Katie Ledecky: now 8 seconds faster swimming 400 metres freestyle than Mark Spitz ever was.
Report: Patrick Kane Target of Rape Investigation: Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is under investigation by police in a rape case, the Buffalo News reported Thursday. Two law enforcement sources in Hamburg, New York, told the paper that a local woman accused Kane of rape over an incident that allegedly happened last weekend. Kane grew up in Buffalo and has a house in Hamburg.
L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick breaks down the NHL's top snipers: "The best shooters aren’t necessarily the hardest shooters — the best shooters are the guys who can drastically change the angles of their release." Part 2.
What if we talked about NHL players the way the media talks about female athletes?: "Chicago Blackhawks can go back to being fathers, partners and sons today, but they have taken on another title -- heroes""
Serena Williams and the Fear of a Dominant Black Woman: '.... it’s surprising that Williams’s story of picking up a tennis racquet in Compton and ending up the greatest women’s tennis player of all time hasn’t been turned into a homily on Americana. “If Serena were smaller, lighter, and less connected to her roots she would probably be more popular,” says Kendall. “But racism means that many Americans look at her refusal to be ashamed of coming from the inner city, her rejection of European beauty aesthetics, and her spectacular record and see a negro that doesn’t know her place.”'
Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition: "Williams said that one particular long-sleeved garment would help her go unnoticed in public. “My arms are really fit, but I wanted to cover them, because when I do people don’t recognize me as much,” she said. [......] “It’s our decision to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10,” said Tomasz Wiktorowski, the coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, who is listed at 5 feet 8 and 123 pounds. “Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.”
Calvin Peete: who taught himself how to play golf at 24[!!] and became the most successful black player on the PGA Tour before the arrival of Tiger Woods, died Wednesday morning, the PGA Tour said. He was 71.
The gym on the Titanic, and other early 19th century ocean liners.: "I was up early before breakfast and met the professional racquet player in a half hour's warming up for a swim in the six foot deep tank of saltwater heated to a refreshing temperature." -- Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic Survivor.
Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey: "If you look at the coaches in Juniors and minor league hockey, many of them were not skill players. It’s a lot of former enforcers and grinders who take these coaching jobs. Naturally, they tell their players to be just like them. Their players are 17, 18 years old — younger than I was when I joined the Red Army team. Say what you want about the Whiplash mentality (or the Soviet mentality), but if coaches are going to push kids at that age, why are they pushing them to play a simple game? Why aren’t coaches pushing them to create a masterpiece? We lose a lot of Pavel Datsyuks to the closed-minded nature of the AHL and NHL."
Annotated list: the 25 best photos of Muhammad Ali, inside and outside the ring.
Over the Hill: The late career decline of Steve Nash, a review essay covering The Finish Line and 7 Seconds or Less. “If you ever see a child move,” [Nash] says in the first episode of the series, “they’re totally uninhibited. They just move freely, they don’t think about it, they’re not straining or protecting, they just are. You know, at my best, I am childlike out there.” It may be the most tragic line in the whole series; in capturing precisely what he once had, we also understand what he’s lost.
Four strikes and you're out: A study of more than one million pitches reveals "Umpires want to make the right call, but they also don't want to make the wrong call at the wrong time. Ironically, this prompts them to make bad calls more often." Illustrated with some nice heat maps.
Of all the Canadian coaches, he's the most Russian: Grantland profiles Mike Keenan as he coaches Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL.
Why is the world's gayest sport stuck in the closet?: A perceptive long essay from buzzfeed examines sexuality and men's figure skating.
Cristiano Ronaldo wins the Ballon D'Or: Rob Smyth with an eloquent, measured assessment of Ronaldo's career. Sports writing at its finest.
Dennis Rodman is the third best player in NBA history: The multi-year, multi-part series has reached a finale. Includes a cool visualizer.
New Year's Eve, 1975: Montreal Canadiens vs. Soviet Central Red Army. Complete video of possibly the greatest ice hockey game ever played. Introduction by Dick Irvin, Jr. Via the NHL History Channel, which has some other excellent nostalgia.
Contrary to popular opinion, African-American NBA players are less likely to come from impoverished backgrounds: "Growing up in a wealthier neighborhood is a major, positive predictor of reaching the N.B.A. for both black and white men. ..... Putting all the information together, my best guess is that black N.B.A. players are about 30 percent less likely than the average black male to be born to an unmarried mother and a teenage mother." Infographic. NYTimes link
The Boston Bruins are the toughest team in the NHL: So what is it good for, this heady melange of swagger and glower and grit and facepunching? What is it, if it's not a way to win? Consider this possibility: toughness in hockey isn't a strategy. It's an aesthetic.
Four new, not-racist names for Washington D.C.'s football team: The slideshow at the bottom of the article is sort of interesting too, as insight into how branding companies think.
Charles Pierce on Donald Fehr and the NHL lockout: So, when the NHL players turned to [Fehr], everyone on both sides knew they were hiring a wartime consigliere. The players came out of the last lockout with such impeccably clean clocks that it's a wonder they didn't hire someone with an RPG launcher this time around. Fehr's hiring should have come as a surprise to approximately nobody, since a lockout is always a deliberate tactic by management aimed at achieving a precise goal — in this case, clawing back what little was left after the last time Bettman fastened on this strategy.
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.
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."
Butt Ended: Mike Keenan, on coaching the Blackhawks in 1988: So I'm coaching my first exhibition game and I go into the dressing room after the first period to talk, and there's no one in there. I'm wondering what in hell is going on, and take a walk out to the other side of the hallway and the whole team is out there, smoking cigarettes." This is an interesting article on what seems almost unimaginable today - Hockey stars of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Guy Lafleur and Denis Savard, being pack a day smokers, or more.