Topic: Sports

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Current Event March 15, 2018

March Madness Basketball Corruption

Sports Money

Money, secret deals, and big names in college basketball are involved in an ongoing federal investigation. Coaches, sneaker executives, and others are being investigated for bribery and fraud at the start of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, or March Madness. Ten men were arrested on a variety of charges including taking bribes and using money to place players in certain colleges. This illegal activity has been going on for decades and there are questions about whether these investigations will change the culture of men’s college basketball. Listen to learn more about these corruption charges.

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Current Event March 6, 2018

Football Changes Kids' Brains

Life Science Sports KERA

Research on former players of the National Football League shows that brain injury is linked to repeated blunt impact. But little is known about the connection between football, brain damage, and young players. A scientist in Texas studied football players between 8 and 18 year old and measured how their brains changed after one season. They used sensors in football helmets to tell how hard the players were getting hit. Listen to hear the results of this study and suggestions for preventing these injuries.

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Current Event March 2, 2018

Debate: Should All Kids Get a Trophy?

Psychology Sports

Many kids receive a trophy, medal or ribbon for participating in sports, science fairs, or other competitions. Some think it’s sending a dangerous message to kids, telling them that they will be rewarded regardless of their effort or success. Some think the trophies are an important marker of participation and they mean something to kids. Listen to experts, as well as the reporter, as they describe their thoughts on giving trophies for participation, and then debate: Should all kids get a trophy?

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Current Event February 19, 2018

Teenage Olympic Speed Skater


One of the biggest names from Team USA at the Winter Olympics is Maame Biney. She is only 18 and has explosive speed on the ice. She came to the United States from Ghana when she was 5 years old and became the first African-American woman ever to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speed skating team on the short track speed skating. Her father is with her in South Korea, where she is competing against the best speed skaters in the world. Listen to this story to hear Biney describe herself on the ice.

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Current Event February 14, 2018

90 Miles an Hour on Ice


The Olympic sport of skeleton involves athletes tobogganing through an icy path at extreme speeds. Some athletes love the rush of running onto the ice then relaxing their bodies enough so that they can focus on the curves ahead on the track. To observers of the sport, it is terrifying to see someone going this fast with what seems like no control. Listen to learn what it feels like for these athletes and what type of athlete is ideal for the sport of skeleton.

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Current Event February 8, 2018

North Korean Figure Skaters

Asia Sports

In North Korea, most citizens are not allowed to leave the country. However, for the Winter Olympics hosted in South Korea, the North Korean regime is permitting athletes to compete. North and South Korea will be united under one flag, and a pair of figure skaters from North Korea has qualified for the games. The International Olympic Committee gave them quota places, a rarely-used form of wild card, to allow them to compete since they missed the registration deadline. Many people are looking forward to a cultural exchange and interaction between North and South Korea. Listen to learn more about these North Korean figure skaters who will compete in the Olympics.

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Current Event February 1, 2018

South Korea Protests Over North Korea in Olympics

Politics Sports Asia

The Winter Olympics are starting soon, and in an historic breakthrough, Communist North Korea will send some athletes and a cheering squad to participate in the games, which are being held in the neighboring country of South Korea. The government of South Korea decided to welcome the North and agreed to walk under one flag and even combine athletes on the women’s ice hockey team. But North and South Korea have a frosty relationship and now people in South Korea are protesting the cooperation for the games. Listen to learn why leaders in South Korea are supporting this alliance and how it looks to the rest of the world.

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Current Event January 12, 2018

Debate: Would You Risk Arrest for Something You Believe In?

Sports Protest China

China has passed a new law that states people who protest its national anthem can face prison time. In places like Hong Kong, this law has sparked outrage. They believe that by singing the anthem, they are giving in to China's rule and lack of free speech. Legislators in Hong Kong are facing the dilemma of how they will enforce the new law, especially when masses of people refuse to sing the anthem, such as at a sports event. Listen to learn how those who oppose the law plan to get around it and then debate: Would you risk arrest for something you believe in?

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Current Event December 8, 2017

Debate: What is a Parent's Role on the Sidelines of Kids’ Sports?


Soccer is played by more than 3 million kids in leagues across the United States. Most parents cheer respectfully for their children, but some parents don’t. One volunteer referee for the American Youth Soccer Organization wrote a letter to parents with his thoughts on parents’ behavior. He encourages parents to be civil and be a good example for their kids. Listen to this story and debate: What is a parent’s role on the sidelines of kids' sports?

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ELA High School

"The Blind Side" and the Offensive Left Tackle

Literature Sports

Typically in the National Football League it’s all about the quarterback. But that is not the case in “The Blind Side”, a book about American football and the position of offensive left tackle. The author argues that the previously underappreciated position is vital to the game today. Incorporated into the story is offensive left tackle Michael Oher, who grew up in poverty, was adopted, and then played college football. Lewis traces the evolution of this pivotal position and explains how contracts and cash have shaped football. Listen to learn more about the author, American football, and the real-life story of Michael Oher.

