Belmont Stakes 2021: Post time, TV schedule, how to watch without cable

You don’t need cable to watch the last and longest leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown today on NBC.

The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday on NBC.

The Belmont Stakes takes place Saturday, June 5. TV coverage starts at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) on NBC. Post time is set for 3:47 p.m. PT (6:47 p.m. ET).

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station. You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials and offer NBC. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

CDC eases travel restriction on Japan and other countries ahead of the Olympics

The agency says people should be fully vaccinated before traveling.

The CDC’s Level 4 risk assessment advises against all travel to a country and recommends being vaccinated if you must go there. Level 3 is more forgiving. The risk is still high, but the CDC doesn’t strictly recommend against it for vaccinated people.

The State Department has updated its travel recommendations to match.

Social networks struggle to shut down racist abuse after England’s Euro Cup final loss

Social media users have been frustrated at having to perform moderation duties to keep racist abuse in check.

Bukayo Saka of England is consoled by head coach Gareth Southgate.

The vitriol presented a direct challenge to the social networks — an event-specific spike in hate speech that required them to refocus their moderation efforts to contain the damage. It marks just the latest incident for the social networks, which need to be on guard during highly charged political or cultural events. While these companies have a regular process that includes deploying machine-automated tools and human moderators to remove the content, this latest incident is just another source of frustration for those who believe the social networks aren’t quick enough to respond.

To plug the gap, companies rely on users to report content that violates guidelines. Following Sunday’s match, many users were sharing tips and guides about how to best report content, both to platforms and to the police. It was disheartening for those same users to be told that a company’s moderation technology hadn’t found anything wrong with the racist abuse they’d highlighted.

It also left many users wondering why, when Facebook, for example, is a billion-dollar company, it was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the easily anticipated influx of racist content — instead leaving it to unpaid good Samaritan users to report.

For social media companies, moderation can fall into a gray area between protecting free speech and protecting users from hate speech. In these cases, they must judge whether user content violates their own platform policies. But this wasn’t one of those gray areas.

Racist abuse is classified as a hate crime in the UK, and London’s Met Police said in a statement that it will be investigating incidents that occurred online following the match. In a follow-up email, a spokesman for the Met said that the instances of abuse were being triaged by the Home Office and then disseminated to local police forces to deal with.

Twitter “swiftly” removed over 1,000 tweets through a combination of machine-based automation and human review, a spokesman said in a statement. In addition, it permanently suspended “a number” of accounts, “the vast majority” of which it proactively detected itself. “The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, there was frustration among Instagram users who were identifying and reporting, among other abusive content, strings of monkey emojis (a common racist trope) being posted on the accounts of Black players.

According to Instagram’s policies, using emojis to attack people based on protected characteristics, including race, is against the company’s hate speech policies. Human moderators working for the company take context into account when reviewing use of emojis.

But in many of the cases reported by Instagram users in which the platform failed to remove monkey emojis, it appears that the reviews weren’t conducted by human reviewers. Instead, their reports were dealt with by the company’s automated software, which told them “our technology has found that this comment probably doesn’t go against our community guidelines.”

A spokeswoman for Instagram said in a statement that “no one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram.”

“We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules,” she added. “In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs. No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.”

The social media companies shouldn’t have been surprised by the reaction.

Football professionals have been feeling the strain of the racist abuse they suffer online — and not just following this one England game. In April, England’s Football Association organized a social media boycott “in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.”

English football’s racism problem is not new. In 1993, the problem forced the Football Association, Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association to launch Kick It Out, a program to fight racism, which became a fully fledged organization in 1997. Under Southgate’s leadership, the current iteration of the England squad has embraced anti-racism more vocally than ever, taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before matches. Still, racism in the sport prevails — online and off.

On Monday, the Football Association strongly condemned the online abuse following Sunday’s match, saying it’s “appalled” at the racism aimed at players. “We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” it said. “We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”

Social media users, politicians and rights organizations are demanding internet-specific tools to tackle online abuse — as well as for perpetrators of racist abuse to be prosecuted as they would be offline. As part of its “No Yellow Cards” campaign, the Center for Countering Digital Hate is calling for platforms to ban users who spout racist abuse for life.

