OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Several Norwegian players teamed with Norway’s national TV broadcaster NRK to produce a “mockumentary” addressing sexist stereotypes and critics who say the women’s game is no match to the men’s.
During the four-minute video, Scandinavian players — in mock seriousness — reveal to an “interviewer” how much they struggle at soccer.
Midfielder Emilie Have acknowledges how she sometimes forgets to use her feet and instead tends to pick up the ball.
Goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth complains the goal is too large, and says it would be easier with two keepers or, better still, three.
“We suck, plain and simple,” veteran defender Trine Ronning says in the Norwegian-language film, which features English subtitles.
The Norwegians pretend to send FIFA suggestions on how to improve the women’s game. Their proposals include smaller pitches, lighter balls and having players throw the ball off free kicks.
They even produce a letter from FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who sums up his “response” to the proposals by writing: “HAHAHA these suggestions made my day. LOL.”
Posted to YouTube on June 15, the video has attracted nearly 270,000 hits.
“For me, it’s good humor,” Ronning said this week. “It was a way for us to tell the people that we don’t care about it, because the product is very, very good, as it’s been shown in many matches in this tournament. We just have to joke about it.”
Here are some other things happening around the Women’s World Cup:
CLOSE, AND GETTING CLOSER: Swiss coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg realizes how close her young team was to advancing to the quarterfinal of the Women’s World Cup. Switzerland was outplayed in the second half of a 1-0 loss to host Canada on Sunday after an impressive start.
She considered her team an “equal match” for Canada, and now Switzerland heads home to plan for the future.
“We may all be disappointed, but at the same time, this World Cup has been a huge experience for us,” she said. “We should digest it, look at the moments to move us forward and take the next step.”
The Swiss learned the margin for error is so slim at this level on the world stage. Voss-Tecklenburg has been there before as a three-time World Cup player for Germany, though her young team is still evolving.
“I feel bad for my players. They’re sad, they’re disappointed. They invested,” Voss-Tecklenburg said. “They did a lot correctly. They allowed two goal chances and one went in.”
RECORD ATTENDANCE: Women’s World Cup organizers say they expect attendance at the Women’s World Cup to reach a record 1.25 million.
The current record is 1,194,221, set in 1999 when the event was held in the United States. The U.S. national team won the World Cup with a victory over China on penalty kicks in the final at the Rose Bowl.
But it should be noted that the tournament has been expanded to 24 teams and 52 matches, up from 16 teams and 32 matches. And also, FIFA counts attendance at doubleheaders even though just one ticket gives access to both games.
“We’re feeling very good, we’re very happy,” Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association and CEO of the tournament’s national organizing committee, told the Canadian Press.
For Canada’s 1-0 victory over Switzerland on Sunday night, attendance at BC Place in Vancouver was announced at 53,855, the largest crowd to watch a Canadian national team, men or women, in any sport. That broke the previous record of 53,058 that watched Canada defeat China 1-0 in the tournament opener in Edmonton.
The knockout-round match between German and Sweden on Saturday in Ottawa was also a sellout.
BORDER CROSSING: The U.S. should be expecting a warm welcome in Canada’s capital on Friday, when they face China in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Ottawa organizers say that 50 percent of the tickets sold for the nine games played at Landsdowne Stadium were to Americans. Though Ottawa is a mere two-plus-hour drive from Syracuse, six from New York City and eight from Detroit, geography wasn’t much of a factor.
Tickets were sold to fans as far off as Alabama.
The “Passport Packages,” which went on sale first in September, allowed people to buy tickets for all nine games at each venue. Just as important, they guaranteed buyers the first opportunity to purchase individual seats for the championship game in Vancouver on July 5.
Numerous U.S. fans were already spotted in the crowd during the two Round of 16 games — Germany’s 4-1 win over Sweden on Saturday, and England’s 2-1 win over Norway on Monday.
AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley in Vancouver and Anne M. Peterson in Edmonton contributed to this report.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The first movie theater to operate in the Haitian capital in years has opened its doors off a renovated downtown square, a welcome sign of revival in a city shattered by an earthquake more than five years ago.
The Triomphe theater had been closed since 1988, but was rehabilitated with more than 700 plush seats, a digital sound system and two screens. The Port-au-Prince cinema with a glass facade also boasts conference rooms and a hall for concerts, plays and other cultural performances.
President Michel Martelly inaugurated the revamped theater Friday along with dignitaries and dozens of local artists. Authorities say it won’t actually start showing films to the general public for about another month, once arrangements for a parking garage are completed.
Port-au-Prince had roughly 30 cinemas in the 1970s. But over the years they all closed amid political turmoil and rampant bootlegging of movies with pirated DVDs and videotapes.
The last movie theater to operate in Port-au-Prince was the Imperial Cinema, which closed shortly before the January 2010 quake that devastated much of the capital and surrounding areas.
