Tag Archives: sports

Miami can have one last Super Bowl, as a treat

The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face each other in the Super Bowl on Sunday in Miami. The game will only last a few hours, but Florida is just beginning a decades-long war with a foe that can’t be beat: sea-level rise. If emissions continue to rise unchecked, Miami’s football stadium could be flooded with standing water and America’s holiest championship game will have to be played somewhere else.

For a sneak peek at what Miami Garden’s Hard Rock Stadium, the venue for Super Bowl LIV, could look like in a few decades, look no further than Florida’s coastline. Nearly 600,000 people in South Florida face “extreme” or “high” risk from sea-level rise, according to the Trump administration’s 4th National Climate Assessment. Already, the sea level around Florida is 8 inches higher than it was 70 years ago. Over the past decade, the rate of acceleration has sped up. Florida seas are now rising an inch every three years. Floods are inundating low-lying cities like Miami even on sunny days.

A new report from Climate Central — an organization that analyzes how climate change affects the public — shows that Hard Rock Stadium, between 4 and 6 feet above sea level, is likely to experience some of this flooding in the coming century. It’s not just the football field that’s at risk of getting swamped by climate change. Local roads, the stadium’s $135 million training facility, the tennis center, and parking lots will face higher odds of being submerged.

Developers recently completed a three-year-long, $500 million renovation of the stadium. But the stadium’s state-of-the-art canopy and high-definition screens won’t save it when the floods come. The Hard Rock Stadium property has at the very least, a 1 percent chance of being submerged by rising seas every year by 2070 if the world continues emitting greenhouse gases business-as-usual. By 2090, the risk of the stadium experiencing serious flooding each year rises to 10 percent.

Remember, this is likely an underestimate. A 2019 U.N. report found that the kind of floods this report is talking about will occur in Miami every year as soon as 2050. Plus, the Climate Central analysis didn’t account for rain-induced flooding, seepage, backed-up storm drains, or other reasons why water might make its way into low-lying areas.

Nickolay Lamm / Climate Central

Flooding isn’t the only climate-related issue facing American football teams and their legions of dedicated fans. Extreme heat and bad air quality also threaten players’ abilities to pass, tackle, and run. Another Climate Central analysis that looked at temperatures during football season shows that all 30 National Football League cities have warmed, on average, 2.3 degrees F over the past 50 years. Miami is in the middle of the pack when it comes to rising temperatures, but the home cities of the Nevada Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals have all warmed more than 4 degrees since 1970.

Hard Rock Stadium is taking some measures to reduce its impact on the planet. In November, the home of the Miami Dolphins announced it aims to eliminate 99.4 percent of single-use plastics by the end of 2020. The move would divert 2.8 million pieces of plastic from landfills every year. And at the upcoming 54th Super Bowl, fans will sip drinks out of aluminum cups instead of plastic ones, pee in waterless urinals, forgo straws, and make their way out to the parking lots under LED lights. It’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the outsized carbon footprints of events like the Super Bowl. Fans attending a mega sporting event have carbon footprints about seven times larger than people going about their daily lives.

After Sunday’s game, Miami will have hosted 11 Super Bowls, more than any other city. It doesn’t matter how many single-use plastics the Miami Dolphins ban from their stadium — if the world keeps emitting carbon business-as-usual, Miami won’t be able to hold onto that record for long.

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Miami can have one last Super Bowl, as a treat

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A Country Year – Sue Hubbell


