Daily Bagel: Science of the choke

Tuesday July 17th, 2012

The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

• VIDEO: In case you missed it, here's Jennifer Capriati's Hall of Fame speech. Well worth a listen.

The Guardian has a long rumination on the much-hated "c" word in sports: Choking.

(Sports psychiatrist Steve) Peters says if we have to use the word choke, let's at least accept that it's an umbrella term for a number of things – athletes might go into freeze mode (runners sometimes stop at 250 meters in a 400m race because that's when it gets painful); flight mode where they sabotage their chances (in 2006, O'Sullivan walked out of a match with Stephen Hendry when he was 4-1 down but there was plenty to play for); they might over-think or under-think; they might become self-conscious because they are playing badly or playing well, or because they suddenly become aware of the crowd or the significance of the moment. He mentions Novotna's collapse at Wimbledon. "It was unbelievable. Unbelievable. You did really think this poor woman, she's moved from aspects of the brain that automatically flow, to a part of the brain that is actively thinking and trying to work things out – how to put a good service in. Well, you're back to somebody who almost doesn't know how to serve."

• Speaking of which, Vince Spadea reveals his biggest comeback and worst choke.

Donald Young could tumble out of the Top 300 if he can't stop his skid. The Olympic-bound Young extended his losing streak to 14 yesterday with a loss to USC's Steve Johnson in Atlanta.

• No formal confirmation yet from the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, but it looks like Tsvetana Pironkova could get the nod to carry the flag at the opening ceremonies. That would bring the tally up to nine tennis players who have been tapped for the honor.

• Wedding news: Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez got married over the weekend in Barcelona. And Marcos Baghdatis and Karolina Sprem were married in Croatia. Congrats to all.

• Strike a pose: Maria Sharapova is in Russia's Harper's Bazaar and Victoria Azarenka posed for Russia's InStyle.

• Looking back at tennis at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

• Andrea Petkovic has her ankle braces off and is practicing. Great to see.

• Tennis Space looks at the Top 10 swearing incidents in tennis. Maria Sharapova's will still be my all-time favorite.

• Non-tennis: POTUS and FLOTUS went to the USA vs. Brazil basketball exhibition last night. They were on kiss-cam. Kissing ensued. But my favorite part is President Obama doing what all dads do: embarrassing their kids by dancing. See or read something that you enjoyed and want to share? Feel free to email or tweet us links to pieces from around the Internet that may have slipped past our radar.

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