sports

Football
10:47 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel with players Robert Luce (from left) and Michael Sam, ahead of the Cotton Bowl in January.
Tim Sharp AP

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:05 am

Now that Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, has announced that he is gay, there's been a lot of mumbling that he would be a distraction — but it's really an issue of antipathy.

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Winter Olympics
9:45 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Finnished! Russian Hockey Team Bounced Out Of Olympics

Russian fans who gathered in Sochi's Olympic Park react with dismay as they watch a broadcast of the ice hockey match between Russia and Finland.
Shamil Zhumatov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:33 pm

"Uskotko ihmeisiin?"

No, this isn't exactly a "do you believe in miracles?" bit of history for Finland, but its men's hockey team just produced a moment-to-remember at the Sochi Games.

Finland beat Russia 3-1, bouncing the home team out of the tournament.

As NPR's Robert Smith has reported, there was tremendous pressure on Alex Ovechkin and his Russian teammates to win gold in Sochi.

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Winter Olympics
8:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Team USA's Ted Ligety Wins Gold In Giant Slalom

Ted Ligety of Team USA celebrates Wednesday after winning the men's giant slalom event at the Sochi Winter Games.
Hans Klaus Techt EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:10 am

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:

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Winter Olympics
12:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

In Bobsled, 'You Learn As You Go'

Elana Meyers, during a training session in Sochi last week, is a driver on the U.S. team. She started out as a brakeman.
Tobias Hase EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:51 am

If there's one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed, it's bobsled.

The bobsled brakeman does about five seconds of hard work, jumps in the sled and can then relax a bit. During the women's bobsled competition tonight in Sochi, we should keep our eyes open, because it's fun to watch.

The women call themselves brakemen — not brake women or brake person — in a nod to the fact that bobsled was an all-male sport until 2002.

Even now, the women only race two-man — not four-man — bobsled.

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Winter Olympics
3:58 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

For Some Olympians, Games Are Golden Ticket To Politics

Team USA enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Russia.
Tatyana Zenkovich EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:21 am

Ralph Metcalfe and Jim Ryun sprinted. Bill Bradley and Tom McMillen dribbled. Bob Mathias ran, tossed, and jumped. Wendell Anderson defended. Ben Nighthorse Campbell judo chopped.

The seven athletes competed in different Olympic sports and in different eras, but they had one thing in common: they all ran for Congress and won.

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Winter Olympics
1:15 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

U.S. Men's Hockey Beats Slovenia, Securing Spot In Quarterfinals

USA forward Zach Parise reaches for a loose puck in front of Slovenia goaltender Luka Gracnar during the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey game on Sunday.
Matt Slocum AP

The U.S. men's hockey team nearly shut out Slovenia in the Winter Olympics on Sunday but allowed one goal in the final seconds of the game. The 5-1 win gives the U.S. team an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.

Virtually every hockey game here in Russia is, of course, an away game for the U.S. team. The opposing teams have more fans, more flags, more face paint.

Each time one of Slovenia's players prepared to shoot, its fans chanted. But it was only at the very end of the game that they got to stand and cheer their lone goal.

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Winter Olympics
9:42 am
Sun February 16, 2014

U.S. Men's Alpine Skiers Grab Bronze And Silver

Bode Miller of the United States makes a jump during men's super-combined downhill training at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games on Tuesday.
Luca Bruno AP

Athletes prepare for years to compete in the Olympics, and then, in a flash, it's all over. For American speed skaters it's been a terrible Olympics, but U.S. men's Alpine skiers are managing to turn around a medals drought.

In the men's super-G competition Bode Miller won the bronze. At 36 years old, he is the oldest person ever to win a medal in Alpine skiing at the Olympics. It makes him one of the most decorated American winter Olympians, winning a total of six medals in three different Olympics.

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Skijoring
5:26 am
Sun February 16, 2014

Water-Skiing On Snow: Skijorers Aren't Just Horsing Around

A horseman pulls a skier down the street in Leadville, Colo., in March, during the city's annual skijoring event. It was the event's 62nd year.
Rick Wilking Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 11:44 am

Terri Moitozo, 52, kicks her boots into her downhill skis in Rochester, N.H. Odd thing is, she's 30 miles from any mountain.

"Combining two things I love, skiing and horses," she says. "I'm excited!

Moitozo doesn't need gravity to fly across the snow — that's what her horse, Friday, is for. That, and her buddy Nick Barishian, who's riding Friday.

"He's my horse husband," she says, pointing to Barishian. "My regular husband doesn't do the horse stuff, so you gotta hire out."

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Winter Olympics
12:14 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

Soaking Sochi In Red And White, Canada Aims To Repeat 2010 Wins

Canada fans cheer during a men's hockey game between Austria and Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Friday.
Harry E. Walker MCT/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 2:36 pm

The wave just never stopped. The fans kept it going around Bolshoy Stadium at the Canada-Austria men's hockey match. Hands up, yell, sit, wait, repeat. Hands up, yell, sit, wait, repeat. As it moved, again and again, through the stands, the wave was strikingly red and white. A moving, yelling, living, breathing mass of Canadian pride.

It was Valentine's Day in Sochi. And the Canadians were in love — with their hockey teams, which are doing well, and with so many other athletes from their country. Canada is having a great run in Sochi, and its fans here are celebrating.

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Winter Olympics
11:11 am
Sat February 15, 2014

U.S. Men's Ice Hockey Beats Russia In Preliminary Round

Russian President Vladimir Putin claps during the third period of a men's ice hockey game between the USA and Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, on Saturday in Sochi, Russia.
Petr David Josek AP

The U.S. Olympic ice hockey team beat Russia 3-2 on the ice at the Sochi Games in a heart-stopping sudden-death shootout.

Although only a preliminary round, the contest was reminiscent of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" at the Lake Placid Games when a group of American college players beat the formidable Soviet team in what became a touchstone of Cold War Olympic rivalry.

T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues scored the game-winning point in the eighth round of the shootout that ended the clash among some of international hockey's best players.

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Winter Olympics
5:56 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Maybe It's The Suit: U.S. Speedskaters Swap Gear In Sochi

Shani Davis of the U.S. skates in the prototype of the official US Speedskating suit during a training session at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi, Russia, Friday. As U.S. skates have fallen short of their goals at the Winter Olympics, some skaters have asked to switch to their old suits.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:34 pm

The American speedskating team has fallen short of its goals at the Sochi Winter Olympics, with favorites such as Shani Davis and Heather Richardson failing to win medals. Some athletes believe the new racing suits they were given for the Olympics may be slowing them down.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Back To The Old Suits

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:57 am
Fri February 14, 2014

The Nose Questions God and Atheists; Judging the Morality of Athletes

Irene Papoulis is a principal lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric at Trinity College
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.

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Winter Olympics
10:56 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Sochi Games 'Better Than Expected'; Swiss Wins Super Combined

Switzerland's Sandro Viletta, skiing in the slalom portion of the men's super combined, took home the gold.
Alessandro Trovati AP

About halfway into the games, the International Olympic Committee is giving Sochi a "better than expected" report card. Officials say the athletes are happy, and the mood is festive.

IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli said he had doubts about how the Olympics might turn out early on, alluding to the terrorist threats that marked the start of the games.

"We had a big concern that we would have nobody in this [Olympic] park," Felli said in a statement.

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Winter Olympics
4:28 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Plushenko Retires After Olympic Withdrawal

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdraws from the competition after warming up during the Men's Figure Skating Short Program on day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:34 pm

Evgeni Plushenko’s Olympics are over. His competitive career, too. The Russian star retired Thursday just after he withdrew from the men’s event at the Sochi Olympics for medical reasons.

The 31-year-old Plushenko is the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics. He helped Russia win the team gold over the weekend.

“I think it’s God saying, `Evgeni, enough, enough with skating,”‘ said Plushenko, who originally was hurt in a training session Wednesday. “Age, it’s OK. But I have 12 surgeries. I’d like to be healthy.”

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Winter Olympics
2:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Why Some Olympians Load Up On Salad Instead Of Pasta

Peter Frenette of the United States jumps during training for the Men's Normal Hill Individual ahead of the start of the Sochi Games.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:53 am

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.

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Winter Olympics
12:27 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Russian Star Plushenko Withdraws From Men's Skating

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdrew from the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, reportedly because of a recurring problem with his back.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:38 pm

Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, a star who hoped to compete one more time before his adoring home nation fans, pulled himself from the games on Thursday.

There's word that he may be headed into retirement because of a recurring back problem.

USA Today describes what happened at Sochi's Iceberg Palace:

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Hockey
7:29 am
Thu February 13, 2014

In Front Of A Home Crowd, Russia Has Hockey History On Its Mind

Russia forward Alexander Ovechkin steps out onto the ice Thursday before a match against Slovenia. The Russians won 5-2. On Saturday, they'll meet Team USA.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:07 pm

There is a weird contradiction in Olympic hockey: On one hand, these professional players from the NHL arrive in a small town like movie stars.

They show up a week late, trailed by TV cameras and Russians begging for autographs.

And then they have to go back to basics. Early Thursday, members of Team USA were on the ice, doing the kind of simple drills that you'd see in a peewee hockey league.

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Winter Olympics
12:06 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

No Third Gold For U.S. Speedskater Shani Davis

Shani Davis of the U.S. competes in the second heat of the men's 500-meter speedskating race Monday in Sochi, Russia.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 3:21 pm

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Davis Finishes In 8th; U.S. Women Lose To Canada:

American speedskating star Shani Davis has come up short in his bid to win a record-breaking third straight gold medal in the men's 1,000-meter competition, NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from Sochi.

Davis finished eighth Wednesday.

The gold went to Dutch skater Stefan Groothuis. Denny Morrison of Canada came in second place, winning the silver medal. Third place, and the bronze medal, went to Michel Mulder of Netherlands.

