Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, finals schedule, how to watch

Next up for climbing: Men’s finals.

Adam Ondra is probably the best climber in the world right now.

Traditional climbing takes place outside without a predetermined route.

All the qualifiers have taken place. All that’s left is the finals. First up is the men’s finals, which starts at 4.30 a.m. August 5 EDT (1.30 a.m. PDT).

Full schedule:

The women’s finals follow a similar schedule on August 6.

In the US, NBC will broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights in England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two in Australia. All events will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

The finalists for the men are…

Bassa Mawem is expected to withdraw as a result of bicep injury inflicted during qualification.

Finalists for the women are…

Sport climbing will be broken up into three separate disciplines: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Not every country will be represented; only 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) will be allowed to compete at the Games, and only 2 athletes per gender per country will compete in any given event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee currently recognizes only two genders — female and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that identify as transgender, both female and male, to compete. But there aren’t any guidelines or rulings for athletes who don’t identify as female or male — including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined nature of climbing at the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a completely different skillset compared to bouldering and lead climbing. In the next Olympics speed climbing is being broken out as a separate event, leaving bouldering and lead climbing as a combined event.

Two climbers, one wall.

Speed climbing is relatively simple: there are two climbers with safety ropes and one 15-meter wall set at a 95-degree angle. The climbers race against each other to get to the top, with the fastest one winning. The speed route is the exact same at all times: the same holds in the same position at the exact same angle. The addition of speed climbing has been somewhat controversial in the climbing community, because it requires a completely different skillset compared to other climbing disciplines.

Athletes use physical and mental precision to climb to the top of a bouldering route.

Bouldering takes place on an shorter wall, where climbers take turns attempting to scale as many routes on a four-meter-tall wall in 4 minutes. Each route (also called a bouldering problem) is laid out with hand and foot holds in a specific color, and they vary in difficulty based on the size of the holds and the way they are spaced out. A climber completes a problem by grabbing the top hold with both hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been about power and finger strength, but recently competition route setters have been creating problems that require delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This one will be fun to watch.

In Lead climbing, participants secure themselves with a rope as they climb higher.

Lead climbing is arguably the most recognizable of the three events. The climber has six minutes to climb as high on a wall that is taller than 15 meters. They use safety ropes that attach to quickdraws on their way up, allowing the rope to run freely while they stay anchored to the wall. If two athletes reach the same point on the wall, the person who got there first is the winner.

In both bouldering and lead climbing, climbers are not allowed to practice climbing on the routes before they compete or watch each other scale the wall, and they only have a couple of minutes to study the routes and decide their strategy before the timer begins.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won’t change the year on the medals, by the way.

If you thought the qualifying system was a bit complicated, take a deep breath. There’s only one set of medals awarded per gender, so all three events will go into determining which country gets the gold, silver and bronze.

The speed climbing discipline will be done in a bracket format, with athletes competing head to head, while bouldering is in a leaderboard format. Lead climbing will have a point system in which each hold on the wall counts as one point and the athlete who climbs the highest will obtain the highest score.

Once all the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers will be multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores will win medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber will compete in each event. For example, if an athlete gets second place in speed climbing, third in bouldering and first in lead climbing their overall score would be six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6).

In the men’s event the favourite is almost certainly Tomoa Narasaki. Some of the other climbers like Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are considered stronger climbers in terms of their performance on real rock, but this is competition climbing and it’s very different beast. Narasaki was born in the darkness of comp climbing. He’s the Bane of bouldering and, of all the strong climbers, he’s evolved to the weirdness of speed climbing the best. This gives him a great shot at claiming gold.

In the women’s event you’d have to pick Janja Garnbret. She’s been literally unbeatable in the competition scene, particularly in bouldering. There are plenty of others worth watching. From Japan both Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka have a great shot. Noguchi is probably the most decorated female comp climber of all time and Nonaka is a great all-rounder who competes well in speed — the boogie event most top climbers are nervous about.  

Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

UFC 260 Miocic vs. Ngannou: Start time, how to watch or stream online, full fight card

UFC 260 is just about to start. Here’s everything you need to know…

UFC 260 will be the second time Stipe Miocic has faced off against Francis Ngannou.

Sadly the co-main event, a compelling contest between featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski and jiu jitsu savant Brian Ortega has been cancelled after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.

Here’s everything you need to know.

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 260, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 260 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 260 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Based on previous UFC times, this is the schedule we expect…

Given how volatile and fluid previous fight cards have been in the COVID-19 era, expect this one to chop and change. Here’s where we’re at right now…

Carl Nassib is first active NFL player to come out as gay: What to know

Nassib, who plays with the Las Vegas Raiders, donates $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ+ suicide prevention.

“I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” Carl Nassib said.

“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”

Nassib also donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a US nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth. June is Pride Month.

Although Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out, Michael Sam, another defensive end, came out as gay in 2014. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 but ultimately didn’t make the final roster after playing in the pre-season.

Other NFL players, like David Kopay and Roy Simmons, came out as gay after retiring from the NFL. Simmons said he never came out during his playing career for fear of destroying his career. “The NFL has a reputation,” he once said, “and it’s not even a verbal thing — it’s just known.”

