Olympics

Sargent Shriver, 1915-2011
January 18, 2011

Sargent Shriver passed away on Tuesday, at the age of 95. His is not a household name, at least to my generation. But it should be. Shriver established the Peace Corps. He launched and ran key programs of the War on Poverty. He worked with his wife to create the Special Olympics.

Why Did FIFA Choose Russia?
December 08, 2010

It seems eccentric, to say the least, that the FIFA selection committee chose Russia as the World Cup’s home in 2018, and all the more so as it meant overlooking perfectly serviceable countries such as Britain. (They also chose Qatar over the U.S. for 2022, but that's another counterintuitive story altogether.) Why not Russia, you might ask. After all, the country is home to numerous top-drawer soccer teams and has a solid pedigree for hosting international club games at their stadiums.

Mitch Daniels Wins The Fiscal Special Olympics
September 08, 2010

Indiana governor, former Bush budget director and rumored dark-horse Republican presidential candidate Mitch Daniels lays out his economic recovery plan in today's Wall Street Journal op-ed page. Here's the basic problem. The gulf between the foundational beliefs of the conservative movement and basic fiscal reality is so deep that it is impossible for a Republican in good standing to promote a budget proposal that remotely makes sense. Yet analysts don't want to appear so partisan that we simply dismiss every Republican plan. So the standards for such proposals are extravagantly lowered.

Americans and Soccer
June 27, 2010

Every time the World Cup is on the same annoying question comes up: Will Americans accept soccer? Well, frankly, I could not care less. Yesterday I watched the US-Ghana game in a steakhouse in the suburbs of Nashville, with the game sound replaced by a country music selection so immaculately insufferable that they’re surely using it to extract bogus information in the Guantanamo Bay torture resort. Apart from me, there was a guy drinking alone, and some of the kitchen staff. Did I care less about the game because of that? No.

Does England Just Need a Good Shag?
June 21, 2010

Things are not looking good for England. Two draws against opponents many in the global football community had quickly written off. The passes aren’t coming through, the runs are being cut off, the set pieces are blasting over the cross-bar. Exasperation was clear and bright red on the faces of players during Friday’s match against unexpectedly impressive Algeria. They were snippy with each other, with the officials and with their coach. Their game could simply be described as frustrating.

Homage to Paraguay
June 14, 2010

One of the great things in watching the World Cup is a chance to appreciate a team like Paraguay. From a fan point of view, they're not all that fun to watch, for obvious reason--defensive gritiness, absence of big names, no spectacular plays, mind-numbing discipline. If it wasn't the obvious limits of the team's abilities, you could call them poor people's Germans. No one outside Paraguay rushes home to watch them, but it's hard not to admire the commitment and hard work and the fact they always make it hard for the other team to beat them.

Metropolitan War in an Imagined NHL?
January 05, 2010

As part of a great-as-usual exchange between ESPN’s Bill Simmons and noted writer Malcolm Gladwell, the two sports-niks hypothesized about the NHL’s future.  Simmons pondered why Canada, the unquestioned home of hockey, doesn’t have more NHL teams.  In response he proposed a new, two conference league split evenly between Canadian and American teams.  Gladwell replied with: I'm with you on the 24-team, Canadian-American conference idea, particularly since it turns the Stanley Cup finals into a border war every year.

Olympic Fail
October 02, 2009

Yowsers. Obama didn't just fail to bring home the games. Chicago was the first of the four finalists eliminated by the I.O.C. On the bright side, maybe this will once and for all prompt the anti-Olympics backlash America desperately wants and needs.

Doubt
August 12, 2009

A professor, a genocide, and NBC's quest for a prime-time hit.

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