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Normally by Friday morning we've got the first one or two topics for The Nose ironed out, and we maybe spend some time hashing out what the third and fourth might be.

Not this week.

Saying it wants to make football safer for current and future athletes, the NFL is pledging to spend $100 million for "independent medical research and engineering advancements." A main goal will be to prevent and treat head injuries.

Announcing the pledge Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it is in addition to the $100 million the league already committed toward medical research of brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the progressive degenerative disease that has been found in football players.

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The presidential debates are scheduled to begin this month with the first scheduled for September 26 at Hofstra University in Long Island. Donald Trump announced this weekend that yes, he would participate -now that he approves of the moderators chosen to referee the debates. 

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Matt Iannazzo was a baseball star at Norwalk High School, pitching them to an FCIAC title in 2007. At the University of Pittsburgh, he was an All-Conference pitcher. Out of college, Iannazzo signed with the Chicago Cubs and played two seasons near the bottom of their organization. Now he pitches for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

West Point - The U.S. Military Academy

The University of Connecticut appears to be on the short list of schools being considered to join the Big 12 Athletic Conference. Since the Big 12 voted earlier this summer to explore an expansion, 20 schools have emerged as possible candidates, including Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, Boise State, and UConn.

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Donald Trump canceled his big speech on immigration scheduled for Thursday. It could have something to do with the comments he made to his new Hispanic advisory council suggesting he'd like to find a more "humane" approach to dealing with the undocumented immigrants he has - up to now - wanted to deport. Up to now, his supporters have been loyal despite policy pronouncements contrary to their views. Immigration may be the one area they won't tolerate a back-pedal. We talk about this and more news in politics.

Rio 2016 organizers dropped the curtain on the Summer Games on Sunday after hosting the world's elite athletes who've competed for 306 medals over the past 19 days here in Rio de Janeiro.

The closing ceremony starts at 8 p.m. local time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Time. Because of NBC's time delay, it's airing at 8 p.m. ET and progressively later across the U.S.

No one is flying home from Rio with more medals than the U.S. women.

The full American squad — both men and women — won the most medals overall, 121, as has often been the case in the Summer Games. But first in London four years ago, and again in Rio, the U.S. women have captured most of those medals.

The U.S. women took 61, the men had 55, and there were five in mixed events, including equestrian and mixed-doubles tennis.

How good were the American women?

CaseyPenk / Wikimedia Commons

Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" came to its hasty conclusion last night, still more than two months before the election. Gawker will shut down next week. And as of next Tuesday, NPR's website will no longer have comments sections.

Brian Williams, on the other hand, is getting a new show on MSNBC. And Jonah Lehrer's got a new book out.

The U.S. had never won an Olympic gold medal in women's freestyle wrestling. Japan's Saori Yoshida had lost only twice in 14 years of competition and was the reigning gold medalist at 53 kg (117 pounds).

But Thursday belonged to American Helen Maroulis. With a couple of quick moves in the second period, she was suddenly up 4-1 over the nearly unbeatable Yoshida. The clocked ticked down. The horn blew.

A euphoric Maroulis won the gold.

A stunned Yoshida, head tucked in her hands on the mat, had to settle for silver.

The U.S. women's water polo team will be back in the pool on Friday, hungry for a second consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The women made it to the gold medal match after a decisive victory Wednesday against Hungary in the semifinals.

I watched that game with the mother of not one, but two players on Team USA.

Leslie Fischer of Laguna Beach, Calif., was sitting poolside, watching anxiously as the Hungarian players beat up on the U.S. team, including her daughters: Makenzie, 19, and Aria, 17, who's still in high school and the youngest player on the U.S. roster.

It was a team that ran alone: The women of the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team raced by themselves under the lights of Rio's Olympic Stadium Thursday, going against the clock for a shot at the final.

The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun needed a time better than 42.70 seconds to reach the final.

The women posted a 41.77 — the best of any qualifier, edging Jamaica at 41.79. The result means that China's relay team, which owned a slot in the final for more than seven hours, will be left out of the race.

Barring a banana peel appearing in his lane, the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will likely win a third straight gold medal in the 200 meters today, at the Rio Olympics. Earlier this week, Bolt, who turns 30 at the conclusion of the games, on Sunday, picked up his third gold in the 100 meters, after smiling his way through qualifying heats with characteristic charm and seeming ease.

A day after police pulled two of Ryan Lochte's teammates off a U.S.-bound plane to discuss their claims of being robbed last weekend, we're seeing reports that the group was involved in an altercation that centered on a gas station's bathroom.

The police have scheduled a 2 p.m. ET news conference to discuss the case. But even as new details emerge, Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada downplayed the case's significance at a briefing Thursday morning.

alancleaver_2000 / Creative Commons

Twenty-five years after it was first levied, what has the income tax done for Connecticut? This hour, we take a deeper look at this controversial tax -- including its impact on our state's economic and fiscal well-being.

Seven to one. That's all you need to say, and everyone in Brazil knows what you're talking about. The hopes of the South American nation were crushed when Germany humiliated a shell-shocked Brazil by that score in the semifinals of soccer's World Cup in 2014, and in Brazil no less.

Now there's a rematch.

Brazil coasted to a 6-0 win Wednesday over Honduras in one semifinal, while Germany shutout Nigeria, 2-0, in the other, setting up a showdown in the Olympic gold medal game on Saturday.

