7 Days, 7 Good News: A computer player with a robotic arm, a lifesaver in disaster and the toughest team sport in Europe

LISTICLE | 06/02/2021
7 days, 7 good news stories: a heroic victory in the Tour-de-France, a head wash for the bathing cap ignoramuses and a football club taking a stand against racism.
Antonia Wille

We think: Every now and then you need good news. Especially from the world of sports. In our ISPO Good News, we present you seven news items every week that make our - and hopefully your - athlete's heart beat faster. Because these news are fun. Because they show and set news trends. Because they sprinkle a pinch of absurdity into a way too serious world. And because they simply bring joy. The main thing is to be in a good mood, that's our motto in this news format. And we're getting started right away. With a colourful mix for footballers, gamers, sailors and with a tennis world star who courageously shows weakness. All kinds of good mood, promised!


The first woman in men's football

Yes, that's right: men's football now has a woman! At the age of five, little Ellen Fokkema was already playing the boys dizzy at football - now she can officially do the same with men. Because of the talented striker of the Dutch amateur club VV Foarut, the Dutch football association KNVB changed its traditional rules and now allows mixed teams. This is because there is no suitable women's team in Ellen Fokkema's province. The 19-year-old turned down the offer of a professional contract in women's football because of her ongoing education. Now, thanks to the "Lex Fokkema" in the Netherlands, women are allowed to play in mixed teams with men in the Dutch amateur leagues. Previously, this was only allowed in the youth league. In Germany, young women are not allowed to play with the men - not yet.


Gamer with real hero arm

At school, Laiken Olive was bullied for having an incompletely developed arm. Now the cosplay player is equipped with a real hero arm inspired by game character Venom Snake. Olive, who identifies as non-binary and is therefore described by us in gender neutral terms, was given the arm by British robotics company Open Bionics.

Admittedly, the 11,000-US dollar prosthesis does not have rocket functionality as in the game. But with its special sensors that measure the electrical output of the muscles and convert it into hand movements, the arm does have heroic function for the 21-year-old. "I always wanted to hide the fact that I was different," Olive remembers from earlier, when they always wore a jacket over their arm. "But with the hero arm, I saw the full potential of what I could do with it." Today, they celebrates being different - and we think this is more than inspiring!


A book that gives courage

To be brave, to dream big, who doesn't want that for their child? Employees of sports watch manufacturer Garmin have now written a book of true stories from the outdoor sports world to encourage kids - especially girls - to do just such big, free thinking.

"Women of Adventure: Brave in a Big World" features six stories about women who represent a diversity of ages, body types and ethnicities. For example, the book tells the story of Mirna Valerio, who is a strong advocate for inclusion in the running community. Valerio is significantly overweight, but she has already completed 11 marathons and 14 ultramarathons.


A lifesafer during disaster

Sometimes the worst stories still have happy endings: During the catastrophe at the Chinese ultramarathon which resulted in 21 deaths, there was also a hero. Shepherd Zhu Keming fought against the life-threatening freezing rain during the cross-country race over 100 kilometers. In the process, he saved the lives of a total of six runners, three men and three women. Zhu had sought shelter in a small cave during the storm. When he saw a disoriented runner who was obviously in danger of dying, the shepherd brought the man into the cave. There he lit a fire and thus provided warmth. The shepherd then went back into the compound and brought five more runners to safety. On the Chinese online network Weibo, one of the rescued, Zhang Xiaotao, wrote, "I want to tell you how grateful I am to the man who saved me."


The toughest team sport in Europe

This team sport is not for sissies: since Saturday, twelve skippers and their teams have been battling it out in the Ocean Race Europe. From Lorient in France via Cascais in Portugal and Alicante in Spain, it's 2000 nautical miles to Genoa in Italy. The German Robert Stanjek and his team named their yacht "Einstein". Perhaps the team is counting on the fact that success is relative. Because apart from a victory, it is already considered a success in the Ocean Race Europe to reach the port of destination unscathed. A special feature in this race is the fact that the offshore monohulls are manned by mixed teams. Men and women try to reach their goals together. And as far as possible without any injuries! We wish all the best and good luck!


An end to child labour

This is perhaps the best news of the week: One of the world's largest suppliers of lifestyle clothing, VF Corp., is putting an end to child labor! Brands like Timberland, Eastpak, Supreme or Vans belong to the company. VF Corp. announced a new pledge of action for children's rights. This aims to eliminate child labor throughout the corporation's global supply chain by 2025. It also aims to strengthen children's rights. The company took its cue from the United Nations, which has declared 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. The supplier is also committed to integrating the Children and Business Principles developed by children's charity Unicef, the United Nations and Safe the Children into its business practices. The steps include monitoring purchasing practices more strictly and also checking the wages and working conditions of the children's parents. Because only if they bring home enough money and also have time for their children will there be real progress.


The courage to show weakness

Admitting weakness is the strongest thing you can do as an athlete. That's exactly what tennis star Naomi Osaka dared to do. At the height of her success, the 23-year-old Japanese made her depression public this week on the sidelines of the French Open. Osaka was seen as the new poster girl of tennis. Sponsors and magazines clamored for her. With estimated annual earnings of more than 30 million US dollars, the four-time Grand Slam winner had become the world's highest-paid female athlete. Now Osaka wants to withdraw from the public eye for the time being. But when she returns, she doesn't want to revert to old patterns - "when the right time comes, I really want to work with the tour to discuss how to improve the situation for the players, the press and the fans."

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Antonia Wille