Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
It's been a tough week for elite gay-baiting. First Howie Kurtz, hack journalist extraordinaire, lost his job at the Daily Beast because he badly botched an attempt to smear NBA center Jason Collins. Part of what Kurtz botched was the facts, claiming that Collins had concealed the fact that he had once been engaged to a woman when Collins had "concealed" that fact by explicitly stating it in his Sports Illustrated coming-out article. ("When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged," is pretty straightforward.) Kurtz, to his credit, has made a full apology.
Then, Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson (also a columnist for the Daily Beast) was also forced to apologize after publicly gay-baiting landmark economist John Maynard Keynes. Ferguson decided to tell an audience that Keynes wasn't interested in long-term policy effects (itself a gross distortion of Keynes's position) because Keynes was a homosexual in a childless marriage. Yes, really. That's the standard of logic and evidence to which Ferguson holds himself. [Read more]
This is a no-brainer. What's hard to fathom is that people are even debating whether the Masters should have disqualified Tiger Woods for an illegal drop or for signing an incorrect scorecard. On the 15th hole Friday, Tiger hit a beautiful approach shot that unfortunately (for him) bounced off the flagstick and directly into a nearby pond. Here's what happened next , according to Woods (per the New York Times): [Read more]
My brother-in-law Marcelo struggled mightily coming out of the closet. While I and a handful of his closest friends and relatives knew he was Gay, he kept his true self hidden until he was 31. The combination of Brazilian culture and a male-dominated family made coming out seem impossible to Marcelo.
A little more than two years ago, he had enough. With the support of those of us who knew his secret, he came out to everyone. And for a man who had lived in pure terror of his true self being public, the end result was glorious. Marcelo was embraced as the man he is, and congratulated for having the courage to come out.
“It was like a fart in the ocean,” Marcelo said. [Read more]
How many outfits will Lady Bey wear?
How many numbers will Destiny's Child perform?
Will Jay-Z make a cameo?
Let's discuss America's most important cultural moment of 2013.
Emile Griffith was one of the great boxers in the history of the game. Throughout his career, there were rumors regarding his sexuality. Those rumors came to a climax during Griffith’s third fight with Benny “Kid” Paret, who had spent the build-up of the fight taunting Griffith about these rumors.
My daughter and I spent much of Friday and Saturday in cosplay at Otakon, but I got to watch some of NBC's Olympic coverage — which in some events seemed more obsessively focused on Americans than ever.
On Saturday morning, I did catch Alexander Vinokurov's surprising and crafty victory in the cycling road race. Vino followed the younger legs of Rigoberto Uran to get ahead of the pack, then the Kazakh sprinted for the line while the Colombian was still foolishly looking back at what had long ceased to be the main threat. Vino is another rider with a long history of doping scandals, banned in 2007 and associated with now-banned-for-life Dr Michel Ferrari.
With two games down in the London Olympics, Brazil’s men’s soccer team has looked strong, scoring six goals on its way to two victories. Brazil’s most famous player – young attacker Neymar – is showing why European clubs are drooling over him, scoring twice and setting up two other goals. [Read more]
Athletes, especially Olympians, are to be seen and not heard, or even read. Remember when Crash Davis explains the perfect sports interview to Nuke Laloosh? [Read more]
Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."
LaLoosh: Got to play... it's pretty boring.
Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.
Penn State just received a walloping from the NCAA for the Sandusky pedophilia ring. A penalty of $60 million, vacating all its wins from 1998 to 2011 and a ban from bowl games for four years.
And it’s not enough.
On its own, Penn State University needs to drop its football program for at least five years. Pulling Joe Paterno’s statue down and pretending like the last 40 years didn’t happen isn’t enough.
I feel for the young men who signed with Penn State to play football. I truly hope the NCAA helps them – and other students – transfer easily to other schools. [Read more]
I've spent the last month or so in Rome; our last night in the city happily coincides with the 2012 Euro Cup final, with the hometown Italia Azzuri taking on defending champion Spain. (And that's a happy coincidence, too: a rematch of each team's first game of the tournament.) Naturally, we're going out to watch the match. And just as naturally, I bought a game jersey (from a pile at my neighborhood supermarket). Tonight I'll be wearing Mario Balotelli's number.
After Beijing, Michael Phelps swore that he was done, finished with the grueling 400 meter Individual Medley. A day or so ago, Phelps dodged speculation about whether he would swim the 400IM again, even refusing to answer when he would shave his fu manchu mustache so as not to give away the time of his first event in the US Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha.
The 400IM was the first event today. You start with 100m Butterfly, and it is nice to get that over with because swimming Fly when you're tired is no fun at all. Then you swim 100m Backstroke. Back lets you breathe a lot more, but isn't quite as restful as it seems in Esther Williams flicks because you have to kick like blazes. Then comes 100m Breaststroke, which to my mind is even more grueling than Fly, and your legs are already burning. And finally you can open up with 100m crawl, the fastest stroke, if your arms aren't already full of
lead lactic acid. I have swum a 200IM, but I've never even attempted the 400.