Musician, producer and playwright Jean Jean-Pierre said Monday that the Triomphe’s reopening by the Champ de Mars plaza in downtown Port-au-Prince is “very exciting.” It’s the city’s main public square and major work has been done to rehabilitate it, including the recent completion of an open-air amphitheater.
“The idea is to create confidence so that people will come back to the Champ de Mars for regular cultural events,” said Pierre, a member of Haiti’s council of the performing arts.
On a recent morning, dried food vendor Lisette Issonne gazed up at the Triomphe as she strolled across the bustling square with her two daughters.
“I’m not sure I can afford to take my daughters when the movies start, but it’s nice they are opening this theater and fixing up the Champ de Mars,” she said.
Associated Press writer David McFadden in Kingston, Jamaica, contributed to this report.
PHOENIX (AP) — No one in the majors, no position player anyway, is having a better season than Paul Goldschmidt.
He leads both leagues in hitting (.356) and on-base percentage (.474). He is at or near the top in virtually every other offensive category. And he might be the best defensive first baseman in the game, too.
Yet national attention, such as that showered on Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper, eludes the man his Arizona teammates call “America’s First Baseman.”
Of course, Goldschmidt being Goldschmidt, he says “I couldn’t care less.”
“Maybe that’s not the right choice of words but it’s just not something I concern myself with,” Goldschmidt said in an interview with The Associated Press. He said he pays no attention whether he’s going “bad or good.”
Good is an understatement to describe Goldschmidt’s season.
He entered Monday with 19 home runs, many in critical situations, was tied for second in the majors with 57 RBIs and ranked second in slugging percentage (.656)
Goldschmidt was leading the majors in walks (55). A major league-high 16 were intentional.
He has 12 stolen bases.
And he said he spends no inordinate amount of time studying pitchers.
“For the majority of your life, up until the big leagues, you never had any video or scouting reports,” Goldschmidt said, “so I think it could be too easy to try to use that stuff and you could be in the box overthinking. So for me, there’s some research you can do but for the most part just try to see the ball and hit the ball. I just try to see it out of his hand and look for something in the middle of the plate and put a big swing on it.”
The same philosophy spreads to his statistics. He vows that he never looks at them, even though they are posted well within eyesight in the ballpark.
“I make a conscious decision to not look at any of those stats,” Goldschmidt said. “Stats are what’s happened in the past. They’re not going to have any bearing on what’s going to happen tonight.”
Except the law of averages indicates good things often happen with Goldschmidt at the plate. His teammates know it and expect it.
When Goldschmidt homered and made a pair of diving stops in a win over the Los Angeles Angels recently, pitcher Chase Anderson said simply, “Goldy does Goldy things.”
His home runs can be almost Giancarlo Stanton-like, but he is far from just a power hitter.
Goldschmidt hits to all fields, obviously for a high average, and declines to participate in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.
“I just try to hit,” he said. “If I go up there trying to hit a homer or double, it’s usually a strikeout or a groundball. I just try to hit a hard line drive and hopefully they don’t catch it, and if you get under it and it goes out, all the better.”
A broken hand cut short his 2014 season. Healthy this year, he has been better than ever before. And before, he was terrific.
Goldschmidt’s lack of notoriety partly stems from where he plays. Phoenix is not a small market. It’s the sixth-largest city in the country. But it’s the desert southwest and no major media center.
And his Diamondbacks, while vastly improved from the worst record in baseball a year ago and hovering around .500, have not known playoff success in years.
Then, of course, there’s his low-key personality. Hard to imagine Goldschmidt lingering to admire a home run or even thumping his chest in bravado.
Although manager Chip Hale said Goldschmidt is not so quiet around the team, assuming a leadership role that he knows must go with his on-field success.
“He’s more vocal than I think people think with his teammates,” the first-year manager said. “If something needs to be said, if somebody’s not hustling, he’ll say something. Sometimes I’ve heard him say, ‘Let’s worry about hitting and not what the umpire is calling.’ I think he’s become even more and more that way since he’s realized that’s something he needs to do.”
Goldschmidt is in his fourth full major league season, rising quickly through the ranks after being an eighth-round draft pick.
Hard to imagine there were concerns about his lack of speed and defensive ability.
“I don’t think the eighth round is so low,” he joked. “I know a lot of guys who were drafted lower.”
Not many with this kind of resume.
Goldschmidt remains a big bargain, by baseball standards. He is in the third season of a five-year, $32 million contract with a $14.5 million club option for 2018.
That’s certainly plenty for Goldschmidt and his budding family and, at age 27, there could still be a much bigger deal available sometime down the road.
Goldschmidt’s wife, Amy, is due with the couple’s first child, a boy, in late summer.
