kickoff is set for noon on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov prepares to take a free kick during a match against Wright State Sept. 17 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The teams tied, 0-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAfter starting seven games for the Ohio State men’s soccer team last season, a confident redshirt-junior Alex Ivanov is having a solid season as goalkeeper for the Buckeyes — but it could just be because of his good luck charm.As a child, playing in goal wasn’t always his preferred position, but his instincts led him to the position he would grow to love.“When I was in the seventh grade, they threw me in the goal because I was the only kid who wanted to dive for the ball and they kind of just kept me in there,” Ivanov said.Last season, Ivanov had the chance to play with current Columbus Crew and former Buckeye goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Lampson posted a 0.86 goals-against average during his career at OSU and produced the second most shutouts in OSU men’s soccer history.Buckeye assistant coach Taly Goode works primarily with goalkeepers and said Ivanov learned how to build good habits from Lampson, which has helped his progression this year.Goode also said more playing time this year has led to an improvement for Ivanov.“Last year, one of the big things that (Ivanov) needed was games,” Goode said. “I think with goalkeepers, that game experience, it helped him mature and helped him build confidence in himself and then the teammates build confidence in him.”Ivanov is also building a stronger relationship with his teammates, Goode said. The players voted Ivanov as the most improved in the fall.Senior defender Sage Gardner said knowing Ivanov is behind him is a “breath of fresh air” and said the goalkeeper’s leadership and confidence has helped the team.“It’s nice to know that you have someone back there who is always going to cover you,” Gardner said. “The leadership and organization back there from him has been good for the team.”Currently, Ivanov is leading the Big Ten Conference in total saves with 55, 19 more than second place Michigan redshirt-junior goalkeeper Adam Grinwis. He also has three shutouts for the team this year.Daily improvements from practice are a focus for the Buckeye goalkeeper.“I’m always looking for stuff that I do in games that I need to improve on and I try and get something out of practice every day,” he said. “I think that will spread to all of the defenders and we will all get better as a unit as the season progresses.”Ivanov attributes most of his success to the team’s defense but also to his grandfather’s necklace, which he wears every night before a game.“I have this little good-luck charm that I wear, it’s my grandpa’s necklace that I got,” he said. “It’s like this golden nugget and I have to wear it every night before I go to sleep before a game.”One of the biggest improvements in Ivanov’s game this year has been his confidence. Coach John Bluem said Ivanov believes in himself more than last year and that comes from support of those around him, but also that he has a greater belief in his own abilities.Bluem also said having a more than capable backup in junior Andrian McAdams has helped Ivanov this year.“Andrian trains really hard and really pushes himself in training and that makes (Ivanov) push himself as well,” he said. “(Ivanov) knows if he slips up and has a few bad games that we’re probably going to give McAdams a chance. That kind of pressure and that kind of somebody in training that works hard helps keep you ready.”Earlier this season, in a match against Wright State, Ivanov was shown a red card for an intentional handball outside of the box, forcing him to miss the following match versus Dayton and giving McAdams the start.Bluem said instead of getting down on himself, Ivanov helped the backup goalkeeper prepare for the game.“He handled it well. He was at training and working hard like always, but now his role on the team is a little different,” Bluem said, “but his role for himself never changes. He comes and he gives 100 percent of himself to the team and he encouraged Andrian and helped Andrian get prepared so we were able to handle the goalkeeping duties successfully.”This kind of effort and care for the team has led Bluem to look at Ivanov as a leader of the team.“He is a leader,” Bluem said. “This is his fourth year here now and the other day at Akron when they scored the early goal against us, he’s the guy who called the players in and calmed everybody down and got the guys moving forward again.”Ivanov and the Buckeyes have an overall record of 2-5-2, 0-1-0 in conference. The team is scheduled to host No. 18 Louisville Wednesday at 7 p.m., before rival Michigan comes to town Sunday.
