When Your Toughest Opponent Is Yourself

Virginia Fuchs is the most established fighter from the United States at the Pan-American Games this week in Lima, Peru. In 2017, Fuchs went 18-0. In 2018, she won a bronze medal at the world championships. She already feels the pressure of being a favorite to win gold at the 2020 Olympics.

But her biggest battle is outside the ring. About 20 years ago, Fuchs received a diagnosis of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. Fuchs’s compulsions pertain to contamination and cross-contamination, which is especially complicated for an athlete who is exposed to an opponent’s sweat, saliva and, frequently, blood.

“My mind is constantly thinking, ‘What did that touch?’” Fuchs said.

Competing at a such a high level is a respite for her, though. “In day-to-day things, I feel like the O.C.D. is more powerful than my regular mind,” she said. But when Fuchs is in the ring, she has one immediate focus — her opponent.

“Ginny can definitely beat this O.C.D. thing,” Claressa Shields, a two-time Olympic middleweight champion, said. “She wants to beat it.”

Talya Minsberg, @tminsberg

Assistant Editor

This Week’s M.V.P.s

Jill Ellis

Her team never lost a World Cup game. Under Coach Jill Ellis, the United States went 13-0-1 over two tournaments — including defeating the Netherlands, 2-0, in July — and outscored its opponents by 40-6, Andrew Das notes.

On Tuesday, Jill Ellis announced that she would leave her job after a victory tour by the women’s national soccer team this fall. With a record of 102 wins, 7 losses and 18 ties, Ellis said that she had done almost everything that she had wanted to do as coach of the team.

Her replacement will lead the team into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and will have big cleats to fill.

Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig

Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig were key players in an M.L.B. trade on Tuesday night. Each made quite a final impression on his way out, Tyler Kepner wrote.

Bauer, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, hurled a baseball over the center-field fence in frustration during his last start for the Cleveland Indians. Puig, who was sent to Cleveland, brawled with the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last night with the Cincinnati Reds.

So maybe M.V.P. isn’t exactly the right description. But the trade sure made for some memorable moments on the field.

Kyle Giersdorf (a.k.a. Bugha)

Glenn Giersdorf introduced his son to Fortnite two years ago. At 16, the son is now a multimillionaire.

Last weekend, Kyle Giersdorf, who plays Fortnite Battle Royale online as “Bugha,” won the inaugural Fortnite World Cup in New York with a prize purse of $3 million. Only a handful of professional gamers have earned more than Giersdorf.

He plans to splurge on a new desk and “try and grow my brand,” he said.

A Good (Competitor) Read

This morning, an article for USA Today appeared under the byline of Ashley Wagner, an Olympic figure skater. “I was sexually assaulted at 17. Here’s why I’m telling my story now,” the headline read.

Wagner identified the assailant as John Coughlin, a prominent skater who died by suicide in January, and she wrote that the assault happened in 2008, when she was attending a figure skating camp in Colorado Springs.

“The next morning, he acted like nothing happened, so I acted like nothing happened,” Wagner wrote. “I thought that maybe I had misinterpreted it all. In 2008, I didn’t have the knowledge and empowerment that came with the #MeToo movement. No one had explained consent to me. Something that was so ambiguous then is very clear now. I was sexually assaulted.”

She said she had decided to tell her story to make the sport safer for younger people. “This is a pressure-cooker environment that will continue to create uncomfortable, inappropriate and unsafe work places unless something is done about it,” Wagner wrote.

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