Olympics

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For bobsledder and Georgia native Elana Meyers Taylor, the Olympics are a culmination of more than a decade of work.

She won three medals including silver at this year’s games in Korea.

But Taylor’s Olympic career almost ended in 2015 after she suffered a serious concussion.


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Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual news conference on Thursday, an event that commonly runs for hours, offering a kaleidoscope-like glimpse of Putin's view of his country and the world. In this year's edition, the topics ranged from President Trump to Russia's ban at the 2018 Winter Olympics — and the state of the fishing industry in Murmansk.

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Last week President Trump disparaged professional football players for kneeling during the national anthem. The president’s comments generated gestures of unity at NFL games Sunday and Monday night. The Atlanta Falcons were among the many players, coaches and owners who locked arms during the anthem to protest racial injustice. Fifty years ago two Olympic athletes brought this kind of silent protest to the medal podium. Track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the ceremony.

The International Olympic Committee decided Tuesday that Paris and Los Angeles can work out a deal to be awarded the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games.

The committee's members voted unanimously that it can award both Olympics at its next meeting in September and that a three-way deal can be brokered among the two cities and the IOC.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo joined IOC President Thomas Bach on stage in Lausanne, Switzerland. Bach raised their hands in the air in a pose of shared victory.

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NBC had decidedly mixed results when it comes to ratings for its 17 days of coverage from the Summer Olympics in Rio.

According to figures released Monday, NBC drew an average total audience of 25.4 million viewers on its broadcast network in prime time, or 198 million people overall on TV.

Combine figures from broadcast, cable and online and the tally jumps to 27.5 million; enough to boost viewership for NBC programs like the Today show and NBC Nightly News while also bringing victories over network and cable TV competitors.

Rio 2016 organizers dropped the curtain on the Summer Games on Sunday after hosting the world's elite athletes who've competed for 306 medals over the past 19 days here in Rio de Janeiro.

The closing ceremony starts at 8 p.m. local time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Time. Because of NBC's time delay, it's airing at 8 p.m. ET and progressively later across the U.S.

No one is flying home from Rio with more medals than the U.S. women.

The full American squad — both men and women — won the most medals overall, 121, as has often been the case in the Summer Games. But first in London four years ago, and again in Rio, the U.S. women have captured most of those medals.

The U.S. women took 61, the men had 55, and there were five in mixed events, including equestrian and mixed-doubles tennis.

How good were the American women?

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And, finally, the Rio Games are the first ever to include audio descriptions for blind viewers. NPR's Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi reports.

After several close games along the way, the U.S. men's basketball team was all business on Sunday as they routed Serbia, 96-66, in the gold medal game that brought down the curtain on the competition in the Rio games.

Kevin Durant led the way, hitting three-point bombs, driving for dunks, handing out assists and making steals on defense. After a close first quarter, which ended with the U.S. up 19-15, the Americans blew the game open in the second frame.

Durant had 24 points by the half and the U.S. had a 23-point lead, 52-29.

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American boxer Claressa Shields has successfully defended her London 2012 gold in the women's middleweight division, beating the Netherlands' Nouchka Fontijn in a unanimous decision Sunday. Shields also becomes the first U.S. boxer, male or female, to win two Olympic gold medals.

"Oh my God, I feel like I'm dreaming right now, somebody pinch me, oh my God," Shields said after the fight, according to the Olympic News Service." She added, "You know not everybody can be an Olympic gold medalist. I'm a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Oh my God, I can't believe I just said that."

"I'm very excited, and I can't wait for my team to be with me so I can do that," says gymnastics star Simone Biles, hours before becoming the first gymnast to carry the U.S. flag since 1936.

Biles received that honor Saturday, being named the flag bearer for tonight's closing ceremony in a nod to an exceptional Summer Olympics in Rio. In Brazil, Biles, 19, collected four gold medals and a bronze. But the gymnast, who is listed at 4 feet 8 inches, admits that she's a little concerned about how she'll carry the flag.