Senior guard Aaron Craft (4) drives to the basket during a game against Morgan State Nov. 9 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 89-50.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAaron Craft’s play is getting recognized on and off the court.Ohio State men’s basketball’s all-time leader in steals and assists has been named one of 23 finalists for the 2014 Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s best point guard.“The 23 athletes on this list represent the most committed, determined and skillful points guards in college basketball,” President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, John L. Doleva said according to a press release. “We are honored to be recognizing their strengths and are excited to move forward in the selection process.”So far this season, Craft has started all 26 games and led OSU to a 20-6 overall record with five games remaining in the regular season. He also leads the team in assists (4.6), steals (2.5) and minutes (34.5) per game and is third on the team with an average 9.5 points per game.The senior point guard is also a two-time Academic All-American and the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Earlier this season, Craft and backcourt partner senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. became the fastest players to reach 100 wins in their OSU careers after the Buckeyes defeated North Florida, 99-64, Nov. 29.“The men on this list all have the athletic qualities of an exceptional true point guard in the game of college basketball, the same qualities that made Mr. Cousy an iconic player,” Chair of the Bob Cousy Award, Ken Kaufman said according to the release. “All of these young men are on this list because they deserve to be competing or this well-respected award.”If Craft wins the award, he would be the first Buckeye to win it and third Big Ten player to raise the trophy, with Illinois’ Dee Brown claiming the honor in 2006 and Michigan’s Trey Burke winning it in 2013.Craft looks to add to his résumé in OSU’s next game, scheduled for Wednesday against Northwestern. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
OSU hockey coach Steve Rohlik (back) talks to his team during a game against Michigan March 2 at Nationwide Arena. OSU lost, 4-3.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternFor being such long endeavors, it’s odd that sports seasons are supposedly defined by their end results. It makes more sense to take a more holistic approach and look at the big picture — at the sum of all those little moments that go unnoticed.An event that was noticed was the 2014 Big Ten Hockey Tournament Championship in St. Paul, Minn. The first season of Big Ten hockey came down to one final game between Ohio State and Wisconsin, where the Buckeyes led 4-2 with less than seven minutes left March 22.The man behind OSU’s bench was Steve Rohlik. An associate head coach for three years with the Buckeyes, the 2013-14 season was Rohlik’s first in the top job. He had led his team through an 0-3 start and a goaltending reshuffle to bring the team within striking distance of its first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.His seemingly calm demeanor didn’t reveal the tension of the encounter, nor his own personal details that made the situation more compelling — this was not only a game in his hometown, but it was also against his alma mater. The script almost writes itself.But, without warning, that script disappeared. The line between success and failure — one the Buckeyes had toed all season long in their 18-14-5 campaign — became clear. The Badgers scored twice in 28 seconds during the third period to tie the game, and less than eight minutes into the overtime period, Wisconsin was the Big Ten champion.“I couldn’t have asked much more from our guys. They laid it on the line,” Rohlik said last week. “Ultimately I think we were 6:52 short of doing something pretty darn special for this university, for the alumni here, and for this program.”That wasn’t the whole story, though. Instead, it was simply the end of the journey for a team and a coach that stressed the small things, and few could’ve imagined the Buckeyes would finish where they did after the upheaval of the previous spring.Before Rohlik stepped into his new role, Mark Osiecki was fired just over three weeks after the end of the 2012-13 season because of what athletic director Gene Smith called in a press release “a difference of opinion over the management of the program that could not be resolved.”It was Osiecki, Rohlik’s teammate at the University of Wisconsin, who brought him to Columbus as an associate head coach. Rohlik was named coach on an interim basis the day after Osiecki was let go, and then about a week later, was confirmed as the ninth head coach in program history.“I’m truly honored, humbled and very blessed,” Rohlik said at his introductory press conference April 24, 2013. “When I sat down with the administration, and they told me the support they had moving into the Big Ten, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.”Despite being an assistant coach for 16 years, Rohlik displayed leadership qualities at a young age. Captain at both Hill-Murray High School in St. Paul, Minn., and the University of Wisconsin, he had loads of experience in leading hockey players.“From a young age, I was a captain of every team I’ve ever been on. In high school, in every sport I was a captain, my buddies called me ‘the captain.’” Rohlik said. “It was just in my blood. I love to put my neck out there, I love to try to do things the right way, and I love to give it 110 percent and do whatever it takes to help the team win.”Just like leadership, hockey was also in Rohlik’s blood. Growing up in the “land of 10,000 lakes,” he said there was always a pond to skate on, and Rohlik described the sport as “a way of life.”The dream for most kids was to play in the Minnesota state championship game. Rohlik played in two.From there, he crossed the state line and attended the University of Wisconsin, captaining the Badgers in his junior and senior seasons, with his final campaign culminating in the 1990 NCAA Championship.“I might’ve been the guy with the ‘C’ on his sweater, but we had so many great leaders, and all the hard work kind of accumulated to our senior year,” Rohlik said. “To win the (Western Collegiate Hockey Association), to win the WCHA playoffs, and then to win the NCAA Tournament … you can’t write a book any better than that year.”Rohlik had a short stint as a professional before returning to his alma mater, Hill-Murray, as coach at the age of 23. Growing up, Rohlik’s father served the school in administrative position, so he said his dream was to play at Hill-Murray, making his appointment as coach even more meaningful.Five seasons in St. Paul were followed by Division I assistant coaching jobs at Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth. Then in 2010, Rohlik got the call from Osiecki, and in just three years he’d become the coach.“I think I’ve tried to take everything over my experiences as a player for so many years and as a coach for so many years. I just try to compile all those experiences,” Rohlik said. “Throughout all those years, you continue to ask yourself, ‘what would you do in that situation?’ I try to put myself in that spot, and ultimately when you get called upon (to be head coach), you try to surround yourself with good people.”One of those people is associate head coach Brett Larson, a man Rohlik got to know at Minnesota-Duluth, and who Rohlik brought to OSU upon his appointment last year. Larson said Rohlik’s passion coupled his with genuine nature makes him a natural fit for a coach.“The players can see how much he cares, how passionate he is. He wants to push everything to the next level,” Larson said. “It’s a great part of our culture, and you always say that the head coach leads the culture of a program. Being so passionate and so genuine are two things that make the players really want to play hard for him.”The switch in coaching might have been tricky, but junior forward Tanner Fritz — who played under Rohlik as an assistant for two years — said the familiarity was actually beneficial.