“It often gets lost in the flurry surrounding the press releases announcing a positive test, but behind every one is an athlete who has put his or her entire soul into a sport. Regardless of the circumstances, a positive test can, and usually does, derail a career. For every prospective Olympic athlete who tests positive and then gets another opportunity to compete at an elite level, there are people like Thompson who never make it back to the heights of their sport. They’re branded cheaters by the black-and-white anti-doping authorities who push binary rhetoric despite a rulebook filled with gray areas.
When I asked Thompson’s father what he wanted people to learn from his son’s case, he simply said, “Imagine if it was your kid.”
But there was a selfish element to the business plan, too. The two students were in their last year of college. They already dreaded the idea that soon they would have to stop dedicating their lives to learning. They, like many adults, had friends who left college and wished they dedicated themselves more fully to their studies. Or, as Zumtobel put it, “We kind of predicted our nostalgia for the classroom before it happened.”
So, when they left college, they took the classroom with them.
The Rio Games have caused neighborhoods to be destroyed and people to be killed for the Olympic Family’s benefit; billions upon billions spent with little payoff for the vast majority of Cariocas. So while the course itself, and the men’s tournament played there last week, have earned rave reviews, the true story of how the course was built has mostly been ignored by the international press.
By now, though, it is abundantly clear the Olympics have served the political and billionaire class and nearly no one else. For the most blatant example of this—if not the one with the most severe repercussions—look no further than the Olympic Golf Course.
I told him, in a less articulate manner than I’m summarizing here, that I wouldn’t be the last person to find him and that, whether he liked it or not, he was in the middle of several high-profile lawsuits. I wanted to hear his side of the story, which just may be the most important one.
“Yeah, I never worked in sports,” he said. “I’m not going to take this call. Please don’t call me again.”
And then Major Jason Kim, the mysterious figure behind an illegal sports pharmacy who is now serving as an army pharmacist, hung up.
Everyone dreams. Everyone has that moment where they get lost thinking about the life they want to live. But what if it wasn’t just a daydream? What if you boarded a plane that could take you to your dream? What would you do if, for one week, everything you had ever wanted came true?
If anything, Statcast innovates in the opposite direction of the Sabrmetrics and Moneyball movement. Moneyball covered the macro. Statcast focuses on the micro. While Moneyball prized knowledge about how players performed over large quantities of time to detect hidden value, Statcast measures players down to fractions of a second to precisely quantify what is right in front of our eyes. This is both the magic of Statcast and also the source of its biggest criticism. If it tells us what we can already see, then why do we need it?
I am not watching this live, but on a projector inside a conference room at the Cooper Center Hotel in North Dallas, with all 14 of MLS’s full-time referees. They’re members of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), which gathers every two weeks, in part, to review the controversial decisions from the previous games.
Steven Mitchell was, as one popular blog put it, “a legend in the swing-dancing community.” Starting in the 1980s, he helped bring a specific type of swing known as Lindy Hop back from relative obscurity…But there’s a group of women who know a very different Steven Mitchell.
In the early 1900s, when railroads connected America’s biggest cities with rural outposts, train stations were sometimes the only place in town with modern plumbing. To keep locals from freely using the bathrooms, railroad companies installed locks on the stall doors—only to be unlocked by railroad employees for ticketed passengers. Eventually, coin-operated locks were introduced, making the practice both more convenient and more profitable. Pay toilets then sprung up in the nation’s airports, bus stations, and highway rest stops. By 1970, America had over 50,000 pay toilets.
By 1980, there were almost none.
In late 1968, at a Howard Johnson along the Turnpike, Ira and Michael Gessel, two brothers from Dayton, Ohio, decided they’d had enough.
We were in a basement in Flemington, New Jersey at 7:05 p.m. Maybe it was much later than that, or maybe no time had passed at all. We’d been working out for 10 hours. The stink of stale sweat wafted around the trapped air, pushed around by electric fans. I was on all fours, sweating from every exposed inch of skin, gasping for more air than my lungs could hold.
In that moment, I was glad to be sweating so much, because nobody could see that I was also crying.