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Olympic Hopeful Rebecca Mehra’s Random Act Of Kindness

Rebecca Mehra is a professional track athlete for Oiselle who currently competes in the 800m and 1500m. An All-American at Stanford, she now lives and trains in Bend, Oregon. Her story about shopping for an elderly couple who were scared to enter the grocery store in light of the coronavirus went viral over the weekend, leading to interviews on CNN and Fox News. Below, Mehra recounts her act of kindness and reflects on the impact of coronavirus on both her professional career and personal life. 

Can you walk us through what happened in that grocery store’s parking lot? 

After practice on Wednesday, I went to the grocery store to pick up some basic supplies and some food for dinner. As I was walking in, I heard, off to the side, a woman, yelling, “Hey, hey!” I had this moment of immediate apprehension, because it’s someone yelling at me from their car. But when I look, I see it’s this old woman waving at me. So I walk over, and she says, “I’m wondering if you can help me with something?” I say, sure. She goes, “My husband and I have been waiting here for a while. The first case of the Coronavirus just hit town, and we’re nervous to go to the grocery store. We know that the virus is disproportionately affecting older people, and it could be deadly for us, so we’re scared to go inside.”

What were your first thoughts when she said that?

I was just taken aback. I mean, during these crazy times, you think so much about yourself and your own situation. All my track meets are being canceled and my gym isn’t open. Those kinds of things affect my everyday life, but I’ve never been nervous to go into a grocery store or just to go outside because I’m afraid of being exposed to this virus. Of course, I don’t want to get sick, but I’ve never felt like my life has been threatened by this. So hearing her say that forced me to realize that there are people for whom this situation is just a lot more dire than it is for me. It’s nuts, honestly. In the moment, I was so surprised, I couldn’t say anything. But then as soon as she asked me if I would mind getting groceries for her, I said sure.

What happened then?

She had her window kind partially rolled down, just enough to slip me a handwritten little grocery list and a hundred dollar bill. So I go in and get their groceries. When I come back, they pop the trunk and I just put the groceries in there and then hand her back her change. I told her to have a great day, and she thanked me.  As I left, I didn’t think anything of it. But as soon as I got home I immediately regretted not giving them my phone number in case they needed help again.

What led you to share your story online? 

I didn’t really think much of it till I went home and typed out what had happened. I sent it to my boyfriend, Jordan, and he said I had to tweet that. We went back and forth, because I don’t really like Twitter. But I decided it may be worth it to share what happened, so I edited what I wrote him and posted it to Twitter. I usually just post about running, and immediately I could tell this was getting more attention. And as I kept checking it, the numbers just kept going up and up. I thought it was crazy when I went to bed and there were a few thousand likes. And then I woke up, and there’s over 10,000 retweets. Jordan and I realize, this is seriously viral. And the numbers just kept growing from there.

Why do you think so many people were inspired to share your story? 

I think that it resonated with people so much because this is such a hard time for everyone in so many different ways, and we’re all seeing the terrible news everyday. This was a small bit of light in a very dark time. I also think it made a lot of people come to the same realization that I had, that there are people in worse situations than me who I need to help. Ultimately, it’s a reflection of society at the moment. Everyone in the country is affected by what’s going on, which is why I think it hit home.

This must be such a strange time to have a tweet go viral. Obviously, you’re dealing with the impact of the virus on your career and your life, and then next thing you know you’re being interviewed on CNN. 

It’s a super weird dichotomy. One of my best friends is supposed to get married next weekend, and her wedding just got canceled. Three of my family members in Switzerland might very well have coronavirus. They haven’t been tested or diagnosed, but they have all the symptoms. So this is hitting home in a lot of ways, and then to have this weird viral fame for doing something that I think most good people would do anyways… it’s just such a strange and stressful time. At the very least, I’m glad that my story has provided people either some hope or some inspiration to be kind and help each other.

How has the virus impacted your own training and near future? 

I’m watching races just disappear from the calendar one after another. Every single event. Track season was supposed to start in April, and none of the meets are going to happen anymore. May is totally in limbo. There haven’t been any announcements yet on the Olympic trials, which are supposed to be in mid-June. I don’t know what will happen if either those or the Olympics gets cancelled. It’s hard to comprehend the possibility that you work all year for this one thing, and that it could just be completely taken away. I think we’re all just really scared and upset.

How are you managing your mindset given all the uncertainty? 

You have to find the normal in the abnormal. Not knowing what my season is going to look like, after I had it meticulously planned out, is all super uncomfortable. I was supposed to go to Europe and run these really cool races, with one in Italy, and now there’s no chance that’s happening. But that’s the reality for all of us. Our future is going to look a lot different than any of us expected. My hope is that the trials won’t get canceled, so there’ll still be something to be out there competing for. If there are any other races, they’ll be with tiny fields and no spectators. It is what it is. You just have to keep going and carry on.

Have you let yourself consider the possibility of the Olympics being cancelled or postponed, or is that just too far down the line? 