“When he was the assistant coach, he was always the guy in the room after practice talking to the guys. He still does that — he’s a great player coach,” Fritz said. “He’s very involved in the team. I think he’s tight with every one of us. It’s good to have a coach that’s approachable and can talk to you outside of hockey.”Besides his management skills and personability, Rohlik wants to instill in his players that passion Larson and so many others see clearly in him. Judging by what players like Fritz have to say about it, he seems to have succeeded.“His passion for the game is — bar none — one of the best I’ve ever seen. The guy loves the game, he loves being at the rink,” Fritz said. “(The players) feed off that energy. We’re hard-working and we play with a lot of passion, and that comes from the coaching staff.”That might not have come through at first, however. Three consecutive losses to start the season, an injury to freshman goalie Matt Tomkins and another goalie, then-sophomore Collin Olson, leaving the program in November threatened to derail the entire season.But things changed with the addition of freshman goalie Christian Frey in net and the competitiveness of the Big Ten conference. Each game seemed to bring out the best in the Buckeyes as they finished fourth, behind three top-20 squads.Freshman forward Nick Schilkey, who was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, said the coaching philosophy of Rohlik and his staff was a big factor in righting the ship.“He focuses on a lot of details. We focused all year on sticking together and sticking to the gameplan the coaches had set in place,” Schilkey said. “Over time, we grew into that gameplan and it showed during the second half of the year.”Those details came together in many instances, including the upset of then-No. 1 Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal. Even if the season could be considered a success though, Rohlik knows there’s more to come from this team and this program.“Were we satisfied at the end? Absolutely not. Were we satisfied with where we were at in the league? Absolutely not,” Rohlik said. “There’s certainly always room for improvement, and we know we’ve got a long way to go.”And though he’s building a program, Rohlik sees his job as much more than that.He cites the examples of junior forward Ryan Dzingel and senior forward Alex Lippincott as proof of what the sport’s biggest impact can be. Dzingel just signed a professional contract with the Ottawa Senators of the NHL, while Lippincott recently got his first job as graduation approaches.“You see the power of what Ohio State can (do), be it moving on with the hockey or moving on because of the academic side of things,” Rohlik said. “I think that makes it pretty special for us to be involved with.”Now, with one season under his belt, Rohlik is aiming to make things even more special around the OSU hockey program.If he continues to get some of those little details right, it’d be hard to overestimate how far he can take it.
Ohio State’s Cole Gorski celebrates in mid-air at the Simmons-Harvey Quad in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 21, 2018. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern ReporterMembers of both Ohio State’s men’s and women’s track teams set individual records in South Bend, Indiana, during the Meyo Invitational. The meet, which took place Friday and Saturday, consisted of 37 teams, professional athletes and unattached competitors. Ohio State did not send its full team, opting not to send throwers, jumpers and some sprinters.Men’s RecapOhio State senior Cole Gorski re-set his personal high in pole vault, clearing 5.45 meters Friday night. Gorski’s previous record of 5.40 meters was set at the Buckeye Classic, the first meet of the season. Gorski finished second behind Nate Richartz, a recent Notre Dame graduate, who jumped 5.55 meters. Richartz was an All-American in indoor track last year.Junior Coty Cobb finished third in the event behind Gorski and Richartz with a vault of 5.15 meters.Sophomore Alexander Lomong took first place in the men’s 800-meter run with a race of 1:50. Lomong also joined freshman Paul Bete, sophomore Ryan Harrington and junior Luke Landis on the first-place team that set a season-high in the men’s distance medley relay with a time of 9:50.Women’s recapOhio State freshman Anavia Battle finished first in the women’s 60-meter dash with a time of 7:46. She ran the 200-meter dash in 23:79, also taking first. Ohio State owned the 200-meter dash. Senior Maggie Barrie finished third (24.43), senior Beatrice Hannan came in fourth (24.49) and sophomore Taylor DeLoach placed sixth (24.71).Barrie also had a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.51.Senior Chantel Ray placed second in the 60-meter hurdles (8.32).In the 3000-meter run, senior Christine Frederick smashed her prior personal record by 11 seconds with a third-place finish at 9:24.Senior Madison Roberts also set a personal record Saturday in indoor pole vault, reaching 4.02 meters. She finished third in the event.Next weekend the Buckeyes will split up. Part of the team will head to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Vanderbilt meet and other Buckeyes will travel to Iowa City, Iowa, for the Iowa State meet.
Ohio State freshman guard Musa Jallow (2) explains a turnover in the game against Michigan on Dec. 4. Ohio State won 71-62. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignThe USA U18 basketball team took home the gold in the FIBA Americas Men’s Championship on Saturday, defeating Canada 113-74 for its fifth straight championship.While Ohio State sophomore guard Musa Jallow didn’t make the cut for the team, he was one of 32 players invited to the camp, and he said he learned a lot from the experience.“Any chance you have to put the USA on your chest is just, I’m so grateful for it,” Jallow said. “Unfortunate that I didn’t make the team, but still a great experience, had a lot of fun with the guys and the coaches there.”Jallow was the only player to attend the training camp following a year of college experience, a year in which he averaged 2.5 points a game in 33 appearances for the Buckeyes.Jallow finished high school a year early to join Ohio State as a 17-year-old true freshman, and he said it is a decision he will always stand by.“I love this place,” Jallow said. “You can always look back and see the little things you could improve on from the past, but overall, I’m super satisfied with my choice in coming a year early, wouldn’t trade it for the world.”While at the camp, Jallow worked under Kansas head coach Bill Self, and he said that the year of college helped him adapt quicker than the players coming out of high school.“Coach Self had the practices at a pretty high pace, which is how we practice here, and it’s a lot different than high school or AAU practice and so, some of the guys, they weren’t ready for that,” Jallow said. “I was quicker to act on that stuff and pick it up and kind of coach the guys with it.”Jallow said the players had a lot of questions about college life once they realized he had played for Ohio State last year, asking things like “What was it like? What were the practices like? How intense were they?” as well as questions on how players are treated on campus.He might still be one of the youngest players on the team next season, but Jallow said he is ready for a larger role in this upcoming season.“Having the year under my belt, I definitely feel older,” Jallow said. “I was definitely in the freshman position last year and now that we have new guys coming in and we lost our leadership, I just have to be able to make a big jump and kind of take the reigns a little bit.”