Carl Nassib is a defensive end who currently plays for the NFL team the Las Vegas Raiders. He is a five-season veteran of the NFL, having previously played for the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He played for Penn State Nittany Lions in College and was extremely successful, becoming a consensus All American and winning the Hendricks Award for the nation’s top defensive end in 2015. He also received the Lombardi Award as the best college football lineman or linebacker.

In March 2020, Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “proud” of Nassib for “sharing his truth.”

“Representation matters,” he said. “We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”

The Raiders also showed their support. “Proud of you Carl,” the team tweeted.

While some social media reaction has sadly been focused on Nassib’s coming out not being an important issue, most have universally supported the athlete.

“I am just one person,” said Nassib. “I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. Thank you everyone for your support.”

Amazon’s NFL Thursday Night Football exclusive now starts in 2022

The technology giant and the NFL are bumping up the start date for their new agreement.

As per the earlier announcement, Amazon will carry 15 Thursday Night Football games as one well as one preseason NFL game. The deal runs through the 2032 NFL season.

Although Amazon has been streaming Thursday Night Football games on its Prime Video platform for the past few seasons, it was doing so in conjunction with a traditional broadcaster like Fox. The NFL’s new deal marked the first time a streaming platform would be the sole home for the games without a traditional TV partner, with Amazon saying Monday that additional production details will be shared “in the coming months.”

Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers to take part of salary in Bitcoin

The MVP quarterback is partnering with Cash App to facilitate the crypto payment.

“I’m excited about the future of cryptocurrency, and am a big believer in Bitcoin,” Rodgers said in a release from Square, the parent company of Cash App.

Cash App is an app-based money transfer service that allows people to send and receive money. People can also buy and sell stock shares, as well as Bitcoin, using the app. Pro football athletes are starting to invest in Bitcoin. Earlier this year, Kansas City tight end Sean Culkin became the first NFL player to convert his entire salary in Bitcoin.

In the video posted to Rodgers’ official social media accounts Monday afternoon, the star quarterback is wearing a Halloween costume. Rodgers dressed as action movie protagonist John Wick. The video starts with Rodgers taking a drink, then looking at the camera to say, “Bitcoin to the moon,” before going over the details of his partnership and the sweepstakes.

The week-long $1 million Bitcoin social giveaway campaign began at 1 p.m. PT on Monday and runs through Nov. 8.

Skateboards containing Tony Hawk’s blood sell out almost instantly

But some want to know why they didn’t spark the same outrage the blood-infused Lil Nas X Satan shoes did.

Tony Hawk shows off a vial of his blood and a note verifying he’s allowing it to be used in the skateboard series.

The bloody skateboard idea was a collaboration with water company Liquid Death Mountain Water. The company said on its Instagram that Hawk’s blood was sterilized before being added to the paint and also noted, “Although it could arguably make the world a better place, never ever use these boards to make clones of Tony Hawk.”

A representative for Liquid Death confirmed to CNET that the paint on the custom decks was mixed with two vials of Tony Hawk’s blood. It gets weirder.

“Tony Hawk is a member of the Liquid Death Country Club,” the representative said. “So he previously sold his soul to Liquid Death via a legally binding contract, meaning the brand technically owns Tony’s blood.” Sure thing, and also, yikes! The Liquid Death Country Club appears to be a fan group that gives members perks for signing up. We can’t answer for the whole soul-selling part of it.

The skateboard is called the Hawk Blood Deck, for super-obvious reasons. Only 100 were made, priced at a blood-curdling $500, and they sold out early Wednesday morning shortly after going on sale. Some of the proceeds from the sale will go to 5 Gyres, a nonprofit aimed at reducing plastic pollution, as well as Hawk’s own organization, The Skatepark Project, which helps under privileged communities build skateparks.

That’s a hawk skull the executioner is holding, as in Tony Hawk.

The red-painted skateboard bears the slogan, “Murder Your Thirst,” with an image of the company’s “Thirst Executioner” character with a Liquid Death can for a head, holding a hawk skull. Hopefully, not Tony’s.

This isn’t the first celebrity-endorsed, blood-infused product of 2021, as weird a sentence as that is to read. Back in March, rapper Lil Nas X collaborated with streetwear company MSCHF on a quickly sold-out offering of what the company dubbed Satan Shoes. The devil-themed shoes each contain a drop of human blood, though drawn from MSCHF employees, not Lil Nas X.

But because the shoes were modified Nikes, Nike filed a trademark claim against MSCHF and the company agreed to voluntarily recall the shoes as part of a settlement. And the combination of the Satan theme and the blood triggered some. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem was among those who tweeted angrily against the Lil Nas X Satan shoes.

Some who saw the Tony Hawk skateboard wondered if he’d receive the same backlash as Lil Nas X did.

“So lil nas x can make custom sneakers with blood in them and there’s outrage, but tony hawk can make skateboards with HIS OWN blood in the paint and somehow it’s less of an issue???” wrote one Twitter user.

