Simone Biles will not defend Olympic all-around gymnastics title


Tokyo—Only minutes into the Olympic Games team final Tuesday, Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of her generation or any other, lost her special awareness on a vault and stumbled on the landing.

Biles, the four-time Olympic and 19-time World champion, walked to where Team USA had gathered and informed her teammates and coaches she was withdrawing from the competition, citing mental health concerns, knocking these Olympic Games of their already shaky bearings.

Biles rocked the Tokyo Olympics again Wednesday afternoon with the announcement that she will not defend her all around time Thursday and a decision that raises the likelihood that the Games and NBC will lose their biggest star before the most troubled Olympics in 40 years even hit their halfway point.

“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

The statement did not address whether will compete in the individual apparatus finals which start Monday. Jade Carey, Biles’ U.S. teammate, will replace her in the all around competition.

Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’ place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.

Even before Biles’ most recent announcement the Games were still reeling from her initial withdrawal the night before.

“It’s not really about the scoring, it’s not really about the medals,” Biles said late Tuesday night “I understand some people will say something, but at the end of the day, we are who we are as people.

“I say put mental health first, because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to. It’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and a person that you really are, rather than just battle through it. … Hopefully I’ll get back there and compete a couple more events. We’ll see.”

The first sign of trouble came on Biles’ vault. She planned to do a Yurcenko 2 1/2, but only managed 1 1/2 rotations before stumbling on the landing. She received a 13.766 score, well before her usual marks in an event in which she is the Olympic champion and a two-time Worlds gold medalist.

“I did not choose to do a one-and-a-half,” Biles said laughing. “I tried to do a two-and-a-half, and that just was not clicking. It’s very uncharacteristic of me, and it just sucks that it happened here at the Olympic Games. With the year that it’s been, I’m really not surprised how it played out.

“So it definitely wasn’t my best work.”

Biles said she has increasingly felt pressure from being the face of these Olympic Games. She is also a survivor of sexual abuse by former U.S. Olympic and national team coach Larry Nassar has been a vocal and persistent critic of USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and FBI’s handling of the Nassar case.

“In the back gym, coming in today, it was like fighting all those demons, ‘I have to put my pride aside, I have to do it for the team,” Biles said. “At the end of the day, I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health, and not jeopardize my health and well-being. …

“I just don’t trust myself as much as I used to. I don’t know if it’s age. I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun, and I know that this Olympic Games,” she continued starting to weep, “I wanted it to be for myself.

“I was still doing it for other people, so it hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”

More to come on this story.

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Saugus’s Abbey Weitzel first from Southern California to win a medal at Tokyo Olympic Games

SAUGUS — Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus on Satruday, July 24, became the first Southern Californian to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, winning a bronze medal by swimming the second leg on the U.S. women’s 4X100-meter freestyle relay team.

The U.S. was sixth in the field of eight after Erika Brown swam the opening leg in 54.02 seconds. Weitzeil swam her leg in 52.68 seconds, the fastest among the four U.S. relay team members, moving the Americans into fourth.

Natalie Hinds swam the third leg in 53.15 and Simone Manuel the anchor leg in 52.96 as the U.S. completed the race in 3:32.81, .03 of a second behind second-place Canada. Australia won in 3:29.69, breaking its previous world record of 3:30.65.

The medal was the third for Weitzeil, who won a gold medal as part of the 4X100 medley relay team and a silver on the 4X100 freestyle relay team in the 2016 Olympics.

The 24-year-old Weitzeil is next scheduled to compete Wednesday in a heat of the 100 freestyle, which she won at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Weitzeil graduated from Saugus High School in 2015 and deferred entering the University of California, Berkeley for a year to train for the Olympics. She swam for the Golden Bears from 2016-2020, winning the 2019 NCAA championship in the 50 freestyle and was the recipient of the 2020 Honda Sport Award for swimming, given to the national swimmer of the year.

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Dodgers lose to Giants as Kenley Jansen lets another 9th-inning lead disappear

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during Thursday’s game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Buehler held the Giants to one run in 7-1/3 innings, striking out nine, but the Dodgers blew another ninth-inning lead in a 5-3 loss. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Giants LaMonte Wade, #31, steals third base as Dodgers Justin Turner, #10, gets the throw late during first inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Walker Buehler, #21, gets checked for foreign substances by umpire Jansen Visconti after the first inning against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Giants starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani throws to the plate against the Dodgers during Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Justin Turner, #10, connected on this pitch for a ground single to drive in Chris Taylor during first inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Chris Taylor, #3, scores on a ground ball by Justin Turner during first inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor forces out the Giants’ Alex Dickerson at second on a throw from Max Muncy, not but the throw to first was late during second inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock is out as first as the Giants’ LaMonte Wade catches the ball during the second inning at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger went deep to catch this ball hit by the Giants’ Wilmer Flores during the first inning on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning against the Giants on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock is safe at first on a grounder as the Giants’ LaMonte Wade can’t make the play during the fourth inning on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen shows his frustration after he thought he struck out the Giants’ Darin Ruf only for it to be called a bases-loaded walk during the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers blew a ninth-inning lead and lost for the second night in a row. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, argues with first base umpire Ed Hickox after the Giants’ Darin Ruf was issued a bases-loaded walk during the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers blew a ninth-inning lead and lost for the second night in a row. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, argues with first base umpire Ed Hickox after the Giants’ Darin Ruf was issued a bases-loaded walk during the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers blew a ninth-inning lead and lost for the second night in a row. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants celebrate after scoring a pair of runs to cap their four-run ninth-inning rally against the Dodgers on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)



LOS ANGELES — A casual conversation with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts during batting practice Thursday afternoon ended with this pronouncement.

