Guardian writing: Rio Olympics

Two women’s soccer analyses, two gymnastics live blogs, one examination of how rare Michael Phelps’ accomplishments this year are, and one look at the next generation of U.S. Olympians.

Aug. 9: U.S. women win gold in gymnastics team final (live coverage)

Aug. 10: U.S. women’s soccer team has improved, really (group stage analysis)

Aug. 11: Biles, Raisman medal in all-around (live coverage)

Aug. 12: Why Phelps is still great at an age when most swimmers have faded

Aug. 13: USA’s women lost. Blaming it on “cowards” misses the point

Aug. 20: USA have a wealth of young talent for 2020

I also wrote for Bleacher Report and will have another post summing up my work there.



Your Rio 2016 meta-medal guide

I did tell you Ginny Thrasher (Springfield) would be someone to watch. Sure enough, she’s in the shooting final.

What else have I written to preview these Games? Glad you asked …

In addition to my analysis of Olympic odds, projections and TV offerings, I have a few general overviews up at Bleacher Report

Thrasher was mentioned in my look at teen phenoms of the Games, which includes a few players soccer fans will recognize.

I’ve given a guide of everything to watch in men’s swimming. (Not just Phelps.)

Will Usain Bolt lose? I said yes, as one of my Bold Predictions for the Games.

And if you read just one thing to get the broad overview, flip through my broad overview.

Because Samuel L. said so.



Fun with the Team USA roster

Athletes older than I am: 5. (Two shooting, three equestrian)

Born in Georgia: 6. (Two Atlanta swimmers, two Atlanta track and field athletes, one Augusta track and field athletes, one Gainesville weightlifter)

Born in North Carolina: 3. (javelin thrower Sean Furey from Greenville, soccer player Morgan Brian from Kinston, swimmer Kathleen Baker from Winston-Salem)

Born in Northern Virginia: 3. (soccer player Ali Krieger from Alexandria, heptathlete Kendell Williams from Arlington, rower Matt Miller from Fairfax)

“Hometown” in Georgia: 14. (Four Atlanta, two Fayetteville, one each from Alpharetta, Columbus, Eatonton, Gainesville, Greensboro, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Sea Island)

“Hometown” in North Carolina: 4. (Baker from Winston-Salem, field hockey player Michelle Kasold from Chapel Hill, slalom canoeist Michal Smolen from Charlotte, discus thrower Tavis Bailey from Kannapolis)

“Hometown” in Northern Virginia: 5. (Krieger from Dumfries, Miller from Springfield, tennis player Denis Kudla from Arlington, shooter Lucas Kozeniesky from Fairfax, shooter Virginia Thrasher from Springfield)

Residence in Georgia: 17.

  • 2 Alpharetta (hurdler Kristi Castlin, table tennis player Yijun Feng)
  • 3 Athens (swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Olivia Smoliga, Hali Flickenger)
  • 1 Atlanta (track and field sprinter Christian Coleman)
  • 1 Columbus (shooter Glenn Eller)
  • 1 Decatur (swimmer Amanda Weir)
  • 1 Fayetteville (soccer player Kelley O’Hara)
  • 1 Fort Benning (shooter Daniel Lowe)
  • 1 Fortson (shooter Michael McPhail)
  • 1 Greensboro (swimmer Jay Litherland)
  • 1 Kennesaw (heptathlete Kendell Williams)
  • 1 Midland (shooter Josh Richmond)
  • 3 Smyrna (basketball players Maya Moore and Angel McCoughtry, soccer player Morgan Brian)

Residence in North Carolina: 11.

  • 1 Asheville (road cyclist Brent Bookwalter)
  • 1 Camp Lejeune (shooter Lucas Kozeniesky)
  • 4 Charlotte (swimmers Ryan Lochte, Katie Melli, Cammile Adams, Jimmy Feigen)
  • 1 Durham (diver Abby Johnston)
  • 1 Gastonia (slalom canoeist Michal Smolen)
  • 1 Mount Holly (slalom canoeist Casey Eichfeld)
  • 1 Raleigh (field hockey player Michelle Kasold)
  • 1 Winston-Salem (swimmer Kathleen Baker)

Residence in Northern Virginia: 4. (tennis player Brian Baker from McLean, golfer Rickie Fowler from Purcellville, shooter Virginia Thrasher from Springfield, equestrian eventer Lauren Kieffer from The Plains)

