tatement signed as part of Sharpers plea agreementin Clan- und Funwars 20.09.2019 08:39
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Mention to a badminton superfan the widespread American view that the sport is mostly a backyard lark and watch the steam come out of their ears.They find it inconceivable that anyone, even Americans steeped in ftball and basketball, could mistake badminton for anything other than a complex, endlessly fascinating symphony of power, agility and speed.With apologies to the purists: Most Americans cant see past their leisurely, backyard BBQ encounters with the game.It wasnt always that way.Badminton once enthralled many in the United States. Its athletes graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, staged badminton on ice escapades and won world championships.That was half a century ago. They now struggle to make it out of the first rounds of the Olympics, and to win fans enamored with swimming and track superstars.The problem, as it is for many Olympic sports that are sensations internationally but less popular in the United States, is money.When a U.S. athlete faces a player from a traditional badminton power, theyre not just facing the individual, theyre facing an entire system -- all of its financial backing, training facilities, coaching and scouting infrastructure.For the U.S., we are all still self-funded. Were individuals. Were not a team, said Iris Wang, a 21-year-old U.S. Olympian from California, after a recent practice session in Rio.Wang pointed toward some South Koreans practicing nearby.They fly together; they train together. We all train separately. They have the resources to bring in a masseuse, physical therapy, said Wang, who tk three years off from UCLA to focus on badminton and who will return sn for her sophomore year. I heard China sometimes brings chefs to tournaments, and were just struggling to make it through.Until the mid-20th century, Americans often dominated badminton, and the sport enjoyed widespread popularity.Dave Freeman, the Pasadena Flash, a neurosurgeon considered by some to be badmintons greatest player, was the only American man to reach world No. 1 and won the equivalent of the world championship in 1949.FBI agent Joe Alston bsted the sport when he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1955 after winning his second U.S. Open singles title.Badminton comedy shows toured America in the `40s and `50s, and people lined up for badminton on ice reviews.Gradually, however, ftball, baseball and basketball began to rob attention from badminton.Those who now embrace the game in the United States often do so because their parents are fans or because they have relatives or friends whove shown them how seriously badminton is taken in parts of Asia and Europe.A return to its 20th century heyday will be difficult.In Asia, the big powers often subsidize their badminton programs. Prospects are scouted young, brought into well-run training programs and nurtured. They dont, for the most part, have to worry about money.U.S. players, by contrast, must often hustle to pay for a court to practice on, a coach to instruct them, equipment, sparring partners, air fare and tournament entry fees. Without resources they struggle to win, which means sponsors are reluctant to help.Wang has a sponsorship with a Taiwan-based tech company but also gets help from her parents. She played hard in Rio, but ran into Li Xuerui, the defending Olympic champion from China, and lost 2-0.Wang said making badminton an NCAA sport could help increase its popularity and encourage more high schl students to play. Otherwise, many potentially gd players will go to other sports.Wang smiles when asked how she discovered badminton.A backyard birthday party for my sisters friend, she said. I thought, `Oh my gosh, thats so cl. 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With the short-handed Warriors needing help from someone -- anyone -- to stop a three-game skid, ONeal returned from right knee and groin injuries that had sidelined him for four games and put up season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds. It was just enough to help lift Golden State to a 102-101 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. NEW ORLEANS -- Former NFL star Darren Sharper was sentenced Thursday to more than 18 years in prison for drugging women in order to rape them -- double the sentence recommended by prosecutors.One of Sharpers victims -- the only one to speak at his sentencing hearing -- rebuffed his display of contrition.For the list of people youve done this to: Go to hell, she said. Her name was not given in court, and The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual abuse by name.The former New Orleans Saints safety, jailed since February 2014, apologized and appeared chastened by his fall from grace.I would like to apologize a thousand times, the 40-year-old Sharper said. Later, he said, lking down and sighing, Im still trying to figure out why I made some of these choices.His voice quivered and choked with emotion when he apologized to his parents.U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, in sentencing Sharper, told him she couldnt understand how he did what he did, since he was college educated and obviously had grown up in one of the most loving households.We can never ignore the damage you inflicted on those women and society at large, she said.Sharper had pleaded guilty in federal court in New Orleans to drugging three women so he could rape them. He also has pleaded guilty or no contest in state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada to charges arising from allegations of drugging and raping women.Defense attorney Billy Gibbens asked for leniency because Sharpers testimony helped get late guilty pleas from two codefendants who will be sentenced in October.Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon told the judge, I dont think Mr. Sharper has really wrapped his head around the fact that he is a serial rapist.Meanwhile, the tearful victim told Sharper that because of arrogance and clear stupidity, he kept drugging and raping women even after he knew she was talking to state and federal investigators.Within days ... you gave me ... and the entire judiciall system in Louisiana the big middle finger because you thought we werent capable of stopping you, she said.dddddddddddd You continued to rape other women in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas.She said she understands that people make mistakes. But it wasnt a mistake. A mistake happens once and you never make it again. Rather, she said, it was a way of life for you and your friends.Prosecutors suggested a 9-year prison term for Sharper under a multi-jurisdictional plea deal, but Milazzo rejected it in June as t lenient. The sentence she imposed, 18 years and four months imprisonment, was 15 months short of the maximum. Sharper also was fined $20,000. His sentence will run concurrently with any state sentence.The judge said he will be on three years supervised release after he gets out of prison, including sex treatment conditions and registration as a sex offender.Sharper or his friend Brandon Licciardi, a former sheriffs deputy in neighboring St. Bernard Parish, put anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives into womens drinks so they could rape them, according to a 15-page statement signed as part of Sharpers plea agreement.Milazzo has scheduled sentencing Oct. 13 for Licciardi and a second New Orleans codefendant, Erik Nunez.Charges around the country involve nine victims, but Milazzo has said in court that there may be as many as 16.Sharper was named All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times during a career that included stints with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rkie and one with New Orleans Saints when they won in 2010.He ended a 14-year career in 2011. He was working as an NFL network analyst when women began telling police in several cities similar stories of blacking out while drinking with him and waking up groggy to find they had been sexually abused. ' ' '