Posts tagged with "athleticism"

Alya Alghamdi photo credits to Casey Withers used by 360 Magazine

Alya Alghamdi’s Sprint To Her Dreams

By Alya Alghamdi

Every fire begins with a single flame — mine was ignited with the thought of freedom. Growing up, I always knew there was something more for me. My sisters and I would talk often about what we wanted to be when we matured. They would mention their dreams to have a family and own a house, and I would simply reply, “I want to be on top of the world!”

Despite having a privileged childhood in Saudi Arabia, I longed for a life far beyond what material goods could provide because my fulfillment came from a deeper place — a place of purpose. As I grew, the flame burning inside spread like wildfire, consuming me. I knew my purpose was to burn bright, but the world in which I existed sought to extinguish that. It became clear that my journey to live as my true self would not be an easy one. Still, I decided at an early age that instead of letting my circumstances hold me back, I would redefine them to reflect the reality I wanted to live in.

At that time, I had no idea I would one day pursue athletics professionally. My potential as an athlete went untapped for many years due to the fact that Saudi Arabia did not allow women to go to the gym or join sports teams. It was simply unacceptable for a female to participate in any kind of physical activity. Still, this couldn’t and wouldn’t stop me from dreaming, hoping and impatiently waiting.

Foregoing the arranged marriage that is expected of Saudi Arabian women, I made the unfortunate discovery that my best chance at gaining freedom would come at the expense of leaving my family and my home. Still, I was determined to keep my fire burning, so I left for Europe. I chose my destiny to be a free human being, and that came with a lot of losses, but my gains far outweigh those costs.

In Europe, I was able to discover my true passion — running. I spent the majority of my time exploring new physical activities like long distance running, surfing, hiking and competing in marathons. The simple freedom of putting on your shoes in the morning and doing whatever you wanted to do was a completely new concept to me and I promised myself I would never take it for granted.

Staying true to my childhood pipe dreams and capitalizing on my new found freedom, I set my sights on making it to the top of the world – Mount Everest. This was one of the most difficult but rewarding things I have ever done, and it was just as treacherous, unwelcoming, and life-changing as one would imagine. By definition, the environment was inhospitable. Temperatures were below freezing, there was no running water and any water packed for the trip was frozen still. When you are placed in such a life-threatening position, suddenly, all you can think about is how much you want to live. That trip really opened my eyes to what was truly important in life — love and passion. For some people, they find those things in raising a child, but for me, I found it in my sport.

It was not long after my return from Mount Everest that Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Committee extended an invitation for me to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Physically I had reached the top of the world, but professionally, the Olympics became my new Mount Everest. Working with Olympic royalty Michael Johnson, I dedicated my entire life to training, thinking, dreaming and speaking only of the Olympics. Then, three weeks out from the games, my offer to compete was rescinded by Saudi Arabia due to a culturally based decision that had nothing to do with my ability as an athlete. This was earth-shattering for me. I had dedicated everything to training for this opportunity, to represent my country and make them proud, and in a flash, it was gone! I spiraled into a depression and my soul felt hollow where my fire used to burn.

My coach saw the internal anguish and he told me I was left with only two choices — go home or try again. With my options laid bare, the outcome became increasingly clear. I knew this was not the end of my Olympic journey and my fire once again started to burn. Picking up right where I left off, I trained vigorously for the 2020 Olympics, breaking the record for the 60-meter dash. I am also working toward breaking the 100 and 200-meter, which I am confident I can achieve with my abilities, as well as coach’s confidence in me. But my dreams becoming a reality were once again postponed, this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I now have my sights set on carrying my country’s flag at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

However, to be clear, the Olympics are not my endgame. Once the games are in my rearview, I plan on starting a mentorship program and non-profit foundation for young Saudi Arabian female athletes to provide them with the support and resources I did not have during my training journey. Ultimately, I’m not here to break a record, I’m here to show women they can accomplish anything, even with just a single flame.

