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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 15,000 people will be tying on their running shoes tonight and tomorrow in Flint.   

This is the 40th anniversary of the Crim Festival of Races.

But this year’s event will be a little different.  

In response to the city’s water crisis, race organizers redirected nearly $40,000 in prize money for race winners to create free race entries for city residents.

Crim race director Andrew Younger says organizers want to use the festival to promote healthier lifestyles, especially for those directed affected by the water crisis.

Flickr user Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the standings of medals won in Rio, Michigan would rank 16th if it were a country. That’s according to a story in the Detroit Free Press by Brian Manzullo.

“What’s impressive about that is these are the summer Olympics," sports commentator John. U Bacon said. "This is Michigan, man. Summer’s not our thing." 

Bacon joined Stateside to discuss Michigan’s outstanding performance at this year’s Summer Olympics – with a special hat tip to Olympians Michael Phelps and Nick Willis – and Ryan Lochte’s “we were robbed at gunpoint” lie.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two-time Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields returned home to Flint this afternoon to a hero’s welcome.

“When I say two-time, you all say champ!” Shields yelled, leading her own cheers at Flint’s Bishop Airport, and the crowd willingly followed her lead.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are celebrating local hero, boxer Claressa Shields, who won her second gold medal on the final day of the Rio Olympics.

A standing room-only crowd watched Shields’ fight at Flint’s Berston field house, where Shields learned to box.  A picture of Shields wearing her gold medal from the 2012 London Olympics hangs above the front door of the field house.  

All through the middleweight fight, the crowd cheered and Shield’s sister Briana shouted at her to “knock out” her opponent, Nouchka Fontjin of the Netherlands.

Flickr user Kevin Ward/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Pistons are under fire for a lack of diversity in the NBA franchise's spending.

The Detroit Association of Black Organizations Inc. is considering a boycott of the Pistons and the NBA. The group said the league does not support black businesses. In a sport that is dominated by black athletes, this seems to be a real disconnect.

Rev. Horace Sheffield III is the CEO of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations. He joined Stateside to talk about the effort, and what they would like to see from the Pistons. 

Boy eating popcorn.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint boxer Claressa Shields is one win away from defending her Olympic title.

Flint’s Berston Field House echoed to sounds of Claressa Shields’ fans as she dominated her opponent in Friday’s semi-final.  

The 21-year-old Flint native won a unanimous decision over Dariga Shakimova of Kazakhstan. Shields now faces Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands in Sunday’s Gold-medal bout.  

Shields won gold in the 2012 London Games. She can win a second gold medal if she defeats the boxer from the Netherlands on Sunday.

Athletes with Michigan connections have performed well at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Flickr user Kirilos/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Summer Olympics in Rio are heading down the home stretch, and if you're an American, there's a lot to cheer about. 

One of the main headlines in the Summer Games has been the return of Michael Phelps. The swimming icon who spent time early in his career at the University of Michigan, finished this year's competition with five gold medals and a silver. With six more, he extended his all-time record of career medals to 28. In fact, Phelps has more gold medals, 23, than the next closest person has total medals (18).

Phelps won his six medals in Rio at the ripe old age (by Olympian standards) of 31. Most believe this will be his last Olympics, but will it be?

NBC's coverage of the Rio Olympics has drawn criticism from many viewers.
Flickr user Gareth Simpson / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

NBC has drawn plenty of criticism for its coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Count veteran sports journalist Joanne Gerstner among the critics.

“It honestly drives me crazy,” Gerstner said about NBC’s Rio Olympics coverage.

“I literally have not run into anyone who said, ‘Wow, I love NBC’s coverage primetime,’” Gerstner said. “Everyone is like, ‘what is this?’”

Flint residents paused today to watch local boxer Claressa Shields take to the ring at the Rio Olympics.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint boxer Claressa Shields returned to the Olympic boxing ring today with an overwhelming performance.

The defending Olympic women’s middleweight champion pummeled Russia’s Yaroslava Yakushina to easily win the quarterfinal bout.

Barbara Lucas

 

As the Olympics approached, Ann Arbor was a hive of training activity for a group of New Zealand athletes. They were drawn to the University of Michigan for the chance to work with retired men’s track and field coach Ron Warhurst.