In the UK, the government has been trying to introduce regulation that would force tech companies to take firmer action against harmful content, including racist abuse, in the form of the Online Safety Bill. But it has also been criticized for moving too slowly to get the legislation in place.

Tony Burnett, the CEO of the Kick It Out campaign (which Facebook and Twitter both publicly support), said in a statement Monday that both the social media companies and the government need to step up to shut down racist abuse online. His words were echoed by Julian Knight, member of Parliament and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“The government needs to get on with legislating the tech giants,” Knight said in a statement. “Enough of the foot dragging, all those who suffer at the hands of racists, not just England players, deserve better protections now.”

As pressure mounted for them to take action, social networks have also been stepping up their own moderation efforts and building new tools — with varying degrees of success. The companies track and measure their own progress. Facebook employs its independent oversight board to assess its performance.

But critics of the social networks also point out that the way their business models are set up gives them very little incentive to discourage racism. Any and all engagement will increase ad revenue, they argue, even if that engagement is people liking and commenting on racist posts.

“Facebook made content moderation tough by making and ignoring their murky rules, and by amplifying harassment and hate to fuel its stock price,” former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said on Twitter on Monday. “Negative PR is forcing them to address racism that has been on its platform from the start. I hope they really fix it.”

March Madness Championship: How to stream Baylor vs. Gonzaga tonight on CBS

The final showdown in the NCAA’s men’s March Madness tournament takes place tonight.

The biggest game of the Big Dance airs tonight on CBS at 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT). Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 men’s tournament.

Jalen Suggs, No. 1, celebrates with his Gonzaga teammates after making a game-winning three-pointer in overtime during the 2021 NCAA Final Four semifinal.

Tip-off for tonight’s contest is set for 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT) on CBS.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top teams in the tournament, each a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. After Illinois was knocked out early in the tourney, Michigan lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight, leaving just Gonzaga and Baylor as the only top seeds standing heading into the Final Four.

Those two teams will play for the title Monday night, but those looking to relive the tourney can find the full bracket on the NCAA’s website.

Yes, you can.

Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV all offer CBS, which is what you’ll need to catch the final game. They start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV’s $35 per month Orange and Blue packages do not have CBS.

You can also get CBS with an antenna or with Paramount Plus, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.

The game will be available to stream on the NCAA’s March Madness Live website and app, with the tournament’s CBS-broadcasted games — including tonight’s championship decider — available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.

Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes CBS. You can use its channel lookup tool to see if you get a live feed of CBS and the other local networks in your ZIP code.

You can watch the CBS games on Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access), if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month or $10 a month for no commercials.

FuboTV costs $60 a month and includes CBS. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Outside the US? Consider using a VPN: CNET editors choose the best VPN

The NCAA took a number of precautions to protect players, coaches and fans and to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to disrupt play. Usually, the tournament is spread all across the country in various venues, but this year, to reduce travel, all 67 men’s games are taking place in Indiana with the bulk of the action happening in Indianapolis. Teams were also required to quarantine upon arrival, and in-person attendance by fans is limited to 25% capacity to allow physical distancing.

COVID-19 also has impacted some games, with Oregon advancing past VCU in the first round due to the Rams’ having multiple positive tests.

Per the NCAA, this year’s tournament was played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts) plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler’s stadium), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (home of the IUPUI Jaguars), Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue’s arena) and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington (home of the Indiana Hoosiers).

The National Championship will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On March 18, the NCAA tweeted out more images of this year’s floor layout for the courts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. results: A grim, disappointing affair with no winners

The fight was bad. Very bad.

It was hardly the fight of the century, let’s put it that way.

Elsewhere on the card, Badou Jack defeated Devin Colina in a one-sided mismatch. Louis Arias shocked Jarrett Hurd in a split decision, and former NFL star Chad Johnson survived a four-round brawl with Brian Maxwell.

