athletes

Dave McGillivray likely knows the Boston Marathon better than anyone else.

McGillivray is the race's director — responsible for all the details of the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world. And for the past 41 years, he has also run all 26.2 miles of the course. For the past 27 years, he's done so after his work duties are done.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a volunteer for the 2013 Boston Marathon, nurse Amelia Nelson thought should would be there to help runners as they came across the finish line.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Eight runners entered in the 2014 Boston Marathon are documenting their race preparations for NPR in a Tumblr blog. Demi Clark is one of the eight, and this is her story.

Weeks after finishing his sophomore season at the University of Massachusetts, Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay player in Division 1 men's college basketball.

Later this month is the 118th running of the Boston Marathon, and this year’s race is especially significant because it’s the first time it’s being run since last year’s bombing at the finish line. Because of that attack, two people will be taking part in this year’s Boston Marathon who hadn’t intended to be there: Dick and Rick Hoyt.

Poetic Take On Black Boxer Lands Punches With Broad Appeal

Apr 11, 2014

April is National Poetry Month, and Code Switch is celebrating by writing about great poets of color and their poems that address issues of race, culture and ethnicity. We began the series with an invitation to our readers to help us build a collaborative poem.

In the wake of most tragedies, makeshift memorials fill up with flowers and teddy bears. After the Boston Marathon bombings last April, running shoes became potent symbols in the vast memorial there.

Now, after months in storage at the cavernous City Archives, a group of objects left at the site are in a new exhibition at the Boston Public Library.

Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

Earlier this week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University football players are employees of the university. That could have implications for other student athletes in private universities nationwide, including local schools like the University of Hartford.

This all started because the football players at Northwestern wanted to form a union so they could have collective bargaining rights and better health coverage.

We updated this post with the first shock of the day at 2:35 p.m. ET:

It's one-and-done for the Duke Blue Devils as their men's basketball team was beaten Friday by the Mercer Bears, 78-71, in the Division I men's basketball championship.

Mercer, a No. 14 seed in the Midwest region, was a huge underdog to the No. 3 seed Duke.

The win for Mercer, which has its main campus in Macon, Ga., is by far the biggest upset of the tournament so far. Heading into play, Duke was No. 8 in The Associated Press rankings. Mercer wasn't even among the nation's top 75 teams.

Jim Larrison / Creative Commons

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972  gave women the same rights to educational opportunities as men at every level of schooling.

While the law says that schools must give equal consideration to men and women when deciding who gets admitted to a school, who gets financial aid, and where a student lives while at school, the clause allowing women entrance to sports has long overshadowed the rest. 

Chion Wolf

Four women join us to talk about sports, mostly football. Two of them are sports journalists. A third is a journalist specializing in legal issues, and a fourth is a scientist and engineer.

www.emmys.com

There's something exciting about a critic who challenges your perceptions in a compelling way. I love the movie American Hustle but when I read Willa Paskin's take-down of it in Slate, she really got me thinking. 

The applause was warm and some fans stood Sunday night in Los Angeles when basketball player Jason Collins made history by walking onto the court during an NBA game.

By checking in during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the newest member of the Brooklyn Nets became the first openly gay man to play for a team in one of the nation's four major professional sports.

Germany's Sochi 2014 contingent is reeling from the news that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, a former Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing who took fourth place in the biathlon Monday, has tested positive for banned substances at the Sochi Winter Olympics. An Italian athlete also tested positive, officials said Friday.

Forget about the men. There's only one Olympic hockey rivalry that matters today, and it's between the women.

The women's hockey teams of Canada and the U.S. will face off today for Olympic gold. It's the latest square-off in a tug of war that's been hot since 1998, when the U.S. team won the first Olympic gold in women's hockey, beating Canada.

Update at 6:30 p.m. ET: Canada Won, 3-2

The Roller Rink Where Olympians Are Born

Feb 19, 2014

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result.

The Americans’ best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men’s relay team. Celski began his career at a skating rink in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way, the same city where his former speedskating idol Apolo Ohno got his start.

