WBEZ | olympics http://www.wbez.org/tags/olympics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en International Olympic Committee to allow refugees to compete http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-29/international-olympic-committee-allow-refugees-compete-113555 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/guar maker.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95183"><img alt="A stateless athlete Guor Marial, from South Sudan, poses at a press conference at the London Olympics media center during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London. Marathon runner Marial, who was displaced by the war in Sudan, competes in London 2012 Olympic Games as an independent Olympics athlete. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1029_guar-maker-624x407.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="A stateless athlete Guor Maker, from South Sudan, poses at a press conference at the London Olympics media center during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)" /><p>This week the International Olympic Committee said that athletes who have fled their home countries will be allowed to qualify to compete in the Olympics &ndash; under the Olympic flag.</p></div><p>The IOC has not had a policy to allow refugees to compete in the past, but there have been some exceptions. One was track and field athlete&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unhcr.org/pages/52f38d056.html" target="_blank">Guor Maker</a>&nbsp;of South Sudan in 2012. He fled the Sudanese civil war when he was young and came to the U.S. In 2012, Maker ran the marathon in the London Olympics under the Olympic flag, as an independent athlete.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em> Robin Young speaks with Maker about his experience as an independent athlete and what he thinks of the IOC decision. Maker&nbsp;is training to compete in the 2016 Olympics.</p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Interview Highlights</strong></span></p><p><strong>What was your reaction to the IOC&rsquo;s decision?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I was very happy and hopeful on the decision that IOC made, I could feel how excited those young refugees would feel across the world. I can understand because that&rsquo;s how I was in 2012.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How did you feel when you qualified in 2012 to run as an independent?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I was watching from my home in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I was training. My name was there, I was among those three athletes who walked into the stadium. I was there in spirit and I was watching them. I wish I could have been there. I knew at the time, I was accepted three days before, and I was getting ready to get my documents to go to London. It was overwhelming, I was very thankful of all the support and the decision from the IOC. Everyone just came together and put the sport before our differences in races and gender, so it was just showing the unity of the sport and how the Olympics can change and make a difference.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Does competing in the Olympics help you move on from </strong><strong>tragedy</strong><strong> of the civil war?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Well, life loss is something you cannot move on from, it&rsquo;s something you always remember. You have to do something positive to replace that, but it&rsquo;s always there. So going to the Olympics was not something I considered for me, but I considered for the people of South Sudan, and the 2 million we lost in South Sudan. So, my going to the Olympics, I was not ready to go to win, I was not in shape, but I was going to raise awareness and spirit of the youth in South Sudan.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do you think the European refugees will look to compete in the 2016 Olympics?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Yes I do think if they go to a safe place where they can get the opportunity to work, and these youth can get opportunity to go to school, I&rsquo;m pretty sure they will have the spirit to do their sport. They might not have it for 2016, but hopefully 2020, they will establish themselves to fulfill their dreams.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>The IOC has since recognized South Sudan. Will you run under that flag in 2016?