“School/college” listed as …

  • 5 Duke (runner Shannon Rowbury, basketball player Kyrie Irving, fencer Ibithaj Muhammad, diver Abby Johnston, field hockey player Stefanie Fee)
  • 1 George Mason (runner David Verburg)
  • 2 Georgia Tech (high jumper Chaunte Lowe, golfer Matt Kuchar)
  • 11 Georgia (golfer Bubba Watson, triple jumper Keturah Orji, heptathlete Kendell Williams, hammer thrower Kibwe Johnson, swimmers Melanie Margalis, Chase Kalisz, Olivia Smoliga, Hali Flinkinger, Jay Litherland, Allison Schmitt, Gunnar Bentz)
  • 12 North Carolina (basketball player Harrison Barnes, runner Shalane Flanagan, five field hockey players, five soccer players)
  • 7 Virginia (rowers Meghan O’Leary and Matt Miller, field hockey player Michelle Vitesse, runner Robby Andrews, swimmer Leah Smith, soccer players Becky Sauerbrunn and Morgan Brian)
  • 3 Wake Forest (triathlete Greg Billington, field hockey players Lauren Crandall and Michelle Kasold)
  • 13 Penn State
  • 11 Princeton
  • 31 Stanford
  • 15 UCLA
  • 14 California
  • 12 Oregon (11 track and field, one rugby)
  • 11 Texas

Residence overseas:

  • 2 Canada (basketball players DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry)
  • 1 Czech Republic (shooter Matt Emmons)
  • 1 Spain (sailor Pedro Pascual)
  • 2 United Kingdom (equestrian eventer Clark Montgomery, rugby player Chris Wyles)

Survey says status quo in youth soccer isn’t satisfactory

Soccer leagues are proliferating like milkweed in the mid-Atlantic. Are they meeting unserved needs, or just getting in each other’s way? To find out, Beau Dure asked 102 local coaches, technical directors and club administrators a series of multiple-choice and short answer questions.

Source: Dure: Survey says status quo in youth soccer isn’t satisfactory — Soccer Wire

Olympic coverage at Bleacher Report

I’ve returned to Bleacher Report to help out with Rio coverage, with three pieces so far …

  1. Preview slideshow of the top events to watch at the track and field trials.
  2. When will the next generation of men’s 100m sprinters arrive?
  3. Top storylines to follow from now to the start of the Games.

I was also happy to see the last thing I wrote for B/R in 2012 is still valid: 10 Bridesmaids from London Who Will Medal in Rio. A quick check shows nine of the 10 are indeed in contention.

The Great U.S. Women’s Soccer Labor Dispute of 2016

A few bits of history and perspective that pointed out some inconvenient facts …

— For The Guardian, comments from the U.S. women’s national team’s lawyers along with facts, figures and questions about how this could all play out. (Will we have a league? Will we have a better national team? Will everyone get paid?

Source: The US women’s soccer pay dispute: a tangled web with no easy answers | Football | The Guardian

April 11, 2016

— For OZY, a flashback on a previous labor dispute that actually reached the point of calling in replacement players, albeit replacements who were also on board with what the striking players were doing.

Source: When Women Walked Out on Soccer

May 9, 2016

— For FourFourTwo, a piece on U.S. Soccer’s rebuttal to the team’s EEOC complaint. And the question: What do the women really want?

Source: USWNT vs. U.S. Soccer: What do the players really want?

June 2, 2016

How Kimbo Slice and MMA challenge our notions of celebrity and humanity

Written in the wake of a dizzying weekend of MMA news, with one of the sport’s top journalists (Ariel Helwani) temporarily losing his UFC credentials and one of the sport’s most famous figures (Kimbo Slice) passing away suddenly.

Source: How Kimbo Slice and MMA challenge our notions of celebrity and humanity | Sport | The Guardian

June 7, 2016

Parents demanding more from youth soccer experience

A two-fer here. For FourFourTwo, I explained that soccer parents’ complaints are no longer as easy to dismiss as they may have been when no one understood the game.

Source: Parents rightfully demanding more from inconsistent youth soccer experience | FourFourTwo

Then a related piece for Soccer Wire:

Source: Dure: Are pro coaches really better than parents? | Soccer Wire

June 16, 2016


Mapping the chaotic youth soccer scene

The sprawling, chaotic, multi-layered Google Map from Hell: Select soccer clubs and leagues across the Mid-Atlantic region, where even second- and third-tier teams routinely drive hours for games.

Follow-up coming in July …

Source: Dure: Mapping the chaotic youth soccer scene — Soccer Wire

April 29, 2016