A Country Year

Living the Questions

Sue Hubbell

Genre: Nature

Price: $11.99

Publish Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Open Road Media

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

A “delightful, witty” memoir about starting over as a beekeeper in the Ozarks ( Library Journal ).   Alone on a small Missouri farm after a thirty-year marriage, Sue Hubbell found a new love—of the winged, buzzing variety. Left with little but the commercial beekeeping and honey-producing business she started with her husband, Hubbell found solace in the natural world. Then she began to write, challenging herself to tell the absolute truth about her life and the things she cared about.   Describing the ups and downs of beekeeping from one springtime to the next, A Country Year transports readers to a different, simpler place. In a series of exquisite vignettes, Hubbell reveals the joys of a life attuned to nature in this heartfelt memoir about life on the land, and of a woman finding her way in middle age.   “Once in a while there comes along a book so calm, so honest, so beautiful that even the most jaded or cynical readers have to say thank you. . . . This is such a book” ( The San Diego Union-Tribune ). “Steadily eloquent, not just of her life but of all life.” — The Washington Post   “Oh, my, can this lady write.” — Sports Illustrated   “A calm, clear-eyed record of a country year and its beauties.” — Los Angeles Times   “Sue Hubbell’s writing is like butter, for it tantalizes, enriches and satisfies.” — The Atlanta-Journal Constitution   “[Hubbell’s] delightful, witty book will appeal to all those who are intrigued by the natural world.” — Library Journal   “This is a book one wants to quote from beginning to end. . . . Stirring—and more richly alive than any PBS nature film.” — Kirkus Reviews Sue Hubbell is the author of eight books, including A Country Year and New York Times Notable Book A Book of Bees . She has written for the New Yorker , the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , Smithsonian , and Time , and was a frequent contributor to the “Hers” column of the New York Times . Hubbell lives in Maine and Washington, DC.

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A Country Year – Sue Hubbell

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Basketball Is the Worst Sport Ever (In Its Final Two Minutes)

Mother Jones

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A few days ago I was channel surfing and ended up watching the final tedious few minutes of a basketball game. It was at the point where the losing team was doing the intentional foul thing in a last-ditch effort to make a comeback. “Does that ever work?” I muttered. Now I have an answer:

Nick Elam, a 34-year-old middle school principal from Dayton, Ohio…has tracked thousands of NBA, college, and international games over the last four years and found basketball’s classic comeback tactic — intentional fouling — almost never results in successful comebacks. Elam found at least one deliberate crunch-time foul from trailing teams in 397 of 877 nationally televised NBA games from 2014 through the middle of this season, according to a PowerPoint presentation he has sent across the basketball world. The trailing team won zero of those games, according to Elam’s data.

What a waste. Elam has a provocative proposal about how to fix this, but it’s far too radical for the NBA to consider. After all, the league’s boffins won’t even consider changing the intentional foul rule or limiting timeouts. If they can’t bring themselves to make modest changes like that, what are the odds of ever doing something serious about the final two minutes of basketball games, which are widely considered the most tedious 20 minutes in all of sports?

On the bright side, at least basketball’s final two minutes are still better than soccer’s tie-breaking shootout—which is basically just a fancy way of flipping a coin. Personally, I’d make them keep playing until the players start collapsing on the pitch—and then leave them there until somebody finally scores a goal. Maybe that would motivate them.

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Basketball Is the Worst Sport Ever (In Its Final Two Minutes)

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10 Products You Won’t Believe Are Derived From Petroleum

Most of us associate petroleum products with transportationgas for your car, jet fuel, etc. However, only 19.4 gallons out of a 42-gallon barrel is used to create gasoline.

Sowhat’s the rest used for?

The History of Petroleum Products

Back in 1872, a chemist named Robert Chesebrough came up with a method for extracting a waxy balm from the oily residue leftover in oil wells. What is that substance called today? Vaseline. Then a few years later, in 1913, the sister of a man named Thomas Williamsstartedadding in darkening agents to make a deeply coloredgel out of the stuff. They called their companyMaybelline.

Get where this is going?

Very soon, hundreds of other petroleum-derived products were making their wayinto the marketplace in the form of candles, sealing waxes, ammonia and even candy gum!

Are Petroleum Products Eco-Friendly or Safe?

Now isn’t this the million dollar question.

Many of us work hard to reduce oil demand by cuttingdown on our use of fossil fuels, limiting how often we drive, taking public transportation and trying to do away with plastics. The problem is, oil-derived products have infiltrated much more than just transportation.

Petroleum jelly, for example, is a byproduct of the oil drilling and refining process. It’s a result of one of the most environmentally degrading processes on earth!

There is also the question of safety.

While the beauty industry claims it removes all of the harmful components from its petroleum-based products,researchers are still findingdangersthatputs many people on the fence.

Petroleum products like mineral oil cannot be metabolized (which means once it ends up in your body it will never leave), and some studies suggest theymay be carcinogenic. No thank you!

