Tokyo Wins the 2020 Summer Olympics: After Madrid was eliminated, Tokyo beat Istanbul in the final vote for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Concerns over the lingering environmental effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster may have been outweighed by concerns over Middle East unrest and Spanish economic woes. This puts the Olympics in East Asia for consecutive events, with the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea.
Usain Bolt Meet Lightning Bolt: Photo by Olivier Morin of AFP: Jamaica's Usain Bolt wins the 100m final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Sochi Athletes Subject to Anti-Gay Law: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko warned Thursday that athletes and visitors to the Sochi Olympics will be subject to the country's laws against promoting homosexuality, contradicting a statement from the International Olympic Committee that the government had promised they would be exempt.
Oscar Pistorius Suspected in Girlfriend's Death: The Olympics and Paralympics runner Oscar Pistorius is suspected of murdering his girlfriend, the 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp. Around 4 a.m. local time Thursday, Steenkamp was shot multiple times at Pistorius' home in Pretoria, South Africa. Police dismissed press reports suggesting that he mistook her for an intruder and said they had been at the house in the past for "allegations of a domestic nature." After winning a fight to compete with his "blade runner" prosthetics, Pistorius reached the 400-meter semi-finals at the London Olympics. Yesterday, Steenkamp expressed excitement on Twitter about Valentine's Day, posting the message, "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay."
Olympics drop wrestling for 2020: The International Olympic Committee has dropped wrestling from the list of "core" sports as of the 2020 Games. The shocking decision would mean that the sport, which had 18 events for men and women at last year's London games, is off the program for the first time since 1900.
Torture or training? : Inside the brutal Chinese gymnasium where the country's future Olympic stars are beaten into shape.
One Small Step.: Sarah Attar is one of the first two women to compete in the Olympics under the flag of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The other was Wojdan Shaherkani, a judoka. And today Tahmina Kohistani also became the first Afghani to race in the Olympics. All three were fully clothed and sported hijabs to cover their hair.
U.S. Defeats Canada in Epic Women's Soccer Semifinal: The U.S. women's soccer team fell down a goal three times to Canada on scores by Christine Sinclair, but tied the Olympic semifinal 3-3 in regulation and won on a last-minute header by Alex Morgan. Megan Rapinoe scored twice and Abby Wambach found the net after two controversial penalties on Canada. "I have never seen a team in an elite-level game given an indirect free kick in the box for the opposing goalie being deemed to have held onto the ball longer than the six-second time limit," writes Grant Wahl, who called the match "one of the greatest games I've ever seen."
One Race, Every Medalist Ever: Comparing Usain Bolt's 2012 gold medal to every other 100m medalist in the history of the modern Olympic games.
I realise this will probably sound appallingly sexist : ...and that would be because it is.
Would You Rather Win Silver Or Bronze? (Be Careful What You Wish For): "If you set aside the happy people who win gold and look only at the people who come in second and third, it's the men and women with bronze medals who invariably look happier than the athletes who won silver."
Brick-by-Brick Olymp... errr... Global Sporting Event: "Animated reconstructions of the best moments of the global sport event taking place in the UK from 27 July to 12 August 2012."
The oldest olympian: : Hiroshi Hoketsu first competed in the Tokyo olympics in 1964; 48 years later, he is still gives his best in dressage.
Trying their best to win at losing: Eight badminton players face disciplinary hearings for "not using one's best efforts to win a match" after two Olympic women's doubles matches where both pairs were very obviously playing to lose their final group matches in order to secure a better draw in the knockout round. This is the first Olympic tournament that's not been a pure knockout competition; it may be the last.
Chinese Swimmer's Amazing Time Raises Questions: Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, 16, won the gold in the women's 400-meter individual medley, finishing the last 50 meters in 28.93 seconds. That speed was faster than men's gold medalist Ryan Lochte's 29.10 seconds in the same span, prompting BBC presenter Claire Balding to ask former British Olympian Mark Foste, "How many questions will there be, Mark, about somebody who can suddenly swim so much faster than she has ever swum before?"