U.S. Army / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut's own Donn Cabral ran in the Olympic 3,000 meter steeplechase final Wednesday morning. Cabral finished in ninth place -- but his U.S. teammate Evan Jager finished with a silver medal. 

The steeplechase is one of the most grueling and chaotic Olympic track and field events: seven-and-a-half laps around the track at top speed, where runners must negotiate 28 barriers and seven water jumps.

Americans Simone Biles and Aly Raisman became the first U.S. gymnasts to win gold and silver in the women's floor exercise Tuesday, beating out six other elite gymnasts to put an exclamation mark on a stellar Summer Olympics in Rio.

Great Britain's Amy Tinkler, 16, won bronze.

"I'm a little bit relieved because it's been a long journey," Biles said after winning the final women's event in Rio.

She's enjoyed all of her time in Rio, Biles said, but she also admitted to being a little worn out.

Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas won the women's 400-meter final at the Summer Olympics Monday, edging America's star runner Allyson Felix in a time of 49.44 seconds on a damp night in Rio de Janeiro.

Felix closed in on Miller in the closing meters – but she couldn't get ahead of her, finishing at 49.51. At the finish, Miller dove, or perhaps collapsed, across the line. It was a move that Felix later mirrored, as the toll of the race hit home.

Jamaica's Shericka Jackson won bronze, in a time of 49.85.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is taking on the National Hockey League for what he calls "apathy and indifference" to concussions among its players.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt retained his title as the "world's fastest man," accelerating past all challengers to win the men's 100 meters for an unprecedented third time on Sunday night in Rio.

In trademark fashion, Bolt unpacked his lanky 6-foot-5 frame and separated himself from the tightly bunched field to win by a comfortable margin in a time of 9.81. His closest competitor, Justin Gatlin, hung with Bolt for the first half of the race, but couldn't match Bolt down the stretch. Gatlin took the silver in 9.89.

Puerto Rico now has its first Olympic gold medal, courtesy of tennis star Monica Puig, who beat Germany's Angelique Kerber in the women's singles tournament at Rio's Summer Olympics Saturday.

"I"m speechless," a smiling Puig said after her historic win. "I wanted it so bad."

"I never imagined in my wildest dreams that this would happen," Puig added — and she said her experience in Rio de Janeiro has been like a dream. She's looking forward, she said, to waking up tomorrow morning and seeing her gold medal sitting on her bedside table.

The Kenyans vs. the Ethiopians.

Like many distance events at the Rio Games, and Olympics past, it often boils down to a race featuring the indefatigable runners from these two African neighbors.

And that's a likely scenario in the women's marathon this Sunday, and the men's next Sunday, the final day of the Summer Olympics.

In every men's and women's marathon since 1996, at least one Kenyan or Ethiopian has made it to the medal stand, with one exception. And that exception proves the rule.

USA Swimming Wants More Diversity In The Pool

Aug 13, 2016

Simone Manuel made history Thursday night by becoming the first female African-American swimmer to win Olympic gold in an individual swimming event.

With a dramatic performance on the high bars, Japan's Kohei Uchimura defended his Olympic title in the men's individual all-around on Wednesday and added to his lustrous reputation as the best male gymnast ever.

Uchimura, who has won every all-around title at the world championships or the Olympics since 2009, was heavily favored. But after five of the six events, he was slightly behind Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev.

Cyclist Kristin Armstrong has a regular job and a son. And as of today, she also has three Olympic gold medals. After becoming the only cyclist — male or female — to win three consecutive golds in the same discipline, Armstrong, who turns 43 Thursday, said she hopes to inspire other moms.

After calling this victory at Rio's Summer Olympics "the most gratifying" of her three individual championships, Armstrong urged other female athletes not to let negative ideas seep into their minds about what they're capable of.

She said:

If there's such a thing as an average U.S. Olympic athlete at the Rio Games, she might look something like this: a 26-year-old woman from California who stands about 5 foot 8 — and is now at her first Olympic Games.

Those qualities are among the most common NPR found after sifting through data about Team USA's 554 athletes in Rio, identifying averages and common characteristics.

Are any U.S. Olympic athletes from your town? To find out, you can check our listing of Olympians' hometowns and birth cities below, which draws from data we got from Team USA.

The Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., are represented in Rio — but not every American state is: No U.S. athletes said they were from North Dakota, West Virginia or Wyoming.

Of the American team's 554 athletes, 47 were born in other countries — the most came from China and Kenya, which account for five each.

Simone Biles seized a gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics final Thursday, recovering from second place — where she was halfway through the event — to take gold. Raisman also had to make up ground to earn the silver.

The 1-2 finish came days after the pair seized a second consecutive gold medal for the U.S. women's gymnastics team. But Thursday, they were up against both each other and 22 of the world's top gymnasts, with athletes from Russia and China turning in performances that made the final an thrilling competition.

Judo was founded in Japan around 1882. It’s an aggregate of techniques drawn from various martial arts. It’s been an Olympic sport since 1964 and has been gaining popularity ever since.

What does it look like?

“Bodies flying through the air…you’ll see a lot of them are very acrobatic,” says Jake Freedman, Head Coach of the University of New Hampshire Judo Club. “They may go very high into the air, and somehow spin in the air like a cat, and land on their fronts.”

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