I don’t know what’s going to happen if the Olympics are canceled or postponed. It’s so unprecedented. It’s hard for me to make any guesses. I know this is going to keep getting worse for a few weeks, and then hopefully it’ll start getting better by the time we hit mid-to-late April. And maybe that will give us the opportunity to act safely and have some track competitions. But of course, it’s safety first.

Esme Morgan Signs With Washington Spirit

Esme Morgan of England inspects the pitch prior to the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match between England and France
The England national will join the Spirit in DC on July 15th. (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

English defender Esme Morgan has signed with the Washington Spirit, the club announced Thursday. 

Morgan had been with WSL side Manchester City since 2017, with one year remaining on her contract. She’ll now make a move to the NWSL, with City receiving a fee for the move. 

"I wanted to join the Spirit because they have the ambition and tools to be the best team in the NWSL, and trying to achieve that will be a great but enjoyable challenge," Morgan said in a club statement.

"On an individual level too, the opportunity to work under Jonatan [Giráldez], one of the world's best coaches, is really exciting and I look forward to learning from him and pushing myself to become the best player I can be, hopefully helping the team to success."

According to ESPN, Morgan’s lack of playing time under City manager Gareth Taylor played a key role in her decision to leave the league championship runners-up. She’ll join the Spirit in Washington, DC on July 15th, but won’t be able to begin play until August. 

Spirit president Mark Krikorian called Morgan an "exceptional talent" and added that the club is "thrilled" to add her to the roster.

"I think she’s pretty talented," Giraldez told reporters on Friday. "A young player with a great future, but with experience already in a great league and with the national team. She’s been surrounded by great players and also great coaches, so she can give us experience."

Ledecky Goes for 4 at Olympic Swimming Trials

Swimmer katie ledecky swimming at Toyota US Open
Decorated swimmer Katie Ledecky is aiming to make her fourth-straight Olympic squad. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Swimming Trials begin this weekend, running from June 15th through June 23rd in Indianapolis, with Katie Ledecky eyeing her fourth-straight Summer Games.

While traditionally held in Omaha, Indiana's Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, has been fitted with a 50-meter pool to host the meet that will determine the 2024 Paris Olympics roster.

All eyes will be on seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who will be competing in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle — all events in which she’s been an Olympic champion. 

Rival Ariarne Titmus had her trials last week, breaking the world record in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky’s 200 is intended to qualify her for the Olympic relay. Meanwhile stateside, Katie Grimes stands to be a challenger in the 1500-meter freestyle has already qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 10km open water event.

Other competitors of note include 47-year-old Gabrielle Rose, who stands to become the oldest US Swimming Olympic qualifier in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

Additionally, Kate Douglass — an NCAA and World Champion — is a favorite to make her first Olympic team in the 200-meter IM and 200-meter breaststroke. Simone Manuel, an Olympic champion in the 100-meter freestyle, is also looking to make her third-straight Olympics.

Where to watch: The Trials will be streaming all week on Peacock, with later qualifying heats airing live on USA Network and event finals airing in primetime on NBC.

Orlando and Kansas City Shoot for 13 in NWSL Weekend Action

NWSL's T. Chawinga #6 of the Kansas City Current passes the ball during the first half of their game against the Utah Royals FC
The Kansas City Current hopes to extend its NWSL unbeaten streak to 13 with a win over Chicago. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The 13th match weekend is fast approaching in the NWSL, with two season-long unbeaten streaks on the line.

League-leaders Kansas City and Orlando will attempt to survive the weekend with their unbeaten runs intact, as the Current host Chicago on Friday and the Pride travel to North Carolina for Saturday's match.

But while Kansas City and Orlando have been the gold standard this year, they're still a number of wins away from tying Washington's record for longest unbeaten streak in a single NWSL season. In 2021, the Spirit went 20 games without a loss en route to the club's first NWSL championship.

Both Gotham and Louisville are carrying momentum into their matchup on Saturday. Louisville is unbeaten in three games, and they’re looking to finally leapfrog Chicago and claim sixth place in the league standings. Gotham, on a seven-game unbeaten run, is into fifth place.

Portland and Seattle will face off in the Cascadia Clash this weekend, with Golden Boot contender Sophia Smith absent, as the decorated forward was shown a red card last weekend for time-wasting on the bench.

The Reign could use a win against their long-time rivals, as a difficult start has 13th-place Seattle registering only two wins amid nine losses so far this season.

Elsewhere in the league, 2024 expansion teams Bay FC and Utah meet for the first time this weekend, as both look to rise from the bottom half of the standings. And Washington will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against a San Diego side that's earned two hard-fought draws in recent weeks.

Watch more: "Sophia Smith is INNOCENT!" on The Late Sub with Claire Watkins

WNBA All-Star Voting Starts on June 13th

Phoenix Mercury mascot Scorch waving a 2024 WNBA All-Star flag at a 2023 home game.
Phoenix Mercury will host the 20th-annual All-Star Game on July 20th, 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via WNBA.com or the WNBA App.

Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

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