Sports

Sports
5:07 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics round up

Michael Lee is a Michigan mime who trains Olympic athletes.
Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

The 2014 Winter Olympics have entered the record books. The Olympic flame has been extinguished, and athletes and reporters are packing up and heading home from Sochi. 

NPPR's Sonari Glinton joins us from Sochi. 

Meanwhile in Michigan, Michael Lee speaks with Mercedes Mejia. Lee is a professional mime and physical acting coach. He's worked with 10 of the 24 figure skating ice dance teams at the Sochi Olympics this year, including Michigan natives Meryl Davis and Charlie White who are bringing home a gold medal. He also works with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

Lee says he helps the skaters become performers by teaching them how to animate their bodies. He learned miming from the late Marcel Marceau, an acclaimed French mime.

Lee explains the physical acting techniques he shows the ice dancers. It's all about breath, body movement, and emotions. 

Listen to the full interviews above.

Made in Michigan
7:22 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

The yarn for Ralph Lauren's Olympic closing ceremony sweaters was spun in Michigan

The sweater that will be worn by the U.S. team at the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Credit Stonehedge Fiber Mill

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, the U.S. team got a lot of criticism for wearing Olympic clothing made in China to the opening ceremonies. 

For the Winter Games, designer Ralph Lauren used American material. The yarn for the sweaters and hats that will be worn in the closing ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was spun in East Jordan, Michigan.

Here's what the sweater and hats will look like:

 

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Sports
4:03 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Red Wings' Zetterberg sidelined by surgery

Henrik Zetterberg may not return to the Wings due to an injury.
user: jpowers65 Flickr

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg played one game as captain of Team Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, before having to be flown to New York City for a surgery on his back. The injury could keep him out of action for the season.

The Red Wings addressed the surgery in a press release today. 

DETROIT- Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg today underwent successful surgery on his back. The procedure was performed by Dr. Frank Cammisa at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. 

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Sports Commentary
9:40 am
Fri February 21, 2014

The Winter Olympics might be corrupt, crass and silly, but we still love to watch

U.S. Olympic Team Facebook

Listen to John U. Bacon's commentary on the Winter Olympics.

Why in the world are the Winter Olympics in Sochi, one of Russia’s warmest places?  

Chalk it up to corruption – both the Russians’, which we’ve come to expect, and the International Olympic Committee’s – which we’ve also come to expect.

The IOC hasn’t just shown a willingness to be bought, but an insistence.

That’s how you get a Winter Olympic skating rink built in the shade of palm trees. The warm weather is funny, unless you spent your entire life training for these Olympics, and there’s no snow. Then it’s just heartbreaking.

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Sports
12:21 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Listen to Davis and White describe the secrets of their success in ice dancing

Meryl Davis and Charlie White competing in the 2011 Rostelecom Cup.
user Luu wikimedia commons

They reached the pinnacle yesterday: Michigan's Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal in ice dancing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

They became the first Americans to do so, and they did it even with all the pressure of being the favorites to win the competition.

The two came to our studios last year right before their gold medal performance in the World Championships.

Their conversation with Cynthia Canty gives good insight into their solid and steady nature, and how they managed to live up to, and even exceed, the expectations at the Olympics.

Some of the things they credited to their success:

  • A hard-work ethic, even as kids (they're on the ice five hours a day, five days a week)
  • Parents who encouraged them, but were not too pushy
  • An incredible coach, Marina Zoueva of Russia
  • And White doesn't call it "swagger," he just calls it "a lot of confidence." 

Take a listen below:

Sports
2:12 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Michigan figure skaters set world record at Sochi

Meryl Davis and Charlie White - World Champions 2013
Ludwig Welnicki en.wikipedia.org

One of the most compelling Michigan stories to emerge from the Sochi Winter Olympics has been in the ice dancing competition. Fifteen of the 24 teams train at three Metro Detroit facilities, including Arctic Edge in Canton.

Sunday's short program left two teams at the head of the pack: Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Charlie Davis and Meryl White for Team USA. Both pairs train at Arctic Edge, and both share the same coach.

Today, the two teams competed for gold, and...

