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From Jere’ at the NY Times: Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials

So it is entirely possible that any bobsledder or skier wearing a pin, patch or T-shirt in support of gay rights could be sent home from Sochi, not by Russian authorities, but by another group that suppresses expression: the International Olympic Committee.

Would the I.O.C. inflict such a public-relations disaster on itself? Perhaps not. But Olympic officials worldwide, including those in the United States, along with NBC and corporate sponsors, have put themselves and athletes in an awkward position by only tepidly opposing the Russian law that bans “homosexual propaganda.”

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Women’s Olympic success: a flood that began as a trickle

Because this is how it happens: In 1976, Margaret Thompson Murdock became the first woman shooter ever make an American team. She might have been a token, but she was also a major in the U.S. Army, and she tied with her team captain Lanny Bassham in a rifle event for gold. Olympic rules prohibited a shoot-off, so the gold medal went to Bassham, while she got the silver. As the anthem played, Bassham pulled her up on the podium with him.

This is how it happens: In the 1984 Los Angeles Games, only 24 percent of the athletes were women. In the 1992 Barcelona Games, they were only 25 percent of the competitors. By the 1996 Games it increased to 36 percent, and by the 2008 Beijing Games, that figure exploded to 42 percent, and in London it was 44 percent, with every country sending at least one woman. The International Olympic Committee’s goal is 50-50 participation eventually. But an even more important benchmark would be to make the medal opportunities equal. Because that means that someday, as 17-year-old gold medalist Claressa Shields said, “There will be 30 of us in every event, and they will treat us fair.”

Also from the WaPo: U.S. women Olympians ‘hoping we have a million little girls who are inspired’

The U.S. team’s dominance, fueled by women who rolled up 29 golds and 59 total medals, defied the pre-Games speculation of London organizing committee leader Sebastian Coe.

“The only thing Seb got slightly wrong is he predicted we would come in behind China in the medal count,” USOC Chairman Larry Probst said Saturday, adding later, “We’re pretty happy about that. . . . Yeah, we like to come in first.”

First place makes a difference to the USOC, the only national Olympic committee that receives no government funding (WHB emphasis). The organization relies on donations from corporations and individuals to provide support for its athletes.

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Inside the Rings: A Giant Leap for Women, but Hurdles Remain

During Friday’s opening ceremony, Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, drew loud and sustained applause when he said: “For the first time in Olympic history, all the participating teams will have female athletes. This is a major boost for gender equality.”

It is true that women have come light-years from the first modern Games, held in Athens in 1896, when their presence was welcomed only as spectators. Women, too, have made significant gains even since the Atlanta Games in 1996, when 26 nations did not send female athletes.

Yet the fight for true equality is far from being won.

Something Jere’ doesn’t mention is coverage. Apparently David Stern asked the Times folks if they were going to cover the women.

I don’t believe he got an answer.

So, I don’t mind repeating myself: In case you’re inspired to do something about the missing coverage, twitter is, you know, very public. Since I can’t pick on EVERY news outlet, I’ll pick on my local NYTimes folks. Maybe the hashtag could be NYTimesOlympicFail?

@LondonLive: Continuous coverage of the #London2012 Olympics by New York Times reporters and editors.

@LondonLive: Hey, LondonLive Was wondering if you knew the US had a women’s national team in basketball. They’re pretty good, what with them going for their 5th gold. What do they need to do to get coverage?

@nytbishop: New York Times general assignment sports reporter.

@nytbishop: Hey Greg. Impressed with the number of words you’re writing about the men’s national team. Is there a rule new at the Times that you can’t write about the women? Just wondering.

Rob Mahoney @RobMahoney: I write basketball things at basketball places. The New York Times. ESPN TrueHoop Network. NBA Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk.

