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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Superstar swimmers Michael Phelps (left) and Ryan Lochte are versatile and talented, making spots on the U.S. men's Olympic team scarce. The pair took silver and gold, respectively, in the 200-meter individual medley at last summer's World Championships.
Credit Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images
Because of Phelps' dominance, "in the 200 butterfly there is just one spot, essentially," says Dakota Hodgson. He's seen here with his father, Charlie, at a training facility in Nashville, Tenn.
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.
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.
Since entering the sport at age 25, Evelyn Stevens (right) has risen to the elite ranks of women's cycling. In April, she passed top rival Marianne Vos of Holland on her way to winning the Fleche Wallonne race in Belgium.
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."
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.