Here’s my round-by-round breakdown as it happened…

This is the world we occupy — a YouTuber facing off against maybe the best boxer of all time. What will happen? I’m fairly certain Logan Paul gets tired in three or four rounds and Mayweather does whatever he likes, but who the hell knows? I’m tuning in like the rest of the world because I love a freak show.

Just before the fight starts I want to say this is insane.

We’re truly living in a strange future.

Let’s go folks…

Huge size discrepancy here. Pretty crazy to even see two people like this fighting one another. Wild ending to the first round where Paul started wailing big loopy shots. Not a single one got through, but the crowd went wild. Floyd clearly waiting for Paul to gas himself out, but he does seem to be having issues getting in on someone so big.

Credit to Logan Paul, he looks a lot more polished than he did against KSI. Floyd appears to be cruising however, not throwing much but letting Paul punch himself out a little. I’d expect him to move forward more once the punches lose their sting.

Floyd is starting to open up a bit here and landed a really crisp left hook on Paul, but Paul is leaning on Floyd, putting all that weight on him. That said, Paul is looking tired. I expect things to get bad for him from here on out.

Mayweather is walking Paul down now, and Paul looks exhausted. Mayweather landed a number of big shots, but Paul landed a huge punch as well. I think Mayweather will look to finish in the next two or three rounds.

Floyd is using the high guard and just marching Paul down, landing big shots. Paul doesn’t really appear hurt, just extremely tired. The camera goes to Paul’s brother Jake, who claims he’s winning the fight. He’s clearly not.

He is doing pretty well though!

Paul’s defense is surprisingly sound. A very strange round here, where Logan just repeatedly threw lazy jabs out, and Mayweather looked for the kill shot. This is a little frustrating to watch.

The commentary is a little disrespectful at this point. Sort of annoying. This fight is not great either, Paul looking sloppy and Mayweather appears years from his prime. Not gonna lie, this is rough fight. No real great shots landed.

Boos coming down from the crowd now, as Mayweather and Paul clinch their way through another grim round of boxing.

That was somehow worse than I expected.

In case you weren’t aware, they’re not scoring this one — so no winner has been announced. A real anti-climax for a number of reasons. A combination of Paul’s size and Floyd losing a step meant this one never felt like it was in any danger of being stopped. Props to Logan Paul, though, for making it to the end of the fight.

“I’m not 21 any more,” Floyd admitted in the post-match interview, but also mentioned being “surprised” by Paul.

Paul seemed hyped just to be, there to be honest, jumping around. He called for a rematch. Not sure if it was a joke.

Hopefully it was a joke.

The other fights on the card were all far more entertaining than the main event.

Here’s my round-by-round breakdown of each fight.

Chad Johnson was sharp in the opening rounds, but got knocked down in the fourth.

This is the other “celebrity” boxing match on the card.

Chad Johnson is a former NFL star, and Brian Maxwell is an ex-MMA fighter. Despite being a massive MMA fan, I’ve never heard of Maxwell, most likely because he had a 2-3 record and never came close to touching a major promotion.

This feels like a bit of a set-p fight for Johnson, but who can tell. These crazy fights could go either way.

Some wild exchanges in there.  Johnson had the best of it with some accurate, hard shots, but looked tired in spots.

Forgot to mention that MMA legend Jorge Masvidal is in Johnson’s corner! Awesome.

Johnson is accurate with these shots, man. Laser jabs, some great straight shots. Another round for Johnson for me.

Maxwell comes out strong in this round, initiating wild exchanges and loopy shots. Johnson absolutely looks like he’s starting to tire here. This could get messy.

Whoa. Maxwell laid Johnson out with an absolute ripper right hook. He gets back up and survives the remainder of the round. Lucky this is a four-round fight, or it could have gotten tough for Johnson there.

All up a truly interesting fight. Johnson started out slick with the jabs, but tired fairly quickly. Since it’s an exhibition there’ll be no winner announced. Truth is the fight was close.