“Kenley’s getting the save tonight,” Roberts said, the ever-optimistic manager striding away confident in his pronouncement.

Roberts had no idea how wrong he would be.

Hours later, Roberts entrusted Kenley Jansen with another ninth-inning lead, his third in the past five days. By the time Jansen strode off the mound, the lead was gone again, Roberts had been ejected for the second consecutive game and the Dodgers were about to lose, 5-3, to the San Francisco Giants.

According to Elias Sports, this is the first time in franchise history the Dodgers have lost three consecutive games in which they led entering the ninth inning (in a single season).

“It’s a big series. It’s Dodgers-Giants,” Dodgers starter Walker Buehler said after taking a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. “They’re in first place. Obviously, it’s something we’re accustomed to being in that position. We’ve just got to keep going. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of baseball left to play.

“It is what it is. But these stink to lose. We want to win. We want to play well. I think we’ve played well both nights. It just hasn’t gone our way.”

More than not going their way, the Dodgers followed their biggest win of the season with back-to-back gut-punch losses to a team they – in their heart of hearts and private moments – don’t believe is their equal.

But the Giants came to town one game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West and they leave having stretched that lead to three games thanks to ninth-inning rallies Wednesday (three runs) and Thursday (four runs). The two ancient rivals will catch their breath over the weekend then meet again for three more games starting Tuesday in San Francisco.

“First of all, Kenley’s been great for us all year. He’s been our closer and he’s been dominant,” said catcher Will Smith, whose two-run home run in the fourth inning gave the Dodgers their lead. “Tonight … he gets a ground ball with two outs, we didn’t make the play. Strikes a guy out, we didn’t get the call. They tie it up.

“It’s more the chips didn’t fall his way than anything he’s doing wrong. He’s been great all year.”

There were chips scattered all over the infield by the end of the ninth inning Thursday.

Buehler passed the lead to Blake Treinen in the eighth and Treinen retired both batters he faced easily, throwing just seven pitches – two fewer than he needed to retire the side in the eighth inning Wednesday.

When Jansen was shown on the video boards as he warmed up before the ninth inning, it set off a nervous rumble through the crowd, notes of discontent unmistakable Then he made their worst fears come true.

After striking out Yastrzemski to start the inning, Jansen gave up a single to Wilmer Flores – distinct improvement over the two-run home run Jansen served up to Flores in the ninth inning Wednesday. That brought the tying run to the plate.

Jansen struck out Alex Dickerson but Donovan Solano doubled over Cody Bellinger’s head in center field, putting the tying runs in scoring position. With the crowd on its feet – no doubt, many prepared to boo Jansen for a second consecutive night – Jansen walked pinch-hitter Jason Vosler to load the bases (after getting ahead 1-and-2 in the at-bat).

Thairo Estrada bounced a slow ground ball to shortstop Chris Taylor, who threw to Sheldon Neuse (in the game as a defensive replacement that inning) at second for the forceout that briefly ended the game.

Only briefly. A replay review overturned the original call, a run scored and the drama continued.

“Estrada’s a really good runner,” Roberts said, defending Taylor’s decision to go for the force at second on Vosler rather than make the play to first. “It’s a jailbreak and we had the force play. Sheldon’s a heckuva ballplayer, a heckuva defensive player. But I just think right there in that situation if we stretch, we get the guy and there’s no replay. But that’s part of baseball.”

The next batter, Darin Ruf, worked the count full against Jansen then checked his swing on the seventh pitch of the at-bat – a cutter up and away.

At least that’s what one person – and probably only one – thought. First base umpire Ed Hickox signaled no swing, allowing Ruf to walk and force in the tying run.

Roberts erupted from the Dodgers dugout, firing his hat into the ground and quickly getting ejected.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he went and the game should have been over,” Roberts said. “Eddie’s a very good umpire, been around a long time. But in that spot, two contending teams, you just can’t miss that call. The game should have been over and there’s no other way to look at it.”

Instead, Jansen’s next pitch decided it. LaMonte Wade Jr. lined a soft cutter into right field. It fell in front of Billy McKinney, freshly arrived from the New York Mets and no substitute defensively for Mookie Betts. Two runs scored on the single, the fifth consecutive batter to reach safely with two outs against Jansen.

“There’s a lot of people that are really pissed off and I’m leading the way,” Roberts said. “We should have won that game. It’s a game we really wanted, we had and we didn’t.

“The game should have been over, man. I don’t think the blame should be all on Kenley at all.”

