Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. Each month in 2018, Future Tense Fiction--a series of short stories from Future Tense and ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives--will publish a story on a theme. CUT TO: Studio set, ANNOUNCER behind desk. Run clip on screen behind Chan: Mendoza on Balance Beam and Floor Exercise. Today, Jinky Mendoza is one of America's best hopes for gymnastic gold in Paris. It's been an amazing journey for a young woman whom many thought might never be able to walk, much less compete after a devastating accident. Shaky phone video of gym where people are clustered around Mendoza on mat on her back. LIAM CHAN (VOICE-OVER) In 2017, Jinky was 11 years old, one of the top-ranked junior gymnasts in the U.S. Her family was contemplating an offer to train at the Iowa facility owned by gold-medal gymnast and coach, Gabby Douglas, when tragedy struck. During a routine vault in practice, Jinky overrotated, landed wrong, and fractured her spine, at the C5 vertebra. She was paralyzed from the neck down. It seemed as if her gymnastics career, indeed, life as she knew it, was over. LIAM CHAN (VOICE-OVER) Then doctors proposed a radical new medical procedure. They would use starfish DNA to teach her body how to heal itself. LIAM CHAN They call her the Starfish Girl. Today the International Olympic Committee announced that it would release a ruling Monday on whether or not this 5-feet-3-inch dynamo is human. The big scoreboard in the new University of Texas Wexner Arena was showing Sports 24/7's spot on Jinky's accident, again. Jinky glanced up at her and then away, continuing her stretches. There was a feeling to arenas--big but chaotic. All the gymnasts down in the exhibition area were in clumps by team, getting ready, shaking themselves loose and wearing warmup gear. The Texas air conditioning kept the place like a meat locker.
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals became the latest in a long line of NHL teams to discover regular-season dominance doesn't translate into playoff prominence. The Caps went from Presidents' Trophy winners in April to poof in May after being eliminated in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series to Pittsburgh. "It's just kind of setting in right now that it's over," Capitals forward Jay Beagle said, following the 4-3 overtime loss on Tuesday night. The Cup was our goal all year and unfortunately we didn't (make it)." Since 2000, when the St. Louis Blues went from first in the standings to one-and-done in the playoffs, only four teams that finished the regular season with the best record have gone on to win the Stanley Cup: Chicago in 2013, Detroit in 2008 and '02, and Colorado in 2001.
DUCKING OUT: The Oregon Ducks are taking a page from the New England Patriots, who halted practice last week to watch Nate Ebner compete in the Olympic rugby sevens tournament. Devon Allen, the Ducks football player who is competing in Rio, will make his Olympic debut later Monday when he runs in the opening heats of the 110-meter hurdles. The Ducks plan to take a break from practice to watch the wide receiver run his heat.
Former rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has quit the NFL after just one season to play rugby sevens for Fiji in this year's Rio Olympics. Hayne played in Australia's National Rugby League from 2006-14 before joining the San Francisco 49ers. "The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel similar to me joining the NFL," said Hayne, 28. "The Fiji sevens team reached out to me. I could not pass that chance up."