Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.
But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.
With the Olympics right around the corner, there's a lot of attention focused on athletes. But events like mutton busting, Big Wheel racing and live monster wrestling won't be featured in London this year — and photographer Sol Neelman likes it that way.
For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.
In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.
The 2012 induction ceremony for the Baseball Hall of Fame takes place this weekend, so there's even more discussion about the 2013 election, because then both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be on the ballot, along with several other players who are also suspected of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
I've been surprised to learn that some baseball writers have declared that they'll vote for Bonds and Clemens because they were the best players in an era when drug use was widespread — ergo if there's a lot of guilt going around, then nobody should be assigned guilt.
In London, the fight over the G4S security company and the Olympics is growing. More guards failed to show up for work on Tuesday. And the CEO of the massive security company is being grilled by the Home Affairs Committee.
Olympic athletes sometimes come with Olympian baggage: kayaks, bows and arrows, javelins, horses for equestrian events, sails for windsurfers and yachtsmen, rifles. That's a lot of stuff heading into London.
In case you were living under a rock last winter, here's a quick refresher on the phenomenon known as "Linsanity."
In just a few weeks, Jeremy Lin — a lanky Asian-American point guard who played his college ball at Harvard — went from a benchwarmer to a star. He led an unlikely winning streak that made the long-downtrodden New York Knicks seem momentarily relevant in the NBA title hunt.
"This kid has single-handedly done the unthinkable: made people want to watch the New York Knicks," Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert said, joining the media frenzy.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Start with a city centuries old, mix in contests that trace their origins back millennia, then add in record numbers of arrivals at London's Heathrow Airport, including athletes who in some cases felt like they'd spent centuries on the bus stuck in traffic on the way into town.
The London Olympics are days away, along with some complications, as NPR's Philip Reeves reports.