<<< SPOILER  ALERT: DON'T CLICK THROUGH if you don't want to know what happened today in Sochi>>>

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Sports
9:55 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Michigan hoping to lure in anglers with free fishing weekend

Community groups and parks throughout the state are holding family-friendly events with equipment to rent or borrow.
DNR

This weekend, state wildlife officials want people to go fish.

Today and tomorrow, people can fish in Michigan's lakes and streams without a license.

The Department of Natural Resources hopes the free fishing weekends will introduce newcomers, visitors and folks with rusty skills to one of Michigan's most popular sports.

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Sports
10:15 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Brendan Gibbons, and the UM athletic department’s response

The University of Michigan named a new president last month, and the football team landed another great class of recruits last week. But there’s another story that keeps eclipsing those two. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon has details.

I’ve been reluctant to write about the Brendan Gibbons’ story, because so little is clear – from the incident that started this saga five years ago, to the various responses since.

One thing is clear: the athletic department continually fails to follow the advice legendary athletic director Don Canham,

“Never turn a one-day story into a two-day story.”

This story starts in 2009, when Wolverine kicker Brendan Gibbons had an encounter at a party with a female student. Ultimately, only two people know what happened, but we do know she contacted the Ann Arbor Police, then decided not to press charges.

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Sports
4:18 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Ann Arbor siblings head to winter Olympics

Siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani head to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
user: Marissa Babin

Usually brothers and sisters bicker and get in fights, but for Ann Arbor siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, synchronization and working together is key. The Shibutanis are ice dancers, heading to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

Both began skating when they were under the age of 10, and have worked for many years for bragging rights such as being three-time medalists in the U.S. Championships for ice dancing, and earning the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. 

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Sports
12:37 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

These 13 Michigan athletes will be in the Winter Olympics in Sochi

At the Olympics in Sochi.
U.S. Olympic Team Facebook

It turns out that Michigan is really good on ice.

We've got 13 Olympic athletes going to Russia. Actually, they're probably already there since the opening ceremony is Friday.

The U.S. team is very serious as you can see.

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Stateside
5:28 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Midland, Michigan company puts snow on the ground for the Olympics in Sochi

Location of Sochi, Russia, where Michigan snowmakers are helping out.
Screenshot from Google Maps

When the Winter Olympics begins in three days, there will be snow on the ground in Sochi, Russia in part thanks to our next guest.

Joe VanderKelen, President of SMI Snowmakers in Midland, Michigan joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Sports
6:40 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Dow Chemical is helping some US athletes reach for Olympic glory

Jay Tudor, a member of Dow Chemical R&D, put part of a Luge sled through its paces in a lab in Midland, Michigan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some scientists at Dow Chemical in Midland plan to spend some of their break time next month watching TV coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

But they’ve got more than the usual rooting interest in one of the Games' more obscure sports.

In a nondescript laboratory deep inside the warren of buildings that make up the massive Dow Chemical complex in Midland, a large machine is shaking and rattling something that looks like a miniature sleigh.

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Stateside
5:36 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Embracing the spiritual side of sports

YMCA of Western North Carolina flickr

Super Bowl Sunday is days away, and when you think about the atmosphere at any given sports event – be it the Super Bowl, a Red Wings game, or even your child's grade-school team – chances are the atmosphere is one of fierce competition.

Think of the crowd and the chants. You know, "Beat 'em, beat 'em, let's deFEAT 'em." But my next guest is asking us to look at sports in another light – in a spiritual light.

Jeanne Hess has been the head coach of Kalamazoo College's Volleyball team for some 30 years, and is an associate chaplain. Her book is called, "Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games."

Jeanne Hess joined us on Stateside today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Stateside
4:59 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Former Red Wing star Darren McCarty pulls no punches in new book

He calls himself a "hockey rock star" – and he's earned the right to do just that.

Whether it was his 15 seasons as an NHL enforcer, the four Stanley Cups he won with the Red Wings, the legendary "Fight Night at the Joe" when he took down Claude Lemieux of the Avalanche, or his rock band "Grinder," Darren McCarty has played hard and lived hard, coping with family issues and addiction even as he skated to NHL stardom wearing  No 25.

