Olympics and other sports

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Latest posts in Olympics and other sports

  • Anti-doping and the evidence card - Is it fair to ask for a little fairness when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs? In general, yes. But a lot of devils lurk in the details. Blame Luke Thomas for this post. The outstanding MMA analyst loves to raise tough questions about drug testing, so this morning, he retweeted an interesting series from Roger Pielke Jr., a Colorado environmental science professor who isn’t afraid to go against the grain — he’s been labeled a “climate misinformer” by Skeptical Science and wrote about his “unhappy life as a climate heretic” for The Wall Street Journal. He’s actually not a climate-change …
  • What I’m watching: July 21-31 - Friday, July 21 6:10 a.m.: Water polo, men’s Worlds, USA-Russia, NBC Sports online 11:45 a.m.: Women’s Euro 2017, Sweden-Russia, ESPN3 2 p.m.: Track and field, Diamond League Monaco, NBCSN 2:30 p.m.: Women’s Euro 2017, Germany-Italy, ESPN3 11:30 p.m.: Australian rules football, Essendon-North Melbourne, FS2 Saturday, July 22 7:30 a.m.: Tour de France, time trial, NBCSN 11:45 a.m.: Women’s Euro 2017, Iceland-Switzerland, ESPN3 2:30 p.m.: Women’s Euro 2017, France-Austria, ESPN3 3:30 p.m.: NWSL, Chicago-Orlando, Lifetime 4 p.m.: MLS, Minnesota-NY Red Bulls, ESPN 6 p.m.: UFC Fight Night, Fox 10 p.m.: Gold Cup semifinal, USA-Costa Rica, FS1 Sunday, July 23 Ongoing: Golf, …
  • On drug testing, MMA, the Diaz brothers, invasions of privacy, etc. - One thing I enjoy, perhaps more than I should, about my weird career path is the intersection of Olympic sports and MMA when it comes to the ever-entertaining world of drug testing. I did a lot of grunt work on the topic back in the day for USA TODAY, and I like finding a use for that otherwise useless knowledge: The BALCO timeline, where we learned athletes can be suspended for doping without failing a test. (This piece is cited in a surprising number of scholarly papers.) The Jerome Young case, a classic example of an athlete who had plausible …
  • The definitive word on participation trophies … - From a Cracked piece responding to a rant about Millennials: Simon, let me tell you about my participation trophies. I got them for playing soccer, and they were handed out from a bag at the end of the year with all the ceremony of communist factory workers getting their lunch rations. My response was not “Well, clearly I’m going to be handed a six-figure job as an adult.” It was “Neat, a trophy! Now I’m going to go back to thinking about Pokemon or farts, because I am a child.” Later it was a nice reminder of time spent playing …
  • Did you know?: Major cricket event in USA - If your stereotype of cricket is that it lasts several days, you may be in for a shock. More and more cricket is being played these days in its abbreviated forms — the “one-day” format and the even shorter “Twenty20” game, which can easily be shorter than a typical baseball game. And yet its competitions go on for years and years. So when we tell you the World Cricket League Division 4 will be in Los Angeles, starting this weekend, we need to give a bit of context. First, this is neither Test cricket nor Twenty20. It’s one-day cricket, which …


thumb-olyIt’s tempting to mimic Rush’s 40th-anniversary tour here and go backwards in time through all the different jobs I’ve had covering the Olympics. The bad news is that we would end up buried in some sort of technical manual for the Olympic results feed.

Let’s sum up this way: I served as Olympics editor for USA TODAY’s site at various times from 2001 to 2010, and I traveled to four Olympics in varying capacities from media center-bound blogger to “man of all venues” in Beijing. Along the way, I did all sorts of technical work I won’t describe except to say that I also tried to interject the human touch to explain what all these numbers meant.

Also within the Games, I was a live-blogging pioneer — at least by U.S. standards. What I did for Athens (2004) was inspired by the instant messages I kept sending the Northern Virginia staff from the media center in Salt Lake City (2002), but when I was taking a turn writing it, I was also inspired by the BBC and the Guardian’s lively live updates.

I also tried to boost interest in Olympic sports between the Games. I started a weekly feature recognizing the best U.S. Olympic sports athletes of the week. I did some interviews that tried to go beyond the usual “Yay, I like my sport and work hard.”

By 2008, USA TODAY had come up with the perfect way to use someone of my enthusiasm and skills. Give me the soccer beat, but also turn me loose all over creation to cover anything and everything: badminton, fencing, canoe/kayak, wrestling, boxing, shooting, triathlon, modern pentathlon, handball, and water polo. That’s 12 sports. Make it 18 when you add beach volleyball, diving, table tennis, field hockey, trampoline, and track and field from my “8 venues in one day” assignment. I got a glimpse of the personalities of the USA’s top badminton pair, plowed into intrasquad controversies in wrestling and boxing, saw the favored U.S. sabre team fight back for bronze, and rushed the handball court with the first lady of Iceland.

In 2010, I had a little less traveling to do. I was stationed in Whistler, a couple of hours away from Vancouver, and I went to Utah Olympic Park all but one day. I covered Nordic events and one of my personal favorites, biathlon. I covered the USA’s first Nordic combined medal, then saw them add a relay medal and a gold-silver performance to their medal haul. I introduced readers to one of the Games’ great personalities, ski jumper Simon Ammann, and I captured the party atmosphere of biathlon. (“The German people make very party” is still one of my favorite quotes.)

When I left USA TODAY, I lost my ticket to the Games. But I couldn’t stop covering something I love. In 2012, I did my first comprehensive medal projections, did some technical work for a startup called Trapit, and wrote a few pieces and live blogs for Bleacher Report. In 2014, I did more medal projections, wrote a few previews for OZY, and rounded up volunteers to do event-by-event coverage.

I have a few other offbeat sports interests. I run an elementary school chess club, and I’ve written the occasional story about the game. SportsMyriad branched out into other sports — some mainstream in the USA, some not. Way back when, I went out and covered high school sports and college basketball.

The line I’ll draw, though — I’d prefer not to write about the NHL because I prefer to be a fan. Go Caps. (OK, I’ll write about Caps-related heartbreak as needed.)

Full clips by topic: olympicsbasketball, women’s sports, boxing, fencing, shootingfootball, biathlontrack and field, winter sports