More than 4,000 athletes from 147 countries will compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, where the opening ceremony is being held today. The games, which conclude on Sept. 9, include 20 sports such as cycling, judo and swimming — three sports that will hold medal events when competition begins in earnest Thursday.
Certain forms of art are performed in private. The painter is alone when he paints, the writer likewise.
But the most pertinent aspect of the performing arts is that they are watched. Dance, music, drama and sport are most challenging — and most thrilling — precisely because they are real, before our eyes.
One of the biggest debates in Washington, D.C., these days has nothing to do with taxes, health care or the economy. It's about baseball and whether the Washington Nationals should end the season of their young pitching star, Stephen Strasburg, just as the team may be headed for the playoffs.
Two years ago, Strasburg's promising career was threatened when he tore a ligament in his pitching arm. He needed surgery and couldn't pitch for a year.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The torch has been lit for the Paralympics, and it will travel now to the same stadium in London that was home to the Olympics for opening ceremonies tomorrow. More than 4,000 athletes, with all sorts of impairments - amputees, the blind, the intellectually impaired - will compete in events including swimming, cycling, rowing, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, to name just a few.
The Madden NFL video game franchise has sold close to 100 million copies, a number that will only go up on Tuesday when Madden NFL 13 hits shelves. Madden is the biggest franchise of its kind in North America, and big business for an enormous, tangled web of interested parties. Just ask Tommy Mullings — he craves football.
"After the football's done, like, I can't get enough football," he says. "So I'll go watch football all day and then end my Sunday with a couple of games of Madden."
We're going to turn now from one contact sport, politics, to another, professional football. The clock is ticking down to the start of another season. The Super Bowl champion New York Giants kick things off next week against the Dallas Cowboys, but when the referee blows the whistle, there's a good chance it will be his or her first time doing that in a regular season NFL game and you might be hearing more of this.
(SOUNDBITE OF BROADCAST OF NFL GAME)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: I don't understand what they're trying to call here.
The U.S. Open gets underway in Flushing Meadows, New York, Monday. For a preview, Steve Inskeep talks to Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. Roger Federer is the favorite on the men's side while Serena Williams is the overwhelming favorite for the women.
Venus and Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Donald Young will be among those vying for Grand Slam Glory at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, which start Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Those four are the only African-Americans who rank among the top 100 men's and women's players in the country at this stage. Some tennis enthusiasts say the game has got to do better than that – and they are working at the grassroots to level the playing ground.