Fourth-Place Medal
  • If you've enjoyed NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games — or, frankly, even if you haven't — you're going to be seeing more of it. A lot more. NBC has locked up coverage of all Olympic Games through 2032, across all platforms, including broadcast, cable, Internet, and mobile. Total cost: $7.65 billion. With a B.

    NBC is spending a great deal of money on a still-undetermined product; there are three Summer Games and three Winter Games between 2022 and 2032, and none of the host cities have been decided yet. The International Olympic Committee, which participated in NBC's announcement, is expected to annouce the 2022 Winter Games host next year. Salt Lake City appears to be in the running for the 2026 Winter Games, as do Denver/Aspen and Reno/Tahoe.

    While $7 billion is an incomprehensibly large number, the idea of 18 years is not. Eighteen years ago, the Olympics were in Atlanta. At that point, most phones were still attached to walls by wires, and while there was an Internet, you couldn't

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  • The breakout stars of the 2014 Sochi Games didn't compete in a single event. (They won just by showing up, daaaahling.) Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski were raved about for their commentating performances during Sochi's ice skating events, and they're using that as a springboard to bigger, better, non-Olympic endeavors.

    First up: the Kentucky Derby, where they'll be commenting on fashion for NBC. Yes, the Kentucky Derby, like the Olympics, is a cultural event first, a sporting event second, which makes Johnny + Tara ideal for red carpet commentary on the outlandish hats and outfits of the Derby.

    “We’ve always loved loud fashion and sort of bonded over it,” Lipinski told EW. “The whole Olympics experience was a bit of a surprise. We came in and were focused on doing a good job as rookies. But we’re young and we like to have fun. The fashion was specifically for us every day and it was like,’Oh, people are watching. This is fun.’”

    Both Weir and Lipinski have extensive experience in the

    Read More »from Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski will cover fashion at Kentucky Derby for NBC
  • He's back. 

    Michael Phelps has ended his retirement and will enter his first competition since the 2012 London Games, USA Swimming announced on Monday. Phelps is expected to swim at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., from April 24-26, a move that is largely seen as his first step toward competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The decorated Olympian resumed training last fall and has completed the mandatory six-month waiting period after re-entering  the U.S. drug-testing program, the Associated Press reported.  

    Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, told the Chicago Tribune last month that the swimmer would likely focus on "relays and shorter events, including the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly." 

    “If he swims a meet in the next couple months and does well, he will probably give it a shot in Irvine [at the 2014 U.S. Championships in California in August],” Bowman told the paper. “But he doesn’t have to do that to have a shot at the 2016 Olympics.”

    Phelps has won a record 22 Olympic medals, 18

    Read More »from Michael Phelps ends retirement, takes first step toward competing in 2016 Olympics
  • The Sochi Olympics concluded barely a month ago, but according to a local photographer, the Olympic Village and surrounding hotels are already a ghost town.

    Alexander Valov, who runs "Blog Sochi," captured photos that depict a desolate Sochi, with infrastructure already breaking down and some construction never completed. Clearly, Russia's priorities are elsewhere with Sochi complete and crises in Ukraine and Crimea. And, yes, photos can be taken at certain times of day or from certain angles to communicate agendas. Even so, these pictures depict a city that has a long way to go in order to meet gaudy promises of becoming a world-class tourist destination.

    Wildflowers are growing with hotels in the distance:

    Abandoned Sochi. (Via Alexander Valov.)

    Dozens of hotels now sit virtually empty:

    Abandoned Sochi. (Via Alexander Valov.)

    Some construction remains undone to this day:

    Abandoned Sochi. (Via Alexander Valov.)

    And look ... the stray dogs are returning:

    Abandoned Sochi. (Via Alexander Valov.)

    For more images, see Valov's site here. Sochi's future will be a fascinating one to watch.

    ____
    Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip?

    Read More »from Just weeks after Olympics, Sochi is already a ghost town
  • After the 2012 London Olympics, Michael Phelps retired as one of the most decorated athletes in history. But was he truly done? He claimed so at the time, and has reaffirmed so repeatedly since, but more recent events suggest that maybe the door isn't entirely closed.

    Last year, Phelps rejoined a drug-testing pool required for international competition, and he continues to work out regularly in Baltimore. The nine-month waiting period for drug testing has expired, meaning he is now free to compete at any time. His longtime coach Bob Bowman says that Phelps could return to competition "sometime soon."

    “He looks like he is definitely in shape,” Bowman told the Baltimore Sun.

    Major events on the horizon include the U.S. championships this August and the world championships next year in Russia. Regardless of whether he competes in either or both of those, he could still seek to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Bowman believes that Phelps would likely angle for shorter events such as

    Read More »from Michael Phelps' coach says the Olympic legend could return to competition soon

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