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Winter Olympics
4:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Judging The Judges As Pairs Figure Skating Begins

Russia's Maxim Trankov and Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar perform during the Figure Skating Pairs Team Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6, 2014. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

Pairs figure skating begins tonight at the Sochi Olympics. Will Russia’s Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar restore the luster of the once-vaunted Russian figure skating program? They helped seal Russia’s gold in the team skating event this past weekend.

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Winter Olympics
1:51 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Shaun White Falls Just Short Of Three-Peat Quest In Half-Pipe

Shaun White, right, congratulates gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland after the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Finals of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Tuesday.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:47 pm

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.

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Winter Olympics
10:58 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Shaun White Goes For 'Three-Peat'; India's Team Gets Its Flag

Shaun White of Team USA during a training session Saturday in Sochi.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

There's big news for Team India as Day 5 of the games gets underway and potentially historic news for the man known to millions as The Flying Tomato.

After a standoff between the Indian Olympic Association and the International Olympic Committee, the three athletes from India can now officially compete for their country. Until today, they were competing under the Olympic flag, as "independent athletes," in cross-country skiing, Alpine slalom skiing and luge.

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Winter Olympics
10:25 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Female Ski Jumpers Finally Make Their Olympic Debut

Lindsey Van trains in Sochi on Sunday. Van has spent the past decade fighting for female ski jumpers to be allowed to compete at the Olympics.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 4:53 pm

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET: Leaping Into History

When American Sarah Hendrickson launched herself down the 90-meter jumping hill in Sochi, she flew into history, becoming the first woman to ski jump in Olympic competition. She ultimately finished in 21st place.

Carina Vogt from Germany brought home the gold. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria took silver, and France's Coline Mattel, 18, won bronze.

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Winter Olympics
3:45 am
Tue February 11, 2014

U.S. And Canadian Women's Hockey Brings Plenty Of Heat To The Ice

The rival teams have already clashed during a Sochi Olympics preparation game last December. They will face each other in an early round game Wednesday.
Abelimages Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:28 pm

Wednesday, the American women's hockey team meets its arch rival Canada on the ice in Sochi at the Winter Olympics. It's an early round game, but when it comes to these two teams, which are expected to meet in the gold medal game, there's no such thing as a low-stakes match.

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Winter Olympics
7:40 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

The Norwegian Athlete Who's One Medal Away From History

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway practices in Sochi on Monday.
Harry How Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 3:55 pm

On Monday, Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen came a ski-length away from winning a 13th Olympic medal and becoming the most decorated athlete ever at the Winter Games.

The biathlon pursuit Olympic event — cross-country skiing with rifle shooting — is a pretty devious race. The fastest man goes first, and then everyone else in the race tries to catch him before the finish line. And in Monday's competition, Bjoerndalen went first.

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Winter Olympics
6:42 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Slopestyle Skier Devin Logan Keeps It Cool, But She's 'All In'

Devin Logan practices during a ski slopestyle training session in Sochi on Friday. She says she doesn't stress about competing, even on a course that some have called dangerous. "What we do is scary in general," she says. "But we know how to do it."
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 7:01 pm

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.

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Winter Olympics
3:33 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Olympic Photo Of The Day: Speedskater Hug

Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:07 am

Gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada celebrates with his girlfriend and fellow speedskater, Marianne St-Gelais, after winning the men's 1,500-meter short-track speedskating event Monday at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Four years ago, the pair shared a similar embrace after Hamelin's win in the 500-meter race in Vancouver.

For more Olympics coverage, go to The Edge.

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Football
11:06 am
Mon February 10, 2014

NFL Prospect Michael Sam Comes Out As Gay

Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas. Sam revealed in interviews on Sunday that he is gay.
Brandon Wade AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:30 pm

On Sunday, in interviews with The New York Times and on ESPN's Outside the Lines, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam said that he is gay.

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Being Gay in Football
11:06 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Why The 'Man's-Man Game' Is An Insult To Men

Michael Sam, seen here in November 2013, told The New York Times over the weekend that he's gay.
Joe Robbins Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:06 pm

Michael Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year out of Missouri, talked about being gay in an interview with The New York Times that ran Sunday, although his college coaches and teammates already knew. Sam was expected to be a solid NFL draft pick in May, making this a particularly intriguing time for him to come out. Assuming he's drafted, Sam would become the first active NFL athlete to be openly gay.

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Football
10:20 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Coming Out Complicates Player's Prospects, NFL Execs Say

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam.
Rick Scuteri AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:55 pm

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.

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Winter Olympics
8:12 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Germany's Hoefl-Riesch Wins Women's Super-Combined Skiing

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch during the slalom run of the women's alpine skiing super-combined event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Stefano Rellandini Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 11:47 am

As always, if you're among those who don't want to know who's won what until NBC-TV's primetime show is on the air, stop reading now. For those who do like to know what's happening, here's a quick look at the medals already awarded today and some of what's coming later on:

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