Olympics

Professional runners from the Northwest say the expulsion of the Russian track and field team from this summer’s Olympic Games sends a strong message about fair play.

Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee will further review Russia’s participation. Late last week, track and field’s world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, barred Russia from the 2016 Olympics based on allegations of systematic doping.

Guanabara Bay, where the Olympic sailing competition will be held this coming August, is a place of striking views — and filthy water that hides some nasty secrets.

Many sailors have complained about the pollution and debris in the water where they will be racing. For Brazilians whose jobs depend on the bay, it's a long-term problem that's only getting worse.

Alexandre Anderson, who heads the region's largest fishermen's association, took me out onto the water to show me the extent of Rio de Janeiro's water crisis.

Track and field's world governing body has unanimously decided to bar Russian athletes from competing in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro amid allegations of state-sponsored doping.

The International Association of Athletics Federations made the announcement at a press conference Friday in Vienna.

"Because the system in Russia has been tainted by doping from top level and down, we cannot trust that what we call and what people might call clean athletes really are clean," said Rune Andersen, head of the task force that provided recommendations to the IAAF.

Wendy Boglioli won bronze in the Women's 100 metres Butterfly and gold in the Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Bill Radke speaks with swimmer Wendy Boglioli about facing off against the East German women's swimming team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The massively powerful East German swimmers, who were later found to have been systematically doped by their government, took gold after gold in event after event. The Americans were entirely shut out -- until the last race. 

With his wife expecting a baby in October, American road racer Tejay van Garderen has withdrawn from consideration for the Rio Summer Olympics, citing the Zika virus that's been linked to birth defects.

From a statement released by USA Cycling on van Garderen's behalf today:

In the misty rain, surrounded by Rio de Janeiro's green hills, police officer Eduardo Dias was buried last week. He was shot, purportedly by gang members, as he was leaving his post inside the favela, or shantytown, where he worked as a community cop.

The killing took place a few hundred feet from the Maracana Stadium, where the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics will be held on Aug. 5. As family members wept by the graveside, the pastor raised his hands.

After retests of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 31 athletes from 12 countries in six sports could be banned from this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday.

In a statement, the IOC said it retested 454 samples from the 2008 Beijing Games, using "the very latest scientific analysis methods." The retesting yielded suspicious results from dozens of athletes.

"All those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games Rio 2016," the statement from the IOC said.

One of just a handful of American distance runners picked as likely to medal this summer at the Olympic Games is transplanted Northwesterner Evan Jager. His success in the steeplechase could draw new converts to this entertaining but slightly obscure track and field event.

In fact, Beaverton, Oregon, has already quietly become a hub of world-class steeplechasers.

Amir Attaran, a professor in the School of Public Health and the School of Law at the University of Ottawa, isn't afraid to take a bold stand.

He has written a commentary for the Harvard Public Health Review, published this week, with the headline, "Why Public Health Concerns for Global Spread of Zika Virus Means that Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Olympic Games Must Not Proceed."

Brazil is battling a recession, political chaos, high crime and the spreading Zika virus. All these factors seem to be conspiring to drive potential ticket buyers away in advance of the Summer Olympic Games set to open Aug. 5 in Rio de Janeiro.

A few short years ago, Brazil was soaring. Its economy was on the upswing and the country was preparing for the international spotlight with the 2014 World Cup.

But now, as it gets ready to host the Summer Olympics this August, Brazil is mired in political crisis and economic turmoil, and is plagued by the worsening Zika virus. Over the weekend, more than a million demonstrators hit the streets to protest against the government and demand the president's resignation.

What happened?

Political Crisis

What do you do when you already have beaten Michael Phelps' record at 16 years old?

For swimmer Justin Lynch, who turned 18 last month, he just keeps practicing, chasing that record-breaking performance, with an eye on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks had one. Professional baseball teams have them. And the U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey team found one in Tacoma: a "mental skills" coach.

NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, in London, and Joanna Kakissis, in Athens, teamed up for this joint look at Olympics economics.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are just a few days away. Russia has spent $50 billion on everything from construction to security, making these the most expensive games in history.

Countries often justify the Olympic-sized price tag by saying the investment pays off in increased business and tourism.

Winter Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are learning this month who will get to go to the Sochi Games next month. One snow making expert from Washington state is already there.

Pages