Phelps, Chase Kalisz and Kevin Webster represented the North Baltimore Aquatics Club, where I swim, so it was fun to track them on the Omega Timing site. Webster looks to be about 23, and Kalisz is 18. I wondered if Kalisz was one of those kids zooming by in the afternoon practices, but apparently he swims in the mornings. [Read more]
When Michael Jordan won his first NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls, he was 28 and defined his career. As much as that, however, he defined an entire era in the NBA. Because while Jordan and the Bulls went on to win five more titles, a plethora of other great players went on to search for other ways to define themselves. [Read more]
Competitive Swimming is one of the obscure sports I follow. Swimmer's Daily posted this video dedicated to the Korean swimmer Park Tae-Hwan. I instantly recognized the tune from the Marine Boy anime I watched as a child, and indeed the song is titled Marine Boy, though with quite different lyrics than I recall:
Hi, flip over that London town
The marine boy yo is coming out
Everyone move out of the way, new record
Set a record, a glorious venture
Higher, faster, further, let’s go
Marine Boy is a brave hero
Conquest a victory, the best in the world is going
Let’s go Marine Boy [Read more]
It has always been a no-brainer to me that Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs. The world of cycling is dominated by PEDs and has been for a long time. The idea that a guy who heroically recovered from cancer of the everything came back and completely dominated fields full of guys who cheated while not cheating himself is unreasonable. In 2009, I wrote this: [Read more]
Tennis is in the middle of clay court season. Last year Novak Djokovic stunned everyone by continuing his winning streak on Rafael Nadal's best surface—beating Nadal on the red clay of Madrid and Rome. This year, Djokovic has been less dominant, losing to Nadal in Monte Carlo, and losing early in Madrid. So Djokovic should be motivated to defend his points this week at Rome—the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. [Read more]
I've always admired the grace, efficiency and symmetry of swimmers that breathe to both sides at any pace and distance. Laure Manadou, Rebecca Adlington, Federica Pellegrini and many other elite female swimmers breathe bilaterally while competing, as do many excellent masters swimmers. But, many other women and almost all of the elite male swimmers in the world breathe to one side, or unilaterally, in their races.
Welsh distance swimmer Dave Davies is one of the few male swimmers I have seen consistently breathing bilaterally. World 1500m champion Sun Yang quickly breathes to both sides before and after turning, but mostly breathes to one side. Many male swimmers can sneak a breath to the opposite side to keep an eye on an opponent, but most opt for the additional air available when breathing every other stroke.
Despite the prevalence of unilateral breathing, some coaches recommend bilateral breathing to develop symmetrical body roll to each side and to avoid the lopsided stroke that often comes with same-side breathing. Michael Phelps breathes to one side, but in this training video, his coach, Bob Bowman, recommends learning bilateral breathing: [Read more]
At the pool, you often see people swimming a very relaxed style of breaststroke—head out of the water, breathing freely, legs frog-kicking deep down—but swum properly, modern breaststroke is as physically grueling and technically demanding as butterfly, itself an evolution of breaststroke. One would expect a world breaststroke champion to be in fantastic physical condition. Norway's Alexander Dale Oen was 26, almost 27. In Beijing, he had won the Silver medal in 100m Breast behind Kitajima Kosuke, and was in training for the London Olympics.
Champion Swimmer Found Dead in Arizona [Read more]
As Floyd Mayweather prepares for his fight next week with Miguel Cotto, commentators are quick to point out that he will soon be serving time in jail [Read more]
During the week between the Indian Wells and Key Biscayne Masters tournaments, the Tennis Channel showed their Greatest 100 Players of all time show. Rankings seem to be partially based on stats and partially on perception. For example, #13 John McEnroe is ranked higher than #18 Ivan Lendl, who was more durable and has one more major title than Mac. I think Mac at his best was slightly better than Lendl, but I also think Serena Williams at her best was better than Steffi Graf or Martina Navratilova. Yet Graf and Navratilova were ranked #3 and #4, while Serena was far behind at #12.
I already knew a little something about many of the players, but I learned that #51 Doris Hart won a career Grand Slam and six majors in singles, and twenty-nine major titles in doubles with a right leg that was impaired by childhood osteomyelitis. Even one side of her face looked impaired in the videos, though I don't see it in the still photo.
In Spring are two American tennis tournaments, each of which likes to be known as the fifth major. Both include both the men's and women's tours at the same time, which does give them the feel of a major, but they have 96 player fields instead of 128, and offer 1000 ranking points to the winners instead of 2000. Still, they're big tournaments.
The Indian Wells Masters, now officially called the BNP Paribas Open, was the Pacific Life Open (with lots of whale ads) from 2002 to 2008, and has had almost a dozen names over the last 38 years. I associate Banque Nationale de Paris and BNP Paribas with the French Open at Roland Garros, but BNP Paribas is now the largest bank in the world, so I guess they can sponsor a tournament anywhere. The Miami Masters, or Sony Ericsson Open, started out many names ago as the Lipton, and is often just called Key Biscayne. Larry Ellis of Oracle now owns the Indian Wells event, and former top ten player Butch Buchholz started the Key Biscayne event. [Read more]