Jeffrey Mann was once a hard driving college athlete. But his dreams were dashed when he suffered a series of injuries. He managed to make it to the conference finals in the 400-meter hurdle race, but came in dead last. Twenty-five years later, he decided that failure was not an option. Jeffrey Mann is a religion professor at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. And when we spoke with him, post-race, he told us his return to the track wasn't exactly by design.
To Brazil now, and three more World Cup matches today. And today's early match generated real news. Costa Rica scored a big upset over Italy to advance to the knockout round for only the second time, ever. The first time was 24 years ago. Here to talk about the indomitable Ticos of Costa Rica and the rest of the World Cup is sportswriter Stefan Fatsis. Hi, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS: Hey, Robert.
SIEGEL: Defending champion, Spain, has already been eliminated. And now England is eliminated. And Italy is on the brink?
Themed outdoor running events have grown in popularity, with participants flocking to races that promise unusual settings and obstacles (including zombies). But for decades now, an Oregon track has hosted a rare event: races run by inmates of a maximum-security prison alongside regular citizens.
I'm Audie Cornish, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Now it's time for the weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shapeup this week are writer Jimi Izrael, with us from Cleveland. Hey there, Jimi.
JIMI IZRAEL: Hey A.C.. What took you so long, sister?
IZRAEL: I'm sorry, go ahead with your intro. Go with your intro, my bad. Go ahead.
Batting practice brought an odd moment for the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, when outfielder Matt Joyce hit a ball that caromed off the batting cage â€” and right into the pitching machine. The ball was then quickly fired back at the surprised Joyce, who could only watch it sail past for a strike.
The moment was highlighted on the Fox Sports broadcast of the Rays' game, with slow-motion replays showing Joyce sending the ball into the loading slot. From there, it was on to ESPN and online highlight reels.
Soccer's World Cup always produces some great underdog stories. One of them, this year, comes from Ecuador. That tiny South American nation is making a rare World Cup appearance. And nearly half of its players come from the same poor and sparsely populated coastal province called Esmeraldas. John Otis has the story.
OMAR ESTUPINAN: (Reading) Segundo Castillo, Walter Ayovi...