Follow Alya Alghamdi: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Soccer illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success

The U.S. Soccer Foundation adapted and launched its signature Soccer for Success program to fit ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.

The Foundation spent the past few months listening to its partners to best support the needs of soccer communities. By adapting its Soccer for Success curriculum, partners can run the program across a variety of settings. In lieu of the traditional in-person trainings, they are providing an online training that is specifically designed to prepare coach-mentors to deliver the program across these new settings. The 12-week curriculum consists of:

  • Thirty-six pre-recorded video sessions that can be sent directly to participants and their families to complete at a time that works best for them. The sessions are around 15-20 minutes in length, can be done at home with little space and equipment, and incorporate health and wellness tips and information.
  • Thirty-six practice session plans that provide coach-mentors with guidance on how to run 45-minute virtual sessions (in real time) with their participants. The practice sessions include both soccer activities and health and wellness teaching points.
  • Thirty-six practice session plans that provide coach-mentors with guidance on how to run 60-minute, in-person socially distanced sessions with participants. The practice sessions include both soccer activities and health and wellness teaching points.
  • Thirty-six traditional in-person practice and game day sessions.

This formatting gives our partners the flexibility to run Soccer for Success three days a week for a typical 12-week season in the way that works best for them and their community at any given time, said Sarah Pickens, U.S. Soccer Foundation Associate Vice President of Programs. 

In some places, space constraints may limit the number of in-person socially distanced participants allowed at one time. Fortunately, with this program, partners can alternate days that players can come in person, while still providing virtual lessons to any other students enrolled in the program. No matter what stage a given community is in, children have a way to participate in each session. This approach also anticipates the very real scenario that things will continue to change rapidly. Therefore, even if COVID-19 guidelines change, partners can still run programming virtually or through distribution of pre-recorded sessions without missing a beat.

Pickens added, This helps children have some sense of consistency, keeps them active, and keeps them connected to each other in a positive and fun way. The bottom line is that Soccer for Success keeps kids healthy in body and mind. In our current reality, this is more important than ever. 

About U.S. Soccer Foundation

The U.S. Soccer Foundation programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Follow U.S. Soccer Foundation: Website | Twitter | Facebook

The Daredevil Cameramen of Extreme Sports

First Look: The Daredevil Cameramen of Extreme Sports (Click to Watch)

*Risky Business. Whether scaling a treacherous mountain or going into the belly of the world’s most challenging wave, extreme sports cameramen exhibit remarkable athleticism in pursuit of the perfect shot. Jon Frankel profiles these Evel Knievel-like risk-takers, who display the same bravery as the athletes they cover, taking terrifying risks to capture images of some of the world’s most dangerous sports.

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL returns TUESDAY, APRIL 23 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO

Producer: Jordan Kronick

Check out the full segment here!

Cadillac CTS-V

By Vaughn Lowery x Reid Urban x Anthony Sovinsky

Cadillac is widely known for being America’s premier luxury vehicle. As for most luxury vehicles, it is focused on a classy, curb-appealing design with a comfort-oriented ride and top of the line technology. As a result, then appeared the 2004 debut of the Cadillac CTS-V, continuing to meet all the previous high-end expectations with some Olympic level athleticism.

The upgraded 2004 CTS-V inherited the Corvette’s 400-hp 5.7 liter V-8 engine and offered it only in a 6-speed manual, which is a unique addition to a unique consumer: the sports car enthusiast. This was a historical step for Cadillac as they now entered the luxury sport sedan realm with the likes of the BMW M5 and the Mercedes E63 AMG. What better way to make a statement than to be featured in one of the best adrenaline pumping car chase scenes of that time as seen in the 2004 movie The Matrix Reloaded.