Warhurst helped New Zealand runner Nick Willis win a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics. Willis' success encouraged countrymen Julian Matthews and Hamish Carson to travel from New Zealand to Michigan and work with Warhurst in the hopes of qualifying for their first Olympics.

Warhurst’s coaching paid off — Willis, Matthews and Carson all flew to Rio to compete in the men’s 1500 for their country.

Thatcher Cook / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When the 2016 summer Olympics kick off in Brazil tonight, there will be plenty of opportunities to root for Michigan.

Ten athletes who call the state their home will go for the gold in volleyball, track and field, rowing and other events.

In the boxing ring, you'll see Claressa Shields from Flint. In the 2012 Olympics, Shields became the first U.S. woman to win a gold medal in the sport.

In the pool, look for Allison Schmitt of Canton. She won five medals in 2012, including three gold. This year, she's back as a team captain.

The University of Michigan's Nike apparel debuted at 12:01 on August 1.
John U. Bacon

 

The wait is over — Nike’s line of University of Michigan apparel is finally available. Crowds lined up outside the MDen on State St. in Ann Arbor to wait for the new gear to be released at 12:01 am Monday. Football coach Jim Harbaugh and Athletic Director Ward Manuel both appeared at the retail store.

But not everyone understands the hype that came with the switch from Adidas to Nike, like Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon. He said, “I must not be their target audience because I don’t get it.”

VictorySwim105 Facebook page

 

Imagine plowing through the water for nearly 40 hours.

That's what Oakland County resident Adam Ellenstein will do next Monday and Tuesday.

 

Ellenstein is an ultra-distance athlete. He'll be going for the Guinness World Record for fastest north-to-south non-stop swim of Okanagan Lake in British Columbia.

Bo Schembechler and Greg Stejskal
Courtesy of Greg Stejskal

More than 400 Russian Olympic athletes are in danger of being banned from the Rio Summer Olympics.

With just 17 days until the games open, the International Olympic Committee is reviewing its legal options after a stunning report revealed the biggest doping scandal in sports history. Those options could include banning all Russian teams from Rio.

The World Anti-Doping Agency report spells out an elaborate doping scheme run by the Russian government. It says the cheating goes back to the Sochi Olympics and beyond.

It's proof that attitudes toward performance-enhancing drugs have certainly shifted since Greg Stejskal worked for the FBI here in Southeast Michigan.

And, as it turns out, a certain legendary Michigan football coach was ahead of his time when he raised questions that inspired the FBI's first probe into performance enhancing drugs.

Jim Harbaugh didn't like the call.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s seems like eons ago now, but just two years ago, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke seemed poised for a solid season. With eight or nine wins, Hoke’s job would be safe, athletic director Dave Brandon would give him a contract extension, and the Brandon-Hoke Era would continue for many years.

On the West Coast, everybody expected Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers to make their fourth straight trip to the playoffs.

U of M and MSU will face off on Oct. 29
FLICKER USR MARK DELL https://flic.kr/p/8HGMDv

What's that sound you hear?

It might be Wolverine fans chortling and Spartan fans growling as ESPN unveils its Future Power Rankings for college football. 

Every year, the network peers into the future to try to predict which college football programs are going to thrive and succeed.

This year, ESPN ranks U of M fifth, while Michigan State takes 10th place. 

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon provides a round-up of everything Michigan sports.
Flickr user Michael Righi / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Although it’s the offseason for most major American sports, there’s still plenty of action in the sports world. Michigan sports has seen some important moves in both professional and collegiate athletics.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to explain all the recent moves.

 

Draymond Green, a Saginaw native and Michigan State alumnus, will play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some players have opted out citing the need for rest after a grueling NBA season. Others have said they might not participate because of concerns regarding the Zika virus. But Draymond Green, the Saginaw native, former Michigan State basketball standout, and current Golden State Warriors power forward, will represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

Fans hold up a flag in support of the U.S. Men's National Team.
Flickr user Dinur/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Soccer’s popularity in the U.S. has grown remarkably over the last decade. But why has a sport that was once reviled by many Americans grown so fast?

University of Michigan professor Andrei Markovits has one answer: video games.

Gordie Howe's Hockey Card at age 43.
Trish Thornton / Flickr

Gordie Howe lived so long that most Americans don’t know that he set just about every record there is, he helped the sport expand, he got hundreds of thousands of Americans playing the game, and millions more watching.

