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The NCAA men's basketball tournament has included 64 teams every year since 1985, split into four quadrants and seeded 1-16. In all those years — in 135 tries — no 16 seed had ever beaten a top-seeded team.

Until the University of Maryland, Baltimore County beat the stuffing out of Virginia, the best team in the country, 74-54 on Friday night.

All of which is to say, if anyone claims they picked against Virginia in their tournament pool, you should feel comfortable not believing them.

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God Intervenes In Basketball Game ... Maybe

Mar 16, 2018

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As Alex Rivero biked around town raising money for the Newton North High School football team last fall, the 17-year-old started getting pretty good at guessing which houses were worth the door knock. He'd look for lights on and listen for kids' voices.

When he found a house that looked promising, he would stop.

At one place, Dr. Lee Goldstein opened the door. Goldstein cares a great deal about high school football. It's what he was thinking about when the doorbell rang.

Strap in, purists. This game is about to get a good deal faster.

At least, that's what Minor League Baseball officials are hoping. The league announced Wednesday that it plans to institute some pretty big rule changes for the 2018 season — including beginning extra innings with a runner automatically on second base and, in certain situations, shaving five seconds off the pitch timer the league had already instituted in triple- and double-A ball.

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Billionaire CEO Warren Buffett has an NCAA men's basketball bracket challenge that just may blow other office pools out of the water.

Buffett told CNBC last month that any Berkshire Hathaway employee who accurately predicts all Sweet 16 teams will receive $1 million per year for the rest of his or her life.

The Oracle of Omaha went on to say that "if either Creighton or Nebraska ends up winning the tournament, we're going to double the prize."

Buffett, a Nebraska native, is also offering a $100,000 prize to the employee whose bracket stays intact the longest.

The slots in the NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket have been filled and Connecticut is the first overall seed.

At 32-0, they are the only team to enter the NCAA tournament unbeaten.

The Huskies are aiming for their 12th national championship. Last season, UConn was the overwhelming favorite but lost to Mississippi State in the Final Four.

This year's other No. 1 seeds are Notre Dame, Louisville and Mississippi State.

Greece has suspended indefinitely its Super League after the team owner of PAOK walked onto the pitch apparently carrying a gun in a holster to protest a referee's call in a match against AEK.

With much fanfare, brackets for the men's NCAA basketball tournament were released on what has come to be known as Selection Sunday. Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier are the No. 1 seeds.

The tournament begins Tuesday with opening-round games in Dayton, Ohio, and then gets into full swing Thursday and Friday at eight sites across the country. Final Four action is set for March 31 and April 2 in San Antonio, Texas.

Bored? Try Ax Throwing

Mar 10, 2018

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And it's time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GONYEA: Tiger Woods is building another comeback, and the Paralympics are intersecting with global politics. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins me now. Good morning, Tom.

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The Paralympics begins a 10-day run Friday in South Korea, featuring the world's best athletes with disabilities. Close to 700 athletes are gathered in Pyeongchang, where they'll compete in six sports, including alpine skiing, biathlon and snowboarding.

Most of these athletes have dramatic stories — about succeeding in sport despite physical disabilities, and about the journeys that led them to South Korea.

A Pitch For Getting Girls In The Game

Mar 8, 2018

For thousands of female athletes whose sport of choice is baseball, there are few professional options. There is a national women’s team, and a handful of women have competed at the minor league level.

The stands shake as fans break into song. Hundreds jump up and down, setting a much faster tempo than the play on the field.

This soccer stadium is in the heart of political opposition territory in Ethiopia. On a recent Sunday, thousands of supporters are sitting shoulder to shoulder. And surrounding the pitch, dozens of paramilitary police look out at the crowd, some with their guns in hand, others at the ready with tear gas canisters.

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Nearly every sport has been hit with news of doping — of athletes using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Perhaps the most famous example is cyclist Lance Armstrong, who denied doping allegations for years and then admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in 2013. That's where the documentary Icarus begins.

In 1954, at the age of 25, Roger Bannister made headlines around the world as the first person to run a mile under 4 minutes.

Bannister's 3:59:4 mile unlocked the door to what was possible in track — both physically and psychologically.

It had long been thought that a sub 4-minute mile was far from achievable and perhaps deadly for those who tried.

British Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes to the former athlete, who later became one of Europe's leading neurologists and was made a knight.

On Sunday, dozens of competitors will take to the slopes at Mount Snow in Vermont for the annual world championship of jack jumping.

Wait. What's a jack jump? Yeah, I wondered that too.

Even as a longtime skier — and Vermont reporter — I had no idea what the snow sport entailed — but I became determined to find out.

A Basketball Player Lets A Record Stand

Mar 3, 2018

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And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

If you're an American Winter Olympics fan, you probably follow the sports where Americans usually win — snowboarding, downhill skiing, different snowboarding. If you did, you may have missed the United States' Olympic gold in cross-country skiing. And of course, it was the women who did it — Skier Jessie Diggins charged from behind to win first place.

Diggins clearly knows how to ski, but does she know how to skee-ball? We asked her three questions about the classic arcade game.

Click the listen link above to see how she does.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Alaska's premier wilderness challenge, begins this weekend mired in scandals.

There's fallout from a dog doping fiasco, a musher mutiny, and unprecedented pressure from protest groups. All of which, according to a leaked report, are putting the event's future in dire jeopardy.

The Himalayan village of Kalinchowk, sitting at an altitude of about 12,000 feet in eastern Nepal and known for its temple to the Hindu goddess Kali, gets snow every year. After a recent storm, the town's young people flock to wooden lodges and dance around campfires.

Utsav Pathak is determined to get some of them on skis.

"In Nepal, nobody skis, I think," says Pathak.

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For the fourth time since taking office, President Trump will soon have to name a new communications director.

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U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Steps Down

Mar 1, 2018

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The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Scott Blackmun, has resigned. The Olympic Committee says Blackmun is leaving because of cancer treatments. But as Alexandra Starr reports, his departure follows a series of sexual abuse scandals in Olympic sports.

Under growing pressure to quit, Scott Blackmun, CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, resigned "due to ongoing health issues resulting from prostate cancer," according to a USOC statement on Wednesday.

Board member Susanne Lyons will step in as the acting CEO until a permanent replacement is named.

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