Great one to start.

Jarrett Hurd in better times. He lost tonight in a split decision.

This is the first of two legitimate boxing matches on this card. Keen to see how this one goes.

Great start for Arias here, landing multiple heavy shots, particularly in the opening two minutes. Hurd did better when he took the initiative and moved forward, and landed some clean, tight uppercuts at close range. Fun first round.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Weird start with rain getting on the canvas and Arias slipping? Wild. This could be a problem moving forward for all the fights. And then they had issues restarting the clock. Grim.

Fantastic round here, with both fighters throwing heavy leather. Arias was landing huge shots that Hurd seemed to just walk through.  Every time Hurd landed, however, he appeared to do damage.

That said, Arias landed a huge shot in the final 30 seconds that appeared to stagger Hurd. Incredible three minutes of fighting.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Hurd is just taking heaps of punishment here with Arias getting in tight and just throwing nothing but power shots. Hurd appears to be wearing it well, however, and when they finally break, he appears to land a few from the outside.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

A better round for Hurd here, but Arias still takes it. His right hook from inside simply cannot miss.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

This is shaping up to be a war of attrition. Hard one to score, probably Hurd’s best round, so I’ll give it to him.

Our score: 10-9 Hurd

Arias landed big shots in this round but is really starting to look tired. At points Hurd was able to just walk him down. Hurd could potentially take over this fight in the remaining rounds.

Our score: 10-9 Hurd

A round marred by two low blows from Hurd, but a tough one to score. Again I’m giving this one to Hurd, who marched forward and appeared to land the biggest blows.

Our score: 10-9 Hurd

Big round for Arias, who landed crisp, fast combinations inside. Hurd appeared to fatigue in the last minute, which allowed Arias to really take the initiative. This fight has been fantastic so far.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Round opens with a flash knockdown for Arias, who protests. I’d need to see the replay. He comes out furious at the call and starts wailing on Hurd, clearly winning the remainder of the round.

Our score: 9-9

What a round! Arias and Hurd are just smacking each other here, and Arias appears to get the best of it, legitimately hurting Hurd for maybe the first time in the fight. Hurd appears to knock Arias down just at the bell, but it’s not scored.

I’m scoring this one for Arias.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Our final score: 96-93

Official scores: Split decision 95-94 Hurd, 97-93 Arias, 96-93 Arias.

Badou Jack is back.

Badou Jack is stuck here with a last-minute replacement after his previous opponent, Jean Pascal, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Jack is heavily favored against the replacement Colina, but who knows what happens?

Jack comes out strong with a lightning fast jab, but hits Colina with a low blow early. Not much activity from Colina here.

Clear round for Jack here.

Our score: 10-9 Jack

A point taken from Colina for holding, and Jack is just extremely aggressive. A late counter from Colina isn’t enough to take the round here.

Our score: 10-8 Jack

Another point for holding for Colina, who looks completely out of his depth here. Colina was hurt and grabbed Jack to recover. Again a late flurry from Colina isn’t enough. Jack is cruising.

Our score: 10-8 Jack

Colina hits the canvas twice in the opening minute, being completely overwhelmed by Jack. Then, in the final seconds of the round, gets knocked down for the third and final time. Pretty poor showing from Colina, even coming in as a last-minute replacement.

Jack Badou wins by TKO

UFC 260 Miocic vs. Ngannou: Start time, how to watch or stream online, full fight card

UFC 260 is just about to start. Here’s everything you need to know…

UFC 260 will be the second time Stipe Miocic has faced off against Francis Ngannou.

Sadly the co-main event, a compelling contest between featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski and jiu jitsu savant Brian Ortega has been cancelled after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.

Here’s everything you need to know.

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 260, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 260 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 260 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Based on previous UFC times, this is the schedule we expect…

Given how volatile and fluid previous fight cards have been in the COVID-19 era, expect this one to chop and change. Here’s where we’re at right now…

King Richard trailer: Will Smith aces as dad of Venus and Serena Williams

The Men in Black star plays Richard Williams, who drew up a 78-page plan for his daughters’ success before they were even born.

