The Rising Stars of the WTA

 
CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: KAROLINA PLISKOVA; ANA KONJUH; ZARINA DIYAS; NICOLE GIBBS

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS

The US Open starts today, the final major tournament of the 2015 tennis season. While all eyes are on Serena Williams as she tries to complete the Grand Slam (victories in the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open), standing in her way are the “Rising Stars” of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). These are the young up and coming players — the future stars of women’s tennis — ready to take on Serena and everybody else.

We had the chance to meet and photograph four of these “Rising Stars” last week at the Connecticut Open: Nicole Gibbs, Ana Konjuh, Karolina Pliskova, and Zarina Diyas. Ever wonder what a professional tennis player eats before a match? How she gets pumped up to play? Who she’d love to see in the stands? What songs motivate her? What she does when she’s not playing tennis? We played 15 Questions with each player, and found out some fun facts!
 

KAROLINA PLISKOVA

CZECH REPUBLIC ~ WORLD RANKING #7
SPONSORED BY LI-NING APPAREL & BABOLAT RACQUETS

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1. What is your favorite tournament and why? My favourite tournament is Melbourne. I always love to come back there. I love the city and have great memories there.  2. What is your most memorable win and why? Well, I have few of them and every single one is special, but it is always the final of the tournament where I won in my four titles. The special one was probably winning the title at home. 3. What is your favorite thing about playing at the US Open? It’s just the great atmosphere here. A lot of fans coming to cheer and also the city. It’s just great to be here. 4. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing tennis? I love shopping, obviously, like every girl… haha. I also like food, so some good dinners in cities, or watching movies on my computer. 5. How do you get pumped up for a match? I’m always doing my warm up before matches and listening to music. And my coach is also motivating me. 6. How do you relax after a match? I always have some stretching or massage. Then going back to the hotel and rest, and good dinner later. 7. What other sports do you play? I don’t play any other sport, but because of my height I would probably choose basketball. 8. Favorite kind of music? 5 songs on your iPod now? It depends on the mood that day, but my favorite 5 song are: Phototograph by Ed Sheeran,  My Kind of Love by Emeli Sande, Phenomenal by Eminem, Dear Future Husband by Meaghan Trainor, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman.
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The Equestrian: Georgina Bloomberg

 
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG AND “CROWN” AT THE HAMPTON CLASSIC
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DEBBY HYMOWITZ

 
This Sunday, one of the pinnacle events and grand finale to the Hamptons summer social scene takes place, The Hampton Classic Grand Prix. Always a star-studded affair, it attracts the see and be seen crowd who have come to watch the best riders in the world compete for the $250,000 prize.

Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of billionaire business magnate, philanthropist, and former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, is one of the sport’s top competitors and one to watch on Sunday. Thoroughly impressive in her own right, we had the opportunity to meet her earlier this week and discovered the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. She is fiercely competitive, driven to succeed, and totally committed to the sport.

SOS: How did you get started riding? How did it become this passion? How did it become “Ok… this is my job?”

GB: I started riding when I was 4. My mother is English. She had grown up on horses and wanted me and my sister to take lessons and start riding. My sister started taking lessons and I just wanted to do everything she did so I started taking lessons too. I originally didn’t like it and was actually totally afraid of it, but as soon as I started being able to compete I fell in love with the competition and that part has never changed for me. I wouldn’t ride if I couldn’t show. I’m never going to ride for fun. I’m going to ride at the top level or not do it at all. There is no in-between for me.

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SOS: Wow… that says so much about you.

GB: Yes, I’m very competitive. If I’m going to do something, I want to do it all the way. I go to the barn in the morning and work hard at it so I can go to a competition and win.

SOS: How did you balance riding with everything else growing up?