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Of course, I will do it, and I live here now and I am a U.S. citizen and I am very grateful for that. I honor the United States and I put it in my heart as my country. As well, South Sudan I put in my heart as my country, that&rsquo;s where I was born, and the people of South Sudan I love dearly. I&rsquo;m going to do this for them, I&rsquo;m going to raise the flag of South Sudan, and I have a hope that I will be bringing other athletes with me. I hope to go as a team. Right now we are here, about 15 of us, South Sudanese athletes I have on my list, training here in the U.S., in Australia, the U.K., Kenya, and back in South Sudan. We are all training and I am in check with them to make sure they are doing necessary training to get the opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do you have any words of wisdom to other refugees?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I hope this&nbsp;would be an example for all the refugees across the world to not give up hope, because there is always the next day. You might be in the darkness today, they might think this is the end of the world for them, but I can tell them that if you keep hope and if you keep it alive with the support of people around you, whichever society you are in, there is always opportunity your dream will always come true.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/29/refugees-can-compete-in-olympics" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-29/international-olympic-committee-allow-refugees-compete-113555 Worldview: Battling AIDS in Kenya through sexual education http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-04-06/worldview-battling-aids-kenya-through-sexual-education-111828 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img a="" adolescents="" adults="" alt="" and="" ap="" are="" at="" ben="" better="" by="" catching="" center="" choices="" class="image-original_image" comprised="" due="" either="" for="" group="" healthy="" high="" hiv="" hiv-positive="" in="" kenya.="" kenyan="" korogocho="" neighborhood="" non-governmental="" of="" or="" organization="" photo="" risk="" run="" slum="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP728020647221.jpg" style="height: 394px; width: 620px;" the="" their="" title="In this photo taken Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, a child holds a book while attending an HIV prevention session entitled " to="" who="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/199561514&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Sex education in Kenya</span></font></p><p>As Kenya grapples with the aftermath of last week&rsquo;s terrorist attack on Garissa University College, security is not the only issue the country faces. It also has one of the world&rsquo;s highest HIV rates.&nbsp; According to USAID, in Kenya, an estimated 1.6 million people live with HIV/AIDS. Of those, 1.1 million are children left orphaned by AIDS. We&rsquo;ll talk with two organizations that work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and care for the children left orphaned by the disease. Kathy Tate Bradish, executive director of the ABC&rsquo;s of Sex Education and Phylis Nasubo Magina, Kenya country director of the ABC&rsquo;s of Sex Education, join us to talk about instructing Kenyan farmers to teach HIV prevention and sex education in their own communities. Robert Barasa, executive director of Ember Kenya Grandparent Empowerment, also joins us to talk about Kenyan grandparents caring for AIDS orphans.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-d8b2ee66-9097-25dc-7829-f582d22aea8f">Phylis Nasubo Magina is the Kenya Country Director of <a href="http://www.abcsofsex-ed.org">The ABCs of Sex Education</a>.</span></em></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-d8b2ee66-9097-25dc-7829-f582d22aea8f">Robert Barasa is the executive director of <a href="http://emberkenya.org">Ember Kenya Grandparent Empowerment </a></span><a href="http://emberkenya.org">Project</a>.</em></p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-d8b2ee66-9097-25dc-7829-f582d22aea8f">Kathy Tate Bradish is the executive director of the <a href="https://twitter.com/ABCsofSexEd">ABC&rsquo;s of Sex Education</a>.</span></em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/199561854&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">A history of US intervention in Puerto Rico</span></p><p>Puerto Rico&rsquo;s relationship with the U.S. as a controlled territory is long and complicated.&nbsp; Denis joins us to discuss the legacy of U.S. influence in Puerto Rico through his book&nbsp;<em>War Against All Puerto Ricans Revolution and Terror in America&rsquo;s Colony</em>. The book looks back at the history of U.S. intervention into the politics of Puerto Rico and is based on interviews, oral histories, congressional testimony and recently de-classified FBI files from the 1898 U.S. invasion through today.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong></p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-9aee726c-909a-a368-9357-4e7d1c103f3e"><a href="https://twitter.com/NelsonADenis">Nelson A. Denis</a> is the author of </span></em>War Against All Puerto Ricans Revolution and Terror in America&rsquo;s Colony.