Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #244

Jan. 1 – Jan. 7, 2017

Welcome to week two hundred and forty-four of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:

  1. Kinematix CEO Discusses Future of Sports Wearables and Measuring Athlete Movement
  2. Under Armour at CES highlights digital transformation efforts as clothing, wearables, apps, data merge
  3. 9 Team USA Athletes Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Class Of 2017
  4. Jrue Holiday voices appreciation for support from LeBron James, others
  5. Boxing Is the One-Two Punch Kids in India Need
  6. Excellerating the Future of Women’s Sports Media
  7. 105-Year-Old Cyclist Rides 14 Miles in An Hour En Route To A World Record
  8. A Digital Awakening for Sport and Social Good
  9. At World Junior Hockey Championship, Team Camaraderie Overcomes Club Rivalries
  10. Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Most Intriguing Point Guard in NBA History

A Coach-Mentor’s Reflections (Up2Us)
NASDC launches ‘Theory of Change’ to harness the power of sport (Sport and Dev)
Renaissance Man (by Dalvin Tomlinson) (The Players’ Tribune)
Sport breaks barriers between girls and boys in Haryana (Beyond Sport)

The world of sport changes every day. In some cases, the change is somewhat glacial and we long for more to get done faster. We also are seeing instances where it feels like too much is happening too fast and we can barely keep up. The second category includes people struggling to effectively leverage social media, data analytics, virtual reality, and wearable technologies. Our first two stories this week provide some information and hopefully some reassurance about the potential that is out there for professional and amateur athletes when it comes to their sport performance and technology. As in other situations, the impact is very much dependent on our ability to manage growth and work together.

The other stories we are happy to feature this week include: a listing of the some of the most impressive individuals under 30 years old who have a connection to sport; a heartwarming tale of individual and group support for NBA player Jrue Holiday and his wife, USWNT star Lauren Holiday as Lauren recovers from brain surgery; the unexpected use of boxing to develop the physical, emotional and educational well-being of girls in India; a first-person piece on the need and early success of developing a media forum for women’s sports; how a 105-year old cyclist keeps going and setting records; a digital transformation impacting the number of athletes having a positive impact on young people; the bond formed between ice hockey players from different club teams when they come together to represent their country in competition; and the “Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo and the amazing potential surrounding this unique basketball star.

Finally, we want to acknowledge some recognition we received last week from Digital Sports Desk. Sports Doing Good was selected by editor-in-chief Terry Lyons as one of the Twitter accounts to follow in 2017. We are delighted by this because it comes from Terry and includes a collection of entities that we have a lot of respect for and suggest you follow depending on your interest. It means a lot to be part of that group.

Please continue to send along your stories. You are both our audience and our best source of stories. Our Twitter handle is @sportsdoinggood, and you can find us at

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Kinematix CEO Discusses Future of Sports Wearables and Measuring Athlete Movement
Paulo Ferreira dos Santos is the Founder and CEO of Kinematix, a Portuguese-based sports technology startup that builds wearable devices that track biomechanics information from athletes in order to help them train and perform more efficiently. Formerly known as Tomorrow Options, Kinematix began as a medical device company that worked to build accurate tools for measuring and understanding human movement. This start in the medical world ultimately laid the foundation for the creation of Kinematix in 2015. The idea behind creating Kinematix was to take Tomorrow Options’ biomechanic production knowledge and apply it to the burgeoning field of smart wearables. Below are insights from Paulo and his product team about how they view the wearables space, their technology and what lies ahead at the intersection of technology, wearables and athletes.

Under Armour at CES highlights digital transformation efforts as clothing, wearables, apps, data merge
On the getting big fast–gee can you tell Plank was a football player?–Under Armour is expected to deliver a bit less than $5 billion in revenue for 2016 and the company hopes to hit $7.5 billion in 2018. After that target is hit, Under Armour wants $10 billion in annual sales. How will it get there? A lot of technology. In some respects, Under Armour has become a technology company. It’s connected fitness platform includes UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal. All those platforms have unified to run on Amazon Web Services. Under Armour has also forged a series of technology partnerships with JBL, HTC and others. The company may even be stealing a play from technology giants and is rumored to be working with Jabil Circuit to make footwear and apparel. Jabil Circuit is best known as a contract technology manufacturer. And why not? Nike is working with Flextronics. The takeaway: Clothing will be electronic and manufacturing will be more automated so why not work with the contract manufacturers with expertise? On the back-end, Under Armour is one of SAP’s flagship customers and is working to hone its retail expertise and use data to better target customers.

9 Team USA Athletes Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Class Of 2017
Honoring America’s top game-changers, the 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 has been announced by Forbes and features nine Team USA athletes among its ranks. Forbes has been compiling annual 30 Under 30 lists since 2012, and 2017 was its most competitive year to date: over 15,000 nominations were received for 600 spots across 20 categories. Team USA makes up nearly a third of the Sports category that features stars from both the athletic and business side of the industry. Here are the Team USA honorees: Simone Biles, Elena Delle Donne, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, Patrick Kane, Chloe Kim, Sydney Leroux, Tatyana McFadden, and Shakur Stevenson.

Simone Biles poses for a portrait at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 7, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif. 2016 Getty Images

Jrue Holiday voices appreciation for support from LeBron James, others
“Obviously to him, family means more than anything,” Holiday told ESPN. “And the same thing for me. So, the fact that they’ve been praying and supporting my wife is a blessing to me. “To know that this league and somebody of his caliber and the effect that he has on the game like he does can really have support for my family is awesome.” Holiday missed the Pelicans’ first 12 games of the season to be with his family, and the team went 2-10 in his absence. Since his return, New Orleans has gone 12-12, including Monday’s loss, to climb back into the Western Conference playoff picture. He said greetings like he got from James have become commonplace. “I’ve gotten it probably every game — whether it’s from referees or from players, I’ve gotten it every game,” Holiday said. “I guess for our league to acknowledge that and for it to feel like a brotherhood, that’s really what it feels like.” James said it was important to put the competition aside momentarily to show Holiday he cared.

Before LeBron James, left, and Jrue Holiday faced off Monday night, James offered Holiday words of encouragement for his off-court struggles. “Once the ball is tipped, you’re going to go out and compete … [but] family comes before anything,” James said. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Boxing Is the One-Two Punch Kids in India Need
“For these girls, a win or a certificate means more than just a prize or an award, it is a ticket to a better life. They can utilize the money to buy their own gear or to take up higher studies. They can take charge of their own lives.” One of the most significant changes that the trainers notice in the girls is the buildup of confidence and discipline. Bhuvaneshwari explains, “In boxing, you not only have to think of how you can get your opponent down, but also where they are likely to hit next so that you can dodge and make your move. Thinking along these lines helps the girls become focused, develops their mental strength, and increases self-confidence.” Kavya, 14, joined the training program because her brother had taken up boxing in his school, “My brother has gone on to the nationals, and I know how much it has helped him, and that’s why I too took up boxing,” she says. “I am willing to put in hard work.” And the goals—other than reaching nationals—are clear. The Tamil Nadu state government mandates that colleges reserve spots for applicants who have excelled in sport. Some of these colleges also provide scholarships and/or offer assistance to athletes from low-income families. “I am hoping to at least make sure that I can get admission to a good college through my sports achievements,” Kayva says. of Narmada’s boxing class.

Excellerating the Future of Women’s Sports Media
Women’s sports coverage has always been a good idea, but the timing is better now. With the quick and broad distribution capabilities of social and digital media, it is possible to reach many different pockets of athletes, coaches, and women’s sports fans instantaneously and with relatively little expense. In less than 10 months, we’ve attracted readers from every country around the globe except four, and 50 percent of them are men. That tells us that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of a potentially loyal, passionate audience. Are we crazy to believe the world wants more women’s sports coverage? From the incredibly positive response of athletes, coaches and fans all over the world, we’re obviously not. To date, we have 28 pro and Olympic athletes who have agreed to be Excelle Athlete Ambassadors and 12 of the world’s best coaches on our Coaches Council. Girls and women’s participation in sports is booming while women’s sporting events are starting to sell out before men’s in some cases. All of this tells us that we are building something that can change the world, not only for girls and women, but for all sports fans and every single kid?—?male or female?—?who needs an idol to look up to as a brilliant example of hard work and amazing athleticism.

105-Year-Old Cyclist Rides 14 Miles in An Hour En Route To A World Record
His record-breaking ride Wednesday was incredible, but Marchand’s entire life has been a series of singular events. The AP has this on his background: “Marchand, a former firefighter who was born in 1911 in the northern town of Amiens, has lived through two world wars. He led an eventful life that took him to Venezuela, where he worked as a truck driver near the end of the 1940s. He then moved to Canada and became a lumberjack for a while. “Back in France in the 1960s, Marchand made a living through various jobs that left him with no time to practice sports. “He finally took up his bike again when he was 68 years old and began a series of cycling feats. “The diminutive Marchand — he is 1.52 meters (5-foot) tall and weighs 52 kilograms (115 pounds) — rode from Bordeaux to Paris, and Paris to Roubaix several times. He also cycled to Moscow from Paris in 1992. “Ten years later, he set the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 100 kilometers (62 miles).” So what’s his secret? Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told the AP it’s simple: He eats fruits and vegetables, doesn’t smoke, drinks wine only on occasion, goes to bed at 9 p.m. and exercises every day.

French cyclist Robert Marchand, 105, reacts after setting a record for distance cycled in one hour, at the velodrome of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, outside Paris on Wednesday. Thibault Camus/AP

A Digital Awakening for Sport and Social Good
Athletes living in the upper stratosphere of sport have so much to offer. They’ve all overcome odds and injury, persevered through incredible and demonstrable challenges, and lived on the edge of risk to accomplish their dreams. Their goals, struggles and achievements are clear and their stories are inspirational. In essence?—?they’re the people we want our kids to look up to. And if we’re honest they’re the people we look up to too. Athletes want to engage but they don’t want to sacrifice themselves to do it. In some ways, athletes are selfish beasts when they’re in the middle of their careers for one simple reason?—?they have to be. Their window is small and their time is limited. As the saying goes, “Make hay while the sun shines!” But the world has quickly changed and our powers to connect and engage have shifted dramatically in the space of just 10 years. The digital age of communication has turned our ability to connect with one another upside. The technology that’s out there now has given us a chance to connect people in a way that sport has always connected people?—?by encouraging and rewarding real-time, live social experience. At Classroom Champions we’ve created an ecosystem that brings athletes directly into schools through long-term, stable programming. Close to 100 Olympians, Paralympians, and college student athletes have mentored almost 20,000 at-risk students across the continent because we opened up an opportunity for athletes to engage in ways that wouldn’t take away from their ability to succeed on the field of play.

At World Junior Hockey Championship, Team Camaraderie Overcomes Club Rivalries
“Being with each other on Christmas, it’s a time when you’re supposed to be around your family, but this is your second family, all these guys on this team — all 23 brothers, the coaching staff, the trainers, everyone throughout the whole organization,” Bellows said. He added: “You’re willing to get down and take a puck to the face; you’re willing to take a crosscheck to the back in front of the net to help these guys win. That’s what really helps team chemistry, and that’s really what creates a team family.” The Americans, among the favorites entering the tournament, defeated Russia, 4-3, in a shootout Wednesday to advance to the final against Canada. The United States has two gold medals and two bronzes in the past seven tournaments. Canada has one gold, two silvers and a bronze in that span. The Canadian defenseman Kale Clague, a 2016 second-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, said the bonds formed because each member of the team entered the tournament with a similar mind-set. “It takes a special player,” he said. “That’s one of our mottos coming into this thing: to be special. It does take a special person and player. You go from being your top player on your club team, and you come here, that might not be the case. Egos out the door.”

Canada’s Tyson Jost (17) with Julien Gauthier after scoring in a world junior hockey championship game last month. Canada played in a semifinal Wednesday. Frank Gunn/Canadian Press, via Associated Press

Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Most Intriguing Point Guard in NBA History
No, here he is the lanky hustler from Athens, peddling watches, sunglasses, toys and video games, on the streets near the Acropolis while his parents feared that police would demand their papers and deport them back to Africa. Much of his backstory has been told, how Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo emigrated from Nigeria to Greece in 1991 for a better life, had four boys there, and bounced from one eviction notice to another. But the further Giannis gets from his childhood, the more it resonates, in different ways. “I can’t push it to the side,” Antetokounmpo explains. “I can’t say, ‘I’ve made it, I’m done with all that.’ I will always carry it with me. It’s where I learned to work like this.” He could sell all day, serenade tourists with Christmas carols at night, and return home without enough cash for dinner. Still, he laments, “The results were never guaranteed.” Therein he finds the biggest difference between his life then and now. “If I work here,” he says, “I get the results. That’s the greatest feeling ever for me.” It keeps him coming back to the gym—straight from the arena after losses, straight from the airport after road trips, straight from the bed after back-to-backs.

The Bucks have handed the reins to the ridiculously athletic 6’11” Giannis Antetokounmpo, making him the tallest—and most intriguing—point guard in NBA history.

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