Spyros Gianniotis started the Olympic torch relay at the ancient site of Olympia earlier this month. Greece hasn't won an Olympic medal in swimming since 1896 — something Gianniotis hopes to change in London.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
Spyros Gianniotis (front left) of Greece won the 10-kilometer open-water event at the 2011 world championships, held in Shanghai.
Swimmer Spyros Gianniotis was born in Liverpool, England, but he will represent Greece in the upcoming London Olympics. At 32, he is the 10-kilometer open-water world champion, and one of Greece's best hopes for a medal in London. He's on a team of Olympians whose training budget has been drastically reduced by austerity measures and the economic crisis.
On a recent morning, Gianniotis' training included three hours of laps in an outdoor Olympic-sized pool in central Athens. The lean, freckled marathon swimmer glides to the end of the pool.
Larger Than Life: Tourists pose in front of a UEFA Euro 2012 Cup placard on Kiev's Independence Square in Ukraine. Europe is entering a packed sports schedule — but soccer still reigns supreme, says Frank Deford.
It's a prime irony that while Europe is suffering a great financial crisis, in counterpoint, the Continent is starting to spend the summer awash in a veritable plethora of joyous sporting events, a rolling athletic circus to divert Europeans from Angela Merkel telling them to get serious and tighten their belts.
Now, as is the case every summer, there are two Grand Slam tennis championships — the French Open, which is already under way, and Wimbledon. Then the Tour de France and British Open golf.
Dennis Lauscha, a graduate of Loyola University and the newly promoted president of the New Orleans Saints, will return to his alma mater to teach a course on the business of professional football at the university's inaugural Alumni College.
The Exergy Tour began Thursday night in Boise, Idaho. It's the largest women's five-day stage race in North America. It's also the last major race before cycling teams are chosen for the Olympics in London. This Tour is meant to raise the bar for women's cycling but as Sadie Babits reports, the race began with a major upset.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And I wait all week to say: time for sports.
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SIMON: The Stanley Cup finals are set - left versus right, a frequent flier bonanza. The NBA playoffs feature a thrilling matchup between Texas and Oklahoma, the Old Hands versus the Young Guns. And tennis, red, dusty and with a side of frites - the French Open opens. Here to talk about all of it, NPR Tom Goldman,
One of the ways Spaniards console themselves amid their failing economy is with their beloved sport of soccer. If you can't afford tickets to a game, it's always on TV in your local bar.
"For an escape from work, economic problems — just enjoy it and support your team," says soccer fan Ivan Rassuli, who's having a beer as he watches a match at a bar. "Everybody likes football. Maybe like the NBA or baseball in the United States."
But futbol, as Spaniards call soccer, has followed the same sorry trajectory as Spain's economy.
After a compressed National Basketball season due to a labor lockout, the playoffs have been full of exciting basketball. Robert Siegel talks with sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about the NBA conference semifinal matchups.