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It is the world's fastest racquet sport, with speeds up to 250 miles per hour off the racquet.

And it may be one of the most misunderstood.

Badminton — that staple of backyard picnics and summer camp — becomes, at the expert level, a sport that requires lightning-quick reflexes, explosive power, stamina and agility.

There will be plenty of Olympic athletes with local connections to cheer for when the Summer Games begin this week.

The 1936 Olympic team crewed the wooden Husky Clipper, which now hangs in a place of honor above the the crew dining hall.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

Marcie Sillman speaks with Judy Willman, daughter of Joe Rantz, about how finding "swing" with the 1936 University of Washington rowing team changed her father's life. The nine boys on that legendary team beat staggering odds to win gold in the Berlin Olympics.

The Kirkland All-Stars are hosting the Junior Softball World Series this week.
Courtesy of Mikal Norman

It's a big week in Little League softball in Washington, and it's coming to the Eastside. The Kirkland All-Stars are hosting the Junior Softball World Series.

They'll be one of ten teams from around the world battling for a chance to play in the world championship game this coming weekend.

Luke Aikins on Saturday became the first skydiver to jump from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story.

football
Flickr Photo/Alexander Schimmeck (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ah3uJL

Kim Malcolm talks with ESPN's Steve Fainaru about allegations made against Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington. In May, a Congressional report alleged that Ellenbogen attempted to influence a federal study on football and brain disease. 

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs about his memories of Ken Griffey Jr. The former Mariners outfielder will be inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Police in Brazil have arrested 10 people for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack against the upcoming Olympics in Rio, according to Brazil's justice minister.

Authorities say the group, based in multiple states across Brazil, had "moved beyond discussion to active planning," NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro says.

Members of the group allegedly had pledged allegiance to ISIS but had not had any direct contact with the militant group, Lulu reports from Rio.

"It's a first for modern Brazil — Brazilians plotting a terrorist attack on their own country," Lulu says.

More than 60 track and field athletes from Russia have had their bid for an appeal rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, dealing another blow to their hopes of participating in the Summer Olympics in Rio next month.

The CAS decision comes weeks after the International Olympic Committee backed a ban on Russia's track and field athletes who were seeking the right to compete in Rio as neutral athletes, after their country's sporting federation for track was suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The International Olympic Committee held an emergency meeting Tuesday but put off a final decision on whether to ban all Russian athletes from the Summer Games that begin in Brazil on Aug. 5.

Though the games are less than three weeks away, the IOC said it would "explore the legal options" and would weigh a collective ban "versus the right to individual justice."

At the crowded start of the men's 5000-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials last weekend, the elite runners at the line mostly wore the brightly-colored uniforms of their shoe company sponsors.

But there was also a pair of slender guys in beige, black and camouflage with the word "Army" in big block letters across their chests.

The Blerch is a sort of life-coach spirit animal coaxing comic artist Matthew Inman to lace up and go running.
The Oatmeal/Matthew Inman (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running)

Our daily lives can sometimes feel like an overwhelming monster. Some days we beat the monster and we feel on top of the world. Other days, we don't.

Local comic artist and creator of The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, conjured up what his monster looks like: a creature called “The Blerch” that's constantly chasing after him. The Blerch is a key character in his book, “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances."


Six players from the women's pro soccer teams in Seattle and Portland were named Tuesday to the U.S. Olympic Team for the Summer Games in Brazil. Seattle Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe got the nod, along with Portland Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg and midfielders Lindsey Horan, Allie Long and Tobin Heath.

A 41-year-old distance runner nicknamed the “ageless wonder” qualified for the Olympics for a fifth time during the final weekend of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials in Eugene. Former Washington State University track star Bernard Lagat finished first in a furious sprint to the finish of the 5000-meters Saturday.

As if excelling at one sport was not enough, University of Oregon football wide receiver Devon Allen is now going to the Summer Olympics… as a hurdler.

Bill Radke talks with "Sonicsgate" filmmaker Jason Reid about why Kevin Durant's decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and play for the Golden State Warriors is one of the best moments in the past decade for no-team-having Seattle fans.

On America’s birthday, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, who says the United States runs its sports leagues in a way fit for a Scandinavian social democrat. Luxury taxes, salary caps, even a kind of welfare for foundering teams are all elements of the NFL, the NBA and the MLB. But they run counter to English football leagues, where the rich stay rich and the poor get punished.

The U.S. Olympic Team bound for the Rio Games will be well stocked with Pacific Northwest runners and throwers judging from the first weekend of action at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials in Eugene.

A bunch of world-class golfers and some men's U.S. basketball team nominees have announced they'll skip the Rio Olympics. Concerns about contracting the Zika virus are the most common excuse. By contrast, American track and field athletes seem eager to make the U.S. team for Brazil.

The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials start Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Among the more than 1,000 elite athletes aiming for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team and a ticket to the Rio Games in August are dozens of men and women who train in the Northwest.

Thermal cameras and other tools that can detect "mechanical doping" — small but powerful motors that boost riders' power levels — will be used in this year's Tour de France, in a change race officials announced just days before the prestigious race's start on July 2.

In a surprise move, sportswear giant Nike has withdrawn a contract enforcement lawsuit against U.S. track and field star Boris Berian.

The madcap flotilla of engineless boats entered in the Race to Alaska is safely moored in Victoria. Stage one of the 750-mile adventure race from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan is in the books.

It was so memorable they had to do it again. The 750-mile Race to Alaska is back for a second year as 43 teams of sailors, rowers and paddlers prepare to set off from Port Townsend, Washington at 6 a.m. on Thursday.

June 19, 2016, is a day I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Father's Day. The last class of my daughter's first swim lessons. The day history changed forever, especially for those of us from Cleveland.

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.

The U.S. Men’s National Team poses ahead of a Copa America match against Paraguay on June 11.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The eyes of the soccer world are on Seattle this week for the COPA America Tournament. On Tuesday, a diverse crowd poured into CenturyLink field to watch the world’s top-ranked men’s national team, Argentina, take on Bolivia.

The U.S. Men's National Team plays in Seattle in a quarterfinal match Thursday night. Millions are expected to watch the game in the U.S.

Tennis champion Maria Sharapova wasn't breaking any rules when she took her first dose of meldonium a decade ago.

But her continued use of the heart medication after the World Anti-Doping Agency banned it on Jan. 1 prompted the International Tennis Federation to announce last Wednesday that Sharapova would be suspended for two years. She appealed the suspension Tuesday, and a decision is expected by July 18.

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