Worried about your beauty products? Check your labels to see if any of these are present:

Mineral oil
Liquid paraffin
Paraffin oil

10 Products You Won’t Believe are Derived from Petroleum

1. Chewing Gum

Sorry friends, it’s true! The soft, chewy quality of chewing gum comes from an oil-derived base that includes waxes, petroleum, stearic acid, glycerin, lanolin and otheringredients all housed under the ingredient “gum base.” Gross!

2. Pantyhose

Tights, nylons,pantyhose. These little tights are made from nylon, a textile fiber that is actually a petroleum-derived thermoplastic.


Many cosmetic products like lipsticks and lotions are made with petroleum derivatives. Paraffin wax, for example, is used to help tube lipsticks keep their shape and then go on smooth. It might be time to replace that lipstick, considering how much product a woman swallows over the course of her life.

4.Non-Stick Coating

That Teflon-coated pan you love so much is actually made from a combination of chemicals called PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals which arepetro-derived. These are lipophobic and carcinogenic, and have been linked to many diseases like cancer and liver damage. Gross! Need a replacement? Go for cast iron!

5. Crayons

Every single crayon found in that Crayola box was made from paraffin wax, a solid that comes straight from petroleum. Paraffin wax is also used to make candles, add a shiny coating to apples or make chocolate look glossy. Not great.

Related: 7 Candles That Won’t Give You Cancer

6. Synthetic Fabrics

Most wrinkle-resistant clothing items are made from polyestera substance that gets its origin at the oil refinery. However, in this case it’s not all bad. Polyester fabrics can be easily recycled to produce new, high quality polyester fibers.

7. Aspirin

Aspirin is easily one of the most reliable medications discovered over the past few decades. And its uses are widespread! Most aspirin manufacturing today begins with benzene, a hydrocarbon that is usually derived from petroleum. Looking for a natural alternative? Try white willow bark.

8. Sports Equipment

Golf balls, basketballs, tennis racks and skis are all made with petroleum in some form or another.

9. Dentures

Modern denturesare dyed with carbon-based pigments that are manufactured using coal and petroleum resources. Want to avoid getting a fake set colored by fossil fuels? Try flossing instead.

10. Toothpaste

Toothpaste makes use of more oil-based ingredients than just about any other product. Poloxamer 407, for example, is a substance that helps oil-based ingredients to be dissolved in water.

Toothpaste manufacturers also toss in a number of dyes made from petroleum: D&C Yellow #10, DYC Red #30, and FD&C Blue #1. Red 40 is also a big one. All the more reason to start making your own!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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10 Products You Won’t Believe Are Derived From Petroleum

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The Warriors’ Steve Kerr Lets Fly on Trump

Mother Jones

At a press conference before Wednesday night’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr offered a candid assessment of the mood the day after Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States. “Maybe we should have seen it coming over the last 10 years,” he said.

“You look at society, look at what’s popular, people are getting paid millions of dollars to go on TV and scream at each other, whether it’s in sports or politics or entertainment,” Kerr told reporters. “I guess it was only a matter of time before it spilled into politics but, all of a sudden you’re faced with a reality.” He spoke of the “decorum, respect and dignity” that accompanies the presidency, yet “it all went out the window.” He wished President-elect Trump well and hoped he would be a good president. But he also wondered about his daughter and wife, “who have basically been insulted by his comments,” and his players of color, many of whom, as people of color, endured insults as well. “The whole process has left all of us feeling disgusted and disappointed,” Kerr said. “I thought we were better than this. I thought the Jerry Springer Show was the Jerry Springer show.”

You can read Kerr’s full statement below. h/t @SherwoodStrauss

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The Warriors’ Steve Kerr Lets Fly on Trump

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High Schools Are the Next Battleground in the Fight Over Transgender Athletes

Mother Jones

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Robby Dyas didn’t play very much as a freshman on Lincoln High School’s softball team. The shortstop got a concussion from a pop fly early in the season, and spent the following weeks learning “a lot about the strategic side” of the game from the bench. After that, Dyas was done with softball.

The Nebraskan teen was also done being a girl: Junior year, Dyas came out as transgender and began using male pronouns and the name Robby. But the longtime athlete—who’d competed in taekwondo, basketball, wrestling, and softball as a kid—never got to pitch overhand. “I just remember getting a rude comment about girls playing on the baseball team,” he recalls.