Nonetheless, in three appearances since the All-Star break Jansen has faced 19 batters and allowed 13 of them to reach base on nine hits (including three doubles and a home run) and four walks – all while blowing three save situations.

“I thought that play at second base, if we stretch, he’s out and the game’s over,” Roberts said. “The checked swing, the game’s over and we’re not having this conversation. I’m not reconsidering his role.”

Will Smith unloads on one for the lead! #Dodgers

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) July 23, 2021

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Dodgers rally past Giants on Will Smith’s walk-off homer

LOS ANGELES — In this case, the Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” came back to win on a walk-off home run.

Already playing without Mookie Betts (for the past three games) and Corey Seager (for the past two months) and featuring a patchwork pitching staff that had them sending out a pair of rookies to cover the first six innings of a key game in a showdown series for first place in the NL West, the Dodgers were further depleted when Justin Turner (left knee) and Max Muncy (right shoulder) each left Tuesday’s game after being hit by pitches from Giants starter Alex Wood.

’Tis but a flesh wound.

With Chris Taylor doing the heavy lifting and Will Smith striking the final blow, the Dodgers came back from five runs down to beat the Giants, 8-6, on Smith’s pinch-hit, three-run walk-off home run.

“That was huge for us. Obviously, this is a huge series for us,” Taylor said, in no way overstating things. “They took that first one from us and jumped out to an early lead in the second one. So for us to kind of stick with it, come back and find a way to win a game – that’s probably our biggest win of the year so far.”

That’s hard to deny as well.

The Dodgers came into this four-game series against the Giants trying to wrest away first place with one arm tied behind their back.

In Monday’s series opener, they started Tony Gonsolin, whose command and velocity are both off. He didn’t make it through four innings and the Dodgers lost. In the second game Tuesday, the Dodgers got a combined six innings from a pair of rookies, Darien Nunez (in his first big-league start and fourth big-league game) and Josiah Gray (making his MLB debut). But the pair gave up four home runs and the Dodgers trailed, 6-1, in the fifth inning.

“I’ll echo that, what CT said. … Division rival, the team we’re chasing. …. Staring down a 6-1 deficit at one point, lose a couple players in the middle of the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, also measuring the comeback win as “huge.”

The Dodgers were in danger of dropping three games behind the Giants – a team that has surprised everyone by pitching better than expected and hitting far more home runs than would reasonably have been predicted by anything other than Farhan Zaidi’s laptop.

Alex Dickerson homered off Nunez. Gray had his moments, striking out seven in the first four innings of his big-league career (including four batters in a row at one point). But his mistakes traveled more than 400 feet, something that tends to happen with frequency in the big leagues.

LaMonte Wade Jr., Thairo Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski each took Gray deep, giving the Giants 142 home runs this season and moving them past the Toronto Blue Jays for the major-league lead. The Giants ranked 12th in the majors in home runs last season and 26th during the last full season, 2019.

Taylor was the Dodgers’ only answer.

“He was great. He had a big night,” Roberts said. “He’s relentless. With two superstars out of the game (Turner and Muncy) and Mookie unavailable, he carried us tonight.”

Taylor led off the game with a double and scored on an RBI single by Muncy. In the fifth inning, he drove a solo home run over the left field fence.

That was all the damage the Dodgers did against Wood. But after he left, Austin Barnes had an RBI double against reliever John Brebbia and Taylor struck again, driving in two with his second home run of the game.

That cut the Giants’ lead to one, 6-5 – within walking distance, as it turned out.

“Yeah, losing JT and Munce is definitely a tough blow – especially when you’re fighting from behind,” Taylor said. “I think we just put our heads down and focused on every out, every at-bat, one inning at a time. We slowly worked our way back into it and gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

Taylor Rogers gave them that chance. The Giants reliever threw six consecutive balls to start the ninth and walked both Taylor and Matt Beaty. Smith came off the bench and hammered one of only three pitches Rogers managed to put over the plate, driving it deep into the left field pavilion as the crowd erupted.

“The 0-0 was actually a pretty good pitch to hit,” Smith said recapping his big moment. “Took it. (He) hung a slider, I put a good swing on it, got it in the air to left and I got it out.”

Smith’s collection of clutch hits includes another pinch-hit walk-off home run (on June 23, 2019 – part of “Rookie Walk-off Weekend”). According to Stats LLC, Smith and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey are the only players in major-league history with two pinch-hit, walk-off home runs before their 27th birthday.

“Will, coming off the bench, just calm and cool – he just keeps getting big hits,” Roberts said.

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Senior Living: Calming computer jitters — help for seniors who aren’t tech-savvy

Six months ago, Cindy Sanders, 68, bought a computer so she could learn how to email and have Zoom chats with her great-grandchildren.

It’s still sitting in a box, unopened.

“I didn’t know how to set it up or how to get help,” said Sanders, who lives in Philadelphia and has been extremely careful during the coronavirus pandemic.

Like Sanders, millions of older adults are newly motivated to get online and participate in digital offerings after being shut inside, hoping to avoid the virus, for more than a year. But many need assistance and aren’t sure where to get it.