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/199562820&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">World History Minute: The first modern olympics</span></font></p><p>For today&rsquo;s World History Minute, historian John Schmidt, takes us back to this day in 1896 when the Olympic games were revived in Athens.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong></p><p><a href="https://chicagohistorytoday.wordpress.com/">John Schmidt</a> is an historian and author of &ldquo;On This Day in Chicago History.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-04-06/worldview-battling-aids-kenya-through-sexual-education-111828 Morning Shift: Olympians-and reporters-head home from Sochi http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-24/morning-shift-olympians-and-reporters-head-home-sochi <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/by U.S. Army IMCOM.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We get a post-Sochi games wrap-up from Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair. Also, what&#39;s the future of drug policy? And, we talk with the director of a new film that looks at the battle over gay rights within the black community.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Olympians-and reporters-head home from Sochi" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-24/morning-shift-olympians-and-reporters-head-home-sochi From Indiana's icy roads to Sochi's ski slopes http://www.wbez.org/news/indianas-icy-roads-sochis-ski-slopes-109666 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Olympic photog 2-way.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Winter Olympics get underway today in Sochi, Russia. For most athletes, the Olympics are the pinnacle of their sport.</p><p>The same could be said for the journalists covering the games. Guy Rhodes lives in Northwest Indiana and is a freelance photographer who works with the <em>Sun-Times</em> Media Group.</p><p>Today he&rsquo;s in Sochi to shoot the games for <em>USA Today</em>. WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente sat down with Rhodes before he left town to hear how he&rsquo;s preparing for the games &mdash; and the threat of terrorism.&nbsp;</p><p>You can follow Guy Rhodes at the Winter Olympics and see all his photos <a href="http://www.guyrhodes.com/blog" target="_blank">on his blog</a>.</p></p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 16:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/indianas-icy-roads-sochis-ski-slopes-109666 Morning Shift: Some have to work harder to want to workout http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-15/morning-shift-some-have-work-harder-want-workout <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cover Flickr sun dazed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Dr. Tim Lightfoot explains how some of us are genetically predisposed to skip a workout. Writer and urbanist Richard Florida breaks down the states in terms of physical fitness. And, Otaak Band puts a Sudanese spin on belting the blues.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-some-have-to-work-harder-to-want-to/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-some-have-to-work-harder-to-want-to.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-some-have-to-work-harder-to-want-to" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Some have to work harder to want to workout" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-15/morning-shift-some-have-work-harder-want-workout Grappling with an IOC decision that makes no sense http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/grappling-ioc-decision-makes-no-sense-105678 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_olympic_wrestling_paulsancya.jpg" style="float: right; height: 179px; width: 300px;" title="Looks like the IOC has pinned wrestling. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)" />One of the oldest sports in the world was kicked to the curb a couple of weeks ago. The International Olympic Committee removed wrestling from its list of 25 core sports. Now the wrestling world is in a battle to try to get it restored so it will be part of the Olympic Summer Games in 2020 and beyond.</div><p>It was really quite a shock that one of the oldest sports (and one that seems so synonymous with the Olympics) was put on a list of seven sports on the chopping block.</p><p>There are two more IOC sessions before the fate of the seven sports is determined. Only one will get a chance to get a stay of execution. The IOC executive board meets in May and a&nbsp;final decision will be made in mid-September.</p><p><strong>The seven sports in danger are:</strong></p><p>Karate &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Roller sports</p><p>Climbing</p><p>Squash</p><p>Wakeboarding</p><p>Wushu (Chinese martial arts)</p><p>Baseball/softball</p><p>Wrestling</p><p>Come on, just seeing wrestling on this list even looks wrong. All the other sports are newer to the Summer Games. Wrestling was an original.