Olympics

Courtesy of Coach Joseph Potts

Kansas may be an unlikely place to find a bobsledder in training, but 23-year-old Anna Norsant says this is where she belongs.

Norsant is committed to the high-speed Olympic sport, which begins with two or four athletes pushing a snow-car-type sled at a sprinting speed, jumping in, and then descending down an ice covered run.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, began on Feb. 7 and the world has been enthralled with the incredible athleticism displayed at the games.

Today we talk with professional runner Amy Mortimer, who placed ninth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Later, we discuss what it takes for Olympians to train and compete in extreme winter conditions.

Also, KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler talks about the public's reactions to the Olympic games with this week's Tell KCUR. Finally, we explore what's at stake for Russia in hosting these games.

Guests:

Esther Honig / KCUR

Ski jumping was developed in Norway and has been around since the early 19th century. In this event, skiers go down a take-off ramp, jump, and attempt to impress judges, who give points for style.

The Nordic combined, also developed in Norway, is a combination of cross country skiing and ski jumping.

KCUR

Dear Kansas City, we want to know what your Olympic dreams are.

As the world’s finest athletes compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia,  we’re wondering which gold you’ve been eyeing — from your living room.

Tell KCUR: If you could be in the Olympics, what would be your sport? Why?

Are you a would-be figure skater? A snowboarding hopeful?

Laura Spencer / KCUR

You will likely face two challenges if you want to try cross country skiing in Kansas City: the right weather conditions and available equipment.

Cross country skiing is considered one of the most challenging of the endurance sports. Participants use skis and poles to move across snow-covered terrain. Traditional cross country skis are long and narrow; holding on to the poles, you push with one ski and glide with the other.

Donna Vestal / KCUR

Speed skating is ice skating that falls into two basic categories — long track and short track. Long track races takes places on a 400m long oval rink with skaters competing in pairs. Short track involves four to six skaters on a track about a fourth that size.

Kansas City doesn’t have an Olympic sized rink for even short track, but a hockey rink will work.

Beth Lipoff/KCUR

In America, you try to get to Olympics. In Russia, Olympics come and get you. Or at least, that's the way Russian comedian and Branson sensation Yakov Smirnoff might say it.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, Smirnoff joins Steve Kraske to talk about Sochi, comedy and more.

Guest:

  • Yakov Smirnoff, comedian

Yakov Smirnoff on Sochi:

Of all sporting events, perhaps none is more tangled up in dreams of glory and miracles and fellowship than the Olympic Games. For two weeks, the peoples of the planet come together in celebration of the Olympic spirit and all is well with the world!

Yeah, right.

The Olympics are a human endeavor. All those idealistic “principles” in the Olympic Charter—social responsibility, mutual understanding, universal respect—are written down because they’re so often forgotten. Just search “Olympic Scandals and Controversies” on Wikipedia; you’ll find nearly a hundred offenses.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee announced it will be taking wrestling to the mat--the 2016 Games will be the last for the ancient sport. But with March Madness approaching and spring training already underway, why should the casual fan care? Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month's edition of  A Fan's Notes.

Getty

The 30th Summer Olympic Games come to a close on Sunday in London.

The London 2012 Summer Games are set to begin in earnest, with today's opening ceremony kicking off a weekend of gold-medal competitions. But if you're in America and you hope to watch the Opening Ceremony live, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed: NBC is tape-delaying its broadcast until Friday night.

Why do we like the Olympics?

If somebody hadn't thought to start them up again 116 years ago, would ESPN have invented them to fill in summer programming?

I'm not being cranky. It's just that most of the most popular Olympic sports are the groundhog games. Swimming, gymnastics and track and field come out every four years, see their shadow and go right back underground where nobody pays any attention to them for another four years. Can you even name a gymnast?

Raytown Native, And His Family, Head To London Olympics

Jul 23, 2012
"Awesome Joolie" / Flickr

Many athletes dream of going to the Olympics, but few ever succeed in representing their country on sport’s most prestigious stage. 

Jamie Squire / Getty Images North America

In the Olympic swimming trials Thursday night, Bobby Bollier of Mission Hills, Kan. had a tough assignment.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Director Peter Sellars has established a reputation for staging classical plays and operas in contemporary settings, from Shakespeare’s "Othello" to Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro." 

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Two athletes with ties to Kansas and Missouri will have a chance to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Racing Through The Night

Apr 11, 2012

On the night the Titanic sank, its nearly identical sister ship, the Olympic was 500 miles away.