A Thunderous return. Instead of becoming a free agent after next season, point guard Russell Westbrook extended his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the next 3 years. Everyone in OKC was so excited that the mayor even proclaimed yesterday “Russell Westbrook Day.” Most people think that this decision was Westbrook’s way of saying ‘I can win this thing on my own’—without former teammate Kevin Durant, who left the team to join the Golden State Warriors earlier this summer without saying goodbye. Westbrook has always been criticized for being a ball hog, but next season fans will probably be happy to see him take control of games, especially against the Warriors.
Ugly revelations. USA Gymnastics reportedly failed to alert authorities about multiple allegations of sexual abuse of underage gymnasts. The organization includes over 120,000 gymnasts and selects and trains the national team for the World Championships and the Olympics. The purported incidents included online predatory conduct, molestation, secret videotaping of athletes, and indecent photos of girls as young as 10. The Indianapolis Star newspaper recently filed a motion to make court documents public that may show complaints about as many as 50 coaches.
Spotlight on Katie Ledecky
This year, of the 47 members of the USA swim team, 31 are newbies. But you will see one familiar face over and over again: Katie Ledecky. Here’s what you need to know about this superstar athlete:
Why does she sound so familiar? She won the gold in the 800m freestyle at the London Olympics at only 15 years old. Since then she’s been keeping busy. She broke 11 world records and she could be the first woman since 1968 to win gold in the 200-, 400-, and 800m freestyle this summer.
How does she keep winning? As fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte put it, “she swims like a guy.” Ledecky has a very unique cadence and gallop to her stroke that is more similar to the way men swim. She frequently trains with men and has trounced many of them in practice. But that’s no surprise. She’s been beating the boys for a very long time, including her brother (who was also a competitive swimmer), from the time she was 11 and he was 14.
She has a crazy impressive genealogy. Ledecky keeps driving herself to do better every time she gets in the pool and no one is quite sure why. She has the attitude of an underdog, but she doesn’t have the profile of one. She says part of her motivation comes from the struggles of her grandfathers, one of whom was a WWII surgeon and the other of whom escaped from communist Czechoslovakia to get an MBA and PhD in Economics from NYU. Ledecky’s father is a Harvard and Yale educated lawyer, her older brother just graduated from Harvard this summer, and her uncle went to Harvard for undergrad and business school and is now a co-owner of the New York Islanders. Ledecky’s no slouch either. She will be attending Stanford this fall.
That one time she dissed Michael Jordan… When she was 2 years old her uncle was a part owner of the Washington Wizards. Michael Jordan became president of the team, so she was invited to sit in a box next to him. During the game, MJ tried to play peekaboo with her but she just looked bored and chewed on some popcorn.
Opening ceremony. Don’t flip on the Parade of Nations too late or you might miss Team USA, which is brought to you by the letter “E”, as in the Portuguese translation: Estados Unidos. And try not to get our team mixed up with Russia’s. Red, White, and Blue uniforms can be confusing—just ask Ralph Lauren. Russia will be down 118 dopes, but they will still have 271 clean athletes competing. Tune in tonight at 7pm ET on NBC.