This year, transgender teens may have a better shot at high school sports in Nebraska: The state’s new policy allows trans girls and boys to compete on teams corresponding with their gender preference. But before they can do that, they’ll have to prove to a four-member Gender Identity Eligibility Committee that they’re “consistently” transgender. Trans girls, who are born male but identify as female, will have to undergo sex reassignment surgery or a year of hormone therapy to play.

Nearly 40 states have adopted policies for high school transgender athletes. Some allow students to play on teams based on gender identity, without any kind of hormone requirement, while others restrict them to teams matching the sex on their birth certificates. Nebraska’s policy takes a middle road—and has fueled outrage on all sides. It also comes at a time of national debate over trans rights in schools. Nearly half of all states are currently suing the Obama administration over whether Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded schools, should protect trans kids, too. While that legal battle centers on questions of bathroom access, experts say it could also affect athletic participation.

In the crosshairs will be kids like Robby Dyas and Asher Wells, another trans boy at Lincoln High. Wells takes gym classes during summer school instead of the regular academic year so he can avoid the girls’ locker room. When I first spoke to him, he was pondering whether to try out for the boy’s tennis team before he graduates.

It might be simpler if Asher were just a few years older. In college, the aspiring tennis player would probably get to choose whether to try out for the men’s team or the women’s team, without having to brave any gender committees; that’s because the NCAA, which makes rules for college sports at universities around the country, came up with a policy for trans athletes back in 2011. Trans men who take testosterone—to appear more masculine—can only play on men’s teams, since the hormone has been linked with muscle mass. Those like Asher, who aren’t taking testosterone, can play on whichever team they prefer. And trans women, born with male bodies, need to medically suppress their natural testosterone levels if they want to compete against other women. (In January, the International Olympic Committee updated its policy to include similar regulations.)

At first, many high schools followed the NCAA’s lead. Some hadn’t given much thought to creating their own policies, because until recently they “really hadn’t had a lot of kids come up through the school ranks identifying as transgender,” notes Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools, whose policy for trans athletes once mirrored the college guidelines. Then her association, like some in other states, changed its tune, perhaps realizing that college and high school sports aren’t the same—different ages, different goals. Connecticut ditched its hormone-based policy in 2013 and adopted more inclusive rules, allowing kids to play based on their self-identification as male or female.

Pat Griffin, a professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst who helped develop the NCAA’s hormone-based policy, supports that kind of move. High schoolers shouldn’t have to take hormones, she says, because at that age, “most students are playing to participate.”

But absent a national governing body, high school guidelines vary widely. In Texas, a new rule prohibits students across the state from participating on teams that don’t match up with the sex on their birth certificates. On the other hand, in 2013 California became the first state to pass a law allowing trans students to play on teams matching their gender identity, no hormone therapy required; about 15 states now have similar policies. A handful of other states require trans girls to take hormones for a year before playing on girls’ teams. (See map below.)

Chris Mosier/TransAthlete.com

In Nebraska, the school athletics association had never been able to pass an athletic policy for gender-nonconforming kids, in part due to the state’s deeply conservative roots. Then in 2015, two schools alerted the Nebraska School Activities Association about some trans students who wanted to compete on winter sports teams, so the NSAA decided to take up the issue again.

In January this year, the NSAA announced its big idea: A Gender Identity Eligibility Committee will make decisions on a case-by-case basis for trans student athletes who want to play on teams matching their gender identity. The committee—made up of a doctor with experience in trans health care, a mental health professional, a school administrator, and an NSAA staff member—will consider testimony from the student’s parents, friends, and teachers, plus medical documentation, to make sure the student consistently identifies as transgender. It will also require trans girls to have sex reassignment surgery or a year’s worth of hormone therapy to reduce testosterone levels. And to play on a team, a student will need unanimous approval from the committee.

The backlash came quickly, with critics on the left decrying the gender review process as burdensome. “They have essentially put up a sign that transgender students need not apply,” said Amy Miller, a legal director for the ACLU. For starters, critics say, many teenagers don’t want to go on hormone therapy. “It’s expensive, it’s a lot of effort, it’s like going through puberty again,” says Dyas. And the idea of proving your gender to a group of strangers can be intimidating: “I would not be comfortable with that,” says Dyas, who organized a protest against the policy at the state Capitol with a handful of trans-rights supporters.