There will be no charges over Poppi Worthington’s death Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Mr Worthington was originally arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013 but no action was taken against him, and he has always denied any wrongdoing.The toddler’s mother was said to be “distressed and disappointed” by the decision not to prosecute.A CPS spokesman said on Monday: “Following a review of the original charging decision in this case, the CPS announced that there was not a realistic prospect of conviction in July 2016.”The CPS subsequently received an application under the victims’ right to review scheme in September 2016.”In accordance with the scheme, a CPS lawyer with no prior involvement in the case has completed a full review of the evidence and has concluded that the decision not to charge was correct.” Show more The father of Poppi Worthington will not be charged over the toddler’s death, the Crown Prosecution Service has said after reviewing the evidence.A judge in the family courts earlier this year ruled that Paul Worthington probably sexually assaulted his 13-month-old daughter before her sudden death. Mr Worthington denies any wrongdoing.The CPS said on Monday that a full review of the evidence found that “the decision not to charge was correct”.Poppi collapsed with serious injuries at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on December 12 2012 and was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The case has been beset by a series of errors, failures by police and controversial decisions. Poppi’s mother is understandably both distressed and disappointed by the CPS’s decision not to bring a prosecution regarding her deathFiona McGhie, lawyer representing Poppi’s mother In July the CPS concluded that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, but in September the prosecuting agency said it would look again at the circumstances of her death, prompting the latest inquest to be called off.Fiona McGhie, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Poppi’s mother, said on her behalf: “Poppi’s mother is understandably both distressed and disappointed by the CPS’s decision not to bring a prosecution regarding her death. The girl’s death was shrouded in secrecy, with a 2014 fact-finding civil court judgment by Mr Justice Peter Jackson being kept private so as not to prejudice any criminal proceedings.An inquest into her death lasted just seven minutes and called no evidence.Cumbria Police conducted no real investigation for nine months as senior detectives thought a pathologist who examined Poppi’s body “may have jumped to conclusions” that the girl had been abused, concluded Mr Justice Jackson.A list of basic errors in evidence-gathering by detectives was also highlighted, which Cumbria Police later apologised for. Chief Constable Jerry Graham said earlier this year that the initial investigation “fell well short of the standard that could and indeed should have been expected.”A fresh inquest into the death of Poppi – ordered by High Court judges after the first hearing in October 2014 was deemed “irregular” after it called no evidence – had been adjourned pending the latest review. “She has always been anxious to know exactly what happened to Poppi on the day of her death as well as to secure justice for her little girl.”She hopes that an inquest, which was delayed while the CPS examined its decision, will shed some light on Poppi’s injuries and create a path to justice so her daughter can finally be at peace.” Mr Justice Peter Jackson made his ruling in the family court Credit:Gary Lee
People at risk of suicide or self-harm will be offered tracking apps allowing the NHS to monitor their texts and alert doctors to changes in their moods.NHS England is to announce a £35m investment in digital technology aimed at slashing sucide rates and boosting mental health.The plans include trials of an app which will monitor the content of texts, and the regularity of phone calls, to alert services to potential risks.The prototype means that software would detect the use of “key words” associated with heightened risk, as well as highlighting changes in behaviour – such as an increase in late night phone calls. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “I am excited by this investment across a wide range of services and technologies and the opportunity it presents to provide both improved experience and outcomes for service users across the country.”Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health and Innovation, said: “In the age of the smartphone, excellent use of information and technology is fundamental to the transformation of the health and care system.”Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “Many mental health services across the country are already using technology in new and innovative ways to help provide the support people need and reduce pressure on services, including A&E departments.“Initiatives range from virtual appointments for people who feel more comfortable doing that than meeting face to face; or providing street triage teams to secure access to essential patient information via a tablet when they are called to support someone experiencing a mental health crisis.” Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is to embark on a study comparing use of the app with regular treatment.The prototype has been developed by Stanford University Medical Network Risk Authority, LLC.The trust is among seven which are testing new types of digital services for mental health patients.Others will introduce online consultations for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, on smartphones and computers.Trusts will be able to receive up to £5m investment each, as long as they match fund it.Professor Keith McNeil, NHS chief clinical information officer, said: “As clinicians, we must embrace technology to help us deliver the best care to our service users, just as it helps us in so many other areas of our lives. Digital technology has the potential to transform people’s experience of mental health services and challenge the unacceptable boundaries between physical and mental health.