Ted Ligety is now only the second American to ever earn two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing after finishing first Wednesday in the giant slalom at the Sochi Winter Games.

As USA Today writes:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I was still digesting some of the lessons of the play "Freud's Last Session" -- a 90 minute conversation between Freud and C.S. Lewis -- when I stumbled upon Adam Gopnik's New Yorker essay about rise of polemical atheism -- that is atheism that takes an openly contemptuous tone toward faith.

When we imagine Olympic athletes at the table before the most important competition of their lives, we might picture a huge plate of pasta, with Gatorade to wash it down and a well-deserved ice cream sundae for dessert.

Turns out, they might be preparing with a salad, a glass of beet juice and some almonds.

In an event that came down to a dramatic final run, American snowboarder Shaun White finished in fourth place in the men's halfpipe Tuesday, falling just short of the podium with a score of 90.25. White needed a score of better than 94.75 to take gold.

The margin was close – the top four men all finished with scores above 90. But Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov moved from third to first place on his second run, in the event in which only the best score is counted.

Much of the attention on the slopestyle events in Sochi has been focused on snowboarders like Shaun White. But Devin Logan and her other American teammates twist and soar down mountains, too — on skis.

I first met Logan at an Olympic qualifier event in Colorado back in December. We were hanging out at the base of the halfpipe watching the competition. She's 20. She smiles a lot. We bonded over Instagram and 2 Chainz. I told her I'd look for her in Sochi — but she didn't know then if she'd even make the U.S. team.

Goingslo / Creative Commons

While visitors watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, enjoy spectacular feats of athletic ability from the world's most accomplished athletes, those in Russia's LGBT community anticipate laws that punish Russians for even suggesting that it's okay to be gay, let alone live openly as a gay adult.

Michael Sam has been a star defensive end at the University of Missouri. He's been an All-American and The Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

A senior, he's been among the players scouts have said are sure to be selected by an NFL team when the league holds its draft on May 8-9.

Speedskating is the U.S.'s most successful winter Olympic Sport. In Sochi this year, great things are expected again.

The secret to their success includes talent, skill and hard work, but there's also a network of support that buoys the team.

Two-time gold medalist Shani Davis is looking to win a history-making third: He would be the first speedskater to win the same event in three different Olympics.

Jamie Anderson's win in the slopestyle snowboarding competition has given the U.S. a sweep of the event following Saturday's win by Sage Kotsenburg.

Anderson's near-flawless run clinched the women's gold.

The Associated Press reports:

Sage Kotsenburg of the United States won the first gold medal of the 2014 Olympics on Saturday, soaring to victory in the men's snowboarding slopestyle final.

Kotsenburg had a score of 93.50 to edge Staale Sandbech of Norway. Mark McMorris of Canada, who barely made the finals, took bronze.

Canadian Max Parrot, who topped qualifying on Thursday, missed the podium. He washed out at the end of his first run and his second run wasn't quite crisp enough. Parrot finished fifth.

Baseball super star Alex Rodriguez dropped a federal lawsuit against Major League Baseball and its players union that challenged a 162-game suspension.

The federal lawsuit was the Yankees third baseman's last chance at trying to overturn the unprecedented punishment handed down by the league over allegations that Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs and then tried to scuttle an investigation into his use of the drugs.

Ridgefield Supports Their Olympian With a Luge Screening

Feb 7, 2014
Digital Vision/Photodisc / Thinkstock

The Olympic Games officially get underway on Friday in Sochi, Russia, with opening ceremonies airing Friday night. Three billion are expected to watch as teams from around the world gather in Fisht Stadium to celebrate the start of the games.

It's single-digit cold as Brett West steps into the snow in his backyard in Ridgefield, Conn., and points to a wooden monstrosity. It stands 32 feet high and looks kind of like a wooden roller coaster.

"The whole thing's made of wood — two-by-fours, four-by-fours and 3-quarter-inch plywood, all pressure-treated lumber, with a lot of screws."

The homemade track was the first training ground for his son, Tucker, an 18-year-old who is the youngest member of the U.S. luge team in Sochi.

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