@RobMahoney: Hey Rob. I see you write “basketball things at basketball places.” Did you know that there are some basketball things happening that include women? Might want to check them out. They’re called the US National Team

About the basketball (which is on-going and very interesting!) The US plays Angola today. Viewing info from RebKell:

5:15 PM ET
TV: NBC Specialty Channel – Basketball

Online video for cable subscribers:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/video-watch.html?video=womens-group-a-angola-vs-united-states

Alternate online video:
http://www.thefirstrow.eu/watch/132945/1/watch-olympic:-angola-vs-united-states,-womens.html

Preview/Boxscore:
http://london2012.fiba.com/pages/eng/fe/12/olym/p/eid/6232/gid/15/grid/A/rid/9087/sid/6233/game.html

Live stats:
http://london2012.fiba.com/extSTATIC/fiba-live/?event=6233 (scroll down to game #15)

 

Learn a little about the Angolan team at Full Court. In case you missed Lee’s July 19th preview: London 2012: Angola — Just happy to be there

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writes: Diana Taurasi Handled Doping Allegation With Class, Integrity: Back on top.

I also hope that the media coverage of Taurasi’s innocence will, at the very least, match the initial reports of her demise. In the world of professional women’s basketball, it seems like the only time we’ll see a national headline is due to a scandal or some type of negative publicity. Hence, I hope all the sites who made fun of Taurasi and pronounced her guilty will also have an updated report regarding her name being cleared. It takes a special person to get through a situation like this, and Diana Taurasi certainly is one.

Dishin a Swish Appeal adds: Why Diana Taurasi’s Clearance Was So Important to Connecticut

Let’s face facts, there’s not a whole lot to be excited about living in Connecticut right now.

We have snow that seems like it’s going to take until August to melt.  Our economy sucks, and our new Governor just gave a speech yesterday saying he wanted to further raise the highest gasoline tax in the country.  We had a professional hockey team, it moved to Carolina.  UConn’s football team makes a major bowl game, and we’re not only considered a laughing stock for being included, our coach then bolts for that hotbed of college football, Maryland. Sure, we have Kemba Walker, but the men’s basketball team at UConn isn’t really given much of a shot to win the national title.

Which leaves us with the UConn women’s basketball team.  And THAT is why it was so important for people in Connecticut that Diana Taurasi had her suspension lifted yesterday, even if her actual clearance is about as clear as mud, it is something we needed here badly.

Q chimes in with Appreciating Diana Taurasi After Being Cleared By The Turkish Basketball Federation

I know that Taurasi’s playful bravado on the court or smiling into the camera annoys a lot of WNBA fans – for those that expect a female athlete to be sugar, spice, and everything nice, Taurasi might seem like a big bad wolf that blows your house down and then asks if you were cold last night just for kicks.

But I saw that play differently.

Although Taurasi’s statement that she is indeed guilty of taking too many shots seems to stand in stark contrast to Romar’s laudatory words about a competitor passing up a shot he might have deserved, what I see in Taurasi is someone lost in the game and taking great joy in every moment of it. That’s what I see in the trash talk, “dirty plays”, and the willingness to come to the defense of her teammates when necessary – someone truly lost in the game and seeking every path possible to victory. It’s not really about humiliating her opponents, it’s about the playful banter inherent in a back and forth game like basketball that is quite honestly a large part of what draws me in – it’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

I watch my fair share of basketball at all levels – college and pro, men’s and women’s, and even the occasional elementary school rec league game – and the reason for my faith in Taurasi is that she is, “as competitive and dedicated to her sport as anyone, anywhere” as Seth Pollack wrote over at SBN Arizona when news of Taurasi’s positive drug test first broke back in December. You don’t have to be a women’s basketball fan to appreciate what Taurasi does – it’s a matter of appreciating what it means to be considered as possibly the most competitive athlete in no matter what sport you play.

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From the AP: Diana Taurasi test lab asked to explain

The Turkish Doping Control Center at the Hacettepe University declined to comment on the case Thursday. But the HaberTurk newspaper quoted Ugur Erdener, dean of the university, as admitting the lab made a mistake.

“There are two evaluations to analyze the test results and the average of them is taken. The [lab] officials’ evaluation was based on one data. However, the average should have been taken as the base,” Erdener was quoted as saying.

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