Sports

3:29pm

Wed July 25, 2012
The Torch

U.S. Women's Soccer Starts London Olympics With A Comeback Win

Carli Lloyd scores the U.S. team's winning goal, in a comeback win over France. The Americans are bidding for their third straight Olympic gold medal.
Graham Stuart AFP/Getty Images

On the first day of competition in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the U.S. women's soccer team bounced back from an early deficit to beat France, 4-2. The game was a rematch for the two teams that met in last year's World Cup semifinals.

France jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the match was 15 minutes old, scoring on a breakaway run by Gaetane Thiney; moments later, a short-range shot found the back of the net after several U.S. players failed to clear the ball following a corner kick.

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1:15pm

Wed July 25, 2012
The Torch

Olympic Athletes' Names: Endurance (Track), Moist (Swimming), And A Leeper

Nathan Leeper of the United States jumps during the IAAF World Championships in this photo from 2001. A high jumper, Leeper is one of several athletes whose name suited their sport.
Andy Lyons Allsport/Getty

"What's in a name?" a British writer named Shakespeare once asked in Romeo and Juliet, long before the Olympics ever came to London.

Well, it turns out that some Olympic names herald the greatness athletes seek, and the events they enter, while some bear monikers better suited for others.

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12:58pm

Wed July 25, 2012
The Salt

How Many Calories Do Olympic Athletes Need? It Depends

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 1:06 pm

Endurance athletes like Michael Phelps, here at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials in Omaha, can easily burn off stacks of pancakes.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Food, as we so often note on this blog, means a lot of different things to different people. To Olympic athletes, food is fuel for exceptional athletic performance. But there's a surprising amount of variety in just how much fuel elite athletes need.

Anyone who followed Michael Phelps' astonishing performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games surely will remember one of the secrets of his success: Consuming as many as 12,000 calories in a day.

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11:37am

Wed July 25, 2012
The Torch

Greek Triple Jumper Suspended From Olympic Team For Inappropriate Tweets

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:32 pm

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou, seen competing in Finland last month, has been removed from Greece's London Olympics squad over comments made on Twitter.
Matt Dunham AP

Greek track star Voula Papachristou has been suspended from her country's Olympic team, after she made a comment about Africans who live in Greece. The comment was widely noticed on her Twitter feed, and resulted in her removal from the London 2012 roster.

On Twitter, Papachristou also reportedly expressed support for the right-wing Greek political party Golden Dawn, particularly its views on immigration.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee said that Papachristou "is suspended after her comments that go against the values and ideals of Olympism."

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10:52am

Wed July 25, 2012
The Torch

The London Games, Seen Through A (Very) Critical Eye

Just as every Olympic athlete trains their heart out, every Olympic expert seems to wear themselves out describing what an unmitigated sham is being perpetrated on the host city. Many of those criticisms are valid, of course — especially concerns about overbuilding facilities.

For instance, NPR's Louisa Lim recently reported on China's Post-Olympic Woe: How To Fill An Empty Nest.

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9:16am

Wed July 25, 2012
The Torch

Iran's Judo Champ Withdraws From Olympics, Ending Chance Of Facing Israeli

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:19 am

Iranian judo champion Javad Mahjoub will miss the London 2012 Olympics because he needs a 10-day course of antibiotics, according to reports. But few Olympic observers are worried about the health of Mahjoub, 21. Many of them see the withdrawal as a ploy to keep from competing against an Israeli.

From London, Tom Goldman filed this report for NPR's Newscast:

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6:05am

Wed July 25, 2012
Sports

A Look At The London Olympics Torchbearers

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Torchbearers have brought the Olympic flame to London's streets. The relay is wrapping up a 70-day journey from Greece, ahead of Friday's Opening Ceremony. And although it wasn't always this way, the runners carrying the torch come from all walks of life.

10:03pm

Tue July 24, 2012
Sweetness And Light

From Obscurity To The Olympics Back To Obscurity

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Know who this gymnast is? You will soon. Seventeen-year-old Jordyn Wieber will compete for the U.S. women's gymnastics team in the 2012 London Olympics.
Jeff Roberson AP

Why do we like the Olympics?

If somebody hadn't thought to start them up again 116 years ago, would ESPN have invented them to fill in summer programming?

I'm not being cranky. It's just that most of the most popular Olympic sports are the groundhog games. Swimming, gymnastics and track and field come out every four years, see their shadow and go right back underground where nobody pays any attention to them for another four years. Can you even name a gymnast?

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5:05pm

Tue July 24, 2012
The Torch

Olympic Sports We Don't See Any More, And Why

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 5:14 pm

Who needs two hands? At the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, the events included All Around Dumbell, which comprised 10 one- and two-handed lifts.
Chicago History Museum/Library of Congress

The Olympic Games are one of the most tradition-bound sporting events in the world. But that doesn't mean its sporting events are written in stone.

Since 1894, dozens of events have had their flash in the pan, and been dumped. Some have lasted only one Olympic cycle. The website Top End Sports has a nice collection of discontinued Olympic events.

Here are some of my favorite one-and-dones:

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4:28pm

Tue July 24, 2012
Sports

Prisoners And Gasbags: Baseball's Odd Team Names

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:52 pm

The Poughkeepsie Honey Bugs (1913-1914) may not sound intimidating, but their name does reflect the town's spirit. According to author and sportscaster Tim Hagerty, when Poughkeepsie, N.Y., officially became a city in 1854, its seal featured a beehive as a nod to the town's industrial and entrepreneurial beginnings.
Cider Mill Press National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

In 1911, the Missouri State League baseball team in Kirksville — home of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine — called iself the Kirksville Osteopaths. In 1899, the New York State League included a team based in Auburn — home to a state penitentiary — called the Auburn Prisoners. In 1903, that same New York minor league included a team from Schenectady called the Schenectady Frog Alleys.

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