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Olympics

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Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

popo.uw23 / flickr creative commons

Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

No Connecticut athletes are returning to Pyeonchang with medals.
Jeon Han / Republic of Korea

Connecticut’s eight Winter Olympians all failed to medal in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The state’s last competitor in the games, Julia Marino of Westport, finished 10th in the women’s big air snowboarding event Thursday in Pyeongchang.

Cybersecurity experts are confirming that a computer malware attack dubbed "Olympic Destroyer" hit select networks and Wi-Fi systems at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang on Friday, but they would not say for sure whether Russia or North Korea are to blame.

Users with a @pyeongchang2018.com email address were targeted in the attack, which lasted less than an hour on Friday night, experts said.

Michael Blann/Digital Vision / Thinkstock

Who should be able to build casinos in Connecticut?

Plans by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a third gaming facility in East Windsor have stalled, and lawmakers in southwestern Connecticut are now pushing a bill to scrap that plan in favor of a new casino in Bridgeport.

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics kicked off on Friday — at 8 p.m. in South Korea and at 6 a.m. ET in the U.S. — with 2,900 athletes from 92 countries gathering to compete for 102 medals in Pyeongchang.

The U.S. Olympic team was led into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium by flag-bearer Erin Hamlin.

The Winter Games run from Feb. 9-25. The Paralympics will use many of the same facilities, with 670 athletes competing from March 9-18.

Our recap of the big event:

The ceremony begins

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Up and down Main Street in downtown Madison, the local chamber of commerce has placed one American and one Olympic flag atop every single light post. They are flying high in celebration of the town’s three Olympians — freestyle skiers Mac Bohonnon and Kiley McKinnon and figure skater Zach Donohue.

Editor's Note: This story contains graphic language.

Ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar was handed his third sentence on Monday, this time of 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting young gymnasts at an elite Michigan training facility.

Dozens of people gave victim statements last week in the Eaton County, Mich., courtroom. There, Randy Margraves, the father of two of them, charged at Nassar saying he wanted a minute alone with the "demon." Sheriff's deputies tackled him before he reached the former doctor.

North Korea's ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, will visit South Korea as part of a high-level delegation attending the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics this week amid somewhat eased tensions between the bitter rivals.

Kim is the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and is the nominal head of North Korea, although nearly all real power is concentrated in the hands of third-generation hereditary ruler, Kim Jong Un.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

The board of USA Gymnastics says its remaining members will resign in response to a request by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The U.S. Olympic Committee had earlier set a deadline of Jan. 31 for their resignation, or USA Gymnastics would face the loss of its certification as a national governing body. The deadline was one week from the day disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 gymnasts.

Sandro Halank / Creative Commons

Two Connecticut lugers will race down the ice for Team USA this February. They qualified earlier this month for the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Russia hosted the last Winter Olympics, in 2014. But the country is banned from being represented at the 2018 Games that start in February, after the International Olympic Committee said it found a widespread culture of Russian cheating through performance-enhancing drugs.

The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee "with immediate effect," essentially banning the country from the upcoming Winter Olympics over Russia's system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes can compete in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the IOC said Tuesday — but the athletes will have to pass strict scrutiny, and instead of wearing their nation's uniform, they will compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

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?

Announcing that two swimmers have now flown out of a Rio airport after being detained by police, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun is apologizing for how the pair and two other swimmers behaved in Brazil.

"The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable," Blackmun said, referring to swimmers Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger.

The U.S. had never won an Olympic gold medal in women's freestyle wrestling. Japan's Saori Yoshida had lost only twice in 14 years of competition and was the reigning gold medalist at 53 kg (117 pounds).

But Thursday belonged to American Helen Maroulis. With a couple of quick moves in the second half, she was suddenly up 4-1 over the nearly unbeatable Yoshida. The clocked ticked down. The horn blew.

A euphoric Maroulis won the gold.

The U.S. women's water polo team will be back in the pool on Friday, hungry for a second consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The women made it to the gold medal match after a decisive victory Wednesday against Hungary in the semifinals.

I watched that game with the mother of not one, but two players on Team USA.

Leslie Fischer of Laguna Beach, Calif., was sitting poolside, watching anxiously as the Hungarian players beat up on the U.S. team, including her daughters: Makenzie, 19, and Aria, 17, who's still in high school and the youngest player on the U.S. roster.