Critics on the right worry the policy makes it too easy for trans kids to compete. “As the father of two daughters, I would be very concerned about boys competing against my daughters in sports,” Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said. The Nebraska Catholic bishops weighed in, too, noting that “this would certainly have a negative impact on students’ and society’s attitudes towards the fundamental nature of the human person and the family.”

Another concern is competitive advantage. When a trans girl raced in a high school track and field state championship in Alaska in May, protesters showed up at the track. “Allowing students to play on teams of the opposite sex disproportionately impacts female students, who will lose spots on a track, soccer and volleyball teams to male students who identify as female,” said Jim Minnery, president of the conservative group Alaska Family Action. Karissa Niehoff, of the Connecticut Association of Schools, says signs of a competitive advantage haven’t come to fruition in her state since it dropped its hormone-based policy for trans teen athletes.

Susan Cahn, a professor at the University at Buffalo who wrote Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Women’s Sport, can understand why female athletes might be wary about trans competitors. “Historically, girls and women have been the disadvantaged group, and they’ve been kept out of sports or haven’t been given the same kinds of training or resources,” she says. But trans kids are a disadvantaged group, too, who often put up with bullying and discrimination, she points out.

And even when we segregate sports by sex, certain kids have physical advantages. For boys’ sports, “if you look at a 9th- or 10th-grade team, you’ve got these little kids who haven’t hit puberty yet, and these giant kids, boys who have totally hit puberty. They have completely different bodies, and no one says they shouldn’t play together,” she explains. What’s more, a kid can have an upper hand for reasons unrelated to sex, like if his family has enough money to pay for summer training camps or traveling teams with the best coaches. Of all the different types of advantages, she says, testosterone is not the most critical, especially for teenagers, “so to fixate on that one is really about the politics of gender and not actual bodies.”

And the politics of gender—or rather, gender identity—have reached a fever pitch, not only in Nebraska, but on the national stage. In May this year, the US Department of Education sent a letter to public schools across the country, saying they could lose federal funding if they discriminated against transgender students. The letter made waves for its guidance on bathroom access—it said trans kids should be allowed to use facilities of their choice. It also called on schools to allow transgender kids to play on sports teams matching their identity, notes Sarah Axelson, a Title IX expert at the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Leaders in many states saw this letter as an overreach. So they turned to the courts. Now, Nebraska and 22 other states are suing the Obama administration, arguing that it has interpreted Title IX too broadly by including protections for transgender kids. On August 21, a federal judge in Texas ruled in their favor, granting a nationwide injunction that temporarily blocks the Obama administration from enforcing the recommendations in its letter about transgender rights. The administration is expected to appeal. Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court is considering whether to take up a separate case about whether Title IX protects transgender students. Griffin, who helped develop the policy for trans college athletes, says she suspects that if Nebraska and other states prevail in their legal fight with the Obama administration, it will affect not only bathroom access, but sports participation.

Nebraska’s new athletic policy, adopted before this legal drama unfolded, says trans athletes have to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their birth sex or, when possible, a private facility—even if they qualify to play on teams matching their preferred gender.

“You’ve fought and you’ve fought to be able to play on the sports team,” Dyas says in response to this caveat. “And finally you’re allowed to be the boy, you’re allowed to have everything you’ve ever wanted. And then right then and there, they rip it all out of your hands and are like, ‘But actually you can’t even use the locker room.'”

Jim Tenopir, the head of Nebraska’s high school athletics association, acknowledges that this rule “flies in the face of” the Obama administration’s guidance but aligns closely with the state of Nebraska’s position on protecting the privacy rights of other kids.

Asher Wells just started his junior year at Lincoln High. He’d been considering whether to try out for the boys’ tennis team this year, but in the end he decided against it. Even if he were good enough, he worries the Gender Identity Eligibility Committee wouldn’t approve his application, he says. “And I would have to get a school physical exam, and I haven’t done that because I feel uncomfortable.” He’s also nervous about getting bullied during matches at other schools. “I’ll think about it for next year,” he says.

As executive director of the NSAA, Tenopir says he intended to create an athletic policy that gave all Nebraskan kids a chance to compete, regardless of gender identity: “Although there may be some steep hills that a transgender student has to climb to be eligible to participate, at least that opportunity is there.”