Now there’s something maybe he can get excited about.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns has heard his name connected to the Timberwolves for the upcoming NBA draft for more than a month now, with the Kentucky big man seemingly destined to land in Minnesota on Thursday night.
Even after a report surfaced Monday that the Timberwolves have already informed Towns that he will be the No. 1 overall pick, he wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“If I had a promise I would go start eating ice cream and getting fat,” Towns joked to The Associated Press on Monday evening. “There is absolutely no promise at all. Right now I’m just trying to see where I’ll be playing. I have no idea.”
The Wolves have the first pick for the first time in franchise history, the product of a miserable 16-66 season and some lottery luck that finally fell in their favor.
The Wolves spent all last week hosting the top prospects in the class at their shiny new practice facility, including Duke center Jahlil Okafor, Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, a point guard who spent last season playing in China. The final visit of the week came from Towns, who dined with Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor on Friday and then went through a workout in front of Wolves officials on Saturday.
The Timberwolves were the only team for which Towns held an individual workout, and he said Monday he enjoyed meeting officials and getting a brief tour of downtown Minneapolis.
“Flip Saunders is a great coach and a great guy. Glen Taylor is the same way. He’s a great human being,” Towns said. “We just talked more about how do I feel about basketball and just about life, just trying to learn more about my personality.”
Towns was reached during a tour with American Express to promote the Home Court Advantage Rookie Draft Desk Series, a set of four videos with Okafor, Russell and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky that “gives fans a chance to see us more as people than basketball players” and shows their best moments on the court as well.
Towns had plenty of those in his lone season at Kentucky, helping the Wildcats reach the Final Four. His ability to play both power forward and center, his defensive prowess and ability to hit free throws helped move him to the top of the draft boards.
The tradition-rich Los Angeles Lakers hold the No. 2 pick, but Towns said he had no hesitation going to an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs in 11 years and has never been to the NBA Finals.
“It doesn’t matter to me where I play,” Towns said. “It matters what you do at the place you play at. It doesn’t matter how successful or how unsuccessful a team is. It can all change with one pick.”
The long-struggling Wolves are starving for a player unafraid of coming to the frigid climate to join a team that has been forever rebuilding. But with reigning rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins, point guard Ricky Rubio expected back healthy and that $25 million practice facility, the hope in Minnesota is that success is finally near.
“We want to give these guys a chance to develop and develop at a more rapid rate, and I believe that we’ve proven as an organization that we can develop players and you look at how Wiggins developed from when we got him to where he was at the end of the year, and we’ll continue to try to do the same with who we take at the No. 1 pick,” Saunders said after the Wolves won the lottery.
Taylor said after missing on high draft picks like Derrick Williams, Wesley Johnson and Jonny Flynn in recent seasons, finding a motivated player who was hungry to improve was one of the top priorities in making the decision.
“I just think in the past we had some players who had a great college career but didn’t step it up afterwards,” Taylor said. “We have to be really cautious that doesn’t happen to us. For us to win, we have to have some people like KG, who was just never satisfied with how good he was and always wanted to be better.”
Taylor, of course, was referring to veteran Kevin Garnett, who returned to the Timberwolves in a midseason trade in February and is expected to sign another contract in July.
“To maybe possibly even play with him would be a great experience if I’m given the opportunity, the privilege and the honor,” Towns said.
Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
NEW YORK (AP) — Martha Stewart single-handedly changed the game for home decorating and cooking in the late 1990s, becoming the “it” designer for all things domestic.
But the announcement on Monday of an acquisition of her media and merchandising empire in a deal that values the company at far less than in it was worth in its glory days shows how much her brand has eroded over the years.
Martha Stewart’s is being sold to Sequential Brands Group, which owns and licenses such brands as Ellen Tracy and Jessica Simpson, in a deal valued at $353 million. That’s a fraction of the $1.8 billion valuation when the company went public in 1999.
“The days when people looked to one person to tell them how to entertain, live tastefully are gone,” said Allen Adamson, chairman of Landor Associates, a brand research firm. “Today, there are many voices. She can’t go back to retaking that mantle because that mantle is gone.”
It’s a shift from when Stewart built her business, from books to TV shows, based on her penchant for decorating and cooking. Stewart cultivated legions of loyal fans, all eager to know the best way to decorate a cake, set the Thanksgiving table or plan a cocktail party. Business was booming, and Stewart consolidated her businesses into one company in 1997 and then took that company public in 1999.
But in recent years, the company has been hit with heavy competition. No longer were people looking to get their information from a single source, but rather they were getting decorating and cooking advice from other domestic divas like Rachael Ray and everyday bloggers who write about home decorating, cake baking and the like. That was compounded by the fact that Stewart’s recipes and decorating rules didn’t quite resonate with younger customers searching for quick solutions on their iPhone.