</p><p>The threat to Olympic wrestling is being felt on the college and high school too.&nbsp;</p><p>There are 77 (soon to be 78) Division I college programs in the U.S. The Big Ten Conference is considered the best in the country. Northwestern University wrestling coach Andrew Pariano told me he would really like to know the reasoning behind this decision. Last summer, Olympic wrestling wasn&rsquo;t on television. It was only available online. That should have been a tip off. Pariano and his staff had an Evanston restaurant put it on a flat screen TV.</p><p>&ldquo;The actual event was extremely well attended it was a difficult ticket to get in London,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>Which makes anyone wonder, why it was diminished to wind up online?</p><p>On the high school level, Fremd High School assistant wrestling coach Ruben Hinojosa looked at the decision for what appears to be the root of it.</p><p>&quot;My thoughts on the IOC removing wrestling are confused and wondering why they would remove one of the oldest sports in the games, I have learned that when things just don&rsquo;t make sense it comes to money and politics, so I would guess these two things have something to do with their consideration,&rdquo; Hinojosa said.</p><p>With the Olympics isn&rsquo;t it always politics and money?</p><p>For one Palatine High School wrestler, Matt Buffo, that isn&rsquo;t on his mind. But losing the dream is.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When you wrestle all the coaches say the goal is to aspire to get to the Olympics,&rdquo; Buffo said. &ldquo;The dream is always the Olympic gold and now it isn&rsquo;t, because they are taking it out.&rdquo;</p><p>The high school sophomore loves the sport that his father Bob, a former wrestler, turned him on to.</p><p>It is emotional for me too, since my late father wrestled at a Chicago Public High School in the late 1940s. Now my nephew, Jeremy, wrestles in junior high school.</p><p>&nbsp;Wrestling is one of the purest forms of competitions. It is one-on-one, you are in a weight class and its strength against strength. It&#39;s tough physically, and according to Buffo, mentally.</p><p>&quot;Your team can cheer you on, but it is basically just you, you are making the decisions, &lsquo;Are you strong enough to push yourself to get that extra two (points) before the period is over-or are you just going to huddle there and wait for the clock to run out,&#39;&quot; he said.</p><p>If the sport does not survive the Summer Games after 2016, how will it impact the sport? Coach Pariano believes the collegiate level will respond.</p><p>&ldquo;We may ban together to become stronger, because if there is not an International style, the pinnacle would be an NCAA champion,&rdquo; Pariano said.</p><p>However, there are still concerns expressed by Hinojosa.</p><p>&ldquo;I think eventually this may impact scholarships at the college level, but I truly believe that wrestling will be back in the Olympics,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>And that is the hope of the huge wrestling community. Pariano pointed out there is two hundred countries&nbsp;that participated in wrestling at the Olympics. It made it one of the most diverse sports at Games.&nbsp;USA, Russia and Iran are all being very vocal trying to reverse the IOC&rsquo;s decision.</p><p>&nbsp;So it still goes back to the question as to why wrestling is on the cut list. Is it because it is not one of the glamour sports?</p><p>Not exactly, according to Hinojosa. &ldquo;I am not sure if glamour has anything to do with it,&quot; he said. &quot;There are still sports in the Olympics like speed walking, archery, shooting, etc&hellip; that are not too glamorous.&rdquo;</p><p>However, in an era of appealing to the viewing audience and retaining sports that can put money in the coffers of the IOC, it is a plausible thought.</p><p>For Buffo and the rest of the wrestling world that IOC decision will be like a match.</p><p>&ldquo;When you win it is one of the best feelings, when the ref raises your hand and you see the points go up for your team,&quot; Buffo said. &quot;When you lose it is pretty upsetting.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s hoping the wrestling world will have their hand raised in September.</p><p>&nbsp;Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></p></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/grappling-ioc-decision-makes-no-sense-105678 IOC could drop wrestling from Olympics http://www.wbez.org/news/ioc-could-drop-wrestling-olympics-105487 <p><p>Local wrestling coaches are upset over the International Olympic Committee&rsquo;s recommendation to cut the sport from the 2020 Games.