He tells his story in an autobiography called "My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star," written with the help of journalist Kevin Allen.

And, just like Darren on the ice, this book pulls no punches.

Sports
8:43 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Stabenow concerned about security at Winter Olympics

The Olympic torch relay has been making its way to Sochi
olympic.org/photos/sochi-2014

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is joining other members of Congress who are expressing concern about security at the Winter Olympic games next month in Russia.

There are concerns that the games face an unprecedented terrorist threat level.

Stabenow says Russian authorities have not shared enough of their security plans for the games.

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Sports
9:27 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

A Michigan congressman is raising safety concerns about next month's Winter Olympics

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Members of Congress, including one from Michigan, say they have serious concerns about Americans' safety at next month's Olympics in Russia, and they want Moscow to cooperate more on security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised his country will do all it can to ensure a safe Olympics.

The State Department has advised Americans planning to go that they should keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

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Sports
5:24 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

'The time is now,' says Detroit Lions' new head coach

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell (center), flanked by Lions GM Martin Mayhew and Team President Tom Lewand
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Detroit Lions introduced the team's new head coach today.

Jim Caldwell comes to the Lions after being part of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He also led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2010, only to lose to the New Orleans Saints.

Caldwell says he’s already talked with Lions players about winning a National Football League championship.

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Sports
4:31 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Wolf hunt 'didn’t meet objective'

Hunters killed 23 wolves during Michigan's 2013 hunt.
Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

Michigan’s top wildlife officials were briefed today on last year’s controversial wolf hunt.

23 wolves were killed during the seven-week hunt. That’s well below the target of 43 wolves.

Adam Bump is the point man on wolves for the Department of Natural Resources. He delivered the briefing to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.  Bump says the DNR will take the next several months to evaluate how to improve future hunts.

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Sports
10:00 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Winter storm, freeze delay Spartan Rose Bowl celebration

Sorry Sparty
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University officials have delayed a celebration for the school's Rose Bowl-winning football team because of a major snowstorm and polar temperatures in the forecast.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that athletic director Mark Hollis said the celebration planned for Monday will be rescheduled to an undetermined date. Meanwhile, the East Lansing university will honor the team during Tuesday's home basketball game against Ohio State.

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Sports
12:38 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Firefighters work to put out fire at Fifth Third Ballpark north of Grand Rapids

Smoke billows out of Fifth Third Ballpark north of Grand Rapids.
@flounderradio Twitter

Update 3:15 p.m.

The co-founder of the West Michigan Whitecaps is confident the Fifth Third Ballpark will reopen in time for baseball in April. It appears the fire damaged about a dozen luxury box suites, part of the clubhouse, some storage area and probably the control room too. West Michigan Whitecaps co-founder Denny Baxter told reporters during a press conference he’s confident the ballpark will be available on opening day, although there’s a good chance it won’t be completely rebuilt by then. There were no reported injuries because of the fire.

Reported 12 p.m.

A fire was reported shortly after 11 a.m. today at the Fifth Third Ballpark, a few miles north of Grand Rapids in Plainfield Township.

The smoke was thick enough to be seen from Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and to be picked up by National Weather Service radar.

U.S. 131 runs right by the stadium, which can hold close to 10,000 people. The ballpark opened in 1994.

The stadium is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team, a Detroit Tigers’ Single A affiliate. The ballpark is also the venue for numerous concerts and events throughout the year, including the Michigan Brewers Guild’s annual Winter Beer Festival set for early next month.

Scott Graham, Executive Director of Michigan Brewers Guild issued this statement about the popular festival.

"The Michigan Brewers Guild is certainly concerned about our upcoming beer festival at the Fifth Third Ballpark but our first concern is for all of our friends at the West Michigan Whitecaps. Our thoughts and prayers are with the staff at the ballpark today and we will assess what it means to the Guild after the damage is under control and can be assessed. Because our event is held outside the ballpark in the parking lot we are hopeful that it will turn out well. We will do our best to keep fans of MI beer informed in coming days as we learn more."

Here are some images of the fire:

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