On the last day of the London Olympics, a Ugandan runner seemingly came from nowhere during the marathon to pass the favored Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes and win gold.
Stephen Kiprotich is the first gold medalist from Uganda since John Akii-Bua won the 400-meter hurdles at the 1972 Munich Olympics. In the last two weeks, Kiprotich has become an unlikely national hero in a struggling country that rarely has much to cheer about.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 8:51 am
Credit Arnulfo Franco / AP
I loved the TV show TheSix-Million Dollar man growing up. For me, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) wasn't less cool because he had bionic implants that enabled him to perform superhuman feats. He was more cool.
Lance Armstrong may soon be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, but many supporters are sticking by him — if not as the celebrity cyclist, then as the relentless advocate for cancer survivors.
That's encouraging news for his Livestrong foundation, which must deal with the delicate matter of a scandal-tainted figurehead.
Doping controversies are taking over the sports news pages once again. There's the news of Lance Armstrong, but Major League Baseball is also facing new questions about drug use by its players. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us as he does most Fridays. Welcome, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.
CORNISH: So two positive drug tests in the past two weeks for big league baseball players. Bring us up to date on what's happening.
To athletes young and old, Lance Armstrong has been an icon and an inspiration, even more so to cancer survivors, their families and anyone who wore a yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet. So what becomes of Armstrong's legacy now that his titles are gone and he's been labeled a doper?
Here's NPR's Mike Pesca with some reaction.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: The year is 2000, and the Tour de France has just reached a critical stage in Provence. Breaking away from the pack, in effect breaking the pack, is Lance Armstrong.
A historic milestone this week at the Little League World Series.
(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAME)
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Uganda in Africa wins the Little League World Series.
BLOCK: Now to clarify, Uganda didn't win the series, the country is out of contention. This was a victory in a consolation game against Oregon. But it's a huge deal nonetheless. Uganda became the first African nation to win a game at the Little League World Series. In fact, it's the first African team ever to play in the series.
Lance Armstrong. He has a superhero's name, right out of the comic books. He moved from conquering stages of one kind — bike racing — to stages of another kind — cancer. He's chiseled and driven and known all over the world.
But now we learn that the superhero has given up in one of his biggest battles. He says he will no longer continue to fight charges by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance enhancing drugs to win bicycle races.
A summertime basketball camp can cost a kid several hundred dollars. But the Basketball in the Barrio camp — held just two blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso — costs just one buck.
Actually, only a portion of the camp is about basketball, says co-founder Rus Bradburd. The experience is sponsored by Athletes United for Peace, a group that tries to promote peace and harmony through sports.