Olympic sports writing: 2004-2015

Selected features and interviews, plus coverage from several Olympics: Features Dec. 1, 2015: US college sports are a factory for Olympic medalists – but for how much longer? (The Guardian) Nov. 7, 2015: Speed skating: can the US team shine after the failure of Sochi? (The Guardian) Aug. 30, 2015: Why Serena Williams, not Ronda Rousey, is the world’s most dominant female athlete (The Guardian) Aug. 12, 2015: Golf doesn’t need the Olympics, and the Olympics don’t need golf (The Guardian) Dec. 15, 2014: Break up the Olympics! (SportsMyriad) Oct. 12, 2010: Women’s Ski Jumping Tests the Grudges of Olympic Leaders (Huffington … Continue reading Olympic sports writing: 2004-2015

Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 13

Anyone else beginning to think US Speedskating’s super suits aren’t so super? Apparently. And speedskating is the event responsible for the biggest changes from the original projections. It accounts for most of the USA’s drop, and it accounts for the Netherlands’ lofty rank in the medal table. Here’s how things are shaping up … CURRENT PACE Original projections: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23, Austria 22, South Korea 15, Netherlands 14, France 12, Switzerland 11, Sweden 10 If the rest of the projections were to come true, Norway would have 32, and then we’d have a three-way … Continue reading Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 13

Sochi recap: Speedskating, men’s 1,000 meters

Two-time defending Olympic champion Shani Davis never got in gear, and neither did most of the other favorites on a puzzling day at the speedskating oval. The Netherlands picked up two more medals, with gold for Stefan Groothuis. The winner was fourth in this event in 2010 and a world champion in 2012, but he had done very little since then. Date: 12-Feb Sport: Speedskating Medalists: Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands), Denny Morrison (Canada), Michel Mulder (Netherlands) SportsMyriad projections: Shani Davis (USA), Denis Kuzin (Kazakhstan), Tae-Bum Mo (South Korea) How U.S. fared: Davis was never in it, finishing in 1:09.12 (0.73 seconds … Continue reading Sochi recap: Speedskating, men’s 1,000 meters

Sochi recap: Speedskating, women’s 500 meters

Russia’s Olga Fatkulina delivered a crowd-pleasing silver, Margot Boer extended the Dutch success with a bronze, but defending champion Sang-Hwa Lee beat everyone. We mean everyone. Her second heat was an Olympic record 37.28 — impressive considering the old record was in the altitude of Salt Lake City — and her total time of 74.70 was also an Olympic record. Date: 11-Feb Sport: Speedskating Event: Women’s 500 meters Medalists: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Olga Fatkulina (Russia), Margot Boer (Netherlands) SportsMyriad projections: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Olga Fatkulina (Russia), Heather Richardson (USA) How U.S. fared: Richardson was in range of the podium after finishing fourth in the … Continue reading Sochi recap: Speedskating, women’s 500 meters

2014 medal projections: Speedskating

Updated Jan. 21 Some sports run World Cup events right up until the Olympics. Not speedskating. Four World Cup events wrapped up by early December, then two more after Sochi. That’s why these projections have 2013-14 World Cup data rather than last season. They’ll have the European Championships and World Sprint Championships in January, though, so a few things could still change here. Salt Lake City still has one of the fastest surfaces in the world, and three world records fell there in November: men’s team pursuit (Netherlands), women’s 500 meters (South Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee) and women’s 1,000 meters (USA’s … Continue reading 2014 medal projections: Speedskating

Speedskater’s story: From food stamps to thank yous

Short-track speedskater Emily Scott was making a monthly stipend of $1,950. Then it was cut to $600. She applied for food stamps. My former USA TODAY colleague Kelly Whiteside wrote about Scott’s plight, putting a human face on Olympic athletes’ struggles and dedication. Then a funny thing happened. Scott was a crowdfunding site, through which she had raised $190 in two months. After Kelly’s story ran, that $190 became $15,000. (It’s now over $22,000.) Wonderful, heartwarming story. But the reporting doesn’t stop there. Take a quick look at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s finances and the tough choices it must make. Continue reading Speedskater’s story: From food stamps to thank yous

Monday Myriad, Feb. 18: Slalom and shoot

Headlines of the week: – Ted Ligety won the giant slalom, his best event, for his third title at the Alpine skiing World Championships. Then 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom. That’s four golds and a bronze for the USA in 10 individual events. – Tim Burke took silver in the 20k individual event at biathlon’s World Championships, which were otherwise dominated by Norway (eight golds in 11 events — two individuals and two relays each for Tora Berger and Emil Hegle Svendsen). – The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer won his sixth straight world allround speedskating title. Fellow Dutchperson Ireen Wust won her fourth overall, the last three in a row. … Continue reading Monday Myriad, Feb. 18: Slalom and shoot