Fourth-Place Medal
  • Maya Angelou, one of America's finest and best-known poets, died Wednesday at the age of 86. In 2008, she wrote a poem in honor of the Beijing Olympics titled "Amazement Awaits." The poem encompasses the best of the Olympics: unity of the human experience and triumph over strife and doubt.

    "I commend you all, Americans and winners across the globe," she wrote on Facebook in 2012, "for what you do is win the human spirit and therefore we are all winners."

    "Amazement Awaits"

    Sheer amazement awaits
    Amazement luxuriant in promise
    Abundant in wonder
    Our beautiful children arrive at this Universal stadium
    They have bathed in the waters of the world
    And carry the soft silt of the Amazon, the Nile,
    The Danube, the Rhine, the Yangtze and the Mississippi
    In the palms of their right hands.
    A wild tiger nestles in each armpit
    And a meadowlark perches on each shoulder.
    We, the world audience, stand, arms akimbo,
    Longing for the passion of the animal
    And the melody of the lark
    The tigers passion

    Read More »from Maya Angelou's poetry graced the 2008 Olympics
  • For all the talk of global honor and prestige that the Olympics bring to a host city, talk largely promoted by the International Olympic Committee itself, the truth is that the Games tend to smother cities in debt and saddle them with venues they can't ever use again.

    Best-case scenario? Host cities get a pat on the head and a "way to go, slugger!" as the two-week IOC circus leaves town. Worst-case? Host cities become the eternal butt of jokes ("nastier than a Sochi hotel room" will resonate for a generation) as their nations spend decades dragging themselves out of debt.

    "Pay dearly for the honor of hosting our Games" is a scam the Olympics have pulled for over a century now, and it's a scam that the world's cities are finally catching onto. The 2022 Winter Olympics are the next Games to be awarded, and as it turns out, city after city is declining the "honor" of hosting them.

    Residents of Krakow, Poland overwhelmingly rejected the idea of hosting the 2022 Games, leading city

    Read More »from Does anyone want to host the 2022 Winter Olympics?
  • So Norm Macdonald paid a visit to Conan O'Brien's show on Wednesday night, and the comedian revealed he's not much of a fan of Oscar Pistorius. But he doesn't have a problem with Pistorius' alleged crimes; no, Macdonald's complaint with Pistorius is much more direct: "I feel that one of the basic requirements for being a sprinter is having legs."

    Ooooof. But if you were offended by that, congrats: that's exactly what Macdonald was going for. A noted sports fan, he knows what he's talking about when it comes to athletic competition (no, we're not saying he's right about Pistorius); his Twitter feed is well worth checking out for abstract meditations on everything from golf tournaments to hockey games.

    Plus, it's not like savaging athletes is new for MacDonald. His monologue before the 1998 ESPYs is a masterpiece of skewering every self-important glory-hounding athlete, and a main reason why he'll probably never be allowed anywhere near ESPN ever again. Check out a just-out-of-childhood

    Read More »from Norm Macdonald hates Oscar Pistorius, but not for why you'd think
  • We're still more than two years out from the Olympics, but the Rio-isn't-ready stories are flying faster Usain Bolt on a Red Bull latte. No, London won't be getting the Games back, but short of that, everything else is apparently on the table to get these Olympics off the ground.

    Now comes word that Guanabera Bay, future site of sailing and windsurfing events, is a trash-strewn nightmare, a dumpsite for 80 to 100 tons of Rio de Janeiro's trash each day. Add to that the fact that only about 40 percent of sewage is treated, with the remainder going straight into the water system, and you've got the foundation for an epic public health/public relations/public image nightmare.

    The local government has said it will clean up the bay, but to local residents, this is more of the same news. Brazil has spent more than a billion dollars in the past two decades trying to clean up the bay, with little if any progress to show for it. There are plenty of photos of the environmental devastation here,

    Read More »from Garbage fouls site of sailing, windsurfing at 2016 Olympics
  • We're still more than two years out from the Olympics, but the Rio-isn't-ready stories are flying faster Usain Bolt on a Red Bull latte. No, London won't be getting the Games back, but short of that, everything else is apparently on the table to get these Olympics off the ground.

    Now comes word that Guanabera Bay, future site of sailing and windsurfing events, is a trash-strewn nightmare, a dumpsite for 80 to 100 tons of Rio de Janeiro's trash each day. Add to that the fact that only about 40 percent of sewage is treated, with the remainder going straight into the water system, and you've got the foundation for an epic public health/public relations/public image nightmare.

    The local government has said it will clean up the bay, but to local residents, this is more of the same news. Brazil has spent more than a billion dollars in the past two decades trying to clean up the bay, with little if any progress to show for it. There are plenty of photos of the environmental devastation here,

    Read More »from Garbage mars future waters of Rio 2016 sailing, windsurfing events

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