With the Winter Olympics approaching in Sochi, Russia, one of the world's fastest skaters trains far from the limelight. His routine has remained the same for years. He's even been criticized by some skaters, for his dedication to the same coach in Milwaukee.
Marge Pitrof of member station WUWM reports.
MARGE PITROF, BYLINE: Brian Hansen realized long ago that he'd be alone with the sport he loved.
The Winter Olympics next month, held in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, Russia, should provide mesmerizing athletic spectacle on ice and snow. But each Olympics also affords a brief global platform for dissidents in host countries to get the attention of the world — primarily through the media. And the exclusive American broadcaster, NBC, is coming under pressure to do more on behalf of gay rights and journalists there.
The U.S. Figure Skating Championships were held in Boston over the weekend. At stake were national titles and tickets to next month's winter Olympics in Russia. Asma Khalid reports from our member station WBUR.
ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Just 30 seconds into her performance, the two-time national champion, Ashley Wagner, stumbled and fell. The audience gasped. And then she fell again. At the end of her routine, Wagner turned to her mom and mouthed I'm sorry.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And it is time for sports.
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MARTIN: The Baseball Hall of Fame's new class of inductees was announced this past week and it caused quite a stir. The biggest controversy may not even be about who got in, but the actual voting. Also in baseball, A-Rod's suspension - the longest ever for doping in baseball history, although it has been reduced. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us to mull all of this over. Good morning.
Saturday's NFL playoffs pits Tom Brady's Patriots against the Colts and the Seahawks against the Saints. Over on the other side of the world, will Serena serve herself into history — again? NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, about the sports stories of the week and sports to come.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The late John Wooden coached college basketball and was more successful at it than any other coach and it's at least arguable that he was more successful than any college coach of any sport. He took over the hapless basketball program at UCLA in 1948 and by 1964, he lead the Bruins to a NCAA championship.
An Olympic team spot isn't the only glittering sports prize up for grabs this weekend. Eight teams gear up for the NFL divisional playoffs on the road to next month's Super Bowl. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now for his regular Friday update on what's happening in football. Hey there, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.
CORNISH: So let's start with those two games tomorrow. First, Indianapolis at New England. In a nutshell, what do we expect?
After it was revealed that he used his Baseball Hall of Fame voter ballot to pass along the suggestions of readers of the sports site Deadspin, Dan Le Batard has been stripped of his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is also banned from all future Hall of Fame votes.
Le Batard is a columnist for The Miami Herald who is also on ESPN radio and TV. He said Thursday that he worked with Deadspin to turn his ballot over to sports fans for many reasons, emphasizing a need for reform in Hall of Fame voting.