In January 2003, Esther Vergeer, a 21-year old Dutch wheelchair tennis player lost her singles match to Daniela Di Toro in the quarter-finals of the Sydney International. What no one knew at the time was that this was the end of an era. Now 31, Vergeer hasn't lost a singles match since. The world's most dominant athlete in an individual sport, she's going for her 470th consecutive victory today, in the gold medal match at the Paralympics. [more inside]
On September 15, 2001, at the American Memorial 500, Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi lost both legs, and 70 percent of his blood, in a horrific crash (around 1:40, not for the squeamish). Yesterday, he won gold in the 2012 Paralympics. [more inside]
Marathon Man: A Michigan dentist’s improbable transformation.
For the first time since 1874, the Travers Stakes ended in a dead heat (tie) when Golden Ticket and Alpha finished together. Unlike 138 years ago, however, there was no run-off following the races, and both horses got a turn in the winner's circle this year. Video of the race (SLYT) [more inside]
From Paul Lukas of Uni Watch, a list of the 25 best uniforms in the four major North American professional sports. [more inside]
Team Spirit is a short documentary by Errol Morris about the funerals of passionate sports fans. (SLYT)
Who is the world's greatest athlete? Is it Kelly Slater? Is it Jesse Owens? Maybe. If you ask Josh Wilker, proprietor of Cardboard Gods, one thing is certain, it will be a player from his childhood baseball card collection [more inside]
"I don't want to die doing drugs. I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion."
"Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his room at training camp at Lehigh University." Garrett's legal troubles and struggle with addiction were widely publicized over the years due to his high profile father. After leaving prison he fought hard to change this legacy and was employed as a trainer with the team at the time of his death. "Garrett’s road through life was not always an easy one. He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart." [more inside]
Tonight, for only the third time in Major League Baseball history, a player (Kendrys Morales of the Los Angeles Angels) hit two home runs in the same inning, one from each side of the plate. Morales' second home run of the inning was a grand slam, his first since the ill-fated events of 5/29/10, when he suffered a freak ankle injury jumping onto home plate in celebration of his game-winning hit, just as his career was really beginning to take off. Morales subsequently missed nearly two full seasons of baseball, returning just this year.
In 2009, Sports Illustrated investigated the strange and perilous financial lives of professional athletes. [more inside]
Just because you don't like a study doesn't mean it's wrong. Gawker takes the rest of the blog world to task for misinterpreting this new paper on women who watch televised sports. [more inside]
"The last European monopoly, in any area, is crumbling. This recently-opened transfer window has underscored, more than anything else, that it is no longer the European football clubs’ birthright to sign the greatest players in the world." -- Leander Schaerlaeckens on the growing clout of Chinese, Brazilian, and (WTF?) Indian soccer leagues in grabbing the top talent
Lance Armstrong: Victim? The embattled cyclist says USADA is out to get him—using powers that it really shouldn’t have. Brian Alexander says he’s right.
ESPN: The Body Issue 2012 (nsfw)
The BBC's new Olympics 2012 ad (full 2m40s version; SLYT) is a CGI masterpiece for the video gamer era. (best viewed with YouTube HD resolution settings on) [more inside]
The Strongest Woman In America Lives In Poverty. Weightlifter Sarah Robles is an incredible athlete, but outside the world of squats and snatches, barely anyone knows her name.
Clearing the Bar Is the Easy Part: [NYTimes] "Mark Hollis is a pole-vaulter, and while he and his competitors here feel significant pressure as they compete for a place on the Olympic team, the anxiety they experience just trying to get their equipment to meets is sometimes even more excruciating."
Adaptive sports are generally limited to people with disabilities. What if everyone participated in adaptive sports?
The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup on Monday night. This morning, a local radio station (KSPN 710 AM) had on the team's hall-of-fame announcer Bob Miller to be interviewed and take calls. A certain special caller turned out to be another hall-of-famer -- long-time Los Angeles Dodgers baseball announcer, Vin Scully, who has been with his team for over 60 years. The audio is special. [more inside]
An hour after winning a state track championship in the 1600-meter open, Ohio high school runner Meghan Vogel tried for a second title in the 3200-meter. She came in last. [more inside]
"If you go into a Web browser and type the full city-nickname combination and add a .com, 27 of those URLs will take you to the official team page." Not so for CharlotteBobcats.com. (autoplaying audio)
A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education tells the story of The Education of Dasmine Cathey, a 23-year-old football player for the University of Memphis. Writer Brad Wolverton met Cathey, who taught himself to read his second year of college, while doing research on student-athletes with severe reading, writing, and learning problems.
Former major leaguer and current minor league manager Wally Backman says some very colorful things. The full censored episodes are online (starting with Episode 1: Where's Wally Backman?) Mostly NSFW. [more inside]
I've been dreading this day since I became manager in 1997," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. This day, today, Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the game of professional hockey after 20 NHL seasons. Lidstrom is considered to be one of the best defenseman ever to play the game. [more inside]
NYTimes: The Glory and Pain of Pitching. Bobby Ojeda, starting pitcher for one of the greatest games in the history of Major League Baseball, takes us into the mind of the career athlete and his relationship with a constant companion -- pain.
