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

Jordan Burroughs’ second career loss and one-day wrestling

Jordan Burroughs is pushing for the title of best U.S. wrestler of all time. He’s 92-2 in his international career, with two world championships and Olympic gold. (Hence the Twitter handle: @allIseeisgold) The second of those losses might merit an asterisk, as the headline implies: Jordan Burroughs sprains MCL, wins bronze at World Wrestling Championships | OlympicTalk. To give credit where it’s due: Russia’s Denis Tsargush, who beat Burroughs, is a former world champion himself and the man who has given Burroughs a couple of tough matches in major events. But seeing Burroughs lose on a hobbled leg raises a question: … Continue reading Jordan Burroughs’ second career loss and one-day wrestling

Monday Myriad, July 28: Sprinter’s paradise

We begin this week with a view of a cycling sprint finish from the winner’s perspective. Sounds like that would be “nothing,” but Marianne Vos didn’t take the lead until the last few meters: Last 200m is strangely zen. RT @Bonnie_D_Ford Yowsers MT @velonews On-board footage from Vos final km/La Course. http://t.co/Igw8bPGtm7 … … — Jason Gay (@jasongay) July 28, 2014 And another point-of-view video from a winning cyclist, this time from BMX women’s world champion Mariana Pajon. Nibali cares not for your dropped call: Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali is a model of focus as he plows right through … Continue reading Monday Myriad, July 28: Sprinter’s paradise

Woly Award: Jordan Burroughs rules the mat

Wrestler Jordan Burroughs is the winner of this week’s Woly, the weekly award for U.S. Olympic-sports athletes. I used to give this award for USA TODAY, and it continued for a while after I departed. They stopped, so I’m restarting. Burroughs, the Olympic and world champion, capped a big weekend for his sport with two massive wins, running his international record to an astounding 54-0. He needed to rally to win his match against Russia’s Saba Khubetzhty at Wednesday’s “Rumble on the Rails,” but under new international scoring rules, he roared past the same opponent Sunday in Los Angeles. The … Continue reading Woly Award: Jordan Burroughs rules the mat

Today in wrestling’s Olympic battle

Hey, Dana White! Bjorn Rebney! What do you big-time MMA promoters think wrestling should do to stay in the Olympics? Wrestling’s leaders have indeed asked, and my former USA TODAY colleague Kelly Whiteside has the story on what they’re considering — everything from dramatic walkouts to new clothes. The story includes this great anecdote:  “Two pieces? Dan will probably roll over in his grave,” (Mike Novogratz) said about the legend standing next to him. “Nah. I wore a three-piece in college,” said Gable about his time at Iowa State in the late 1960s. “A shirt, tights and a pair of … Continue reading Today in wrestling’s Olympic battle

How modern pentathlon stayed in the Olympics (attn wrestling)

In elementary school, I used to wander into the Coliseum at the University of Georgia to watch wrestling. When UGA cut the varsity wrestling program, I drafted a complaint letter and had my classmates sign it. That letter was reprinted in a local weekly. (In retrospect, that may have been my first published work.) In 2008, I covered a little bit of wrestling and a little bit of modern pentathlon. In 2012, I watched a bit of wrestling and a bit of modern pentathlon online. Guess which I enjoyed more? No, not the wrestling. College wrestling, when I get a … Continue reading How modern pentathlon stayed in the Olympics (attn wrestling)

Wrestling leaders gearing up to fight … what, exactly?

USA Wrestling’s response to the sport’s threatened ouster from the Olympics has been impressive. They’ve done some international networking at the freestyle World Cup in Iran. They’re organizing at the grass roots. They’ve got an organization with a catchy name (CPOW, pronounced “ka-POW!”). They held a media conference call today and struck all the right notes, sounding polished rather than bitter. Former USOC president Jim Scherr is now working with international organizer FILA to save the sport’s Olympic status. He speaks convincingly of wrestling’s “Olympism” — the goodwill created through respectful international competition. Anyone who has seen footage of the … Continue reading Wrestling leaders gearing up to fight … what, exactly?