</p><p>Drew Pariano is the head coach for Northwestern University&rsquo;s wrestling program. He was excited to be in London this past summer to watch alumnus Jake Herbert compete in the games. The sport has a deep Olympic history going back to ancient Greece.</p><p>So it came as a shock to Pariano when the IOC announced it might cut the sport.</p><p>He says the Olympics are what wrestlers aim for.</p><p>&quot;Those hopes and dreams are big in kids lives and it&rsquo;s big in wrestling because that&rsquo;s the pinnacle. It&rsquo;s not the WWE or whatever you call it. True wrestlers love the idea that one day they could become an Olympian,&quot; he said.</p><p>Pariano says wrestling is an important sport around the world especially in countries like Uzbekistan and Iran. He says wrestling will likely continue to be popular in the U.S. and there will still be world championships even if the IOC eliminates it, but it would be a shame if it were no longer in the Olympics.</p><p>Wrestling joins seven other shortlisted sports fighting for a spot in the 2020 Olympics.&nbsp;Those include baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu. Leaders of each sport will make their case before the Executive Board of the IOC at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in May.</p><p>The IOC will decide later this year which events won&rsquo;t make the cut.</p></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ioc-could-drop-wrestling-olympics-105487 All eyes on the Olympics, but what to watch? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-07/all-eyes-olympics-what-watch-101238 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/phelps%20swimming%20AP.jpg" title="Michael Phelps, second from left, shares a laugh with other U.S. swimming team members during a training session at the Aquatics Center at the Olympic Park Monday. (AP/Jae C. Hong)" /></div><p>The Summer Olympics has always been a &ldquo;must-watch&rdquo; TV event &ndash; now it&rsquo;s a &ldquo;must watch&rdquo; event online and on Twitter, too. If you have more than 3,000 hours to spare in the next two weeks or so, there will be plenty of sports to choose from &ndash; but it may be a challenge to figure out what events are playing when and how to prioritize. Here are some suggestions.</p><p><strong>Swimming</strong></p><p>NBC will dictate what they want to highlight, of course, and most likely it will be highly decorated swimmer Michael Phelps. He&rsquo;s won 16 Olympic medals&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;14 gold&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;and rightly he should be spotlighted. Phelps has an opportunity to smash the record for most medals won by an Olympian, plus this is his final games. Who doesn&rsquo;t love watching someone make history?</p><p>Phelps&rsquo; success is reminiscent of another great U.S. swimmer; Mark Spitz had an amazing Olympics in 1972 in Munich, winning seven gold medals. His poster &ndash; posing in American flag swim trunks, gold medals and trademark mustache&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;was on many a teenage girl&rsquo;s wall. (Yes, I had one.) Unfortunately his terrific performance was overshadowed by the massacre of 11 Israeli coaches and athletes by Palestinian terrorists. Spitz&rsquo;s accomplishments were seemingly re-discovered during the 2008 Beijing Games as Phelps set swimming records; much has changed in 40 years, but athleticism still rules the Olympic Games.</p><p>Another American swimmer to watch is Ryan Lochte; he may have some keen battles with Phelps in the 200 and 400 individual medleys. Keep an eye on 17-year-old Missy Franklin, too. She&rsquo;ll be the first woman to compete in seven events and is expected to have a breakout performance. Phelps has called her a &ldquo;stud&rdquo;. . .I guess that would be a compliment? It has been a difficult emotional time for Missy; she is a high school student from Aurora, Colo.</p><p><strong>Gymnastics</strong></p><p>Who will be the next Shawn Johnson, Mary Lou Retton, Bart Connors or Paul Hamm? Gymnastics is always at the top of the list for many Olympics viewers. In &rsquo;08 host country China won gold for both teams; the U.S. men took team bronze and women won the silver. This summer the U.S. men&rsquo;s Olympic team has one &ldquo;old guy&rdquo;&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;26-year-old Jonathan Horton, who will anchor the team with Danell Leyva and John Orozco. The women have the 2011 individual world champion&nbsp;Jordyn Wieber&nbsp;and the top Olympic qualifier Gabby Johnson to lead.&nbsp;Look for one of these athletes on a Wheaties box near you if they become the darling of the games.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bruce jenner AP.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Former Olympian Bruce Jenner graces the cover of this retro Wheaties box. (AP)" /><strong>Soccer</strong></p><p>The U.S. men&rsquo;s team did not qualify for the Olympics&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;but the U.S. women&rsquo;s team did. Hope Solo and the rest of the team are still smarting from their World Cup loss to Japan last year on penalty kicks. That would make for a fantastic gold medal match-up.