GB: I grew up in Manhattan. There is less of an understanding of the sport than outside the city where there are closer barns. I was a very rebellious teenager and said “FU” to anybody who didn’t want to take my way. For me it was difficult to balance because my teachers were not so understanding when I had to miss school to go to Florida to compete. So instead of trying to accommodate them more, I just basically gave up on school. Read More

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SUP x Yoga

 

 
Michael-Williams-Paddle-Diva-Jessica_Sup_Yoga_14_SING LEG FULL WHEEL copy

Michael-Williams-Paddle-Diva-Jessica_Sup_Yoga_54_WILD THING

FROM TOP: WARRIOR II; SINGLE LEG WHEEL; WILD THING POSE

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS

If you love stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and are a yoga enthusiast, why not do both at once? The summer’s hottest water sport is SUP Yoga and with plenty of warm weather left, now is the time to give it a try.

Paddle Diva is the Hamptons premiere stand up paddleboarding school, located in Shagwong Marina in East Hampton, NY, with another outpost at the Surf Lodge in Montauk. Founded in 2009 by Gina Bradley, she has made it her mission to get more women on the water by taking the intimidation out, making it super accessible and most importantly, fun! Classes take place in an idyllic wind protected cove, or on guided tours, with one stop shopping for all your paddle gear. She has a custom line of women’s specific boards as well. Says Bradley, “When I first started, the sport was underserving the female market and my goal was to change that. There were a million reasons women weren’t getting into the sport and I was going to find a million reasons for them to do the sport.”

Bradley has done just that offering multiple classes daily and excursions for all levels. Paddle Diva offers SUP Yoga classes as well, which give students an opportunity to try both stand up paddleboarding and yoga in one session. The first half of the hour long class is paddling instruction, followed by yoga done on the board. Says Bradley, “We are not trying to replicate the studio yoga experience on the water. We are just trying to open people’s mind to a whole new way you can work out. We want to get people out if the gym and into nature.”
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Camp Vibes

 

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CLICK TO SHOP ABOVE

With everybody talking about Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer”, we’re feeling those old school summer camp vibes. Set in 1981, when 70′s & 80′s style overlapped, it’s a sport meets hippie mash-up of the early era favorites. These late summer pieces may feel retro, but all are new for fall. From bellbottoms, tube socks, cut-offs, poncho sweatshirts, and even your classic Sunfish sailboat, you can take the girl out of camp, but you can’t take the camp out of the girl!

LEFT COLUMN: ABERCROMBIE & FITCH WOMENS FLAP POCKET PLAID SHIRT $58. It’s the classic plaid shirt, great on it’s own or as an extra layer. ONE TEASPOON BANDIT SHORTS $99. Worn in, frayed and with pockets showing, these denim cut-offs are summer favorites. CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR ALL-STAR $55. While the Chuck 2′s may be the new kicks in town, the original will never go out of style now available in a rainbow of fresh new colors. PATAGONIA WOMENS BIVY HOODED VEST $179. This plush and cozy hooded vest is constructed with wind and water resistant nylon canvas, insulated with 600-fill 100% Traceable Down, and makes that 80′s style statement with its western style yoke shoulder detailing. TRACKSMITH VAN CORTLAND SHORTS $60. These running shorts may have that retro style, but they are made to perform with a modern update, constructed with a lightweight and luxurious technical antimicrobial mesh.

MIDDLE COLUMN: L.L.BEAN SIGNATURE COTTON FISHERMAN SWEATER $99. This camp favorite fisherman’s sweater has been updated with a shrunken silhouette done in groovy indigo blue. SAILOR KNOT ROPE BRACELET $4.25. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t have one of these rope bracelets as a kid. Worn everyday, all day so it shrunk wrapped to your wrist, it’s the must have summer camp favorite! SUNFISH SAILBOAT $3995. Nothing says summer more than the cheerful Sunfish and there is no sailboat more iconic, evoking memories of days spent sailing on the lake and bay. First introduced in 1952 and still produced today, it is the perfect boat for beginners and experts alike, and it’s signature bright striped sail is available in a multitude of colors. AMERICAN APPAREL STRIPED KNEE HIGH SOCK $10. The classic wide striped athletic sock is a sport style staple, and available from American Apparel in all your favorite team colors. OAKLEY KICK BACK SUNGLASSES $210. Shown here in a polarized variation ideal for woodsy outdoor sports, the oversized tortoise aviator frames give that 80′s vibe to the Kick Back.

