Sochi Olympics

George Oates, Nathan Fixler & Chris Griffith via Flickr Creative Commons

Today on Word of Mouth, we delve into the consequences of solitary confinement. Then a trip to the Internet reveals that cyberspace is chock full of fakes and fails; Photoshopped images can quickly become viral and shared as authentic. But history is full of giant hoaxes, too, as we learn from Nate Dimeo of the Memory Palace Podcast.  Then we hear about The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure,  which isn’t one of those Darwin Awards-style coffee table books. It’s a real government document that catalogs bribery, graft, and other infractions in the Department of Defense. Finally, NHPR's Sean Hurley visited the Jackson biathlon range - the only dedicated course in New Hampshire - to find out more about this unusual sport.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Sean Hurley

North Conway's Sean Doherty, at 18, is the youngest member of the US Olympic Biathlon team.  While most people know the Biathlon combines skiing with shooting, the finer points are a little elusive.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently visited the Jackson Biathlon range - the only dedicated course in New Hampshire - to find out more about the sport.

The Jamaican Bobsled Song

Feb 18, 2014
Charles LeBlanc via Flickr Creative Commons

"Run the track! Run the track! Run the track! It's bobsled time!" Holy earworm, everyone. The Jamaican bobsled team might be last in Olympic competition, but they're currently vying for first in catchy internet songs. "The Bobsled Song", which you can listen to below, synchs perfectly with the turns of the Olympic track. Viewers could press play at the exact moment the Jamaican bobsled team started their descent on the track and watch as the music matched their movements. "To the left! To the left!"

Backlit Rings [Sochi]
Ken Yee / Flickr Creative Commons

 New Hampshire is well represented at the Olympic Games this year, with ten Granite Staters competing at Sochi. 

That’s particularly true in Men’s Ski Jumping, with two out of three team members coming from New Hampshire:  Nick Alexander of Lebanon and Nick Fairall of Andover.

Recently, NHPR visited the ski club where it all started for Fairall.

Johnny9s via flickr Creative Commons

While Russia celebrated its history and artistry at the spectacular opening to the Sochi games, protestors of Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws were being carted off to jail. Today on Word of Mouth, a writer travels to Russia to learn about life for gay people trapped in the iron closet. 

Also today, India’s luge champ, Mexico’s royal mariachi ski racer and a few other unlikely heroes to watch for at Sochi. Plus, the book awards chosen by critics who read everything. Listen to the full show here, and scroll down for links and more.

fernandocabo / Flickr Creative Commons

The Cold War might be over but the two former enemies are hardly on warm terms. Sore points for the U.S. include Russia’s shielding of NSA-leaker Edward Snowden, its anti-gay laws, and its support for the Syrian regime. But Putin-led Russia has its own complaints against the West, and seeks greater respect on the world stage. Now, These geopolitical dramas form the backdrop to the Sochi Olympics, considered a chance for Russia to boost its global reputation.


Sarah Thomas

The Word of Mouth Saturday broadcast is your shining beacon of awesome at the end of a snowy week. Whether you're wearing headphones under your winter hat or you're listening in a snow-covered car, we have the segments that delight and enlighten. You may even forget we have six more weeks of winter! Listen to the full show, and scroll down for links and more.

Movimiento base/CC

Later this week, Bode Miller will become just the sixth American to participate in five Winter Olympics.

Back in 2002, NHPR's Doug MacPherson profiled the young athlete as he was preparing for his second (in Utah).

We'll be keeping an eye on NH's medal hopefuls in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye here.

LI Phil / Flickr CC

With a little less than a week to go to the start of the Olympic Games, 23 athletes with New Hampshire connections are set to represent to United States in Sochi.

With a number of strong boarding school winter sport programs in the state, distinguishing who is a “New Hampshire athlete” and who isn’t can be a challenge. But here’s a general list of who’s who.

·         Nick Alexander, Lebanon, Ski Jumping

·         Gillian Apps, Dartmouth College, Hockey*

·         Kacey Bellamy, University of New Hampshire, Hockey*

Is Sochi Safe?

Jan 21, 2014
©Thomas Dworzak National Geographic

While landing the 2014 Winter Olympic games was a crowning political achievement for Russian President Vladimir Putin, preparations for the Sochi games have not been so triumphant. With just three weeks until opening ceremonies, security officials are actively chasing down members of a terrorist group that has publicly threatened to disrupt the games. The seaside resort town of Sochi and neighboring sites of Olympic events have a long history of anti-government friction. Only a day’s drive from Chechnya, the region borders recently disputed territory with Georgia and was the site of an alleged genocide perpetrated by Russian Tsars in the 19th century. Our guest is writer Brett Forrest, he examined the landscape and geopolitics of the upcoming 2014 games in the January issue of National Geographic magazine.