Paul Chelimo's tale about becoming a U.S. Olympian is unusual, and the story behind his silver medal performance in the men's 5,000 meters is stranger still.

We'll work backward, starting with his race in Rio on Saturday night.

Chelimo ran a personal best in the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) of 13:03:90, finishing second with a strong kick and trailing only the remarkable Mo Farah of Britain, who won the 5,000 and the 10,000, the same difficult double he pulled off in 2012.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge won the men's marathon on Sunday, surging ahead with about nine miles to go and leaving his closet rival more than a minute behind on the streets of Rio.

Kipchoge, who was considered the favorite, finished the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 44 seconds. The race began and ended in the Sambrodomo, the parade ground for the city's iconic Carnival.

Kipchoge, who won the London Marathon earlier this year in near world-record time, is just the second Kenyan man to win the gold medal in the Olympic marathon.

One of the most surprising stories of the Olympics, which end on Sunday, was the unseeded Monica Puig's improbable march to the gold medal in women's singles tennis. Puig's win captured Puerto Rico's first-ever gold medal in the Olympics and set off massive celebrations across the island. It was a big-ass deal.

One of the great pleasures of the Olympics is the serendipity — you never know where the best performances or the worst behavior will come from.

In portions of a full interview with NBC's Matt Lauer on Saturday night, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte attempted to clarify his role in the early morning episode at a Rio de Janeiro gas station last weekend.

It won't take the sting of a World Cup shellacking away, but it'll help: Brazil beat Germany in Olympic soccer Saturday, in a win that earns the men's team their first gold medal.

Brazilian star Neymar opened the scoring midway through the first half, bending a beautiful free kick over the wall of defenders and toward the net – where it clipped the underside of the crossbar and eluded German goalie Timo Horn.

The U.S. women's basketball team trounced Spain, 101-72, on Saturday, winning their sixth consecutive gold and their 49th straight Olympic game.

The American women so overpowered their opponents that the tournament was almost certainly the least competitive event at the Rio games, which end on Sunday.

The average margin of victory for the U.S. in their Olympic games was nearly 40 points, and the closest game was a 19-point victory over France in the semifinals. Since 1996, the American have only had one game where they won by fewer than 10 points.

Boxer Shakur Stevenson lost the gold medal to Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez at Rio's Summer Olympics Saturday, in a split decision that left the American distraught after their three-round fight.

"I felt Robeisy won the last 30 seconds," Stevenson said later.

The two rounds that Stevenson, 19, lost in this gold medal bout were the first he'd lost in Rio.

The fact that he'd just won the highest Olympic medal for the U.S. men's boxing team since 2004 did little to console Stevenson.

"I don't look at it as an accomplishment," he said. "I look at it as a loss."

"Ryan Lochte is too much with us," William Wordsworth might have written if he were covering the Summer Olympics in Rio.

Okay, I admit it: William Wordsworth would never have written that. But that's the sentiment that hung over Rio this week, as the temporary community that the Olympics creates every two years found itself unexpectedly distracted from its normal duty of watching talented and dedicated people introduce their dreams to Olympic reality.

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The U.S. women's water polo team dominated Italy in a 12-5 win in their gold medal match Friday to become the first women's team to win gold at consecutive Summer Olympics.

It's the most goals ever scored in a women's water polo final, and the widest margin of victory, according to the Olympic News Service.

The American team scored four goals in two different periods — the first and the third — and while Italy fought its way back to trail 5-3 at the half, the U.S. players broke the game open after the intermission. Italy scored its final goal with just seconds remaining.

The Paralympic Games in Rio next month are being scaled back because of financial problems and some countries may not be able to send athletes as planned, the head of the International Paralympic Committee said Friday.

This week, in a tale of Olympic scandal and intrigue, Ryan Lochte is in the spotlight for an ugly encounter at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro.

One day after the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee issued a formal apology to Rio and Brazil over his and others' behavior, swimming star Ryan Lochte says he should have been more careful and candid.

"I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend," Lochte wrote on Instagram, "for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics."

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