Olympics

In portions of a full interview with NBC's Matt Lauer 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.

One story that's simmering at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has to do with sex: in particular, the controversy over intersex athletes, who are anatomically and genetically ambiguous.

At issue: Is it fair to allow those athletes, who often have high levels of testosterone, to compete with women?

Much of the attention has focused on South African runner Caster Semenya, the favorite to win gold in the women's 800 meters on Saturday. Semenya has been identified as intersex in many media reports, though she has never confirmed that or spoken about it.

Americans Simone Biles and Aly Raisman became the first U.S. gymnasts to win gold and silver in the women's floor exercise Tuesday, beating out six other elite gymnasts to put an exclamation mark on a stellar Summer Olympics in Rio.

Great Britain's Amy Tinkler, 16, won bronze.

"I'm a little bit relieved because it's been a long journey," Biles said after winning the final women's event in Rio.

She's enjoyed all of her time in Rio, Biles said, but she also admitted to being a little worn out.

When Kristin Armstrong pedaled across the Olympic finish line to win a cycling gold in Rio de Janeiro, her nose was bleeding and her 5-year-old son was waiting for her.

The 42-year-old told reporters that people constantly ask why she keeps competing despite her age and multiple hip surgeries.

Her response? "Because I can."

U.S. boxer Shakur Stevenson won his quarterfinal bout against Mongolia's Tsendbaatar Erdenebat in the men's bantam (56 kg) division at Rio's Summer Olympics on Tuesday, in a fight that featured Stevenson's superior reach and speed.

The win assures Stevenson of no worse than a bronze medal; those watching today's fight included boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"That bullet almost hit my bed. Have mercy, please God, deliver us," a resident in a group of Rio favelas called Alemao said in a message posted Saturday on the WhatsApp smartphone messaging service.

While media attention has focused on U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers who were robbed at gunpoint on Sunday, violence is surging in Rio's favelas, or shantytowns, far from the games.

Simone Biles' bid for her fourth gold medal of Rio's Summer Olympics will have to wait, after Dutch gymnast Sanne Wevers took advantage of a slightly sub-par Biles performance to claim gold. Biles won bronze, and her U.S. teammate Laurie Hernandez won the silver.

Wevers, 24, overcame the nerves that seemed to hit several of the other eight gymnasts at the Rio Olympic Arena on Monday, seizing the top spot after going fourth — and then waiting as the remaining gymnasts tried to better her score.

On Sunday, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the men's 100 meters in Rio, retaining his status as the fastest man in the world.

One photo from the day visually defines the career of this record-breaking athlete. It's from the semifinals.

In it, Bolt is leading the pack. He glances over his left shoulder, grinning, just before he crosses the finish line. His competitors are barely nipping at his heels. Everything below the waist is a blur.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt retained his title as the "world's fastest man," accelerating past all challengers to win the men's 100 meters for an unprecedented third time on Sunday night in Rio.

In trademark fashion, Bolt unpacked his lanky 6-foot-5 frame and separated himself from the tightly bunched field to win by a comfortable margin in a time of 9.81. His closest competitor, Justin Gatlin, hung with Bolt for the first half of the race, but couldn't match Bolt down the stretch. Gatlin took the silver in 9.89.

With two main goals already accomplished – gold medals in both the team competition and in the individual all-around – Simone Biles turned to the vault to grab more Olympic gold Sunday. She beat seven other gymnasts in the individual event.

"It's something I wanted so badly," Biles said afterwards, "so I just tried to keep a good mind going into vault."

As U.S. Gymnastics tells us, with today's gold medal, Biles sets a U.S. record for the most gymnastics gold medals in one Olympics for a female athlete. She also becomes the first American woman to win gold on the vault.

Justin Rose of Great Britain won the first Olympic gold medal in golf since 1904 Sunday, after holding off Sweden's Henrik Stenson. The two traded shots throughout the day in a tight finish to men's golf in Rio de Janeiro.

The title came after a day of great shots and near-misses for both Rose and Stenson, who played in the final group.

With the 18th-hole grandstands in his sights, Rose led by a stroke on the 15th – but he narrowly missed a putt on that would have kept pressure on Stenson, leaving him to watch as Stenson sank his own short putt.

At the Rio Olympics, there are the usual powerhouses:

Team USA, with 554 athletes. Australia, with 420. China, with 401.

And then there are the tiny countries: overwhelmed, but proud.

I went on a quest to find the tiniest of the tiny countries at the Summer Games. And I happened to find the delegation at the Olympic athletes' village, speaking a mashup of English and Nauruan.

How The Placebo Effect Could Boost An Olympic Performance

Aug 14, 2016

Olympic medals are won by margins of tenths or even hundredths of a second. So, it's no surprise that athletes want any edge they can get — even methods not backed by a lot of scientific evidence.

Michael Phelps has won so many more medals than any other Olympian that it makes for a pretty dull discussion when he's compared to individual athletes.

But let's pretend he's a country — the Republic of Phelps.

How does his career medal total stack up against all the countries that have competed in the Summer and Winter Olympics since the dawn of the modern games in 1896?