It was a team that ran alone: The women of the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team raced by themselves under the lights of Rio's Olympic Stadium Thursday, going against the clock for a shot at the final.

The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun needed a time better than 42.70 seconds to reach the final.

The women posted a 41.77 — the best of any qualifier, edging Jamaica at 41.79. The result means that China's relay team, which owned a slot in the final for more than seven hours, will be left out of the race.

Barring a banana peel appearing in his lane, the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will likely win a third straight gold medal in the 200 meters today, at the Rio Olympics. Earlier this week, Bolt, who turns 30 at the conclusion of the games, on Sunday, picked up his third gold in the 100 meters, after smiling his way through qualifying heats with characteristic charm and seeming ease.

We should have been prepared for the Ryan Lochte drama in Rio. We've seen this reality show before. Or at least we could have, if we were paying very close attention to the E! television channel back in 2013.

In a twist to a marquee event, Allyson Felix and her teammates on the U.S. women's 4x100-meter relay team got a second shot to make the final, and they made the most of it, after successfully arguing that other runners made them drop their baton at the Summer Olympics Thursday.

Track and field's international governing body, the IAAF, agreed with the U.S., setting up an unusual event tonight — 7 p.m. in Rio and 6 p.m. ET – when the Americans ran a race alone on the track at Olympic Stadium.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET: Second Time's A Charm

"There was no robbery," says Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso, at a Thursday news conference about four U.S. swimmers who claimed to have been held up at gun point during their time at the Summer Olympics.

Speaking Thursday at a news conference about the robbery that was reported by decorated U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, Veloso said that Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, two of Lochte's teammates who were with him on the night in question, have now confirmed that the robbery story was a fabrication.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET: USOC Apologizes

Seven to one. That's all you need to say, and everyone in Brazil knows what you're talking about. The hopes of the South American nation were crushed when Germany humiliated a shell-shocked Brazil by that score in the semifinals of soccer's World Cup in 2014, and in Brazil no less.

Now there's a rematch.

Brazil coasted to a 6-0 win Wednesday over Honduras in one semifinal, while Germany shutout Nigeria, 2-0, in the other, setting up a showdown in the Olympic gold medal game on Saturday.

U.S. Army / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut's own Donn Cabral ran in the Olympic 3,000 meter steeplechase final Wednesday morning. Cabral finished in ninth place -- but his U.S. teammate Evan Jager finished with a silver medal. 

The steeplechase is one of the most grueling and chaotic Olympic track and field events: seven-and-a-half laps around the track at top speed, where runners must negotiate 28 barriers and seven water jumps.

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.

Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas won the women's 400-meter final at the Summer Olympics on Monday, edging America's star runner Allyson Felix in a time of 49.44 seconds on a damp night in Rio de Janeiro.

Felix closed in on Miller in the closing meters but she couldn't get ahead of her, finishing at 49.51. At the finish, Miller dove, or perhaps collapsed, across the line. It was a move that Felix later mirrored, as the toll of the race hit home.

Jamaica's Shericka Jackson won bronze, in a time of 49.85.

Michael Phelps went out on top, wrapping up the greatest Olympic career ever with one last gold — his 23rd — on Saturday night. It came on a day when Rio was filled with dramatic performances as swimming wrapped up and track kicked into high gear.

On the track, Jamaica maintained its stranglehold on the women's 100-meter title, but this time it was Elaine Thompson taking gold in 10.71, while her teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the winner in 2008 and 2012, had to settle for bronze. American Tori Bowie took the silver.

At some point, possibly when wandering the remote landscape of NBC's outer channels, you will stumble upon that elusive Olympic creature: water polo.

Do not be alarmed.

It's a sport, not an exotic predator. And no matter how strange it may appear to the novice, with its dome-eared caps, neon ball and whistle-happy refs, water polo is not chaos in a pool; it has rules.

Call it the Summer (Olympics) of love: He Zi of China was standing on the podium after receiving a silver medal for diving in Rio on Sunday when her boyfriend, fellow diver Qin Kai, pulled out a ring and proposed marriage. It's the second proposal of the Rio Games.

Moments before Sunday's proposal, He had been dueling teammate and world champion Shi Tingmao for the gold medal in the 3-meter springboard final. It was shortly after the medal presentation that Qin — who owns gold medals from previous Olympics and has won bronze here in Rio — seized the moment.

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