</p><p><strong>Boxing</strong></p><p>This sport is the newest entry for women these Olympics. Some of America&rsquo;s greatest male boxers have gone on to Olympic glory: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Sugar Ray Leonard and Evander Holyfield. This time around there are no American men favored in any of the weight classes, but there are three women&rsquo;s weight classes and the U.S. has a top competitor in the middle weight division&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;Claressa Shields with a 26 and 1 record. Boxing may not be everyone&rsquo;s cup of tea but this one piques my interest.</p><p><strong>Track and field</strong></p><p>There is nothing like being in the Olympic stadium for track and field, when there is more than one event happening. You see some incredible competition and a split second determines a medal. It&rsquo;s always a must in my book. In &rsquo;96 in Atlanta it was terrific being in the stands as Michael Johnson blazed first across the finish line in both the 200 and 400 meter final with his gold shoes. Like 2008, Jamaica&rsquo;s Usain Bolt is still a track star to watch; but countryman Yohan Blake beat Bolt in the time trials. Their showdown could be one of the biggest Olympics highlights.</p><p>American Allyson Felix is a favorite in both the 100 and 200 meters race, but she almost didn&rsquo;t make the team for the 100 meter race. In the qualifying trials, Felix crossed the finish line with her training partner, Jeneba Tarmoh, in a dead heat for the final spot. They were going to have a run&ndash;off but Tarmoh decided to back out.</p><p>Strange-but-true track and field trivia tidbit: You may know Bruce Jenner as Kim Kardashian&rsquo;s step-father, but his real claim to fame came in 1976. He became a star in the Montreal Olympics when he won the gold medal in the decathlon. It is one of the most grueling events, and at the time when Jenner won, the most prestigious. Aston Eaton broke the world record at the U.S. trials this year and he is the favorite in London.</p><p><strong>Other</strong></p><p>What else to catch? Fencing, biking, equestrian, diving, field hockey, water polo, volleyball, wrestling? Weight lifting, judo, taekwondo, basketball (although as I wrote in a prior blog&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;not a fan of the men&rsquo;s)? Canoeing or rowing? They&rsquo;re all events that you may find interesting.&nbsp; So many sports, not enough time in the day. I have crossed off synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics, so that should give me an hour of sleep the next few weeks.</p></p> Sat, 28 Jul 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-07/all-eyes-olympics-what-watch-101238 The business and politics behind the Olympics http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/business-and-politics-behind-olympics-101216 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/photo_1.JPG" style="height: 655px; width: 620px; " title="(WBEZ/Niala Boodhoo)" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Olympics</em> is still a bit of a dirty word in Chicago&mdash;many still feel the sting of a failed bid to host the 2016 games. But, it turns out, the Olympics&rsquo; taint, especially as it relates to its governing body, the International Olympic Committee, reeks &lsquo;round the world. The IOC describes itself as the &ldquo;supreme authority of the Olympic movement&rdquo; and a catalyst for collaboration between all parties of the Olympic family, i.e., national committees, athletes, broadcast partners, sponsors and even the U.N. And like most families, it&rsquo;s had its fair share of drama over the years; especially when it comes to its domineering American cousin, the U.S. Olympic Committee.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A seven-year battle between the IOC and the USOC ended this spring when the two agreed on a new long term revenue-sharing deal. Many felt that the U.S.&rsquo;s slice of the Olympic pie was too big. And as a result, many believed, the IOC kept its fat American cousin from coming back for seconds by blocking any and all U.S. cities&mdash;namely New York in 2012 and Chicago in 2016&mdash;from hosting the games. The new deal is indeed a diet for the USOC; it reduces the U.S. share of broadcasting rights and halves the American share of the IOC&rsquo;s biggest sponsorship deal.</p><p>But, says the <em>Nation&rsquo;s</em> <a href="http://www.edgeofsports.com/" target="_blank">Dave Zirin</a>, the IOC did Chicago a favor. As President Obama headed to Copenhagen to help make Chicago&rsquo;s case before the committee in 2009, Zirin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-zirin/obamas-olympic-error_b_302025.html?view=print" target="_blank">scrawled a warning</a> to the president and Chicago.