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.

There's always a lot of drama in figure skating, and not necessarily on the ice. There's the judging and the personalities — think Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

Enough talk about whether or not Russia is ready to host the Olympics, it's time. The competitions have begun. Snowboarders and figure skaters took to the snow and ice today, even though the Opening Ceremony doesn't happen until tomorrow.

NPR's Robert Smith traveled with Russian fans to the first event to see if years of planning have paid off.





And finally this hour, a U.S. Olympic athlete in her own words. Kacey Bellamy plays defense for the U.S. women's hockey team. This is her second trip to the Olympics. She was on the team that made it to the final round in Vancouver in 2010. They lost to Canada, 2-0. Bellamy grew up in Westfield, Massachusetts. And as she prepares for this year's games, she took some time to reflect on the role her family has played in her career.

Ask locals to describe the landscape in the tiny town of Stockholm, up near the tip of northern Maine, and more than one will call it a winter wonderland. Woods dot the landscape of rolling white fields, and snow-covered spruce trees nestle roadways.

Winter is a long season, and you've got to find something fun to make it through — like skiing.

Jack Everett sat on his living room couch wearing a back brace, eyes glued to a massive TV set playing his favorite video game, NHL 2013.

"I'm the Boston Bruins," the 10-year-old said as he deftly worked the video controls. "The guy that just shot was Milan Lucic. He's a really good guy on our team."

Whether at home or during recess at his elementary school in suburban Los Angeles, Jack's young life now is about sitting still.

"Well, I can eat lunch with friends, and I play cards," Jack says. But his classmates are out running and jumping outside.

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

John Moffitt started playing football when he was 8 years old, and made it all the way to the top of the game. He played offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons, then got traded to another powerhouse team, the Denver Broncos.

Incidentally, those two teams are playing in Super Bowl XLVIII, but Moffitt won't be on the field; he quit midway through this season.



In Sochi, Russia, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe will compete in his sixth Winter Olympics. The 55-year-old downhill skier and German prince won't be skiing under the flag of his royal heritage, however. He'll be with the team of his birthplace, Mexico.

In honor of his Querido Mexico (beloved homeland), Hohenlohe says he will race down the Russian slopes decked out in a state-of-the-art mariachi ski suit.

Freestyle aerial skier Mac Bohonnon recently finished second at the Val St. Come World Cup in Quebec, and that helped him qualify for the Olympics in Sochi. But when he's not doing triple-twisting double backflips, he's taking Advanced Placement classes at Team Academy in Park City, Utah.

Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

It's Monday. That means our show is The Scramble, where we make a lot of decisions on a last minute basis. We asked our super guest, Marc Tracy of The New Republic, to pick three topics about which Colin would quickly get up to speed. 

During the Winter Olympics, seeing an aerial skier perform is unforgettable.

It's like gymnastics in the air. And, like gymnasts, aerial skiers get points for doing a harder routine and for sticking the landing. But there's a crucial difference between the two sports.

In the final few rounds of aerials, you can't use the same trick twice. Sometimes, after seeing what the athletes before you have done, you have to change which moves you'll use in the very last seconds.

Stefano Tinti/iStock / Thinkstock

Through no act of overarching planning, all three of our segments today will deal directly, or otherwise, with sports.

In our first segment, we talk with Linda Holmes from the NPR culture blog, Monkey See. We also delve into the controversy over a recent New York Times column by former executive editor, Bill Keller

The U.S. Olympic team is taking shape in the run-up to next month's Winter Games in Russia. This week, the Olympic cross-country ski team names the athletes who'll be going to Sochi, and veteran Kris Freeman is vying for another spot.

The 33-year-old Freeman already has been to three Olympic Games, and he's considered the country's best long distance racer over the past decade.

All that despite the fact that he has diabetes.

Patty Gold may be the loudest spectator at the bottom of the half-pipe, with her cheers, gasps and the yelling of her children's names. She mostly stands perfectly still with her hands clasped to her face, waiting for scores, safe landings, and possibly medals.

Two recent sporting disappointments underscore the state of interest in women in sports. The first: Lindsey Vonn, sadly acknowledging that her injuries were too serious, announced that she would not be able to compete in the Olympics next month. The second: The owners of the Los Angeles Sparks, acknowledging that they were overwhelmed by debt, just gave up the franchise.

On a frigid day at Hatcher Pass, north of Anchorage, Alaska, cross-country skier Holly Brooks glides up to a start line.

This race is just a practice with her Alaska Pacific University teammates. It's a chance for Brooks to test her skills before heading to Europe for the busy World Cup season, and then to Sochi in February for the Winter Olympics. Brooks is now a seasoned member of the U.S. Ski Team, but a little more than four years ago, she was on the sidelines.

On July 4, 2009, that all changed.

Lindsey Vonn's decision to sit out next month's Olympic Games because of a knee injury is surely a personal and professional disappointment for the Alpine skiing star. But Olympic athletes with Vonn's star power also mean big advertising dollars — and not competing in Sochi may create winners and losers among the skier's sponsors.

Saying she is "devastated" to have to miss the competition, Team USA's best-known and most dominant Alpine skier said Tuesday that she will not be competing in next month's Winter Olympics.

Here's what Linsey Vonn posted on her Facebook page:

LAPhotographer on Flickr Creative Commons

This is the Monday Scramble, the show we assemble on very short notice to challenge ourselves and keep things fresh.

Two film icons died over the weekend, Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine. Attention gravitated to O'Toole because of his larger than life roles and his larger than life off-screen behavior. We'll be talking about O'Toole with one of his co-stars and with a director but we didn't want to ignore Fontaine, famous for her Oscar-winning role and for her decades-long feud with her sister, Olivia DeHaviland. 

Chion Wolf

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the epidemic of injury in the game of football - concussions and traumatic brain injuries… but have you ever asked yourself why football helmets are designed the way they are? And how better helmet design might actually have made the game more dangerous? And while you’re at it, have you considered “the divine randomness of prolate spheroid?” That’s science talk for the unlikely evolution for the shape of the football.