the Olympics

The Origins of Foreigners
August 24, 2012

Rethinking the Other in AntiquityBy Erich S. Gruen (Princeton University Press, 415 pp., $39.50)   MITT ROMNEY, along with other Republicans, has worked hard over the last few months to present Barack Obama as something other than a genuine native-born American. He has stopped short of the absurdities of the “birther movement,” but he has insisted that the president, in all the ways that really matter, is somehow less American, and more foreign, than he and the members of his party.

Mormons in Kosovo, Geopolitics at the Olympics, and the Value of Harsh Criticism: Today's TNR Reader
August 17, 2012

Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Mormon missionaries in Kosovo: a new and curious addition to a complicated religious landscape. Religion and Politics | 6 min (1,435 words) You can view the Olympics as a thrilling athletic spectacle.

The Rise of the Himbo: Why Playing Dumb Is Working for Ryan Lochte
August 03, 2012

Ryan Lochte turns 28 today. He has achieved a tremendous amount for such a young age, rising to the very top of the international swimming world and racking up 11 career Olympic medals.  And yet, if this highlight reel of his interviews is to be believed, he thinks that seven times four comes out to 21. Can he really as slow out of the pool as he is fast in it?   Who cares, seems to be the answer for the many, many women who have joined the internet's informal Ryan Lochte fan club this week. In fact, if he is? All for the better!

What It’s Really Like To Be an Olympian
August 02, 2012

Four years ago in Beijing, James Williams won a silver medal as a member of the United States’ Men’s Sabre team (sabre has quick slashing; what you probably picture as fencing more closely resembles the ripostes of épée and foil). This year in London, Williams additionally qualified for Men’s Individual, losing in the Round of 32 Saturday morning. Tomorrow, starting so-early-it-won’t-even-be-bright with a draw against top-seeded Russia, the Men’s Team competes.

The Cynical Rise of Vladmir Putin, The Fight Against Child Pornography, and a Quantitative Approach to the Olympics: Today’s TNR Reader
August 01, 2012

Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Who would be on the Olympic podiums if we looked at GDP, population, or team size? A team of statisticians breaks it down. The Guardian | 4 min (953 words) Putin rose to power after Russian democracy was exposed as a sham. His governing ideology?

The Larger Question About Romney’s Taxes: Why?
July 31, 2012

Mitt Romney arrives back stateside and just like that, his refusal to release more than a year or two of tax returns is back in the news. Harry Reid is telling people that a big Bain Capital investor told him that Romney told him that he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years. OK, that sounds like something out of a junior-high cafeteria, but then again there’s also an easy way for Romney to knock it down.

Hitler, Water Polo, and Black Power: A History of Politics at the Olympics
July 27, 2012

Whether or not Mitt Romney’s multiple gaffes in London end up hurting his presidential campaign, they’re a good opportunity to remember that political skirmishes have always been part of the world’s premier international sporting event. Which should come as no surprise: Given that the athletics are themselves considered displays of national prowess, it’s only natural that they become proxies for grander geopolitical struggles. But which events would compete for the gold (so to speak) for most outlandish Olympics political conflict ever?

Breaking: The Olympics Will Overlap with the Presidential Campaign
July 23, 2012

Mitt Romney could still announce his running mate over the next few days, although at this point it seems unlikely that he will. What has seemingly been banned definitively is Romney's holding off this week while still announcing before August 13th. After all, one thing is agreed upon: watch out for the Olympics! “Romney’s second window opens around Aug.

Mitt’s Luck: The Mistaken Focus On ’99 As Pivot Point, UPDATED
July 13, 2012

The new questions about Mitt Romney’s sworn version of his 1999 departure from Bain Capital—which seems to contradict statements in SEC filings, testimony given to prove his Massachusetts residency, and corporate annual reports—are causing his campaign such a headache that someone in Romneyland was moved to float Condi Rice’s veep prospects last night as a diversion. The renewed focus on Bain, as I wrote yesterday, vindicates the Obama team’s decision to press forward with its criticisms of Romney’s tenure year despite the much-ballyhooed warnings of the mayor of the 68th biggest city in the

One Billion Fans, One Terrible Team: Why is China’s National Soccer Team So Bad?
July 03, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA— On a Friday evening in May, more than 50,000 green-clad Beijingers streamed into Worker’s Stadium to watch the local soccer team, the Beijing National Security, play the Guizhou Harmonious Relations. Harmonious Relations lost that night, in more ways than one. The drone of vuvuzelas was punctuated with periodic chanting, mostly variations on the unprintable-in-English term shabi.

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