RIGHT COLUMN: ALTERNATIVE GLOBETROTTER ECO-MICROFLEECE HOODIE $68. This oversized, short-sleeve poncho style hoodie gives some boho style to your average sweatshirt. ADIDAS ORIGINALS 3-STRIPES TEE $30. As seen on “Wet Hot American Summer”, this old school relaxed-fit 3-Stripes t-shirt looks as cute with jeans as it does with athletic wear. MADEWELL FLEA MARKET FLARES $135. The wide leg flare is back and this button front edition features a high rise, fitted hip and thigh, with a sweet rearview, for that ’70s camp and covergirl look.

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“WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP”
NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX

 

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Surfing Andy Warhol

 
ART ADVISOR GLORI COHEN WITH 5 OF THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION SERIES SURFBOARDS,
PHOTOGRAPHED IN HER ART FILLED DEAL, NEW JERSEY HOME

 
In 1967, Andy Warhol moved to La Jolla, California to make the movie, “San Diego Surf”, his homage and twist on the classic surf films of the late 1960′s. Surfboard shaper Tim Bessell was then just a kid, living down the street.

Fast forward to the 1980′s where Bessell was invited to New York by film producer Gary Binko and by chance met Warhol at the opening of the Playboy Club. As it turned out, Warhol and Bessell had a mutual friend, another surfboard shaper named Carl Ekstrom. Famous for his asymmetrical surfboard designs, two had been used as props in the movie. Ekstrom told Bessell if he ever ran into Warhol, tell him he said hello. Little did he realize he would have the chance to do just that!
 
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ELVIS, MARILYN & MICK

 
Spotting him at the opening, standing with a group of models, Bessell introduced himself on a dare. Warhol didn’t surf, but was obsessed and enamored with surf culture. Taken with Bessell and his friends, Warhol invited him to hang out at The Factory and the offices of Interview magazine.
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To Be A Young Gymnast

 

 

COUNTDOWN TO RIO 2016: PART 1

Just about a year from now, all eyes will be on Rio and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Month by month, we will be bringing you previews and highlights on the athletes and sports to come. Here is Part 1:

Gymnastics is one of the marquee and most anticipated sports of the Games. Every four years the world focuses their attention on a group of young girls from a host of nations, competing for that coveted gold medal, as both a team and individuals. It is the time between Olympics, however, when gymnasts toil in relative obscurity, working towards their goal. By the time these kids get to the Games, still just teenagers, they will have spent countless hours of their young lives in the gym, training for this moment, with millions watching, on the biggest sport stage in the world.

My 11-year old niece, Ellie, is a competitive gymnast, training with her teammates Talia, Sophie, Sophia, Gia, Abby, Daisy, Cassie, Hannah, Willa, CeCe, Cecily, Charlotte, Amelia and Galena on the NYC Elite team. Ellie competed in Level 6 last season. Each level is designated 1 through 10 by the US Gymnastics Association and characterized by increasingly difficult skill requirements. With her teammates, Ellie is looking to move up to Level 7 or 8 next year. With three gym locations in Manhattan, NYC Elite is considered the best team in New York City and is the only structured developmental gymnastics program in town. The girls are handpicked to be members of the team.

For those of you who follow the Style Of Sport Instagram, you might have noticed I’m amazed/obsessed by Ellie and her crew. She is what I dream and pretend to be… a real “athlete.” Watching her evolve into this level of gymnast, performing the moves I could never imagine any relative of mine being able to do, is mind blowing, but what’s most impressive is the time and dedication it takes.
 
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Last season, Ellie and her teammates trained 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. This coming year the commitment goes up to 20 hours, which means every day after school, from 4pm to 8pm, they will be in the gym training; not just practicing their events, but doing all-around conditioning as well. When practice is done, they will go home to eat dinner, do their homework and sleep. It’s a schedule not so different from a professional athlete, except they are not professionals, they are little girls. They have a saying at NYC Elite: If gymnastics were easy, they would call it football.