Adding to these challenges were legal woes of both the personality and the company bearing her name. Stewart was convicted in 2004 on federal criminal charges of lying to prosecutors about selling ImClone shares a day before the Food and Drug Administration announced it declined to review the company’s application for a cancer drug. Stewart rejoined the board of Martha Stewart Living in September 2011 after a five-year ban that was part of a settlement with federal regulators related to her conviction
Then, Stewart brokered a merchandising deal with J.C. Penney in late 2011 that competed with a prior exclusive deal with Macy’s Inc. As a result, Martha Stewart got into a three-year court battle with J.C. Penney and Macy’s, ending with Penney terminating its deal that covered certain products like cookware and towels with the company.
The company has been working to right the ship, though. In recognition of the shift online, Martha Stewart Living last October struck a 10-year licensing deal with Meredith Corp. to take over ad sales, circulation and production of Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Wedding magazines.
According to the deal, the company would continue to create the editorial content. That deal enabled the company to focus on merchandise like pots and pans, which analysts say has been stale in the last few years.
Stewart also focused on remaking her brand online, signing partnerships and launching Martha Stewart Network on video streaming services like Hulu and Hulu Plus.
Despite those efforts, Martha Stewart Living has reported annual losses every year since 2003 with the exception of 2007. For the past seven years, the company’s annual sales have been on a downward slope, reaching $141.9 million last year, down from $327.9 million in 2007. Company shares have been on decline since 2006 when it traded at around $21.
Analysts believe Sequential Brands will bring energy back to the brand.
“I believe this is a good deal. It can be a powerful brand again,” said Dan Hess, president of Merchant Forecast, an independent research firm that covers the retail industry for the financial community.
But Hess cautioned: “It’s still tenuous. It relies on her keeping her nose clean and making her style relevant to a generation that looks for a lot of resources.”
In a statement Monday, Stewart called the deal with Sequential a “transformational merger.” Stewart will remain as chief creative officer and will be nominated for the board, where she is now non-executive chair. She’ll also be a “significant” stockholder.
“The Sequential team is smart, hardworking, and understands the power and limitless opportunity of the Martha Stewart brand and its formidable design, editorial and marketing teams,” she said
Yehuda Shmidman, CEO of Sequential, said the breadth of the brand is still strong. He pointed to research that shows the Martha Stewart name has 96 percent awareness among women in the U.S.
He also said 7 out of 10 women say that Stewart has and does influence the way they think about, organize and manage their homes. Additionally, he said the company reaches about 100 million consumers.
But the price Sequential is paying for the company illustrates how much the appeal of the brand has diminished.
Sequential Brands will pay $6.15 per share for Martha Stewart, below Friday’s closing price of $6.98 and far beneath the $36 the company had when it when public in 1999. Shares dropped 86 cents, or 12.3 percent, to close at $6.12 on Monday after surging late last week on reports of an impending acquisition.
AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman in New York contributed to this report.
Follow Anne D’Innocenzio at http://www.Twitter.com/adinnocenzio
This week in Education news: STEAM gains, well, steam among educators; Edutopia shares tips on building assessments around gameplay; Miami-Dade schools learns from the mistakes of others on 1-to-1 initiatives; the Times explores reactions to Common Core emphasis on nonfiction texts; and Monica Burns visits EduTECH in Australia.
STEM, STEM, STEM — it seems like there’s no end to the talk around preparing kids for careers in the sciences. But many educators feel that integrating creativity and the arts into STEM education is the key to engaging students. Plus, the emphasis on creativity forces all of us to think about science, math, technology and engineering in new and interesting ways. This week’s Five Minute Film Festival from Edutopia gathers some remarkable STEAM programs that are setting kids’ minds on fire.
We’ve all heard about ways to gamify education to inspire students to learn, but what about assessment? Edutopia outlines some ways to build assessment into and all around gameplay. Teachers might have students write strategies for the next students entering the game or offer exit tickets to assess what students learned from gameplay. When assessment is a part of gameplay, it ensures that teachers get as much out of it as the students.
When Miami-Dade County, Fla., school district was preparing for an ambitious 1:1 initiative, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho slowed the effort to a crawl. He wanted to determine what went wrong in other districts, where tablet recalls, faulty curriculum and insufficient wireless thwarted implementation. The fact-finding mission allowed the district to avoid mishaps and respond quickly to challenges.
English departments across the country have debated and accommodated the Common Core push to incorporate more informational texts. The results have been mixed, as curricula shifts to pair literature with nonfiction that in theory should provide context and relevance for the classics. The New York Times discusses the reactions from administrations, teachers and students.
Our resident EdTech blogger and Apple Distinguished Educator Monica Burns shares what she learned from (and what she taught others) while attending an international EdTech convention. Have you hit any great conventions? Share your experience in the comments on this post.