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Current Event October 13, 2017

Debate: What Do the National Anthem Protests Mean?

Politics Race Sports

The football field has become a field for demonstrations. American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racial injustice consisted of kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. After President Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have knelt during the anthem, other athletes were inspired to kneel as well, while others locked arms and stood during the anthem. One point of view is that those who kneel are disrespecting the flag, veterans, and America and another is that politics should be removed from football games, and another is that Kaepernick is not showing disrespect and he has the right to protest injustice. Listen to this story and then debate: What do the national anthem protests mean?

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Current Event October 6, 2017

Debate: Should Athletes Be Considered Role Models?

Psychology Sports

A role model is a person who can be imitated by younger people, and have an impact on their behavior, choices, and values. Sports stars have been looked up to as role models, however some such as Charles Barkley, a retired professional basketball player, have declared that he is not a role model. What are the responsibilities of people who are paid to play sports? Listen to this commentator’s opinion, and then debate: Should athletes be considered role models?

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Current Event September 8, 2017

Debate: Should a Social Protest Affect Football?

Race Sports

Colin Kaepernick has been an elite quarterback in the National Football League. But he’s also one of the most controversial athletes in the NFL. Kaepernick has faced a backlash for refusing to stand during the national anthem. Instead he kneels in silent protest against social injustices such as police brutality. Some people saw this as disrespect for America, and some people supported his protest. Now he is a player without a team as no football franchise has selected him for the 2017/18 season. Listen to hear about Kaepernick’s situation and the NFL’s reaction and then debate: Should a social protest affect football?

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Current Event August 30, 2017

Usain Bolt Retires From Running


Usain Bolt first received international recognition when he won three gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Shattering world records and then shattering his own records, Bolt is considered by many to be the fastest man in the world. His 6’ 5’’ build is not a common sight for elite sprinters, but there is no question that his top speed is faster than anyone else's. Bolt was in London for the World Championships to run his last 100-meter race. Listen to hear about his illustrious career, his charisma, and his legacy as he prepares for retirement.

Note: Usain Bolt came came in third in his final 100-meter race.

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Current Event June 12, 2017

Student Juggles Classes, Work and Softball Team

Gender Sports KERA

A high-school senior at Duncanville High School in Texas is juggling classes with a part-time job and her role as manager of her school’s softball team. At home, she helps her mother pay the bills and cares for her younger brother. After school, the softball team has become like a second family. She finds encouragement from people in her life and they provide support to help her face her challenges. Listen to hear more about this student’s life and what she wants for her future.

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Current Event June 8, 2017

Teenager Summits Mountain in Spain

Gender Sports

A sheer rock face in Spain, called La Rambla, is notoriously difficult to climb. Recently, 19-year-old Margo Hayes became the first woman to climb this route. Hayes was able to complete the climb on her 17th attempt over seven days. She planned her route, remained positive, and was ultimately successful. Listen to learn more about what drove Margo Hayes to complete this successful climb.

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Current Event June 1, 2017

Big Papi Tells His Baseball Story


After two decades in the major leagues, Red Sox legend David Ortiz has retired, and now he is releasing a memoir about his life and career. Throughout his career, David Ortiz, or “Big Papi”, hit 541 home runs and won three World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox. Listen to learn more about David Ortiz’s journey from his childhood in the Dominican Republic to major league baseball in the United States.

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Current Event May 31, 2017

China Embraces Marathons

Health Sports

China is scheduled to host more than 400 marathons this year as part of the central government’s national campaign to boost tourism and promote exercise. During a period of slowed economic growth, more and more cities in China are signing up to hold marathons. However, the central government has also criticized runners for lack of health awareness and organizers for poor safety practices. Listen to learn more about the growing interest in marathons in China and how organizers are trying to improve the process.

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Current Event May 4, 2017

First Female Boston Marathon Runner

Gender Sports

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an official entrant. Up until her entry, the race was a men’s-only event, and not many people thought women could run a marathon. The race director tried to pull off her official racing bib, but she finished the marathon. Now, in 2017, the 70-year-old runner competed in the race a second time. Listen to learn more about Switzer’s experience as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and her outlook as she trains to run again.

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Current Event April 20, 2017

Female Hockey Players Fight for Fair Wages

Gender Sports

Women on sports teams make significantly less money than their male counterparts. USA Hockey dedicates fewer resources to the growth of women's hockey and provides less support. The U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team threatened to boycott the world championship unless their financial support was increased. They reached an agreement last month with USA Hockey, promising to increase the salaries of the female athletes. Listen to hear more about this historic agreement.

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