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Today on Stateside, remembering the life and legacy of former U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who died Thursday at 87 years old with his close friend Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Plus, a discussion about whether the Olympics are still relevant, and what this year’s gymnastics competition is doing for a conversation about mental health and athlete safety.

People hanging out along the water in Havana
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a conversation about how the legacy of abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is changing our conversation on athlete health at this year’s Olympics. Then, a Michigan man turns his paddleboard-making hobby into a full-time career, and we learn about the patchwork regulations on using paddleboards on Michigan lakes. And finally, what Michigan farmers could gain from a shift in U.S. relations with Cuba.

TOKYO — When a U.S. athlete makes it onto the podium in an Olympic event, two things really catch the eye of people watching at home: the shiny medal around their neck and the unusual-looking mask on their face.

The white mask emblazoned with "USA" in red letters is strikingly voluminous, jutting about an inch in front of the face. It also has a distinctive pleat pattern.

Updated July 27, 2021 at 11:09 AM ET

TOKYO — The U.S. women's gymnastics team has taken silver in the women's team final, behind the team from Russia, after U.S. star Simone Biles suddenly pulled out of competition after the first rotation to focus on her mental health.

This marks the first time in a decade that the U.S. women's team has not come out on top in major international competition. The U.S. has won every Olympics and World Championships event since 2011.

Getty Images

Less than a month away from the July 23 opening ceremony, the nation is full of anticipation and excitement for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Team USA boasts fantastic athletes like Simone Biles and Ryan Murphy, alongside an exceptional first-time Olympic hopeful from Michigan.

flickr user trebol

Today on Stateside, why mosquitoes are swarming Michigan this summer. Also, we talk with an Olympic BMX freestyle rider about the road to Tokyo. Plus, why the tidal wave of visitors in Michigan’s public parklands is keeping rescue teams busy. And, one of Michigan’s busiest library systems welcomes visitors back to its branches.

John Curnow / Flickr

Today on Stateside, how the Delta COVID variant could affect Michigan. Then, two business owners talk about getting through the pandemic, and back to “normal.” And, we dig into Detroit’s multiple bids to host the Olympic Games.

DETROIT OLYMPIC COMMITTEE ARCHIVE IN THE BURTON HISTORICAL COLLECTION OF THE DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY

After the Covid-19 pandemic postponed the event for a year, the Tokyo Olympic Games are set to begin on July 23. While the thrill of the athletic competition dazzles audiences from around the globe, the unseen process of who gets to host the games is just as competitive.

Issues & Ale @ Home 
Detroit's Olympic Dreams - Lessons Learned
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 7:00 PM
A Michigan Radio Free Virtual Event

Many Michiganders may not be aware that the city of Detroit has made multiple bids to host the Olympic Games. With the Summer Olympics set to start in Tokyo after being delayed because of the pandemic, a new online exhibition looks at Detroit’s own Olympic history. We'll talk with the curators and Michigan historians about the city's attempts to host the games amid a backdrop of local, national, and international politics.   

A hospital emergency room entrance.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, hospitals in Michigan’s Thumb region feel the toll of a massive COVID-19 surge. Plus, we talk to the Michigan woman who just broke the world record for fastest 50k. And, we hear about the Michiganders who are crossing state lines to score a vaccine in northern Ohio. 

Courtesy of Snow Makers Incorporated

If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics in South Korea, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen the product of a Michigan company.

The snow on the ski slopes is manufactured snow — fake snow — made by Snow Makers Incorporated based in Midland.

Maya and Alex Shibutani
Andy Miah / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One pair of U.S. Olympians with Michigan ties made it to the podium Monday, but another fell just short.

The ice dancing team of Maia and Alex Shibutani won bronze. The sister and brother from Ann Arbor edged out Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who finished fourth.

Hubbell is originally from Okemos. She and Donohue train in Canada, but compete with the Lansing Skating Club.

The ski jump event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Andy Miah / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two decades ago, I covered the Winter Olympics in Japan, and it was great. But when I gushed about the ski jumping, women’s hockey, and speed skating, my readers had no idea what I was talking about.

I soon figured out why: the folks back home weren’t watching the same Olympics I was. What they did see was tape-delayed, over-produced, and cut short by an endless stream of “up close and personal” profiles, almost all of them Americans.

SCREEN GRAB / YOUTUBE

Two Japanese figure skaters who train in Metro Detroit have had their Olympic moment.

Japan's Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara finished 21st in the pair skating short program – unfortunately not good enough for them to make the finals. They also competed in the team event, where Japan finished fifth overall.

Pyeongchang Olympic torch
Andy Miah / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

With the weather our state is facing this weekend, it’s unsurprising that Michigan is well-represented at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 

Screen capture from YouTube

The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics happens Friday in PyeongChang. Right out of the gate, the snowboarding competition begins on Saturday. 

Michigan skier paves road to Olympic podium with wax

Feb 6, 2018
DAVID CASSLEMAN / Interlochen Public Radio

Eli Brown spent years training for the Winter Olympics, and now he’s finally going. But Brown isn’t competing as an athlete. Instead, he’s making sure the U.S. cross-country ski team has the fastest skis possible.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

We should find out next week how Michigan’s attorney general plans to investigate Michigan State University’s handling of the Larry Nassar affair.

The former MSU doctor was sentenced this week to a minimum of 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting young women seeking care for sports injuries. 

New Lexus Velodrome
Courtesy of Dale Hughes

 

Take one impossible dream, and add an angel donor with deep pockets.

What do you get? An impossible dream that comes true – in this case, a new indoor velodrome that's just opened up in Detroit's Midtown area.

It makes Detroit one of only three U.S. cities to have a specially-designed facility for indoor bicycle racing, and its designer believes this velodrome could put Detroit racers in future Olympics.

 

 

Some NHL players, like Alex Ovechkin, have said they plan to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, despite the league announcing it won't send its players to compete.
Jennifer Griggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was recently announced that the National Hockey League (NHL) will not be sending its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The last time NHL players weren't included in the Olympic hockey tournament was in 1998. After nearly two decades, that is expected to come to a close next year when the Winter Games are hosted in Seoul, South Korea.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

November 19th is a big day for Claressa Shields.

Shields, who hails from Flint, will have her first match as a pro boxer.

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.

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.

Flickr user George Makris/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There have been plenty of Americans winning gold at the Rio Olympics.

And each gold medal win by a Yank means you'll hear the Star Spangled Banner during the medal ceremony.

Some have noticed that there's something about the version of the anthem being used in Rio that's just a little bit ... off.

But what is it?

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.

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