On Sunday 27 July, history will be made when a group of professional cyclists rides the Champs-Elysées. Among the riders who have never before been allowed in the Tour de France, is an athlete The Guardian has called "the finest cyclist of their generation" and who Bicycling Magazine recently touted as one "who could be the most naturally gifted, hardest-working cyclist who ever lived", Marianne Vos. Also riding will be writer, filmmaker, former figure skater and triathlete Kathryn Bertine. Triathlete and marathoner Emma Pooley described her expectation for the event: "On a scale of one to 10, I'd say that La Course is 11 on the excitement levels." Along with the athlete who holds/held all three Ironman world and championship records (including the overall world record), Chrissie Wellington, they created the campaign Le Tour Entier, whose motto is Liberté, Égalité, Cyclisme, a play on the French national motto. [more inside]
Very pregnant Alysia Montano runs at U.S. Championships Montano said she knew she wouldn’t advance out of the first round. Rather, she viewed her participation as a celebration. Video of the race and her finish.
A high school athlete's bizarre death in Georgia raises questions among his family and other members of their community. [more inside]
Fiction and Real Life are Different, You Moron. A cartoon about sports.
Tommy Des Brisay is a Canadian runner and para-athlete living with autism. While running, Tommy often chants "I think I can...", recites lines from Disney movies, or sings. He has a YouTube channel where he posts his dances with Disney princesses and mini documentaries about his life.
Becoming the All-Terrain Human: [New York Times]
"Kilian Jornet Burgada is the most dominating endurance athlete of his generation. In just eight years, Jornet has won more than 80 races, claimed some 16 titles and set at least a dozen speed records, many of them in distances that would require the rest of us to purchase an airplane ticket. He has run across entire landmasses (Corsica) and mountain ranges (the Pyrenees), nearly without pause. He regularly runs all day eating only wild berries and drinking only from streams."
Ronda Rousey - the first American woman to medal in judo at the Summer Olympics - is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world. She has won all six of her professional fights - all but one of them in less than a minute - using a trademark armbar that is usually described as "devastating". [more inside]
Six years ago, US Army Captain Ivan Castro was severely wounded in a mortar attack in Iraq that left him permanently and completely blinded. Today, he's one of only three blind active duty Army officers, and the very first to serve in the US Army Special Forces. Thirteen months and 36 surgeries after the attack, Castro ran the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon in 4:14 and the Army Ten Miler in 1:25. And he's still going: In the last 15 months, he's completed 14 marathons. Why? "Because I still can. Because people need to see what's possible." [more inside]
Finally, Gilbert Arenas reveals the whole story behind the infamous Washington Wizards guns in the locker room incident.
Opening Day is upon us once again. As always, there are a ton of predictions being made for the season. [more inside]
At the age of 49 years and 4 months, Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies is the oldest baseball player to ever earn a regular roster spot on a Major League Baseball team (Satchel Paige pitched 3 innings in a 1965 game at age 59 as a publicity stunt). There are many current players, including some of the game's best, who weren't even born when Moyer made his MLB debut, making Moyer's feat all the more impressive.
Anticipating a season long lockout, several NBA players signed contracts with teams in the Chinese Basketball Association. Now that a labor deal has been reached, leaving for the NBA won't be easy.
She won the World Championship less than a year after turning professional. She is undefeated in her event. She has repeatedly broken her own world record. Sports Illustrated calls her the world's greatest female athlete. [more inside]
When athletes are in financial trouble, they often go to high end pawn shops to get money.
With the NFL and NBA potentially going dark in the fall, Michael Schur and Nate DiMeo of Grantland.com decide to watch the India-Pakistan cricket match to see if it can be a suitable replacement.
Before his death, Mickey Mantle spoke to Sports Illustrated about the effect that alcoholism had on his life and career. [more inside]
Deadspin tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder and two fans.
Donnie Moore was the California Angels' relief ace in 1986. After he gave up a home run that began the Angels' collapse in the ALCS, Moore's life and psyche steadily deteriorated, until he committed suicide in 1989. Steve Hofstetter wrote about Moore and the divergent paths taken by other athletes in similar situations.
How 'The Fridge' lost his way. A profile of William 'The Refrigerator' Perry.
In 2006, Joss Naylor ran 50 miles up and down seventy Lake District fells, ascending more than 25,000 feet in 21 hours. Not his best performance, but to be fair, he was 70 at the time. Cumbrian shepherd Joss Naylor (warning: Youtube link; Cumbrian accent, impossibly adorable sheepdog) is one of the greatest British athletes most people have never heard of, and perhaps the greatest competitor ever in a sport most people have never heard of either: fell-running. [more inside]
Mental Floss has some good stuff, but I really like their quizzes. Especially the "Who Am I" series. Novels. Poets. Actors. Sports. Wonders of the World. [more inside]
A great athlete has passed away Jim McLaren passed away on August 30, 2010. Jim was an athlete and graduate of Yale University. He lost part of one leg, but came back to kickass times in marathons and triathlons – including Ironman. He did Kona in less than 11 hours. Then, during the 1993 Orange Country Triathlon a volunteer misjudged his speed and waved a waiting van forward. The van collided with Jim and sent him into a signpost, making him a quadriplegic. He went on to be a motivational speaker, was the genesis behind the CAF and won an Arthur Ashe Courage Award (2005).
Billy Ray Bates, in his words, was "an average player who can do fantastic things. After flaming out in the NBA, he became a legend in Phillippine Basketball Association.> [more inside]
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
Pregnant Texan honors student Mackenzie McCollum was barred from playing on her school's volleyball team specifically because of her pregnancy. After the school allowed her back on the team, McCollum's coach cut her playing time and disclosed the pregnancy to all her teammates. The US Department of Education is now investigating the school for Title IX violations, and both McCollum and her family are on the receiving end of some pretty nasty invective. (ESPN video profile, ESPN comments)
When people think of the pitfalls of the baseball draft, it is hard not to remember the story of Matt Harrington. Harrington was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft by the Rockies and the Padres in successive years, only to go back into the draft after failing to reach an agreement each time. As the years went by, his stock kept falling. [more inside]
"Lunch is really nice again, not mentioning a few battles with foods that were calling me like sirens called Odysseus. I had some salad some pasta and some fish and we had a nice chat with some Russian girls at an “All-Russian” table. Catching up on all the gossip, laughing, and in general making fun of people! By the way I forgot to mention that this is a men’s and women’s tournament so if you lose early and you are lacking confidence there is a good chance to challenge one of the girls to a match." Russian-American tennis player Dmitry Tursunov blogged his experiences at a 2006 tourney in Estoril, Portugal with hilarious results. [For best results, read from the bottom of the page up!] [more inside]
PolevaultFilter! Those who like to read about successful female athletes reaching great heights & being admired for their athletic achievements will be happy to know that Aussie World Youth Polevault Champion Vicky Parnov - niece of respected Olympic Silver Medallist Tatiana Grigorieva - will become the youngest ever Australian to take part in the world titles, in Osaka later this month.
This photo has launched high school pole vaulter Allison Stokke into Internet memedom. Her reaction: "I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it's almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me."
Republican athlete politicians With trepidation, I post a link to a Slate article (is that akin to posting a Salon article?) Anyway, I've been largely impressed with the "Sports Nut" columns. I think my favourite quote of this one is Brent Jones saying "An athlete is a small business owner whose product is yourself." And Charles Barkely reminding his grandma, unsure of her grandson's political leanings towards the Republicans, "we are rich".