Tenopir acknowledges that high school “is probably a borderline age for kids to consider” hormone therapy. But he adds that the policy would have never been approved without this requirement—given the political muscle of right-leaning critics who argued that trans girls would otherwise have an unfair advantage. “You don’t begin to have an idea what conservative values are until you get to a place like Nebraska,” he says.

As the school year kicks off, it’s unclear when the state’s new Gender Identity Eligibility Committee will be put to the test—Tenopir says that so far, not a single transgender student has applied.

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High Schools Are the Next Battleground in the Fight Over Transgender Athletes

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The Olympics keeps getting greener — well, the pools do, anyway

algae whiz

The Olympics keeps getting greener — well, the pools do, anyway

By on Aug 10, 2016Share

This wasn’t part of Rio’s plan to host the greenest Olympics ever.

When the diving pool turned a frightening shade of St. Patty’s Day sometime Monday night, it caught us all off guard — including Tom Daley, a British diver.

Less than 24 hours later, it happened again.

The leading theory is that the green color was caused by algae. The “heat and a lack of wind” sapped the chlorine in the pool, a Rio spokesperson said. Apparently, it’s safe to swim in — at least, compared to the actual bodies of water that surround Rio, which are teeming with sewage and superbacteria.

Algae are a familiar menace in many waterways (not just of the swimming-pool variety). The harmful blue-green variety is made worse by phosphorous- and nitrogen-rich fertilizers, but climate change hasn’t helped matters either. Toxic algae blooms thrive best in warm, tepid waters, and the consequences are much bigger in freshwater than a change in color.

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Why Some American Olympians Had to Crowdfund Their Way to Rio

Mother Jones

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More than 550 American athletes will be competing in the Rio Olympics, but for some, finding the money to get themselves and their families to Rio hasn’t been easy.

On the GoFundMe crowdfunding site, dozens of US Olympians, Paralympians, and their families have set up campaigns to help raise money for their trips. Olympic decathlete Jeremy Taiwo, for example, began his campaign way back in December. Taiwo asked for $15,000 to help fund equipment, health care, and training costs. After meeting the original goal, Taiwo increased it to $47,100 and has so far received $63,375.

Paralympic soccer player Gregory Brigman started his campaign for $6,000 in late July and still has almost $4,000 to go. Brigman wrote that he had to resign from his engineering job in order to have enough time to train. “The U.S. Soccer organization covers all expenses for athletes while playing and training, but they do not support the common bills of life,” wrote Brigman, who is asking for funds to help with daily needs and training costs.

There’s a reason why so many American athletes turn to sites like GoFundMe for financial help: Unlike other countries, the United States doesn’t provide government funding to its Olympic committee. This agreement, set in 1978 as part of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, allowed the US Olympic Committee to hold exclusive control over the representation of American athletes and terms associated with the Olympics. As a result, the USOC is responsible for fundraising the amount of money needed to send athletes to the competition, maintain training facilities, secure sponsorships, and pay its staff.

“Our nation stands apart from others because our Olympic and Paralympic teams are not just cheered by an enthusiastic national fan base, but also funded by one,” the US Olympic Foundation, a nonprofit that fundraises for the USOC, notes on its website.

Contrast the United States with the United Kingdom, for instance, which pours about £543 million (about $709 million) from the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport and the National Lottery into UK Sport, a sports agency that manages funding and partnerships for the country’s Olympic athletes. Olympic athletes there are eligible to receive anywhere from £15,000 to £28,000 a year (almost $20,000 to some $37,000) based on their performance. That’s in addition to other services and training support UK athletes receive. In Canada, the government invests about $200 million CAD ($153 million USD) into the Olympics annually, and senior athletes receive $1,500 monthly stipends. Some athletes are given extra funding if they have won medals in the past.

The USOC does dole out millions of dollars for its athletes, as well as cover basic airfare, lodging, and food during the games. It says it spent $73 million in direct funding for athletes and another $81 million for programming in 2013. Sponsorships from private companies such as Deloitte and Chobani also provide funding, but these only cover a certain number of teams and athletes. “Sports that don’t draw a lot of revenue get a smaller share of the funding that’s available, so it’s up to the individual sport federation and how many athletes they support before making the team,” said Mark Dyreson, a professor of kinesiology and history at Penn State University. “In smaller sports, it’s just a handful of athletes that get support.”