"I'm just looking for a second chance. Other people get second chances. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Spousal beaters. Not gamblers, though. But, if you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me, it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in. So that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports. No one else can say that." Here, Now is a short documentary that looks at baseball legend Pete Rose, as he lives his life today. [more inside]
"A great ballclub, a beautiful demonstration of what talent can do when assembled with planning and guided by intelligence." - Bill James, on the 1986 New York Mets [more inside]
Always backed by the 12th Street Rag, Marv Albert has brought us "wild and wacky moments in the world of sports (compiled by his crack staff and producer Dave Katz)" for just under thirty years. [Caveats: Some dates are approximate. Some of the more famous clips appear multiple times. Hockey violence, boxing referees getting hit, borked slides into third, etc.] And we start with the early 80's — 1984: a b — 1985 — 1985-86: a b c — 1986 (in review) — 1987: a b c d — 1988 (in review) — 1989: a b — Review of the 80's — Early 1990's — 1997 — 1999's Wild and Wacky Millenium — 2008 — 2009 — 2010 — 2011 — first half of the 2011 NFL season — a 30-minute compilation — another compilation — baseball compilation
NFL great Junior Seau, who spent the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, with additional runs with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, was found dead today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [more inside]
The game that you fell in love with as a child will seem lost; a thump on the floorboard of your new Mercedes, swerved at high speeds to avoid a shadow in the night. The sights and sounds and smells of football, sensual memories that stir the passions in the soul, will be reconceived and recategorized, buried behind newer, odorless versions.
Former Bronco Nate Jackson offers wisdom on the trappings of stardom to two young draftees.
Former Bronco Nate Jackson offers wisdom on the trappings of stardom to two young draftees.
Not content with displacing the poor, menacing photographers and blocking ambulances the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand.
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
Finally, Gilbert Arenas reveals the whole story behind the infamous Washington Wizards guns in the locker room incident.
"Ever wondered why there are only 5 positions in basketball or how a player’s position is determined?" Maybe not. But analytics are becoming more and more important in basketball, to the point where some are questioning some fundamental 'facts' about the game. After the MIT Sloan Sports conference this year specifically addressed the role of analytics in basketball, there has been a bit of a backlash against the practice among commentators, coaches and fans. Yet the projects just keep coming, including this recently updated web project using some amazing mapping analysis: Courtvision [more inside]
What do in-state college baseball rivals do when there's a rain delay? Two words: dance off. [more inside]
Last Saturday 23-year old professional soccer player Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest while playing in front of a packed stadium. The medical staff rushed to his aid, as did a cardiologist who happened to be in the crowd. Muamba's heart was stopped for 78 minutes, but he survived and seems to be making good progress. Here, the doctors involved tell their remarkable stories of the incident.
At the 2012 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, several freestyle pizza dough throwers competed in the World Pizza Games including Japanese Kazuya Akaogi who took home the Gold Medal in Freestyle Acrobatics.
Turkish football fans have probably kept many flare companies in business over the years, but when the Turkish FA banned flares from stadiums, their brand of pyromaniac fun seemed to be over. The fans of Super Lig club Eskisehirspor had other ideas, though. [more inside]
"If it were just the NCAA tournament bracket, March Madness would be far less mad than it is. Something about the reminder of how much joy we get in filling out a bracket has led writers and talkers deep into the great time-wasting ether, creating brackets on everything you could possible dream of bracketing."One writer thought about this, took a step back, and created a bracket tournament to discuss the best possible subjects/entries for a pop-culture, food, and sports bracket tournament. [more inside]
Dewey Bozella landed a hard right cross on his opponent's jaw at the final bell, and the 52-year-old boxer raised his arms in victory. After 26 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit, Bozella triumphantly realized a dream deferred in his first and only professional fight. [more inside]
In 1990, the avenues of information we have today weren't around. So what was a baseball fan who wanted to know the score of a game elsewhere in the country to do? Compile a list of pay phone numbers at stadiums and get the score from passers by who picked up.
It’s a very specialized set of sports that the Chinese focus on but they simply kick absolute ass at them. ... If you look at the 2008 Olympic weightlifting results in Beijing... the women didn’t just squeak by to win a medal; most were simply so far ahead of their competition that it was a joke. In most cases, the Chinese women took their first attempt after everyone else had already finished lifting for the day. And they came out and just dispatched their weights in perfect form, setting new world records and winning medals with abandon. [more inside]
Bill Simmons of ESPN and Grantland speaks to President Barack Obama about various sports topics on this week's B.S. Report podcast.
Jenny Johnson, of Twitter fame, now writes a column for Grantland.com. In it, she pontificates on weighty issues, such as gingers, Derek Jeter's dating life, and the reason why she hates Valentine's Day flower deliveries at the office.
The Police Gazette had it all: misogyny, violence, racism, and venereal disease. It was yellow journalism concentrated into its purest form (SL Cracked List).