Sports

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Al Arbour, who set an NHL record by coaching 1,500 games, has died at age 81. As the head coach of the New York Islanders, he led the team to four Stanley Cup championships in 19 seasons. He also won four NHL titles as a player.

"Al will always be remembered as one of, if not the, greatest coaches ever to stand behind a bench in the history of the National Hockey League," Islanders President and General Manager Garth Snow said, as the team announced Arbour's death Friday.

One week before the school's football season starts, the University of Illinois has fired head coach Tim Beckman, saying a review had found "efforts to deter injury reporting and influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and continue playing despite injuries."

Illini Director of Athletics Mike Thomas fired Beckman on Friday. A school statement says the decision was made "in the best interests of student-athletes."

Wearing a green Dartmouth College jersey, the newest player on the school's football team readies for action during a preseason practice. The whistle blows, he makes his move and then is thrown to the ground by a teammate's crushing tackle. This happens again and again and again, but every time, the new player pops right back up, completely unhurt.

This player is an MVP — a "Mobile Virtual Player," that is.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2015 WHYY, Inc.. To see more, visit http://www.whyy.org.

Once again, a Japanese team has advanced to the final four of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. The Japanese team faces Mexico on Saturday as it seeks a spot in the finals on Sunday.

Japan has won three of the past five series championships. What is the secret to its success, I wondered on a recent trip to Japan.

His power and talent tested the nuts and bolts of basketball — literally. Darryl Dawkins, who became famous for backboard-shattering dunks after he was the first NBA player to skip college altogether, has died at age 58.

Lehigh Carbon Community College, where Dawkins coached for two seasons, says:

For elite Jamaican runner Usain Bolt, Thursday's 200-meter sprint was like many other races he's won — until a mobile cameraman lost control of his Segway and took the world's fastest man down from behind. Bolt, who had been waving to the crowd, collapsed in a heap. He had been walking barefoot on the track.

Clock yourself the next time you tie your shoes. Chances are, in the time it took you to get those shoes laced up, Ronda Rousey would have knocked out her opponent in a typical mixed martial arts match.

Always, the ever-tantalizing, ever-impossible discussion in every sport revolves around who's the greatest player ever. It's so difficult trying to compare champions from different eras, but it's a constant party game and especially in vogue now, as Serena Williams prepares to try to win the U.S. Open. Doing so would not only give her the first tennis Grand Slam since Steffi Graf won in 1988 but would give Williams her 22 major titles, tying Graf at the top of the tree.

Peek into a Peloton indoor cycling class in New York's posh Chelsea neighborhood and it'll look like most other indoor cycling classes. Sixty stationary bikes are clustered in a dark room, loud music blares to get the heart racing, and a mic-ed up instructor motivates riders.

Except this class has one major difference: Instructor Jen Sherman isn't just talking to riders in the classroom. She's also monitoring metrics for riders in places like New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Kansas. "Jamie in Wichita, good to see you this morning," she says.

One day after the racing community was shocked by the death of driver Justin Wilson at age 37, news has emerged that Wilson, a well-known advocate for charities who often spoke about his dyslexia, donated his organs to others — and gave vital help to six people.

Wilson died Monday after suffering a head injury during a race at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., Sunday. He was struck by airborne debris from another car and then crashed into a wall on the track.

Twenty-two-year-old professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian is attempting to become the first woman to scale the Paciencia route on the north face of Mount Eiger. The peak in the Swiss Alps is known as the "Wall Of Death."

Growing up in India, I learned to ride a bicycle on my dad's 22-inch bike with no training wheels. I was 8 years old. I couldn't get on the bike without a boost from my father or an older kid. And once I was in the seat, my feet didn't touch the ground. I could get off only if I stopped next to a raised platform, a step or something I could rest my foot on.

The weekend before last, a pro athlete by the name of James Harrison announced on Instagram that he'd returned the participation trophies his kids had received for playing youth sports, writing, "While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy." This has, in turn, spawned a flurry of defenses and condemnations, including Albert Burneko's

Lem Turner made the shot during a freshman pep rally at Ball State University in Indiana. With the half-court shot, he won free tuition for a semester.

The Little League World Series is in full swing. Perennial teams like Japan are still alive, but so is a country making just its second-ever appearance: Uganda.

The team has experienced highs and lows so far. Sunday night it lost 7-0 to Venezuela, but the squad is still alive thanks to a win over the Dominican Republic in its first game.

It will have to beat Taiwan Monday night to stay in contention. The game airs on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EDT.

It had the makings of a storybook ending.

Tiger Woods, who's in the midst of the worst stretch of golf in his legendary career, was on the verge of quieting all the critics who said he was finished. All he had to do was something he hasn't done in two years — win a golf tournament.

A victory at Wyndham Championship Sunday would not just have given him 80 career victories, two behind the career record set by the great Sam Snead; it would also have propelled Woods into the playoffs. A solo second-place finish would have left him with a slim chance.

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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's now time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A scandal rocked the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore., this week when a team from Snohomish, Wash., allegedly threw a game to prevent an Iowa team from advancing to the semifinals.

The Central Iowa All-Stars won their most recent game against Canada 7-0 and finished pool play with a 3-1 record. To advance to the semifinals, however, they needed the Snohomish team, US West, to win or score at least three runs against a team that Central Iowa had already defeated.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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