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Each World Cup, the sportswear giant Adidas designs an official ball to be used in the tournament.

Whenever you bring together dozens of different countries from around the globe, there's bound be some cross-cultural confusion. The World Cup is no exception.

And if you're Shin Tae-yong, coach of the South Korean national team, you figure out how to work that confusion to your advantage. In a press conference Sunday, Shin explained the unusual tactic he'd employed against scouts from the Swedish team: He'd had his team members swap jersey numbers for the warm-up games, in hopes that scouts wouldn't be able to tell the players apart.

Deborah Epstein has spent her professional life fighting for victims of domestic violence. But protecting such victims is also what Epstein says led her to step down from a commission meant to tackle the issue of domestic violence in the National Football League.

An "official oracle" has spoken — or eaten, technically — and predicted victory for Russia.

That was the news from St. Petersburg Wednesday after Achilles the cat picked Russia to win the opening match of the World Cup on Thursday in a game against Saudi Arabia.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Russia. Here's the nitty-gritty and a few stories to watch as 32 national soccer teams begin their pursuit of the copa mundial.

When does it start?

The tournament starts on Thursday, June 14, and runs through Sunday, July 15.

The starting gun fires bright and early Thursday morning for the fourth annual running of the maritime Race to Alaska. The 750-mile adventure marathon has been compared to the Iditarod but with a chance of drowning, being run down by a freighter, or getting eaten by a grizzly bear.

United States goalie Brad Guzan leaps for a shot by Ecuador in the second half of a Copa America Centenario soccer match, Thursday, June 16, 2016 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Seattle can expect some tough questions in its bid to be one of 10 U.S. cities to host men's World Cup soccer games in 2026:


The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with a united bid from North America winning the right to host soccer's showcase event, the sport's world governing body decided on Wednesday.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

In the last race of her history-making career, Danica Patrick went out with a bang — but not the bang she'd hoped.

At the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Patrick crashed as she came out of Turn 2.

During lap 68 of the race, Patrick lost control and hit the outer wall before sliding across the track, hitting the interior wall and finally coming to a stop on the grass, the Associated Press reports.

Unveiling a new policy after months of controversy and debate over players taking a knee or otherwise making statements during the national anthem, the NFL says all of its athletes and staff "shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem" if they're on the field.

It was supposed to be an honor.

In a ceremony Monday night at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, U.S. soccer great Brandi Chastain was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. She was presented with a bronze plaque of her likeness, to be displayed at San Francisco International Airport.

Sports betting
Flickr Photo/Baishampayan Ghose (CC BY-SA) / Flickr Photo/Baishampayan Ghose (CC BY-SA)

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the states can legalize sports betting.

In Washington state, that could only happen if the Legislature passes a law. And that would require a 60 percent majority.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. Thursday.

When an NBA team interviews potential head coaches, it's a big deal on sports sites and the fan blogs. It gets a write-up in the hometown paper.

It's not usually headline news at the New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue and Salon.

Flickr Photo/angela n. (CC BY 2.0)/bit.ly/2Km7VmL

Bill Radke talks to our panel about a New York Times opinion piece that argues liberals aren't as smart as they think. We also look at the state's sports gambling laws and why Mother's Day should be expanded beyond just mothers. Our guests are Wilfred Padua, a Seattle comedian, and food writer Angela Garbes, whose new book is, "Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy."

SLIDESHOW: Sea Gals hopeful Kiana stretches before the final auditions on Sunday, May 13, 2018, at the CenturyLink Field West Club Lounge in Seattle. Tap or click on the first image to see more.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The 2018 Sea Gals squad has been determined. Of the 52 Sea Gals hopefuls that competed on Sunday during the final round of auditions, only 28 dancers made the team. 

Kittie Weston-Knauer, on the cusp of 70 years old, is the oldest female BMX bicycle racer in the U.S.

When she started competing in the late 1980s, she was often the only woman on the track. It was her son, Max Knauer, a champion BMX rider, who introduced her to the sport when he was 10.

Max, now 40, explains that he planted the racing seed after a frustrating day of his mom playing coach.