Fans of the band KISS will remember that back in 1977, band members also had their blood drawn and mixed with the red ink used to print a Marvel Comics KISS comic book.

Field of Dreams game: Watch Kevin Costner’s spine-tingling intro speech

They built it and Costner came out of the corn for real at this memorable MLB baseball game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Kevin Costner on the Field of Dreams at the first MLB game in Iowa, August 2021.

Inspired by the 1989 movie, Major League Baseball built a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark at the farm in Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed. The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox played a real professional MLB game Thursday.

So who won? Under the beautiful Iowa night sky, Tim Anderson capped the ninth inning by smashing one of the game’s several home runs into the cornfield, winning the game 9-8 for the White Sox.

The game was postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the event and its opening ceremony had an extra poignancy as an opportunity for 7,832 people to gather and enjoy the simple pleasure of a ballgame.

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox emerge from the corn onto the Field of Dreams.

Written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson and based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams starred Costner as a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond. The cornfield-ballfield attracts the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

The MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022, although the current disruption caused by the delta variant is a stark warning that the pandemic is far from over.

UFC 261 Usman vs. Masvidal: Start time, how to watch or stream online

UFC 261 is about to start! Here’s everything you need to know…

Usman and Masvidal face-off today before their fight at UFC 261

Usman defeated Masvidal in their first encounter in what was a fairly one-sided battle. But, given the fact Masvidal took the fight on extremely short notice (and the fact Masvidal is probably the biggest draw in the division) this contest is still a compelling one. Masvidal showed flashes of a skillset that could trouble a wrestler like Usman. This fight could be a close one. Certainly much closer than in the first.

The co-main event is perhaps the most exciting for hardcore fans. Zhang Weili is UFC’s first Chinese champion and her last fight — against Joanna Jędrzejczyk — wasn’t just the best women’s fight in MMA history, it might be the best fight ever, period. The thought of her facing off against former UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas is a salivating one. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another fight of the year candidate.

The third title fight pits one of the most dominant champions currently fighting in the UFC against one of its most notorious buzzsaws. Valentina Shevchenko has looked utterly indestructible at flyweight but in Jessica Andrade, she’s facing an ex-champion who will pressure and come forward no matter what.

This will almost certainly be Shevchenko’s toughest title defence yet.

The main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details…

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 261, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 261 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 261 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Earlier this week, at he UFC media day, some of the fighters on the main card had their first face-offs ahead of the fights this Saturday.

Normal disclaimer, given COVID-19 and the general chaos of UFC cards, this line-up could change at any time. We’ll keep this as current as possible.

EA Sports removing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22

The disgraced former Raiders coach will be replaced with a generic likeness.

EA Sports is scrubbing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22.

Gruden’s resignation came after The New York Times detailed emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist statements about a union leader.

One of the higher-profile coaches in the league, Gruden won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before becoming a top analyst for ESPN. He returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the Raiders, which he had coached years before.

According to the gaming news website Kotaku, which reported the removal earlier this week, in addition to re-creating NFL players, Madden NFL 22 shows each team’s head coach on the sidelines and cuts to them frequently throughout games. They’re also part of the game setup process.

England vs. Italy at Euro 2020: How to watch, start time, prediction

It’s England vs. Italy for all the marbles. Here’s what you need to know…

Raheem Sterling has been England’s star performer during Euro 2020.

The Euro 2020 final featuring England vs. Italy takes place on July 11 at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT).

In the UK, that means 8 p.m. on July 11.

In Australia, it’ll be an early start at 5 a.m. on July 12.

In the US, ESPN and Univision have the rights to the UEFA European Championships. ESPN is televising 39 matches from the tournament and ESPN 2 is televising seven.

In the UK, you can watch for free on BBC and ITV, providing you have a TV license. Fans in the UK have become increasingly accustomed to having to pay Sky or BT Sport to watch soccer, not so with the UEFA European Championships.

In Australia, your best bet is to subscribe to Optus Sport. Personally, as a person living in Australia, I subscribe to Optus Sport. It not only gives you access to the UEFA European Championships, it gives you full access to the English Premier League, the Champions League and the Europa League. It’s a great, simple service. I love it.

It’s hard to call. Both teams have looked extremely solid all tournament. Italy are the most battle tested. They’ve had a rougher run to the final, having just beat Belgium and Spain — but England have looked extremely solid in defence. They’ve only conceded one goal in the tournament — a direct free kick against Denmark in the semi-final — and they’ve grown into the tournament in leaps and bounds.

According to the odds, England are very slight favourites, but it is razor close.

If you pushed me, I’m picking England, based on how strong their defence has looked. They have a lot of firepower and options on the bench as well, if things are tight. The ability to bring on a Jack Grealish, a Marcus Rashford or a Phil Foden has been a huge strength for England.

Just in case you missed the whole event and you’re coming in late!

The UEFA European Championships is similar to a World Cup, but only European teams can enter it. It’s a tournament where international teams — Italy, France, England, Spain and so forth — compete for a month in a competition that starts out in group stages, but progresses to a knockout phase and, ultimately, a final to decide the best team in Europe.

Like the World Cup it takes place every four years, so the stakes are high.