Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.
But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.
Rafael Nadal announced he will not compete in the upcoming London Olympic Games.
The New York Times reports that in making the announcement, the tennis star called it one the "saddest days of my career as one of my biggest ambitions, that of being Spain's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony of the Games in London, cannot be."
Had Nadal competed, he would have been in a position to defend the men's singles gold medal he won at the Beijing Games in 2008.
The Louisiana Ballooning Foundation has canceled the Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship and Festival that had been scheduled for the first weekend in August in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The Advocate reports ( http://bit.ly/NCr4B2) officials in neighboring Ascension Parish say they will hold a festival and balloon race in October, though it won't be affiliated with the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation.
Linda Wunstel, president of the foundation's board, said the East Baton Rouge event was canceled because of funding problems.
With the Olympics right around the corner, there's a lot of attention focused on athletes. But events like mutton busting, Big Wheel racing and live monster wrestling won't be featured in London this year — and photographer Sol Neelman likes it that way.
India's Sandeep Sejwal swims his way to gold in the 100-meter men's breaststroke at the 2006 South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. Sejwal, who competed in the Beijing Olympics two years later, has a government job with India's railway that accommodates his heavy training schedule.
India's Suma Shirur won bronze in women's 10m air rifle pairs at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. She says her part-time government job gave her the time and financial stability to train for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.
In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.
Marathon medal winners listen to the anthem from the victory stand during the presentation ceremony at the XXI Summer Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. From left, Frank Shorter, U.S.A., silver; Waldemar Cierpinski, East Germany, gold, Olympic record; and Karel Lismont, Belgium, bronze. Evidence of doping by the East Germans suggests that Shorter deserved the gold medal.
The 2012 induction ceremony for the Baseball Hall of Fame takes place this weekend, so there's even more discussion about the 2013 election, because then both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be on the ballot, along with several other players who are also suspected of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
I've been surprised to learn that some baseball writers have declared that they'll vote for Bonds and Clemens because they were the best players in an era when drug use was widespread — ergo if there's a lot of guilt going around, then nobody should be assigned guilt.
In London, the fight over the G4S security company and the Olympics is growing. More guards failed to show up for work on Tuesday. And the CEO of the massive security company is being grilled by the Home Affairs Committee.