Waitrose has removed coffee tins showing slaves working on plantations from its shelves following a backlash from customers.The illustrations appeared on the sides of packaging sold by Italian coffee company Saquella 1856 and were spotted by customer Patriic Gayle.The pictures show black slaves harvesting beans in Guatemala and in one image a white plantation manager watches a black mother carrying a child.Patriic approached staff in the branch of the supermarket in the Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury, central London, to complain, and he and friend Annette Saunders also contacted Waitrose head office to demand that the product was withdrawn.Mr Gayle, 56, said: “It looks like the kind of thing you see at Christmas, but when I looked closer I was horrified. “I have to take my hat off to Waitrose staff locally, who tried repeatedly to take the stock off the shelves. We found it had been replaced the next day, but all in all I think it was a good result in a week.”A Waitrose spokesman said: “We are sorry for any offence caused by the images that were shown on these products.”We’ve spoken to the supplier who has explained that the images were intended to depict how coffee was historically harvested and traded. The images were intended to depict how coffee was historically harvested and tradedWaitrose “However, we fully understand how these could be interpreted and removed both products from sale in December until the supplier has had the opportunity to redesign the packaging.” A statement from Saquella 1856 said: “We apologise to anyone that was offended by the images.”As a Fairtrade accredited and EFSIS ethical standard approved business, we were shocked to learn they had been interpreted in this way and the products were removed from sale in December.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
My intro to Ken 1999 Royal “I’m now going to say two words that will make you laugh Ken Dodd” and he did, he always did, thanks for all the chats and guidance, you always had time for everyone…Dear Doddy tattie bye.😞— Brian Conley (@RealBrianConley) March 12, 2018 Comedian Ken Dodd with two of his trademark feather dusters in 2016Credit:Christopher Furlong /Getty Sir Paul McCartney tweeted a picture of himself and the other Beatles together in the 1960s, along with a short statement in response to the comedian’s death. RIP Sir Ken Dodd. A legend and an inspiration. I have a lot to thank You for. I Was thrilled you had the best birthday party in Liverpool before you left us. Your city, friends,Family and Show business will miss you terribly. pic.twitter.com/iDeEC4yukJ— Claire Sweeney (@clairesweeney) March 12, 2018 Julian Richings, who has appeared in films such as X-Men: The Last Stand, described him as a “music hall great, entertainment legend, Liverpool pride”, adding: “The lights are out in Knotty Ash.”Lee Mead, who won BBC competition Any Dream Will Do to land the lead role in the West End revival of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, said he felt “lucky” to have met Dodd. As he marked more than 60 years of performing he vowed to his fans: “I can’t let the British public down, as long as they keep turning up – I’ll be there to give back the enormous happiness they’ve given me.” Paul Chan, known for playing Mr Wu in comedy series Benidorm, wrote about a chance encounter his mother had had with Sir Ken several decades ago. Ah, Ken Dodd has died. So happy I got to meet him once, and more importantly, saw him do one of his incredible 5 hour shows. He was an education to watch and, afterwards, at 1.30 am, he had beers with me in the dressing room and talked showbiz. A privilege, and a loss. RIP.— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) March 12, 2018 He said of his marriage: “He asked Anne if she wanted to marry. They got the registrar and were married in the house on Friday.”He died two days later on Mother’s Day. Anne is obviously very upset. They had been together for 40 years. It’s a love story to beat them all.” Video: Sir Ken Dodd receiving his knighthood in 2017 Sir Ken Dodd leaving Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in FebruaryCredit:Peter Byrne/PA David Walliams, the Little Britain star, posted a picture on Twitter of Sir Ken with The Beatles as he described how “comedy flowed through him like water”. Sir Ken Dodd, surrounded by Diddymen, leaves Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Credit:Peter Byrne /PA Sir Ken Dodd arriving to give evidence at his 1989 trialCredit:PA Wire Sir Ken Dodd talking to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, at the London Palladium in 1980Credit:PA Wire Brandishing a tickling stick and greeted by his Diddy Men, the star had vowed to carry on with his tattyfilarious comedy when he left hospital last month.”I’m going to teach my legs how to work again, they’ve forgotten you know, and once I’ve recovered myself I’ll get back to doing the job, which is the only job I’ve ever had,” he said at the time.”While I was in here, I wrote some new jokes, so it should be all right.” RIP Sir Ken Dodd. One of the all time greats. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday.— Gary Delaney (@GaryDelaney) March 12, 2018 ‘Legend and inspiration’: Tributes to Sir Ken DoddSir Ken Dodd has been described as a “legend” and an “inspiration” as celebrities and fans shared fond memories of the popular comedian.As news of his death broke in the early hours of Monday morning, fellow comedians and television stars paid tribute to Sir Ken on social media. Sir Ken, known for his unruly hair and teeth, performed his very last show just months ago, at The Auditorium in the Liverpool Echo Arena, in his native city, on December 28.But all 2018 dates had to be cancelled due to his illness and subsequent hospital stay. Sir Ken Dodd unveiling the Comedy Carpet at the foot of Blackpool Tower in 2011Credit:Dave Thompson /PA Comedy flowed through him like water. RIP Sir Ken Dodd. pic.twitter.com/v0FjVJVe1n— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) March 12, 2018 In the late 70’s he came to my mum’s chippy and ordered fish ‘n’ chips. He left and sat in his Rolls Royce, parked outside, eating them. Then he came back in to ask for the bin and drove off. My mum didn’t know who he was. That’s my Ken Dodd story.RIP Ken. https://t.co/LB0OIXpIZW— Paul Chan (@paulychan) March 12, 2018 Holmes said: “He’s not been well this year. Anne was in the process of cancelling all of his dates because when Ken goes on stage he’s up there for about four hours.”He said: “It’s been my privilege to have looked after him for 47 years. I’m privileged to have been there for him and he for me.”This time last year I was by his side when he got his knighthood and he was so very proud then. I shall really miss him.” Irish comedian Dara O Briain, known for hosting panel shows such as Mock the Week, remembered seeing him at one of his “incredible 5 hour shows”. So sorry to hear we have lost Ken Dodd.I met him once and I’ve never forgotten it.Gawd bless ‘im— John Challis (@BeingBoycie) March 12, 2018 Breaking the record for longest ever joke-telling sessionIn 1994, his Ken Dodd: An Audience with Ken Dodd show was filmed and released on video, followed in 1996 by the Ken Dodd: Live Laughter Tour and then Another Audience With Ken Dodd in 2002.Also a well-known singer, in 1964 he released his first single, Happiness, followed by smash hit, Tears, the following year, and then Promises.Over the 1960s, he entered the Guinness Book of Records for the longest joke-telling session ever – 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours. Comedian Russ Abbot paid tribute to Sir Ken. “Sadly another legend has passed away. An icon, a one-off and a true professor of comedy,” he said.”One of the greatest. How tickled I am to have known him.”Liverpool Council paid tribute to Sir Ken – a Freeman of the City – on its Twitter page. “Just laughed and laughed and tried not to drown in my soup. Thank you for the genius.”John Bishop, the comedian from Sir Ken’s native Liverpool, posted a black and white photo of the star on Instagram as he paid tribute to a “comedy legend”. One fan wrote: “Appropriate that this should be announced at about 1.15am as this is the sort of time his shows finished. What a legend, happiness was your greatest gift to us.”And another said: “Thank you for your amazing sense of humour and the laughs you left us with.”How Sir Ken tickled audiences pink for decadesSir Ken Dodd, master of tickling sticks, Diddy Men and tattifilarious comedy, reduced fans to helplessness with his bucktoothed grin, a shake of the through-a-hedge-backwards hair and a cry of “How tickled I am”.Hands on hip and in full command of his audience, he would demand: “Do you give in?” and later say of a particularly successful show: “By heck, we took no prisoners that night.”Sir Ken continued to perform right through to his later years, bringing the energy and stamina of a man half his age to his manic routines in theatres up and down the land. On turning 90: ‘It’s no use living in the past’For the milestone birthday on November 8, he was honoured by the Knotty Ash community with a party serving up jam butties and Diddy pies at Liverpool Town Hall.A Freeman of the City, he told the Liverpool Echo of the impressive anniversary: “There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s compulsory! And it’s no use living in the past – it’s cheaper but you can’t live in the past.”Knotty Ash is my home – it’s the centre of my life and always has been. My family are still here with me in memories. I had the most wonderful family – fabulous mother and father, and wonderful brother and sister.” “I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and affection which I’ve already received from dear friends and the public and I thank you all for being here.” Sir Ken Dodd, with two of his trademark feather dusters, helps to plant a tree at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Knotty AshCredit:Peter Byrne /PA A knighthood for comedy legacy and charity workSir Ken married his partner of 40 years, Anne Jones, on Friday.His first fiancee, Anita Boutin, died of a brain tumour in 1977 aged 45 after 24 years together. He later found love again with Anne, a former Bluebell dancer.He was awarded an OBE in 1982 and was dubbed a knight by the Duke of Cambridge in 2017 – the year of his 90th birthday – in recognition of both his comedic legacy and his charity work. Sad to hear the news of Ken Dodd this morning. A man who gave us much joy. Led his life, and career with dignity. Lucky to have met the man.— Lee Mead (@leemeadofficial) March 12, 2018 This was followed by countless BBC series, including The Ken Dodd Show, Beyond Our Ken and Ken Dodd’s Laughter Show, and he entered the big time in 1965 with the longest-ever run at the London Palladium (42 weeks). There was no let-up in his astonishing ability to reel off joke after joke, with the rapidity of a machine gun for literally hours on end.Even when he was taken to hospital for a “minor operation” on New Year’s Eve in 2007. Sir Ken Dodd, the comedy legend and one of the most popular entertainers of his time, has died aged 90 just two days after getting married.The star – famous for his epic stand-up shows, his tickling sticks and Diddy Men – died on Sunday in the house in which he was born.His wife, whom he married at at home in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash just two days earlier, was at his bedside.The Liverpool comedian left hospital on February 27 at the end of a six-week stay for a chest infection.He wed Anne Jones, his partner of 40 years, on Friday and an announcement was due to go out later this week about the marriage. Comic Brian Conley, the former Royal Variety host, remembered introducing the late comedian, in a tribute posted on Twitter. Contradictions and insecurities behind his comedyBut behind the hair, teeth and offbeat humour dwelt a mass of contradictions and insecurities.Spending almost the entirety