Olympics | St. Louis Public Radio


Dawn Harper Nelson returns to St. Louis after retiring from her running career aind aims to connect to people through her speaking engagements.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

As a pre-teen, Dawn Harper Nelson dared to dream of being among the top runners competing in the Olympic Games.

“As a young kid, I knew that I did want to step outside of East St. Louis and see what I was made of, and compare myself to the rest of the world,” Harper Nelson told host Don Marsh on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. In her Olympic career, she became a gold and silver medalist.

Clayton resident Stacey Smith and her Olympic ice dance partner John Summers. The two finished ninth at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith is an Olympian.

The former figure skater competed for the U.S. at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. 

As the ice dance competition wraps up at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Clayton resident is watching with a mix of pride, patriotism and accomplishment.

Smith recently spoke with St. Louis Public Radio about how she started in the sport, her memories of Lake Placid and the importance of embracing St. Louis' Olympic legacy.

Start of the 1904 Olympic Marathon Race.
Missouri Historical Society

The St. Louis Sports Commission (SLSC) announced that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is granting each city that has hosted the games the chance to display two grand sculptures of the Olympic rings. St. Louis is among those cities and was even the first city in the United States to host the historic athletic competition.

The site of the first Olympics sculpture will be located at the Washington University Field House, one of the locations of the 1904 Olympics.
St. Louis Sports Commission

The Olympic rings will soon be coming to St. Louis.

The St. Louis Sports Commission has announced a plan to place two Olympic sculptures at the venues for the 1904 Olympics.

Approved by the International Olympic Committee, the project will help preserve St. Louis’ Olympic history, said Michael Loynd, chairman of the St. Louis Sports Commission's Olympic Committee.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 19, 2008 - Like so many others, I have been addicted to the Beijing Olympics, watching every evening for the past 10 days. NBC has been unable to resist flashing the medal count every day, of course. It would be good not to focus on the medals, but for some ignoring medals must be very hard.

I am thinking particularly of Marion Jones. She won five medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Seven years later, on Sept. 8, 2007, she returned them to the IOC and six months after that entered Carswell Federal Prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

St. Louis/East St. Louis native Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist, specializing in sports protest.
Wikimedia Commons

No one who speaks out has ever been welcomed with open arms, for the most part, even when people say things like ‘I understand the message.’ The reality is that silence has been evil’s greatest and most consistently dependable ally.

So said Dr. Harry Edwards, a prominent sociologist who specialized his research and activism in the areas of sport, race and protest, on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. He has also written several books, including “Revolt of the Black Athlete” and “The Struggle that Must Be.”

Edwards also happens to be a St. Louis native.

The start of the marathon race at the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum | http://bit.ly/2bqId2E

As the Rio 2016 Olympics begin to wind down, it is worth remembering that St. Louis once played host to the Olympics: the 1904 Olympics, the first to be held on U.S. soil — and they were a mess. Doping, shameful “Anthropology Days” competitions among “savages” and minimal international participation were a recipe for a games that the Wall Street Journal once dubbed “Comedic, Disgraceful And 'Best Forgotten.’”

Ironically, St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to host the 1904 Olympics. As Sharon Smith, Curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, relayed it on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air: “St. Louis took those Olympics from Chicago.”

Jamie Heuer

East St. Louis native Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one of the nation’s premier athletes, with 6 Olympic medals to her name. Sports Illustrated named her the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century and tomorrow she will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

photo used with permission via Facebook

NewsChannel 5 reporter Casey Nolen just got back from Sochi, Russia, where he covered the Winter Games for the local NBC affiliate. As the sole reporter on the ground for KSDK, he got by with little sleep, the use of NBC cameras and “a lot of help from home.”

Gregg Forwerck/USA Hockey

If you thought regular ice hockey was intense, imagine being two feet closer to the puck and the sticks. It’s called sled hockey, and it’s one of the sports Paralympic athletes will be competing in when the Paralympic Winter Games opens in Sochi, Russia March 7.

St. Louis Curling Club Sweeps Onto New Ice

Feb 26, 2014
(Via Flickr/Felix)

After months of searching for a new practice space, the members of the St. Louis Curling Club have found a place to pursue their passion. Nancy Rogers, who founded the club, and member Lucas Shook announced that the club will begin playing at the City of Creve Coeur Ice Rink (11400 Olde Cabin Road) on Saturday, March 1. The club will hold classes every Saturday in March and April.


176 St. Louis-area-born athletes have competed in the Olympic Games, according to a list at Sports-Reference.com, mostly in the Summer Games, and many in events that today's Olympians can no longer medal in like Tug-of-War or Golf. Just 11 of those 176 competed in the Winter Olympics before this year's Sochi games — and only one made the medal stand.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it comes to celebrating the area’s Olympic legacy, the St. Louis Sports Commission and its partners always have a Plan B. And C. And D.

The group recently learned that it lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympic swimming trials, finishing second to the incumbents in Omaha, Neb. The day before, though, it was named Sports Commission of the Year for the third time since 2002, thanks to its ability to work with its partners in staging events such as the 2012 USA Gymnastics Visa Championships, the 2012 NCAA Midwest Regionals, the 2012 NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships.

Farewell letter from China

Sep 2, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - The Chinese are not afraid to point out minor shortcomings of the country and its presentation of the Olympics. But still, they voice overall pride in Beijing's Olympic effort.

Now that the flurry of media reports on the Olympics, the athletes, security issues and Beijing's pollution have subsided, and the huge numbers of foreigners have made the long voyage back to their respective countries, I've found time to reflect on the games and their effect on China and its people.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 25, 2008 - Wow, it is as though network TV has been born again! Two weeks of Olympics, China style.

Now, off to the Mile High City for Barack Obama's coronation and then on to Minneapolis for John McCain, the action hero mini-series.

Anyone who thinks nothing good could come from Reality TV shows did not watch the Olympics carefully enough. Sure, no one got tossed off the island, but there were disqualifications. And though the judges did not get to speak, Randy, Simon and Paula had nothing on some of those gymnastics judges - such harsh scoring!

After the Olympics: numbers to ponder

Aug 25, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 25, 2008 - Having a hard time putting the Olympics behind you? Wondering how much faster, farther and higher the world's top athletes can go?

Much has changed in the 104 years since Washington University's Francis Field hosted the Olympic track and field competition. Consider this: An American runner named Archie Hahn took gold in the 100-meter dash at the 1904 St. Louis Games. His time? 11 seconds flat. The Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt finished the race this summer in a world-record 9.69 seconds - and it's widely accepted that he held back in the last 10 meters.

Letter from China: Working on the Olympics

Jul 30, 2008
Photo provided by Rachel Kurowski

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 30, 2008 - I came to Beijing July 5 to work at the Olympics as one of 300 English-speaking volunteers,  all of whom are students of journalism. My job is in the office of the Agence-France Presse in the Olympic Village's press center.