Hint: 205 countries are now competing in Rio, and others, like the Soviet Union, have disappeared along the way.

Puerto Rico now has its first Olympic gold medal, courtesy of tennis star Monica Puig, who beat Germany's Angelique Kerber in the women's singles tournament at Rio's Summer Olympics Saturday.

"I"m speechless," a smiling Puig said after her historic win. "I wanted it so bad."

"I never imagined in my wildest dreams that this would happen," Puig added — and she said her experience in Rio de Janeiro has been like a dream. She's looking forward, she said, to waking up tomorrow morning and seeing her gold medal sitting on her bedside table.

USA Swimming Wants More Diversity In The Pool

Aug 13, 2016

Simone Manuel made history Thursday night by becoming the first female African-American swimmer to win Olympic gold in an individual swimming event.

Michelle Carter Wins Historic Shot Put Gold

With a final, herculean hurl, Michelle Carter scored a gold medal in the women's shot put final Friday night in Rio — a first for any U.S. woman in the event.

"I knew I had more in the tank," Carter told reporters. "And to be able to go out there and put the pieces together and pull it out, I'm just really excited."

Taking advantage of that reserved energy, Carter truly saved her best for last.

There are no women in the world who can swim faster than Katie Ledecky in her freestyle events. And she proved that again at Rio's Summer Olympics, setting world records and dominating distances from 200-800 meters.

Ledecky closed out her Rio trip with a bang, shattering her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle Friday night. The win gave her four gold medals — three individual — to go along with the silver she won as part of the 4x100 freestyle relay in Brazil.

The U.S. women gymnasts have dazzled all week in Rio. And we're not talking about their crystal-studded leotards. The Americans won the team gold on Tuesday, and Simone Biles and Aly Raisman took gold and silver in the individual all-around on Thursday.

This wasn't traditionally a sport the U.S. dominated. The American women didn't win their first team gold until 1996. But they have now captured the team title at the last two Olympics, and American women have won the individual all-around at the last four Summer Games.

Thursday night in Rio, for the first time in history, a black woman won an individual swimming medal in the Olympics. Simone Manuel, a 20-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, tied for the gold medal in the women's 100-meter freestyle with an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds.

It came down to penalty kicks — and after two of the U.S. women's soccer team players missed theirs, Hope Solo couldn't stop Sweden's shots in an elimination game in the quarter-finals of Rio's Summer Olympics.

Facing their old coach Pia Sundhage, the Americans were trying to improve on a draw with Colombia that marred an otherwise stellar opening round to the games in Brazil. But they couldn't capitalize on early chances against Sweden, and Sundhage's squad made them pay in the end.

When tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted in March to having taken the heart drug meldonium, the public got a rare glimpse of a common practice that's often called "legal doping."

Lee Jin-man / AP

Leah Smith was not necessarily looking to set any records in the Olympic 4x200m freestyle relay in Rio. As she swam the second leg last night at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Smith realized her job was to keep the United States within striking distance of Australia and China, close enough to give the world’s best female swimmer, Katie Ledecky, a chance to pull ahead of the competition in the anchor leg. And that’s exactly what happened.

The Americans finished the race in 7:43.03, good for the gold medal, Smith’s first of the Olympics.

Imagine a Martian trying to make sense of this world and the only available data are the Summer Olympic medal tables from the past century.

How much would that explain? Quite a lot, it turns out. In fact, it would be challenging to find anything so concise that say so much about the past century as the tables below.

The four bar charts show the countries that usually win the largest share of medals — the United States, China, Russia and Germany — and how they have performed since 1912.

How Many Calories Do Olympic Athletes Need?

Aug 5, 2016

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 25, 2012.

Food, as we so often note on this blog, means a lot of different things to different people. To Olympic athletes, food is fuel for exceptional athletic performance. But there's a surprising amount of variety in just how much fuel elite athletes need.

Monobloco

Street band Monobloco will bring the samba-rock funk rhythms of their native Brazil to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater at 8 p.m. Friday. The 24-person crew takes the stage the same night Olympic opening ceremonies kick off in Rio de Janeiro.

Founding member Celso Alvim said their adaptations of classic songs make them famous in their home country, and when they tour, audiences vibe the energy of their set.

The International Olympic Committee has announced that it will not impose a blanket ban on the entire Russian team from the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro despite evidence of state-sponsored doping.

Instead, it has called on sports federations to carry out assessments on individual athletes to determine whether they can compete.

The decision is an attempt to balance "the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a teleconference with reporters on Sunday.

David Dermer / AP Images

In 2012, Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg served as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer team. This year in Rio de Janeiro, Klingenberg will have the opportunity to be on the medal stand.

More than 20 athletes who won Olympic medals in Beijing are among 45 athletes from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games whose anti-doping samples contained banned substances, a reanalysis has found. The International Olympic Committee says the findings nearly double the number of implicated athletes from those games.

That number of has now risen to 98. And while the IOC isn't identifying the 45 athletes or their countries who have what it calls an "Adverse Analytical Finding" at this point, here's what the organization is saying:

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