</p><blockquote><p><em>To greater or lesser degrees, the Olympics bring gentrification, graft and police violence wherever they nest. Even without the Olympic Games, Chicago has been ground zero in the past decade for the destruction of public housing, political corruption raised to an art form, and police violence. Bringing the Olympics to this town would be like sending a gift basket filled with bottles of Jim Beam to the Betty Ford Clinic: over-consumption followed by disaster.</em></p></blockquote><p>Many saw Obama&rsquo;s trip to Copenhagen alongside longtime Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley (then enjoying a 35 percent approval rating) as a tip of the hat to the Gipper. Ronald Reagan opened the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, which were the first privately-funded games&mdash;very Reaganomic. Zirin does not consider the &rsquo;84 games a success; in fact, he <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/167630/want-understand-1992-la-riots-start-1984-la-olympics" target="_blank">connects the 1992 L.A</a>. riots to the &rsquo;84 games.&nbsp;</p><p>Whereas <a href="http://www.michaelrpayne.com/index.html" target="_blank">Michael Payne</a>, the former and first-ever IOC marketing and broadcast rights director, marks the &rsquo;84 Olympics as a turning point for the games&mdash;that the president of the L.A. committee Peter Uebberoth ushered the Olympics into the modern era by creating a private partnership funding mechanism for the near-bankrupt Olympic movement.</p><p>Zirin and Payne shared their views on<em>&nbsp;Afternoon Shift</em> as part of an hour-long look at the business and politics behind the games. Host Steve Edwards was also joined by ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson, U.K.-based sports marketing whiz <a href="http://wwwm.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/cucv/Pages/Profile.aspx?profileID=483" target="_blank">Simon Chadwick</a> and WBEZ&#39;s very own Niala Boodhoo, who is in London for the festivities.</p></p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/business-and-politics-behind-olympics-101216 The unlikely coach of Kenya's top runners http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/unlikely-coach-kenyas-top-runners-101169 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP08011108377.jpg" title="Kenyan runners return to training in the town of Iten in Kenya. (AP/Ben Curtis)" /></div><p>Potbellied and unassuming, 63-year-old Colm O&rsquo;Connell doesn&rsquo;t look like the kind of guy who trains world class athletes. But among those under his tutelage is Kenyan <a href="http://http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/07/david-rudisha-olympics-2012-track-800-meter" target="_blank">David Rudisha</a>, the reigning world champion of the 800-meter race and presumed gold medalist in the London Olympics. In addition to not looking the part, O&rsquo;Connell eschews new-fangled techniques like measuring runners&rsquo; lactate threshold and maximum oxygen consumption. His is a more intuitive technique. Oh, and did I mention he&rsquo;s an Irish priest?</p><p>In a <a href="http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/running/road-running/Father-Knows-Best-20120801.html?page=all">profile</a> for the August edition of <a href="http://www.outsideonline.com/"><em>Outside Magazine</em></a>, London-based writer <a href="http://www.edcaesar.co.uk/" target="_blank">Ed Caesar</a> chronicles how O&rsquo;Connell became &ldquo;the most successful running coach in history&rdquo; and something of a celebrity in Iten, the Kenyan village that produces many of the country&rsquo;s top athletes. Having lived in Iten for decades, the priest knows the complexities of dealing with vulnerable young people looking for a way out of extreme poverty.</p><p>Of the priest&rsquo;s unorthodox style, Caesar writes:</p><blockquote><p><br /><em>He will never coach a school-age pupil who isn&rsquo;t in school full time. He won&rsquo;t coach more than four or five professionals at a time, and he&rsquo;ll only coach would-be pros who came through his junior program. And he &mdash; not Athletics Kenya nor the dozens of European and American managers who have flooded into the Rift Valley looking to sign talent and make money on lucrative races &mdash; will decide his athletes&rsquo; event schedules.</em></p></blockquote><p><br />Unlike other coaches, O&rsquo;Connell receives no payment for his work. According to Caesar, he&rsquo;s unlikely to cheer on David Rudisha in London; he relies on the generosity of others when he needs to travel.</p><p>Cesar joins us Wednesday on <em>Worldview</em>.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 10:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/unlikely-coach-kenyas-top-runners-101169