Twitter Suspends Journalist Critical of NBC: The British journalist Guy Adams, a Los Angeles-based correspondent for The Independent, had his Twitter account suspended after he posted a series of scathing messages about NBC's Olympics coverage and encouraged his followers to email network Olympics executive Gary Zenkel. An NBC spokesperson said, "We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives." Adams posted Zenkel's corporate email address.
For the Glory of Your Country, er, Countries: Some of the Olympic athletes competing in these Games became citizens of their country as recently as 10 days ago. "Citizenship, an institution steeped in notions of equality, identity, loyalty, perhaps even sacrifice, is being turned into a recruitment tool used to bolster a nation’s standing relative to its competitors," writes Ayelet Shachar, one of six people debating the subject on the New York Times website. Triple jumper Yamile Aldama is competing in her third Olympics for her third country. She was Cuban in 2000, Sudanese in 2004 and is British today.
Slave Genes Myth Must Die: Olympic Champion sprinter Michael Johnson says, All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations. . . . Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me –- I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.
Olympic Sexism: Men Fly First Class, Women Fly Coach:
The Japanese women’s soccer team and the Australian women’s soccer and basketball teams were relegated to economy while their male counterparts flew business class. This is despite the fact that the women’s teams are ranked higher and have played better in the past.
Athlete Dropped from Olympics for Twitter Joke: Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristo has been expelled from the Olympics for using Twitter to support a far-right party and make this comment Sunday: "So many Africans in #Greece at least West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food." Though she apologized for what she called a joke, her country's Olympic federation gave her the heave-ho and said she "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement."
Olympic Anthem + Electric Guitar: 5 more days... Until then, a young rock guitarist riffs on the anthem.
U.S. Sprinters Tie in Super-Speed Photo Finish: In a race with three spots on the U.S. team at the Summer Olympics up for grabs, Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished the 100 meters Saturday in a photographic tie for third -- using a finish-line camera that shoots at 3,000 frames per second. There's no rule for how to break such a tie. "How we reached this point without a rule, I have no idea," said Ato Boldon, a former sprinter and race commentator.
Train hard, respect each other, work as a team and honour your homeland: Ethiopia's town of runners.
You've Run a Long Way, Baby: The Boston Marathon is about to celebrate 40 years of women competing in the event, but a woman snuck in five years earlier. In 1967, Syracuse college student Kathrine Switzer crashed the marathon, which had been all-male for 70 years. When race organizer Jock Semple saw her, he chased her down, grabbed her and yelled, "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!" Her boyfriend foiled Semple with an impressive block. Afterwards, a stunned Switzer kept running and told herself, "I'm going to finish this race on my hands and knees if I have to, because nobody believes that I can do this."
Profile of John Carlos: who, together with Tommie Smith, performed the black power salute on the podium of the Mexico City Olympic games. "In life, there's the beginning and the end," he says. "The beginning don't matter. The end don't matter. All that matters is what you do in between whether you're prepared to do what it takes to make change. There has to be physical and material sacrifice. When all the dust settles and we're getting ready to play down for the ninth inning, the greatest reward is to know that you did your job when you were here on the planet."
Women's Volleyball Players Get Bikini Reprieve: In order to respect and accommodate the cultural beliefs of various countries, women volleyball players will be given more of a choice in clothing at the London Olympics this summer. Instead of having to wear bikinis, the International Volleyball Federation has announced that women will be allowed to wear shorts and tops with sleeves. The new rule permits “shorts of a maximum length of (1.18 inches) above the knee,” so I doubt we’ll be seeing any board shorts on the beach.
Skier Nick Zoricic Dies in Skicross Crash: Canadian skier Nick Zoricic, 29, died after crashing in a World Cup skicross event in Switzerland Saturday. On the final jump of a race, Zoricic went off the course and struck safety nets, suffering "severe neurotrauma," according to the International Ski Federation. He's the second top Canadian skier to die this year, following Sarah Burke's death in January after a training accident on a halfpipe in Utah.