Though there’s no comprehensive data on how much American Olympic athletes are paid, an investigation by the Washington Post found that of all the funds involved in the USOC, athletes made the least amount of money. A member of the track and field team made an average income of $17,000, while athletes on the swimming team could make only up to $42,000 in stipends. Even if a track and field athlete was ranked among the top 10 in the country for his events, athletes still brought home an average income of $16,553. The CEO of the track and field team, on the other hand, made about $1.1 million a year, according to the Post. The investigation also called into question how the USOC spent its funds. Though the USOC says that it directs around 90 percent of its budget to supporting athletes, one study found that, in 2012, less than 10 percent of that budget went directly to athletes as cash payments. Instead, the USOC spent a large amount of its money on Olympic training centers where fewer than 13 percent of US Olympians train.

As the Post investigation put it, some International Olympic Committee members will be paid more to watch the Olympics than the actual athletes competing in the Games. “The athletes are the very bottom of a trickle-down system, and there’s just not much left for us,” US javelin thrower Cyrus Hostetler told the Post. “They take care of themselves first, and us last.”

Brigman, of the Paralympic soccer team, told Mother Jones in an email that he is not paid as an athlete, and that the team pays for flights, food, lodging, and some gear. He reached out to some 20 companies and only heard back from one. (It turned him down.) So after resigning from his job, he started his campaign to cover his August bills.

“I had to choose between my job and the team,” Brigman said, “and when asked to play for your country you just don’t think twice about it.”

Of course, going to the Olympics will be a chance for athletes to win medals, which comes with cash prizes, and to secure sponsorship opportunities from private companies. And sponsorship, Dyreson points out, is where American athletes could have more of an advantage than athletes from other countries.

“If you’re an athlete, there’s no better place to fund your training than in the US,” Dyreson said. “It’s just frustrating because athletes here have to be individual entrepreneurs more than athletes in other nations.”

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Why Some American Olympians Had to Crowdfund Their Way to Rio

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How Are You Supposed to Win a Gold Medal If You Can’t Get A Cup of Coffee?

Mother Jones

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Brazil has been the globe’s most prolific coffee-producing nation for 150 years; and coffee culture has long permeated Rio de Janeiro, where you can find everything from a cheap cafezinho (little cup of coffee) at a corner cafe to super fancy brews extracted from the nation’s best coffee beans. But if you’re an athlete holed up in Olympic Village for the games, things are apparently a bit different. Here’s NPR:

BLOCK: This will be the second Olympics for Egyptian archer Ahmed El-Nemr. He’s mostly happy, but there is a problem.
AHMED EL-NEMR: Actually, yes, I have some complains about coffee (laughter).
BLOCK: He’s been shocked to find there is no coffee for athletes in the village apartment buildings or at the sports venues.
NEMR: I asked. They said we are only limited to Coca-Cola products. So…
BLOCK: You’re kidding me.
NEMR: No. Yeah, that’s what they told us in the venue.

What? No coffee for Olympic athletes in the globe’s coffee epicenter, because…Coca-Cola? According to the Daily News, “A Coca-Cola spokeswoman denied the archer’s claim and said there is coffee in the Olympic Village but it isn’t being supplied by the company.” But apparently, it’s not very easy to find. This must not stand. If I were an athlete in Rio, I’d organize a revolt. And I would not be mollified by some crap like this—I’d want a fresh cup of coffee. In solidarity with my coffee-loving brothers and sisters in the Village, I’ve done a Google dive into catering and sponsorships at the Games to try and figure out what’s going on.

I found a Rio 2016 “Taste of the Games” document that lists the sugary beverage behemoth as the “exclusive” provider of non-alcoholic beverages for the 2016 event, including for its 17,500 athletes. (McDonald’s is listed as the exclusive provider of retail food services, and Skol—a Brazilian brand owned by global beer giant AB InBev, maker of Budweiser—is the exclusive beer provider.)