of his life based at his childhood home – a rambling mansion in Knotty Ash in Liverpool – his carefully guarded private life received an unwelcome airing in 1989 when he endured a five-week trial accused of tax fraud. He was acquitted following a brilliant defence by George Carman QC.After 35 years in showbusiness, he told the court: “Since I am stripped naked in this court, I might as well tell you the lot.” Many fans also paid their own tributes, and many of Sir Ken’s infamous jokes were shared on Twitter. “A performer has to have something in his or her psyche I would call ‘a comic imp’… That imp is always with you sitting on your shoulder or in your shadow.” He was known by colleagues for being careful with cash despite earning up to £10,000 per month.Sir Ken told accountants that he lived on annual expenses of just £3,500, had not bought a new suit for two or three years and never had a holiday until he was 51.A career that began charging twopence for puppet showsThe entertainer’s career kicked off after his father bought a Punch and Judy for his eighth birthday, and he began charging school friends twopence to sit on orange boxes and watch the puppets. It was a penny to stand at the back and a cigarette card for the hard-up.He left school at 14 and worked with his brother Bill, heaving Arley cobbles and Houlton kitchen nuts for six years as part of his father’s business.But in his spare time, the former choirboy was singing and developing a stand-up comic routine at working men’s clubs – script by his father, costumes and general support by Mrs Dodd. He would describe himself as “Professor Yaffle Chuckabutty. Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter.” Other tributes came from actor John Challis, who played Boycie in comedy television series Only Fools and Horses, and Hollyoaks actor Annie Wallace, who described him as a “true son of beautiful Liverpool”. It came just hours after completing a four-hour sell-out gig at Liverpoool’s Philharmonic Hall. The Queen talks to Ken Dodd after the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 1965Credit:PA Wire He explained: “I am not mean, but I am nervous of money, nervous of having it, nervous of not having it,” and described money as a yardstick of success – “important only because I have nothing else”.The trial transformed Liverpool Crown Court into a sell-out theatre, with fellow comics Eric Sykes and Roy Hudd called as character witnesses.His counsel described him as a fantasist stamped with lifelong eccentricities – such as keeping love letters in a safety deposit box and hoarding £336,000 in the attic – due to a close-knit family upbringing. Sir Ken Dodd promotes a new eight-week series of his show Doddy’s Music Box in London in 1967Credit:PA Wire Sir Ken Dodd, with his future wife Anne Jones, picking up his investiture at Buckingham Palace in November 2017Credit:Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph Sandi Toksvig said of Sir Ken: “Best dinner companion I ever sat next to. Don’t think I said a word. Speaking outside their home, Lady Anne Dodd said: “I have lost a most wonderful husband. We first met when I was in the Ken Dodd Christmas Show in 1961 at the Manchester Opera House.”I’ve had the supreme joy and privilege of working and living with him as a partner for the past 40 years.”The world has lost a most life-enhancing, brilliant, creative comedian with an operatically trained voice, who just wanted to make people happy. He lived to perfect his art and entertain his live and adoring audiences. Sir Ken Dodd meeting a leopard at Bristol Zoo in 1957Credit:PA Wire RIP Sir Ken Dodd, Freeman of Liverpool and comedy genius. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anne and their friends and family at this very sad time. pic.twitter.com/5WjzhGJ2Sv— Liverpool Council (@lpoolcouncil) March 12, 2018 The Theatre Royal, Nottingham, saw his £75-a-week debut in 1954 as Professor Chuckabutty.Within two years he was topping the bill at Blackpool, with bits such as the famous Diddy Men, the Broken Biscuit Repair Works, the Jam Butty Mines, the Moggy Ranch and the Treacle Wells. Comic Gary Delaney called him “one of the all time greats”, and, referencing the fact Sir Ken’s shows could often last for hours on end, added: “The funeral will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Sir Ken’s publicist Robert Holmes said: “To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats. There is no one else that comes close.”He passed away in the home that he was born in over 90 years ago. He’s never lived anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing.”With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety. He was a comedy legend and a genius.” Sharing his showmanship techniques: ‘You’re like a gladiator’Days previously, he shared his showmanship techniques, telling a newspaper: “You’re like a gladiator. You buckle on your sword and helmet and you have to take on the audience.”You have to do a show with an audience and structure the act so that you start with the ‘hello’ gags, then the topicals, then the surreal stuff. Eventually, you can go wherever you want and say whatever comes into your head: ‘How many men does it take to change a toilet roll? I don’t know. It’s never been done’.” Paul on Ken Dodd… pic.twitter.com/ytd8SyRtip— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) March 12, 2018 Television personality Claire Sweeney, a fellow Liverpudlian, shared some photos of the star’s 90th birthday party on Twitter.Alongside them, she wrote: “RIP Sir Ken Dodd. A legend and an inspiration. I have a lot to thank You for. I Was thrilled you had the best birthday party in Liverpool before you left us. Your city, friends,Family and Show business will miss you terribly.” Sir Ken Dodd poses backstage with the Bluebell Girls during a rehearsal for the show ‘Doddy’s Here Again’ at the London PalladiumCredit:PA Wire Sir Ken would later joke publicly about the case, but it was far from being a laughing matter at the time.