Donors Pay Sarah Burke's Huge Medical Bill: The family of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke has raised several hundred thousand dollars to cover medical costs incurred after she was injured in a Jan. 10 training accident that ultimately ended her life. Donations on Give Forward have reached $294,000. "Enough funds have been raised to cover the anticipated costs related to Sarah's medical care," the family states. "Future donations will go towards post-hospital arrangements such as services and memorial costs and to establish a foundation to honor Sarah's legacy."
Sarah Burke passes away: Professional skier Sarah Burke, whose accident was mentioned on here when it happened, has sadly passed away from her injuries.
Not for the Sheepish ... or is it?: New Zealand produces some of the world's best shearers and its national championship, the Golden Shears, receives substantial media coverage; but the IOC is unlikely to be persuaded that it should be an Olympic demonstration sport. [more inside]
Skier Sarah Burke in Coma After Training Accident: Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke has been hospitalized in critical condition and put in an induced coma after a training accident Tuesday in the superpipe at Park City Mountain, Utah. Burke, 29, is a four-time Winter X Games champion who helped get freestyle halfpipe in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. "Sarah is the top female halfpipe athlete in the world," said Peter Judge of Canadian Freestyle.
Paralympian Regains Use of Legs, Changes Sports: Dutch Paralympian handcyclist Monique van der Voerst, who won two silver medals at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, was injured last year when struck by a bicycle while training for the 2012 games. She regained feeling in her legs, learned to walk again, was declared ineligible as a Paralympian and is now training as a cyclist for the 2016 Rio Olympics. "I find it medically difficult to explain," said Dr. Christof Smit, her rehabilitation coach.
Usain Bolt Disqualified from 100-Meter Final: A false start eliminated Usain Bolt from the 100 meters in the world championships Sunday. Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds wasn't jeopardized by race winner Yohan Blake at 9.92. "I didn't really think they were going to kick him out," said second-place finisher Walter Dix said. "How can you kick Usain out of the race?"
U.S. Skier Pees on Child's Leg During Flight: Robert "Sandy" Vietze, an 18-year-old skier in the U.S. Olympic development program, urinated on the leg of an 11-year-old girl during a red-eye flight from Portland to New York City Wednesday. "I was drunk, and I did not realize I was pissing on her leg," Vietze allegedly told police. The girl's father, returning from the restroom with another of his children, had to be physically separated from Vietze.
Swimmer Fails in Havana-Florida Bid: Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, has abandoned her bid to become the first person to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Twenty nine hours into the effort, she was beset by ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma. "I would be lying to say I'm not deeply, deeply disappointed," she told CNN. "This was a big dream, not just of the last two years but some 30 years ago when I tried it."
Olympic Blade Runner: Oscar Pistorius has qualified for both the Track and Field World Championships and Olympics in the 400 metre sprints, with a time of 45.07 seconds. Pistorius, who had his legs amputated below the knees at 11 months of age, races on prosthetic carbon fibre "blades". A 2008 court decision ruled his prosthetics did not give him a competitive advantage and made him eligible for the Beijing Olympics, but he was unable to make the qualifying time for those games. It now appears he will be automatically selected for the South African team sent to the 2012 London Olympics.
The Armless Archer: Matt Stutzman, who was born without arms, has qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in archery. Not the Paralympics; the actual Olympics.
NBC Sports Chief Dick Ebersol resigns: Dick Ebersol has resigned as NBC Sports Group chairman, an industry giant who helped launch "Saturday Night Live" and built the network into the home of the Olympics.
No Shirt No Service: High School Coach Jobless After Boys Track Team Goes Topless: Westwood High track coach Tom Davis was fired last week because one of his runners decided to whip off a shirt during training on a 75-degree day. This wasn't a girl, by the way. It was a boy.