What does “exclusive” mean? “What this means to caterers is that if menus include products from a sponsor product category, the products of that sponsor must be used unless Rio 2016 approves otherwise in writing.” However, “this does not mean that all food and beverage products must be sourced from these organisations alone,” the document continues. Drinks not offered by the sponsor—in the case of Coca-Cola, say, a fresh cup of joe—can be provided, with the stipulation that it be unbranded. Easy enough for a damn cup of coffee.

So, under the terms of the sponsorship, the Olympic village can provide fresh coffee. But is there a right to coffee? Here the document is muddy. It contains this line about services to be provided to the athletes: “Supply of snacks, fruit, isotonic sports, ugh drinks, soft drinks, mineral water, tea and coffee, biscuits, cereal bars and other items at Athletes’ lounges in competition and training venues.”

Note that this clause mentions “Athletes’ lounges in competition and training venues,” but doesn’t mention the living quarters, where El-Nemr tells NPR he’s being denied coffee—and where athletes wake up in the morning. Coffee time, in other words. Here’s what the document says about that region:

• 24/7 catering service at the Main Dining Hall in the Olympic Village
• High-quality menu with wide range of options, in line with different cultural and nutritional needs in every location serving Athletes.

Not to play Olympic Village lawyer, but that last bit to me sounds like a right to coffee—morning coffee fuels many cultures across the globe. If I were an athlete in Rio, I’d print out that doc, put a big circle around that clause, and take it directly to a Rio 16 official, preferably trailed by a band of annoyed and imposingly athletic fellow coffee fiends.

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How Are You Supposed to Win a Gold Medal If You Can’t Get A Cup of Coffee?

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Olympians Are Selling Sugar Water to Kids

Mother Jones

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Back in 2012, just ahead of the summer Olympics in London and the associated advertising blitz, the prestigious UK medical journal BMJ issued a scathing takedown of sports drinks, ably summarized for Mother Jones by health writer David Tuller. Takeaway: The colorful fluids are utterly unnecessary for restoring electrolytes after exercise, but do contain unhealthy jolts of sugar.

Four years later, beverage giants are once again using Olympians’ beauty and grit to market these supposed elixirs—this time, to children. Above, see tennis wizard Serena Williams, sprint champ Usain Bolt, and NBA star Paul George picturesquely working out with a charismatic kid in an Olympics-focused ad for Pepsi’s flagship sports drink Gatorade. And here‘s boxer Shakur Stevenson doing the same for Coca-Cola’s Powerade. Expect to see these ads and many more during the broadcast of this year’s Olympics, which open in Rio de Janeiro Friday.

And it’s easy to see why the industry is investing heavily in this massively watched sports spectacle. According to the industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corporation, US carbonated soda consumption fell 1.5 percent in 2015, the eleventh straight year of decline. But sports drink volumes raced ahead by a (relatively) Usain Bolt-like 5.5 percent. In short, people are turning away from sugary carbonated drinks because they know they’re unhealthy—and turning to sports drinks, which are associated with lean, athletic bodies, but are also quite sugary.

Over at The Washington Post, Casey Seidenberg notes that the sports drinks’ success is drawing new brands into the market. Honest Tea (also owned by Coca Cola) and upstart Greater Than have rolled out “healthier sports drinks that are lower in sugar and free of artificial food colorings.” While less sugary than Gatorade, etc, these products are equally unnecessary, Seidenberg writes; like adults, “kids and teens rarely, if ever, lose enough electrolytes during their athletic endeavors to require extra replenishment.” She adds: “Sodium is the most common electrolyte lost in sweat, yet most Americans get more than enough sodium from their diets.”

She subjected her sons and their friends to a blind taste test pitting Gatorade and Powerade against new-wave products from Honest Tea and Greater Than, as well as a glass of water and a piece of fruit, which, as she shows, provides just as much hydration as—and several times more potassium (a non-sodium electrolyte) than—most sports drinks, with zero added sugar.

“To my dismay (but not to my surprise), the kids blindly chose Powerade and Gatorade as their favorites,” she writes.” After all, these varieties are the sweetest and the most chemically engineered to cause consumers to come back for more.” As for water and fruit, she found that her experiment subjects “prefer a sports drink” but agree that the combination “satisfies when thirsty or hungry after a game.” If only influential athletes like basketball giant LeBron James would dump their sports-drink deals deal get behind that solution.

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Olympians Are Selling Sugar Water to Kids

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