Howe was one of nine kids born in a farmhouse in Floral, Sasketchewan – a town so tiny, their post office closed in 1923. During the Great Depression, a neighbor brought over a gunnysack full of used things, including a beat-up pair of skates.

ARNIE LEE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

It has been a difficult couple weeks for sports fans in Michigan. On the day of Muhammad Ali's funeral (Ali spent nearly two decades of his life in Berrien Springs, Mich.), it was announced that hockey legend Gordie Howe passed away at the age of 88. And on Monday, June 13, while the hockey world was still grieving the loss of "Mr. Hockey," Michigan State coaching legend Ron Mason died at age 76

A tribute wall for Gordie Howe outside Joe Louis Arena.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Red Wings fans and former hockey greats alike lined up at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday to pay their last respects to Gordie Howe.

The legendary player known as Mr. Hockey died last week at age 88.

Howe’s family and the Red Wings organized a day-long public visitation for him from 9 am-9 pm, honoring his iconic number.

Howe’s pro hockey career spanned five decades, making him one of the most durable and greatest players of all time. He spent most of that career with the Red Wings, leading the team to four Stanley Cup championships during the 1950s.

Former Michigan State hockey coach and athletic director Ron Mason passed away early Monday at age 76.
Courtesy photo / MSU Athletics

Ron Mason, who spent 23 years as Michigan State's head hockey coach and ranks second on college hockey's all-time wins list with 924 career victories, passed away early Monday at age 76. 

Benny Parsons won 21 career races, including the 1973 NASCAR championship and the 1975 Daytona 500
Ted Van Pelt / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

If you live anywhere near Brooklyn, Michigan, you're probably seeing a lot more RV traffic.

It's race weekend at the Michigan International Speedway and NASCAR's top drivers will be in town racing for the Firekeepers Casino 400.

In honor of the big race, we take the time to tell the story of one of the sport's all-time great drivers and personalities: Benny Parsons.

In an unlikely underdog story, Parsons went from a Detroit taxi driver to a NASCAR champion before lung cancer claimed his life in 2007.

Gordie Howe circa 1966.
Arnie Lee / Wikimedia Commons

Hockey legend Gordie Howe has died. He was 88 years old.

Howe played pro hockey longer than anyone else, and he remains “Mr. Hockey” to generations of fans.

Gordie Howe played hockey with an intensity he learned as a boy in Saskatoon during the Depression.

In his 2014 autobiography, Howe wrote about playing for his school team -- not on the right wing where generations of hockey fans were used to seeing him -- but as a goaltender.

Carol Hutchins.
video screen grab / BTN Network

Under coach Carol Hutchins, the Michigan softball team has won 19 Big Ten titles, and nine in a row -- more than the rest of the Big Ten combined. She has led her team to 18 regional crowns, and made it to the College World Series 12 times in the past 22 years.

But what’s more impressive is how she’s done it.

Since 1995, every player who’s played on Carol Hutchins’ Michigan softball team for four years – which is pretty much all of them – has made it to the College World Series.

Muhammad Ali lived with Parkinson's Disease longer than his career as a boxer
Knowle West Media Centre / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

With the passing of Muhammad Ali, there has been no shortage of praise that has been heaped upon the boxing legend, who to many, was more than just a fighter. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says while his list of accomplishments in and out of the ring was worthy of admiration, it was how he lived his life in his later years that deserves the most credit. 

Red Wings player hoists the Stanley Cup
Michael Righi / wikimedia commons - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For a record 25th straight season, the Detroit Red Wings made the playoffs. For the seventh straight season, they didn’t get past the second round.

Well, no matter, Wings fans because whether the Pittsburgh Penguins or the San Jose Sharks raise the Cup, they will be following in your favorite players’ footsteps.

How so?

A referee at a football game.
Flickr user Brandon Giesbrecht/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Verbal and physical assaults on referees have become an issue so serious that Michigan may be joining 20 other states in specific legislation that protects sports officials.

Mark Uyl is the assistant director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). He believes some of the greatest concerns for referee safety comes from recreational and youth-level programs, where volunteer coaches lack accountability.

Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, who contracted the Zika virus while in Venezuela during the offseason.
Bryan Green / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez got off to a slow start in 2016, allowing three earned runs in his first appearance of the season. His list of excuses, however, is rock solid: He may have still been fighting the long-term effects of the Zika virus.

 

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