Will Smith plays Richard Williams, dad of tennis legends Venus and Serena, in King Richard. Aunjanue Ellis plays their mom, Oracene (far left). Also shown, from left, are Mikayla Bartholomew as Tunde Price, the girls’ half-sister, Saniyya Sidney as Venus, Demi Singleton as Serena, and Daniele Lawson as another half-sister, Isha Price.

In one scene, he tells his daughters that they’re representing “every little Black girl on Earth.” No pressure. But anyone who knows the Williams’ sisters story knows they lived up to it, and then some. Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Venus Williams has won seven, the two have won 14 as a doubles team, and they’re also Olympic gold medalists.

“This world ain’t never had no respect for Richard Williams,” Smith’s character says in one scene. “But they gon’ respect y’all.”

Will Smith, Venus Williams and Serena Williams are among the film’s producers. Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton play the Williams sisters. King Richard opens in theaters on Nov. 19, and will be available for streaming on HBO Max’s ad-free platform 31 days.

Logan Paul and Floyd Mayweather memes: OnlyFans and $150,000 Pokemon cards

You knew social media was going to love this fight.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (green shorts) goes at it with Logan Paul during their contracted exhibition boxing match on June 6.

“LOGAN IS WEARING HIS CHARIZARD CARD,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Did Paul just flash a Charizard? We live in Hell,” said another.

Paul wasn’t the only one wearing something buzzworthy on fight night. Mayweather wore a hat from OnlyFans, the content subscription service often associated with sex workers.

“Logan Paul with the Charizard necklace vs Floyd Mayweather with the OnlyFans Hat this is final boss territory,” wrote one Twitter user.

Before the fight, Paul got kind of wistful.

“In 2015, I moved to Los Angeles,” he tweeted. “Every morning & every night, I’d look myself in the mirror and repeat 10 times ‘I will be the biggest entertainer in the world.’ I had no idea HOW or WHEN it would happen, but after 6 years of manifestation, it’s happening. Life is a wild ride.”

Not everyone was down with Paul’s mantra. One Twitter user pulled up the meme that reads, “I ain’t reading all that. I’m happy for u tho. Or sorry that happened.”

Another snarked, “you 5min into the fight when u realise floyd isnt a 45 year old overweight uber eats driver from down the block that u beat up in sparring.”

But some were definitely on Paul’s team.

“CONGRATULATIONS Logan!!!!” wrote one Twitter user. “But Logan baby you was already the champ before you even stepped in the ring! So very proud of you! You stood your ground the whole 8 rounds, Damn good fight!! absolutely magnificent.”

As always with one of these YouTuber fights, people pointed out that both fighters are raking the money in regardless of how well they did.

“Bro, this is all a gimmick,” wrote one Twitter user. “They came up with this ‘fight’ to make millions. They are laughing at people stupid enough to spend money on this.”

Can’t get enough Paul brothers’ fights? No fear, Logan Paul’s brother, Jake Paul, will fight former UFC champ Tyron Woodley in August.

Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, finals schedule, how to watch

Next up for climbing: Men’s finals.

Adam Ondra is probably the best climber in the world right now.

Traditional climbing takes place outside without a predetermined route.

All the qualifiers have taken place. All that’s left is the finals. First up is the men’s finals, which starts at 4.30 a.m. August 5 EDT (1.30 a.m. PDT).

Full schedule:

The women’s finals follow a similar schedule on August 6.

In the US, NBC will broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights in England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two in Australia. All events will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

The finalists for the men are…

Bassa Mawem is expected to withdraw as a result of bicep injury inflicted during qualification.