The five black women kicked off the course at the Grandview Golf Club in York, Pennsylvania, last weekend are not sure what happens now.

The women, all middle-aged professionals, members of the club and a broader organization for black female golfers called Sisters in the Fairway, were on the second hole when the owner’s father, Steve Chronister, told them they were playing too slow and offered them a refund to leave.

A Seattle Saracens rugby match
Flickr Photo/Francisco Javier Perez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/RrAo1f

Kim Malcolm talks with Kevin Flynn about the Seattle Seawolves and the prospects for professional rugby in Seattle. Flynn is a manager with the Seawolves and president of the Seattle Saracens Rugby Club.

The Seawolves kick off their inaugural season against the San Diego Legion on Sunday at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.

Seattle Seahawks Sea Gals cheerleaders perform during halftime of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Seattle. The gloves were part of the Seahawks and NFL football's Crucial Catch campaign to support the fight against breast cancer.
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

NFL cheerleading is being scrutinized after a professional cheerleader sued the New Orleans Saints. Her discrimination complaint comes on top of reports about rules dictating cheerleader behavior.

KUOW PHOTO / CASEY MARTIN

Lovable losers? Newbies with something to prove? A town on the cusp of reclaiming its glory?

Seattle sports fans, it's time to talk about who we are.

Let's dig into the city’s sports identity with panelists Michael-Shawn Dugar, Kate Preusser, and Geoff Baker. They cover everything from the new rugby team, impassioned Sounders fans and athletes reflecting fans' values.


Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen says the University of Washington is thrilled to form the partnership with adidas. Cohen is pictured here with UW president Ana Mari Cauce in 2016.
Mason Kelley/University of Washington

The University of Washington may end its 20-year relationship with Nike. The UW Athletic Department announced Tuesday it plans to sign a new uniform and footwear deal with adidas instead.

It will be one of the most expensive deals in college sports.

There's no crying in baseball. But for Kay Johnston, there's crying when you can't play.

In the spring of 1950, in upstate New York, 13-year-old Kay Johnston wanted nothing more than to play Little League baseball. But in those days, that was out of the question. Girls weren't encouraged to swing bats and throw balls.

The Granite Curling Club in Seattle's Bitter Lake neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

The Winter Olympics are over — but there's good news for curling fans. You don't have to wait four years to enjoy more thrilling curling action.

The Granite Curling Club in Seattle's Bitter Lake neighborhood hosts league play and will teach you how to throw stones, sweep and score like the pros.  


Public domain

Kim Malcolm talks with Jeff Obermeyer about the history of professional hockey in Seattle. Obermeyer runs the Seattle Hockey website and is author of several books, including "Seattle Totems" and "Hockey in Seattle."

The Winter Olympics ended on Sunday under a shower of fireworks with athletes waving flags and dancing exuberantly to K-Pop music. None of the 13 athletes with Pacific Northwest roots who competed in PyeongChang won a medal. But they seem to be coming home happy anyway.

Concussion study testing equipment.
Flickr Photo/University of the Fraser Valley (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/fpZHqf

Football verges on being an American religion. But instead of the saints being martyred, they're getting hit. Hard. And often. The ensuing concussions can cause severe mental deterioration, erratic behavior, and even suicide.

2018 Orcas Island 100 Miler race.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Northwesterners have a reputation for loving the outdoors and tirelessly lapping urban lakes. There are a few who push the "active lifestyle" to a cold, dark extreme.

Over a February weekend, 69 runners survived macerated feet, busted knees and mild hypothermia to finish a 100-mile trail run on Orcas Island in less than 36 hours.

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

Seattle Emeralds, Seattle Eagles and yes, Seattle Kraken are only a few of the newly registered domain names that could hold clues about what a possible Seattle NHL team might be called. Bill Radke bounces some possibilities off VanLive reporter (and Canucks fan) Harrison Mooney.

Seattle Mariners former designated hitter Edgar Martinez speaks at a news conference announcing the retirement by the team of his jersey number 11, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone about whether Edgar Martinez is likely to be voted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. Martinez played his entire 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners, retiring in 2004.

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