Fast forward to its second best debut in 2009, which engraved Cadillac in the record books by setting a lap time of 7:59.32 at the Nurburgring for fastest production sedan. This was achieved with a 556hp supercharged 6.2 liter V8, enhanced handling due to the introduction of magnetic ride control, and brembo brakes on all four corners. This catapulted the CTS-V to the top of the ranks of the sport sedan class in performance,  beating the M5 and E63 AMG respectively from zero to 60 mph. 

PRESENT TIME 

The CTS-V will continue its reign in the high performance sport sedan category with the introduction of the astounding new and approved 2019 Cadillac CTS-V.

The front-end greets you with very sharp fighter-jet like lines matched with mesh grills and vents. It is clear the intent of the vehicle is to be as aerodynamic and performance-centric as possible. It features a carbon fiber splitter to redirect wind-drag to down force and keep the vehicle firmly planted for increased traction at higher speeds. The hood is also finished in carbon fiber with functional vents strategically placed to perform a variety of roles including: cooling of the high revving power plant, increased aerodynamics, and a slight weight reduction compared to its stock counterpart.

Moving to the rear of the vehicle, the side profile is reminiscent of a base model CTS until you spot the 19-inch forged premium painted alloy wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport Summer-only low profile tires. Peering through the light weight forged alloy wheels are gargantuan racing-inspired six-piston front, four-piston rear, fixed caliper Brembo performance brakes with vented rotors that remind you to not forget the V. Moreover. The rear features a carbon fiber spoiler and rear diffuser accompanied by sport badging and quad pipes that announce top of the line engineering. The aggressiveness of the body suits the power in perfect synergism.

The various performance aesthetics are functional for two reasons: compliment the driver and compliment the engine. Let’s start with the engine. The boisterous opulent sedan is blessed to be a part of an incredible gene pool that continues to be one of the fittest on the road. Well-endowed with a supercharged 6.2L V8 producing 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque, it plans to be catapulted by this ostentatious hotrod from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. The horses are put down to the road with an 8-speed automatic transmission available in several drive modes: from the least powerful but still faster than your Eco Mode, to the keep-both-hands-on-the-wheel Track Option. Track mode will tighten the suspension and open all of the cylinders for more power while the transmission will hold gears and have quicker shifts for increased acceleration.

Suspension has been one of the major highlights of the CTS-V since 2009 with the introduction of magnetic ride control. It’s an important feature that reads the road up to one thousand times a second, allowing for incredibly sharp responses from driver input at the wheel. Supplementing “Mag Ride” are multilink MacPherson struts with independent front-and-rear suspension connected to a light-weight stiffened chassis. Such handling technology is especially important to expand the confidence the driver has on and off-track with a vehicle exhibiting as much power, size, and precision as this one embodies.

Interior finishing further address the performance capabilities, as it is fitted with Recaro racing seats up front that are tastefully badged with the V-series logo. Designed for a glove-tight fit for both driver and passenger, the racing-inspired seats keep you firmly situated to resist lateral G forces while hauling through twist and turns through your favorite canyons. However, also comfortable enough to endure a lengthy road trip or frequenting your executive meetings at the office. Rear seats comfortably sit three full-sized adults allowing for a total of four in tow. Don’t worry! It will take more weight than a cabin full of people to slow this bad boy down. The infotainment system is equally accessible to both passenger and driver for ease of use. Simple and straight forward, controls are all touch sensitive as to make the dash sleek and non-distracting. Additionally, the souped-up caddy is laced with some cool features including automatic window shades for more privacy, a digital rear view mirror that allows for more greater vision surrounding the vehicle, blind spot indicators, and Apple Carplay that is compatible with Siri for ease of use and hands-free connectivity with your super car.

Base models for the CTS-V are priced just at $86,995, which is a great value per dollar of horsepower you receive comparatively to other vehicles in its class. Not only that but you have the option to deck it out and become a real show-stopper with carbon fiber and Recaro seat package, which will put you over the 100k mark with a price tag of $106,000. All-in-all, the 2019 Cadillac CTS-V is one of the best performance sport sedans in the world and deserves a spot in your garage.

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery,

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery,