Olympics 2012

Supporters Cheer For Guor Marial In Olympic Marathon

Aug 12, 2012

A Concord movie theater turned on a projector before dawn yesterday to show live footage of former resident Guor Marial running in the Olympics.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thedcms/7707038092/

Millions of Americans have been following the Olympics in London, and NHPR staffers are no exception. But one of our colleagues is watching with a more seasoned eye – Keith Shields is executive producer of The Exchange, but he’s also a 27-time marathoner who's currently training for an Iron Man triathlon in Quebec.

He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the races he's been following, London's history in shaping the modern marathon, and whether athletes watch Olympic competition any differently than the rest of us.

The Mile Still Matters To Track & Field

Aug 2, 2012
From ryunrunning.com

Track and field has a numbers problem. As in, there are just too many of them. The 60, 26.2, 4-by-8, 2-oh-3, 5, 8, 10k…

Back in the 1950s, there was one number that mattered.

"I think there are only a handful of achievements like breaking 4 minutes for the first time, in any sport, that comes close to what Roger Bannister has done." 

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Earlier this week, at the London Olympics, the American team competed in the double canoe slalom. That’s when two men kneel inside a kayak and work together to navigate an obstacle course on whitewater rapids. If you watched this on NBC, you might have caught a glimpse of a pair of paddles made in New Hampshire.

In rustic Canaan, New Hampshire, Peter Mitchell is hard at work sanding a freshly carved double-bladed kayak paddle.

Flikr Creative Commons / StewartCutler

Guor Marial is a South Sudanese refugee who spent his high school years in Concord. He has now qualified to run the Olympic marathon.

In the past few weeks he’s had a lot of press: Time Magazine, the Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, and too many other publications to name have run profiles on him. Marial’s story has spread so far because it’s basically the perfect Olympic story.

The London 2012 Summer Games are set to begin in earnest, with today's opening ceremony kicking off a weekend of gold-medal competitions. But if you're in America and you hope to watch the Opening Ceremony live, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed: NBC is tape-delaying its broadcast until Friday night.

New Englanders To Compete In 2012 Summer Games

Jul 27, 2012
LOGOC Press

Today is the kick-off of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. Below is a list of New Englanders competing in London, as provided by the U.S. Olympic Team.

Connecticut

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in London on Thursday to raise money for his campaign, to meet with former and current British leaders and to remind voters of his experience running the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Romney is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the London Games on Friday, after meeting with American athletes. The visit seems designed to bolster a key element of Romney's resume.

In early 2002, Romney went from CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics to candidate for Massachusetts governor in just three weeks.

Photo by eXtensionHorses via Flickr Creative Commons

Produced with Zach Nugent

Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

One New Hampshire rider is sure to be glued to the TV for the crown jewel of Olympic equestrian contests: jumping. That's because she might very well join them...someday. Elise Lesko is just ten years-old, but it seems she's got the patience (and the pony) to see this dream come true.

Watch Elise and Snitch jump 3'6"...a little too close for comfort:

Across the country, swimmers are putting in their final laps before this month's Olympic trials. For many, the dream of making the U.S. swim team has been what gets them out of bed for a predawn practice. But on the men's side of the pool, the superstars of swimming often leave little room for anyone else.

At a recent swim practice in Nashville, Tenn., Dakota Hodgson, 20, puts in laps. And speed-walking to keep up, stopwatch in hand, is his gray-haired coach and father, Charlie Hodgson.

Charlie calls out Dakota's time: "29.24."

The road to any big event, be it a family reunion, a graduation, or the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, is often pockmarked with screw-ups, flubs, and insensitive oversights. Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish catalog a few of the gaffes leading up to the London games, including torch flame-outs, missing hurdles, and the resurrection of the apartheid-era South African anthem.

Cyclist's Swift Ride From Wall Street To The Olympics

Jun 6, 2012

Four years ago, Evelyn Stevens was working as a Wall Street investment banker and just starting to race bicycles. But she rose through the cycling ranks quickly, and next month she will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London.

On a recent muggy morning in busy Central Park, Stevens easily weaves her bicycle through many obstacles.

"There's the horse carriages, there's the bike buggies, there's the Rollerbladers," she says, "the people on their bikes training, the five gajillion joggers, the hot dog stands, the dogs — there's a lot going in."

Photo Credit Mag3737, via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Trophy Wives/Old Lady Style

In those gin-soaked days of yesteryear, a beautiful woman on the arm was an executive’s secret weapon for landing the deal.  A young knock-out by your side signaled power, style, and proof that you had it all. Just ask all those Mad Men...That was then.

Every four years, the world gears up to become rabid, two-week fans of sports we’d never otherwise watch those featured in the Summer Olympics, like swimming, gymnastics, even equestrian eventing. For the elite athletes who compete at the Olympic level, however, the games are anything but a quadrennial concern. They’re the reward for working the hardest, being the best, and increasingly, it seems, having the latest hi-tech gadgetry in your corner.

When she hit the tape Sunday at the Powerade Great City Games in Manchester, England, Britain's Jessica Ennis hadn't only beaten Olympic heptathlon champion Dawn Harper.

Ennis had also run a personal best 12.75 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles — 0.04 of a second faster than she'd ever run that race.

It was her personal best, that is, until 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medalist Kelly Sotherton, also of the U.K., tweeted this question:

Aly Raisman started gymnastics like millions of other children — in a toddler tumbling class. Now 17, the Massachusetts athlete is considered one of the best tumblers in the world. And she's on track to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

For decades, Olympics fans have loathed two words: "tape" and "delay." But this summer, things will be different: For the first time, NBC will stream live video of the London Games, online and via mobile.

If you think that decision is overdue, you're not alone. Sports Business Daily media reporter John Ourand says he is shocked it has taken this long for the network to put live video of all Olympic events online.

The United States has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis. China has long dominated the sport, winning almost every medal since 1992. That's not likely to change at this year's Summer Olympics in London, but a group of young American women may be on their way to competing at the sport's highest levels.

Ariel Hsing, 16, already has the attributes of a fine table tennis player — quick hands, perfect balance and strong lungs. While she plays, she'll often shout "Sa!" — a meaningless word — to help relieve stress, something she's been dealing with a lot lately.

Russian Gymnasts Seek To Soar Once Again

Apr 19, 2012

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the women's gymnastics competition was highly predictable — the Soviet squad won the team gold medal at every Olympics it participated in.

Even when Nadia Comaneci was reeling off perfect 10s at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, she and her Romanian teammates had to settle for second in the team competition behind the legendary Olga Korbut and her Soviet comrades.

Five-Time Olympic Archer Giving It One More Shot

Apr 11, 2012

One of America's most accomplished Olympians is a man you've probably never heard of — a 56-year-old athlete who is trying to give the Olympics one more go.

Butch Johnson is working on qualifying for his sixth Olympics trip, but the unassuming archer spends most of his time managing a shooting range in Connecticut.

This summer, U.S. archer Khatuna Lorig hopes to return to the Olympic Games. But she's already helped put archery into The Hunger Games this spring — by training the film's star, Jennifer Lawrence, to shoot.

In the kill-or-be-killed competition in the film drawn from Suzanne Collins' book, Lawrence's character, Katniss Everdeen, relies on her ability with a bow. And Lorig worked with the actress to ensure she had proper form.

The elite athletes who travel to London for this summer's Olympic Games will include petite gymnasts, huge wrestlers — and elite horses, which compete in dressage and other events. Getting these strong and delicate animals to the Olympics is no job for an amateur. In fact, it's the job of Tim Dutta, who owns an international horse transport company.

Sixteen-year-old Claressa Shields has a dream. She's in London, at the Olympic finals for women's boxing, when the announcer calls out, "The first woman Olympian at 165 pounds — Claressa Shields!"

Claressa, a high school student and middleweight boxer from Flint, Mich., is the youngest fighter competing for a place on the U.S. Olympic women's boxing team.