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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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