There are 5 spots on the Olympic Gymnastics team for Rio 2016 — a decrease from the previous 6. For Tokyo 2020 it is being reduced again to 4. Given how many great gymnasts there are and how few spots there are on the team, it is a long shot for any of these girls to make the Olympic team in 2020, but their commitment at such a young age is what makes them contenders.
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Ironstrength On The Intrepid

 
DR. JORDAN METZL LEADS HIS IRONSTRENGTH WORKOUT
ON BOARD THE FLIGHT DECK OF THE USS INTREPID

 

Last night 1,000 fitness fans had the opportunity to participate in one of the biggest bootcamps in NYC History on board the flight deck of the USS Intrepid. The “Ironstrength” workout was led and created by Dr. Jordan Metzl, award winning sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery, whose focus and motivation is to use fitness as preventative medicine. “As a physician, the focus of medicine has historically been to treat disease. It is such fun to use the medicine of exercise to prevent disease from happening in the first place”, said Dr. Metzl.

As we wrote about last April in Running Strong, Dr. Metzl is the best-selling author of five books, a 33-time marathon runner, and 13-time Ironman triathlete. Both a doctor and athlete, it is in his role as fitness instructor that he bridges the gap between the two. He created the Ironstrength workout to prevent the sports injuries he sees as a doctor and has experienced as an athlete himself. It is functional strength training designed to keep us healthy and injury free. Full body and plyometric exercises, like jump squats, twisting lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, planks and burpees are go to favorites in the Ironstrength workouts. They are total body moves for total body strength.

Dr. Metzl teaches the Ironstrength workout in various locations around the city twice a month. It is different every time and kind of like a flash mob that descends upon a particular location and disappears when the workout is done. Last night’s mega class, hosted by The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, took Ironstrength to a whole new level and was a dream come true for Dr. Metzl. “Ever since I’ve been in New York, I’ve always thought this would be the coolest place to teach a class. A friend of a friend is the general manager who hooked it up, and with a grant from Johnson & Johnson, we made it happen. It makes me believe in life if you have a crazy idea, just see it through and you can get it done.”

The class was sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, the number one killer of kids in the United States.

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Katie Ledecky: Swimming’s New Superstar

 
KATIE LEDECKY AT THE 16th FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN KAZAN, RUSSIA

 
Look out Micheal Phelps, the sport of swmming has a new super hero. Yesterday 18-year-old swimmer Katie Ledecky broke her own world record and won the 800-meter freestyle finals at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, sweeping all of the freestyle events in which she competed. She is the first swimmer in history – male or female – to win four freestyle events at a single world championships. Ledecky will take home five gold medals, individually in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500-meter freestyle events, and with her U.S. teammates in the 4×200 freestyle relay.

What is most impressive is the range of events in which she is champion. From the sprint distance of the 200-meter to the endurance race of the 1500-meter, she dominated. After breaking her own world record in the 1500-meter preliminary event, she broke it again 24 hours later in the event finals – by more than two seconds. Then, just 29 minutes later, she raced in the 200-meter semi-finals. USA Today noted “a long-distance freestyler should not be able to win a sprint. This is a testament to Ledecky’s strength, stroke, kick and smarts.” She turned heads once more in the 800-meter finals on Saturday, breaking her own world record from 2014 and winning by more than 10 seconds.

Since the 2012 Olympic games, Ledecky has broken nine world records in just two years. She is the current world record holder in the 400, 800, and 1,500-meter freestyle. Hailing from Bethesda, Maryland, Ledecky is quickly becoming the most impressive female swimmer of all time. She just graduated from high school in the spring and will attend Stanford University on a swimming scholarship. She will defer enrollment until the fall of 2016, as she’ll focus the next year on training for the Summer Olympics in Rio.

Rio won’t be Ledecky’s first go-around as an Olympian. In 2012, at just 15 years old, she stunned the world when she took home gold in the 800-meter freestyle finals. In what the announcers called “one of the finest swims you’ll ever see,” she was an impressive four seconds – or two body lengths – ahead of the silver medalist, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia. With the 2016 Summer Olympic Games just about a year away, excitement is already building. One of the big stories and athletes to watch will sureley be Katie Ledecky and we’ll be keeping our eyes on her all the way to Rio!

By Kristen Leen; Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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