A recent survey from AARP, conducted in September and October, highlights the quandary. It found that older adults boosted technology purchases during the pandemic but more than half (54%) said they needed a better grasp of the devices they’d acquired. Nearly 4 in 10 people (37%) admitted they weren’t confident about using these technologies.

Sanders, a retired hospital operating room attendant, is among them. “Computers put the fear in me,” she told me, “but this pandemic, it’s made me realize I have to make a change and get over that.”

With a daughter’s help, Sanders plans to turn on her new computer and figure out how to use it by consulting materials from Generations on Line. Founded in 1999, the Philadelphia organization specializes in teaching older adults about digital devices and navigating the internet. Sanders recently discovered it through a local publication for seniors.

Before the pandemic, Generations on Line provided free in-person training sessions at senior centers, public housing complexes, libraries and retirement centers. When those programs shut down, it created an online curriculum for smartphones and tablets ( and new tutorials on Zoom and telehealth as well as a “family coaching kit” to help older adults with technology. All are free and available to people across the country.

Demand for Generations on Line’s services rose tenfold during the pandemic as many older adults became dangerously isolated and cut off from needed services.

Those who had digital devices and knew how to use them could do all kinds of activities online: connect with family and friends, shop for groceries, order prescriptions, take classes, participate in telehealth sessions and make appointments to get covid vaccines. Those without were often at a loss — with potentially serious consequences.

“I have never described my work as a matter of life or death before,” said Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, an advocacy group for expanding broadband access. “But that’s what happened during the pandemic, especially when it came to vaccines.”

Other organizations specializing in digital literacy for older adults are similarly seeing a surge of interest. Cyber-Seniors, which pairs older adults with high school or college students who serve as technology mentors, has trained more than 10,000 seniors since April 2020 — three times the average of the past several years. (Services are free and grants and partnerships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations supply funding, as is true for several of the organizations discussed here.)

Older adults using digital devices for the first time can call 1-844-217-3057 and be coached over the phone until they’re comfortable pursuing online training. “A lot of organizations are giving out tablets to seniors, which is fantastic, but they don’t even know the basics, and that’s where we come in,” said Brenda Rusnak, Cyber-Seniors’ managing director. One-on-one coaching is also available.

Lyla Panichas, 78, who lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, got an iPad three months ago from Rhode Island’s digiAGE program — one of many local technology programs for older adults that started during the pandemic. She is getting help from the University of Rhode Island’s Cyber-Seniors program, which plans to offer digital training to 200 digiAGE participants in communities hardest hit by covid-19 by the end of this year.

“The first time my tutor called me, I mean, the kids rattle things off so fast. I said, Wait a minute. You have a little old lady here. Let me keep up with you,” Panichas said. “I couldn’t keep up and I ended up crying.”

Panichas persisted, however, and when her tutor called again the next week she began “being able to grasp things.” Now, she plays games online, streams movies and has Zoom get-togethers with her son, in Arizona, and her sister, in Virginia. “It’s kind of lifted my fears of being isolated,” she told me.

OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) is set to expand the reach of its digital literacy programs significantly after a recent affiliation with AARP. It runs a national hotline for people seeking technical support, 1-920-666-1959, and operates Senior Planet technology training centers in six cities (New York; Denver; Rockville, Maryland; Plattsburgh, New York; San Antonio, Texas; and Palo Alto, California). All in-person classes converted to digital programming once the pandemic closed down much of the country.

Germaine St. John, 86, a former mayor of Laramie, Wyoming, found an online community of seniors and made dear friends after signing up with Senior Planet Colorado during the pandemic. “I have a great support system here in Laramie, but I was very cautious about going out because I was in the over-80 group,” she told me. “I don’t know what I would have done without these activities.”

Older adults anywhere in the country can take Senior Planet virtual classes for free. (A weekly schedule is available at Through its AARP partnership, OATS is offering another set of popular classes at AARP’s Virtual Community Center. Tens of thousands of older adults now participate.

Aging Connected (, another new OATS initiative, is focusing on bringing 1 million older adults online by the end of 2022.

An immediate priority is to educate older adults about the government’s new $32 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit for low-income individuals, which was funded by a coronavirus relief package and became available last month. That short-term program provides $50 monthly discounts on high-speed internet services and a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a computer or tablet. But the benefit isn’t automatic. People must apply to get funding.

“We are calling on anybody over the age of 50 to try the internet and learn what the value can be,” said Thomas Kamber, OATS’ executive director. Nearly 22 million seniors don’t have access to high-speed internet services, largely because these services are unaffordable or unavailable, according to a January report co-sponsored by OATS and the Humana Foundation, its Aging Connected partner.

Other new ventures are also helping older adults with technology. Candoo Tech, which launched in February 2019, works with seniors directly in 32 states as well as organizations such as libraries, senior centers and retirement centers.

For various fees, Candoo Tech provides technology training by phone or virtually, as-needed support from “tech concierges,” advice about what technology to buy and help preparing devices for out-of-the-box use.

“You can give an older adult a device, access to the internet and amazing content, but if they don’t have someone showing them what to do, it’s going to sit there unused,” said Liz Hamburg, Candoo’s president and chief executive.

GetSetUp’s model relies on older adults to teach skills to their peers in small, interactive classes. It started in February 2020 with a focus on tech training, realizing that “fear of technology” was preventing older adults from exploring “a whole world of experiences online,” said Neil Dsouza, founder and chief executive.

For older adults who’ve never used digital devices, retired teachers serve as tech counselors over the phone. “Someone can call in [1-888-559-1614] and we’ll walk them through the whole process of downloading an app, usually Zoom, and taking our classes,” Dsouza said. GetSetUp is offering about 80 hours of virtual technology instruction each week.

For more information about tech training for older adults in your area, contact your local library, senior center, department on aging or Area Agency on Aging. Also, each state has a National Assistive Technology Act training center for older adults and people with disabilities. These centers let people borrow devices and offer advice about financial assistance. Some started collecting and distributing used smartphones, tablets and computers during the pandemic.

For information about a program in your area, go to

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Long Beach Poly girls basketball overpowers Rosary to win 1-A regional championship

LONG BEACH – Shortly after Long Beach Poly’s girls basketball team won its semifinal in the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs, guard Kalaya Buggs said the Jackrabbits already knew the key to beating Rosary in the finals: stop guard Kaylee Byon.

The Jackrabbits stopped Byon and the rest of her teammates for a 58-28 victory over Rosary on Saturday night in the Division 1-A regional championship game at Long Beach Poly High.

For the first time in the program’s history, Long Beach Poly (18-2) won a CIF-Southern Section title and CIF SoCal Regional title in the same season.

“We had to shut down Kaylee,” Kalaya Buggs said. “We had to limit penetration and box out. We had to get all the opportunities we can. We had to focus on the main aspects of defense. We mostly had to shut down Kaylee. We got in her head a little bit and we just played everyone else solid.”

Postgame interview with Kalaya Buggs of Long Beach Poly. 14 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists for Buggs as the Jackrabbits take the CIF SoCal Regional Title!@ocvarsity @LBPolyHoop @polyjackrabbits

— Manny Alvarez (@MAlvarez02) June 20, 2021

Buggs nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. She found Simone Morris often with her passes, and Morris led all scorers with 16 points.

The Jackrabbits’ defense limited Byon to 14 points and only four players made a field goal for Rosary (19-6).

The Royals were scoreless for over five minutes in the first half.

“We take pride in our defense,” Poly coach Carl Buggs said. “We just felt that if we can follow the game plan and contain Kaylee, the more we kept her out of the paint, the better we felt our chances were while being solid with everyone else.”

Kaylani Barker scored five points for Rosary while Ava Dominguez grabbed seven rebounds.

The Rosary girls basketball team finished as the runner-up in the CIF SoCal Regional Division 1-A playoffs. (Photo by Manny Alvarez, Contributor)

“We overachieved throughout the whole year,” said Rosary coach Richard Yoon, whose team will return all but one player next season. “We were led by Kaylee and she did a great job leading us through it. She was the person to stop and clearly, we met a roadblock tonight.

“They were just more athletic than we are. It was very hard for us to rebound. They have seniors who are bigger, stronger and faster while we have sophomores on the floor. We had a great season and to our kids credit, it is amazing we made it to this game. I’m really proud of them.”

Long Beach Poly’s Lilly Buggs had eight points and six rebounds in the CIF SoCal Regional Division 1-A championship game Saturday night. (Photo by Manny Alvarez, Contributor)

Nala Williams scored 11 points to go with seven rebounds for the Jackrabbits while Lily Buggs added eight points and six rebounds.

“It feels good,” Lily Buggs said. “It’s something that’s never been done at Poly. This has been a unique year. We had both championship games here and we won both here. That’s something that has been never done before and we can now say that we did it.”

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Whicker: To make a memory, Clippers dissolve a 2015 nightmare

What goes around comes around, even if it takes a six-year orbit, even if most of us thought there would be an NFL team and a four-year college and a Shake Shack on Mars before we would see the Clippers do what they did Friday night.

They did not come off the floor to catch and stuff and mount the Utah Jazz in Game 6. They came from under the floor and through six feet of dirt.

They trailed by 25 points in the third quarter. They won the second half, 81-48, got 39 points from a second-round draft choice, and got a 131-119 win that puts them into the Western Conference finals for the very first time. The fact that they’ll play Game 1 on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PT in Phoenix might seem a little extreme, but maybe it’s best not to interrupt the Clippers’ roll.

“That was basketball right there,” forward Nicolas Batum said later, pointing back toward the direction of a court that had tilted against them so maliciously, so many times before. “‘A big crowd, and we missed them, too. But that was basketball.”

And even though nearly every molecule of this franchise is different from 2015, no Clippers fan could fail to connect the dots.

For once the base can look back to Game 6 of that conference semifinal series and exhale. The Clippers spent most of that night on the edge of perfection. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were 20 for 27 from the field at one point. They led the Houston Rockets by 19 points with 2:35 left in the third quarter.

Then the cliff crumbled, and Houston beat the Clippers from that point, 49-18, including 40-15 in the fourth quarter. For a full house at Staples Center, it was like watching an iceberg collapse, frame-by-frame. The Rockets won, 119-107, and finished the job in Game 7 in Texas.

There was another connective aspect. Just as these Clippers won Game 5 in Utah and Game 6 at Staples without Kawhi Leonard, Houston overtook those Clippers with James Harden on the bench, a decision by Coach Kevin McHale, throughout that fourth quarter.

There is always a time when a franchise, or an athlete, has to quit denying its history and strike a blow for liberty. Sometimes, it’s Mookie Betts making a catch beyond the general imagination, or Scott Spiezio backspinning a three-run home run with a 5-0 deficit and helping turn elimination into survival, or Teemu Selanne floating a puck into a Detroit net in Game 5 overtime.

The Clippers have had moments like that in both series they’ve won. They’ve left Dallas’ Luka Doncic behind. They’ve squeezed past Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. They’ve done it with superior numbers and with a refusal to absorb the defeatism that seems to come with the uniform.

“I’ve been here for a while, I’ve been through it, I’ve seen friends get traded,” said guard Patrick Beverley, who hit two enormous 3-pointers from the corner late in the fourth quarter when the Jazz still had a pulse. “We’ve been working to become that grit-and-grind team.”

And they did it Friday night after Utah’s Jordan Clarkson had torched them with 22 points in the second quarter, in a half that ranged from shock to panic.

“We had been taking a lot of bad shots,” Coach Tyronn Lue said. “We talked about getting into the paint, and if we did that, then (Utah center) Rudy Gobert would have to help and our guys could get open looks. We said to just keep passing it around, don’t take it personal.”

It helped that Mitchell’s chronic ankle issue was beginning to rebel, as it had near the end of Game 5 in Utah. But the Clippers went to a zone to break up Utah’s rhythm, and Clarkson, like a thunderstorm, sort of moved out of the area. He was scoreless after halftime.

A slide rule isn’t necessary to conclude that an 81-point half is a fairly epicurean pace. But here, Terance Mann shot 10 for 13 in that second half and scored 25 points after he had scored 12 in the first quarter. Mann, who had totaled 25 points through the first five games, hit 3-pointers, rummaged for loose balls and scored inside on Gobert. He broke up Utah passes, and he matched Mitchell’s 39 points for the game.

When it was over, Batum was bellowing, “M-V-P,” and Mann was momentarily stumped when it came time to remember his totals.

“Come on,” Paul George, his All-Star teammate, teased him. “You know how many you had.”

“Well, I looked up once and I had 34,” Mann said. “That’s the last thing I remember.”

But Reggie Jackson continues to be the Clippers’ one-stop-shopping solution. He was 5 for 5 in the fourth quarter with five assists, and scored 27 points overall, after his own scoreless first quarter. Up by three, he bounced a perfect pass to Mann for a layup and a 111-106 lead.  He drove and scored on Gobert for a six-point lead. He drove again and lofted the ball above the square and watched it drop in for a 10-point lead. Every time he gained the lane, the Clippers got an unaccompanied shot and, often enough, drilled it.

“Pat Bev said it at halftime,” Jackson said. “He said not to worry about the offense. We were making mistakes in our defensive schemes, we weren’t making them feel us. We had to get some turnovers, take it to offense, make them lose some of our guys, and try to attack Rudy instead of him attacking us.

“I’ve seen it all year. Guys coming in to work hard, countless hours. Guys going through frustrations but for the right reasons, because they want to be a great team. It’s a band of brothers right now. We’ve believed when nobody else does.”

Believing requires seeing. As for 9:45 p.m. PDT on Friday night, there was indisputable video evidence of the Same New Clippers.

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Court says California must more quickly move mentally incompetent defendants out of jails

SAN FRANCISCO — California can’t lock up people for months in jails after they have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, a state appeals court said.

In a 3-0 ruling Tuesday, a panel of the First District Court of Appeal upheld a 2019 lower court order that gave the state a 28-day deadline for placing defendants in state mental hospitals or other treatment facilities after they were found incompetent to stand trial because of psychological or intellectual disabilities.

The appellate court also included people charged with certain felony sex offenses, rejecting an exception carved out in the earlier Alameda County ruling.

The previous ruling had set a phase-in period that ends next year.

State law says people facing criminal charges but who are judged incompetent to face trial can be ordered committed for treatment to help them become capable of understanding trial proceedings.

Two years before the 2019 time limit was enacted, defendants waited 86 days on average after a judge issued the transfer order to get into a hospital, according to the appellate court.

California has “systematically violated the due-process rights” of these defendants by keeping them for longer periods in jails where they may suffer further problems because of crowding, violence and a lack of treatment, Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline said in the ruling.

The decision involved a 2015 lawsuit filed against the state Department of State Hospitals and Department of Developmental Services on behalf of five relatives of defendants who were found incompetent to stand trial.

Due to lack of space, about 4,000 people each year who are declared incompetent to stand trial are placed on a waitlist for admission to facilities administered by those departments, and the list for admission to state hospitals alone soared to more than 1,600 people during the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase of 500% since 2013, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took part in the lawsuit.

The ACLU has urged use of community treatment centers to help ease the hospital bed shortage.

“The court recognized that California cannot continue to warehouse people in jail for months at a time while it denies them both their right to a trial and the mental health treatment they need to become competent to have a trial,” Michael Risher, counsel for the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, said in a statement.

“This ruling is a step in the right direction, and our family is very grateful,” said Stephanie Stiavetti, a plaintiff who said her brother was abused in jail during weeks of delay before his transfer.

“The state needs to recognize that there are far too many mental health patients suffering in jails, lost in a system that is rife with abuse and ill-prepared to care for them,” she said in a statement. “Immediate legislation is needed to ensure that people with mental health disorders receive treatment promptly and outside of the jail system.”

The Department of State Hospitals told the San Francisco Chronicle that it was reviewing the ruling.

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USC women’s track team wins 2nd NCAA outdoor title in 3 years

EUGENE, Ore. — USC’s Anna Cockrell won the 100- and 400-meter hurdles on Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, becoming just the second woman to pull off the double in those events and leading the Trojans to their second team title in three years.

“Ever since I came to college this was my dream honestly, to double. I know only one other person had done it before me,” Cockrell said. “I don’t think it has sunken all the way in yet, I finished my interview for 400 hurdles down there and then I burst into tears.”

USC had 11 athletes combine to earn 19 first-team All-America honors during the two days of competition, but the Trojans amassed all of their school-record 74 points on the second day.

USC’s 4×100 relay team of Jasmine Jones, Angie Annelus, Lanae-Tava Thomas and TeeTee Terry got the Trojans’ scoring started with a first-place time of 42.82 seconds, making USC the first team to repeat in the event since Texas A&M in 2013-14.

Next, Cockrell won the 100 hurdles title with a time of 12.58 (+0.4) to earn USC 10 points. She is USC’s first national champion in the event since Nia Ali in 2011 and also became the second Trojan to be a three-time All-American in the event, joining Virginia Crawford (Powell).

Terry took second in the 100 meters with a wind-aided PR of 10.79 (+2.2w) and Thomas was seventh with a time of 11.24 (+2.2w). Terry became USC’s highest finisher in the 100 since Angela Williams and Natasha Mayer went 1-2 in 2002 and joined Williams as the school’s only three-time All-American in the event. Williams won the event four years in a row from 1999-2002.

The Trojans then had Kyra Constantine finish third (50.87, PR), Nicole Yeargin fourth (51.02) and Bailey Lear seventh (51.36) in the 400, giving the Trojans 13 more points in the team competition.

Cockrell then defended her 2019 400 hurdles title by bettering her school record with a time of 54.68, becoming USC’s only four-time All-American in the event.

Terry then placed fifth in the 200 final with a time of 22.69 (+0.2) and injury-plagued Annelus took sixth with a time of 22.72 (+0.2) for seven more points.

Morgan Smalls placed fourth in the high jump with a collegiate-best clearance of 6 feet, ½-inches, the best finish ever by a Trojan in the event. Temi Ojora placed eighth in the triple jump at 44-4 (+1.00), a mark she reached twice during her attempts.

The Trojans had clinched the team title before the meet-ending 4×400 relay, but the quartet of Lear, Kaelin Roberts, Yeargin and Constantine ran the second-fastest time in school history (3:24.54) to earn eight more points.

Cambrea Sturgis of North Carolina A&T swept the women’s 100 and 200, taking the 100 in a wind-aided 10.74 seconds, the fastest all-weather time in NCAA history. She then ran the 200 in 22.12, a personal best.

North Carolina A&T was third in the 4×400 relay. The Aggies men also fared well at the meet, with Randolph Ross winning the 400 in 43.85 and a third-place team finish.

“We can go out there and do it if we put our minds to it,” she said about competing for the historically black college.

On Friday, LSU won its first men’s team title since 2002, while USC finished fifth. USC’s Isaiah Jewett (Cathedral High) set the school record (1:44.68) in becoming the Trojans’ first 800 champion. It was the fourth top-five team finish for the USC men in the seven NCAA championships with Caryl Smith Gilbert in charge of the program.

Davonte Burnett placed fifth in the 100 with a time of 10.19 (+0.4) and sixth in the 200 (20.55 (-0.4), while Cameron Samuel placed third in the 400 hurdles with a PR of 48.68. Earnest Sears III finished seventh in the high jump (7-2½).

USC’s 4×400 relay team of Nicholas Ramey, Brian Herron, Samuel and Jewett placed fourth in a season-best time of 3:02.49.

Other notable women’s performances on Saturday included …

• Texas A&M freshman Athing Mu won the 400 in 49.57, a national collegiate record.

• BYU senior Anna Camp won the 1,500 in a personal-best 4:08.53 ahead of a strong field that included Colorado’s Sage Hurta, the indoor mile champion who finished second.

“I knew Sage was crazy fast, so my goal was to sit on her shoulder for a lot of the 1,500 and win,” Camp said. “My legs felt good, I was just hopeful that I could outrun her through that push,” Camp said.

• Air Force’s Mahala Norris, who grew up in Roseburg, Oregon, won the steeplechase in 9:31.79. Also, North Carolina State’s Elly Henes won the 5,000 in 15:28.05, and Virginia’s Michaela Meyer took the 800 in a personal-best 2:00.28.