“Their commitment has grown individually by 27 per cent or roughly four per cent a year, enabling the overall sum to rise by 10 per cent.“But in 2016 for the first time the total coming out of planned giving declined,” he said. The debate over the Archbishops’ Council’s budget for 2019, which sets out the national church’s spending priorities, also heard from members who were concerned that millennials were not donating to local churches.Julie Dziegiel, the treasurer of a parish in the diocese of Oxford, said: “We need to address the issue of giving by our millennial generation, the future of the church, but they are saddled with student debt and looking at being unable to buy a house.”Mr Spence said the church was introducing initiatives such as contactless collection and text giving to appeal to millennials.He said contactless collection at services “can be very useful for churches that have significant numbers of visitors or when people come for weddings or funerals.“They so often don’t have cash in their pockets, so they can be deployed then, and these are the sorts of things we need to do to have a more enterprising future.”Annika Mathews, a member of the Church of England youth council, said young people were likely to move from church to church as they studied and moved for jobs, and so found it difficult to commit to regular giving. “I have been to about four different churches in the past few years, from moving around from year to year.“It would be helpful for young people to have some online ways of giving, maybe some monthly debits to the church, as we – and I speak for myself at least – don’t tend to carry change all the time to churches,” she said. The Church of England has seen a fall in planned donations for first time in 50 years as it says millennials are not taking up the mantle of previous generations.Money given through direct debits and standing orders has fallen for the first time since records began in 1964, it was revealed on Monday.John Spence, chair of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee, told its governing body, the General Synod, that in 2016 income coming from planned giving fell by 0.4 per cent.Figures for 2015 show that a total of £337.5m was given to the church this way, suggesting that there was a fall of around £1.35m in 2016.The donations formed around a third of the money collected by parishes in 2015, which Mr Spence said rose by 1.8 per cent overall because of other sources of funds.He warned that young people were not replacing older churchgoers in donating money to the church, which was leading to a dent in income.“An 81 year old is eight times more likely to go to church than an 18 year old.“And that’s having its impact on finance. The numbers of people in our planned giving schemes declined by 13 per cent since 2010. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Stewart from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was handed a fixed penalty notice for “failure to furnish documentation (waste carriers licence)”.He was ordered to pay £300 within 14 days of May 23, when the incident occurred. He said he plans to settle the fine.A Waltham Forest Council spokesman said: “The waste in this case was being transported in commercial refuse bag in the trader’s vehicle.”Regardless of what the items are, if waste is being stored in a commercial refuse bag in a trader’s van it is necessary that they have a valid waste carriers’ license.” Mr Gosling with standing outside his van (left) with his penalty notice (right)Credit:SWNS A white van man has been hit with a £300 fine after sandwich wrappers and crisp packets were found inside his work van.Roofer Stewart Gosling, 43, was punished with the on-the-spot penalty after a stash of waste he kept in a plastic commercial waste bag was found in the back of his vehicle.Waltham Forest Council workers told Mr Gosling he was breaking the law for carrying the rubbish without permission when they carried out spot checks in east London.Mr Gosling has tried to appeal the fine but has been told he will end up in court if he doesn’t pay the penalty issued at the roadside.He said: “It’s so infuriating. The working-class man gets penalised for going to work basically.”I’ve not fly-tipped. I’ve not left it in someone’s garden. It’s frustrated the hell out of me.”There was just a bag of rubbish, bottles, crisp packets, newspapers and sandwich wrappers. “What gets me is the lack of common sense. It’s a lot of money for one bag of rubbish.”The roofing contractor was driving through Chingford in north east London when he was pulled over by council workers.They searched his vehicle before asking him if he had a waste carriers’ licence, which are required by any business that transports commercial refuse. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
By contrast the feminism movement has made underarm hair less taboo for women, ten per cent of whom now do not shave their arm pits. The changing trends now mean young men are removing body hair from anywhere on their bodies almost as much as young women of the same age, with similar proportions of both (29 per cent of men versus 34 per cent of women) removing hair more frequently… Nearly half of young men now shave their armpits and they are nearly as likely to remove hair from their body as women the same age, a survey has found. The study, by consumer researchers at Mintel, found underarm hair removal is becoming increasingly popular among men aged 16 to 24 who want to achieve a smooth body.
Credit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire A woman left paralysed after being “catapulted” from her new bed during a sex act has lost her seven-figure claim for damages against the bed supplier.Claire Busby, of Maidenhead, Berkshire, suffered a serious injury to her spine when she fell from the super king size double divan as she changed position.The 46-year-old claimed the bed was in a “defective state” at the time of her accident and took legal action against Berkshire Bed Company, trading as Beds Are Uzzz, which supplied it.But, rejecting her case, Judge Barry Cotter found the bed was “not defective” and that Ms Busby’s fall was a “tragic accident”.Announcing his decision on Friday, the judge said: “As a result of the matters set out above, the claim in relation to this tragic accident, which is what I find it was, a simple accident, fails.”The judge said he was not satisfied the bed was “defective”, even taking into account “reasonably foreseeable misuse”.He added: “It required a most unfortunate and unusual combination of positioning on the bed and movement which I do not believe would have been foreseeable by any reasonable person prior to the incident.” During the trial, the court heard that the bed was one of five delivered to Ms Busby’s then home, Rosewood House in Ockwells Road, Maidenhead, in August 2013 when she was renovating the property. Ms Busby, who used to work in the property sector, was injured a week after the bed’s delivery while having sex with her then partner, John Marshall.She told the court she was kneeling in the middle of the bed performing a sex act when she decided to move position and “swung her legs” from underneath her, before lying back on the bed with her head towards the bottom end.At that point she claimed the bed gave way and she toppled off the end, landing on her head.Richard Manders, director of Berkshire Bed Company, said: “We are delighted the court has ruled in our favour.”We are sorry that Ms Busby was injured and we wish her and her family well for the future.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.