Finalists for the women are…

Sport climbing will be broken up into three separate disciplines: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Not every country will be represented; only 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) will be allowed to compete at the Games, and only 2 athletes per gender per country will compete in any given event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee currently recognizes only two genders — female and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that identify as transgender, both female and male, to compete. But there aren’t any guidelines or rulings for athletes who don’t identify as female or male — including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined nature of climbing at the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a completely different skillset compared to bouldering and lead climbing. In the next Olympics speed climbing is being broken out as a separate event, leaving bouldering and lead climbing as a combined event.

Two climbers, one wall.

Speed climbing is relatively simple: there are two climbers with safety ropes and one 15-meter wall set at a 95-degree angle. The climbers race against each other to get to the top, with the fastest one winning. The speed route is the exact same at all times: the same holds in the same position at the exact same angle. The addition of speed climbing has been somewhat controversial in the climbing community, because it requires a completely different skillset compared to other climbing disciplines.

Athletes use physical and mental precision to climb to the top of a bouldering route.

Bouldering takes place on an shorter wall, where climbers take turns attempting to scale as many routes on a four-meter-tall wall in 4 minutes. Each route (also called a bouldering problem) is laid out with hand and foot holds in a specific color, and they vary in difficulty based on the size of the holds and the way they are spaced out. A climber completes a problem by grabbing the top hold with both hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been about power and finger strength, but recently competition route setters have been creating problems that require delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This one will be fun to watch.

In Lead climbing, participants secure themselves with a rope as they climb higher.

Lead climbing is arguably the most recognizable of the three events. The climber has six minutes to climb as high on a wall that is taller than 15 meters. They use safety ropes that attach to quickdraws on their way up, allowing the rope to run freely while they stay anchored to the wall. If two athletes reach the same point on the wall, the person who got there first is the winner.

In both bouldering and lead climbing, climbers are not allowed to practice climbing on the routes before they compete or watch each other scale the wall, and they only have a couple of minutes to study the routes and decide their strategy before the timer begins.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won’t change the year on the medals, by the way.

If you thought the qualifying system was a bit complicated, take a deep breath. There’s only one set of medals awarded per gender, so all three events will go into determining which country gets the gold, silver and bronze.

The speed climbing discipline will be done in a bracket format, with athletes competing head to head, while bouldering is in a leaderboard format. Lead climbing will have a point system in which each hold on the wall counts as one point and the athlete who climbs the highest will obtain the highest score.

Once all the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers will be multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores will win medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber will compete in each event. For example, if an athlete gets second place in speed climbing, third in bouldering and first in lead climbing their overall score would be six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6).

In the men’s event the favourite is almost certainly Tomoa Narasaki. Some of the other climbers like Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are considered stronger climbers in terms of their performance on real rock, but this is competition climbing and it’s very different beast. Narasaki was born in the darkness of comp climbing. He’s the Bane of bouldering and, of all the strong climbers, he’s evolved to the weirdness of speed climbing the best. This gives him a great shot at claiming gold.

In the women’s event you’d have to pick Janja Garnbret. She’s been literally unbeatable in the competition scene, particularly in bouldering. There are plenty of others worth watching. From Japan both Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka have a great shot. Noguchi is probably the most decorated female comp climber of all time and Nonaka is a great all-rounder who competes well in speed — the boogie event most top climbers are nervous about.  

Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

The Staples Center will be renamed Crypto.com Arena

Crypto continues to elbow its way into major-league sponsorships.

With just 16% of the US population using or investing in cryptocurrency, the name change may come as a shock to many sports fans — and players. When Clippers point guard Reggie Jackson was told of the change, he responded, “What?”

But this name change is only the most recent example of a cryptocurrency exchange launching the type of high-profile promotional effort previously undertaken by traditional financial services and Fortune 500 corporations. The Miami Heat now play in FTX Arena, named for another crypto exchange (that is also the official cryptocurrency exchange of Major League Baseball). And FTX has purchased ad time during the upcoming Super Bowl.

The new logo for the Crypto.com Arena will debut on Christmas Day this year, when the Lakers face off against the Brooklyn Nets. The arena’s signage is scheduled to be completely replaced with the new name by June 2022.