The NCAA championship was among the first major meets at Hayward Field since it underwent an extensive renovation. The U.S. Olympic team trials will be held there next week. Sturgis is among the college athletes hoping for a spot on the team for Tokyo.


The women of @USC_Track_Field bring home their 3rd team title, the 133rd national title in USC history!#FightOn | #NCAATF

— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) June 13, 2021

𝟒𝟎𝟎𝐌 𝐇𝐔𝐑𝐃𝐋𝐄 𝐍𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐋 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐌𝐏!@AnnaCockrell48 becomes just the second female athlete to ever win the 100m and 400m hurdles at the same NCAA Championship!#FightOn |

— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) June 12, 2021

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Alexander: Could Lakers have repeated under normal circumstances?

Championship DNA, for whatever it’s worth, doesn’t guarantee good health.

The Lakers might have been able to boast the former, the outgrowth of last season’s championship run in the bubble. But the latter failed them throughout this mad scramble of a shortened, compressed NBA season. And yes, when it comes to writing the story of the Lakers’ 2020-21 season, and the bid to repeat that fell short, there is blame to be laid and it’s not all internal.

That story ended Thursday night with a 113-100 elimination game loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the first round, and it figured that the most important game of the season revolved around the injury report. Even then, good news turned out to be not so good after all.

After a couple of days of uncertainty, the Lakers received a blast of hope when Anthony Davis was deemed available to play before the game … only to have it doused when the All-Star big man limped off for good less than 5½ minutes into the game, his strained left groin making it impossible to continue after he’d visibly labored whenever he tried to run or jump.

The moment of truth came when Davis pursued the Suns’ Devin Booker on a drive to the basket, jumped … and came down awkwardly and agonizingly. Davis bent over in obvious pain, then limped to the sideline and plopped to the floor, head bowed in disappointment. Moments later he went to the locker room for treatment, and by halftime, the obvious had become official: He would not be returning.

Davis, of course, had provided the first clue that this Lakers season was going to be a grind when he limped off the court on Valentine’s Day night in Denver with the calf strain felt throughout Southern California. Davis missed 30 consecutive games with that injury and 36 all told in the regular season, hyperextended his left knee in Game 3 of the Suns series, then suffered the Grade 1 strain of his left groin in Game 4 on Sunday while trying to play through the knee issue. And yes, the knee injury led to the groin injury.

That in itself was a microcosm of what turned out to be a brutal end of the season, with Davis and LeBron James missing extensive time and a team that started out 21-6 and was seemingly in a great position to repeat suddenly having to battle for its playoff life.

It’s probably no coincidence that the Lakers and Miami, the last teams standing in the Orlando bubble last October, were also among the first ones gone this spring. With a short offseason followed by a 72-game schedule crammed into 146 days, with few off days, little time for real practices and an array of continuing COVID-19 protocols and restrictions … well, what did you expect?

“From the moment we entered the bubble to now, today, it’s been draining,” said James, a 36-year-old four-time league MVP. “Mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally draining.”

The short offseason disrupted players’ routines, Davis noted, and “all around the league, guys didn’t handle that very well. … You usually take about a month or so off and you still have six weeks weight room training, and then you have another month, month and a half for on-court (work). We didn’t get that.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel acknowledged that “none of our guys were prepared for training camp, and we tried to grind through it and get our legs under us,” another reminder that there’s a good reason why, under normal circumstances, players are expected to be in condition when camp begins.

The first-round series with the Suns finished with the No. 2 seed doing what it should do to a No. 7 seed. At 51-21 in the regular season, Phoenix was only one game behind Utah for the league’s best record, and the Suns might be capable of going the distance assuming future Hall of Famer Chris Paul gets his health back.

But Vogel had every right to wonder what if.

“This is a matchup, if we’re whole, that should probably take place in the conference finals,” he said. “But obviously the regular season was what it was with the injuries, and we slipped. I would like to see what our group could have done against this team if we were at full strength. But we weren’t. That’s sports. You gotta do the best you can and make the best of it.”

Not even James, with his personal streak of winning elimination games and his record of never having been knocked out in the first round in 14 previous tries, could save the day here. Then again, what was once a 29-point Phoenix lead in the first half was whittled to 10 late in the third quarter, thanks to a rally by a small lineup featuring LeBron at center.

“I was talking to Wes (Wesley Matthews) in the locker room just a few minutes ago, and I said the one thing that bothers me more than anything was we never really got an opportunity to see our team at full strength, either because of injury, or COVID, or something going on with our ballclub this year,” James said. “We could never fully get into a rhythm and never really kind of see the full potential of what we were capable of.”

That said, the Lakers’ early exit also means a full summer of rest, recovery and preparation. James seemed to indicate he’d skip the Olympics (while throwing in a sly plug for the “Space Jam” sequel coming out this summer).

Point guard Dennis Schröder put it another way, more colorfully than can be fully quoted in this publication, but the gist of it was: “You’ve got to get through the (garbage) to get to the good (stuff).”

If that’s true, wait until next year.

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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