Mark Starr

Stories by Mark Starr

  • Why Curt Schilling Could Win Teddy's Seat

    There were a lot of smirks adorning the faces of Bostonians yesterday morning, presumably a collective judgment on the revelation that retired Red Sox pitching ace Curt Schilling is contemplating a run for the late Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat. Of course, those are probably many of the same folks who gave up the ghost back in 2004 when Schilling, bleeding team colors from an ankle tendon that had been stitched up in Rube Goldberg fashion, limped out to the mound against the New York Yankees in a desperate moment on Boston’s path to its first championship in 86 years. So could Schilling’s path to Washington and Congress be any more improbable than that?...
  • Starr: Bonds, Steroids and Guilt

    Barry Bonds's perjury trial starts Monday. I don't know what the verdict will be, but I do know what the truth is. So do you.
  • Starr: Watching Phelps Win His 8 Olympic Golds

    My favorite venue at the Summer Olympics in Beijing was the Water Cube, especially at night, when its lights bathed the pathways in soft but colorful purple hues. But stuck inside for nine days, with hundreds of reporters crammed in the bowels of the building, it lost all charm. That was the prospect we all faced if Michael Phelps succeeded in his audacious chase of a record eight Olympic gold medals. Frankly, swimming has never been the sexiest of sports—and even less so now, with the athletes encased in those full-body Speedos. While Phelps may have been the greatest swimming machine in history, he remained a bland, though courteous, young man whose interview range didn't extend much beyond his eating and sleeping habits or, if he stretched, videogames.So, to be honest, many of us on press row were hoping for an early loss to put an end to the Phelps Watch and spring us from the pool. There were other, more intriguing athletes beckoning—Kobe & Co. on the basketball court,...
  • The Biggest Sports Stories Of 2008

    Here's a little fodder for your holiday gatherings: Might not this have been the greatest year in sports history?
  • Starr: Are the Patriots Done?

    In which I reveal my deepest, darkest fear: what if the Super Bowl loss was, in fact, the beginning of the end?
  • Fast Chat With NY Giants Coach Tom Coughlin

    He was a dead man walking, soon to be fired. Instead, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin led his team to a stunning Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, a story he recounts in his new book, "A Team to Believe In." Ever a good sport, NEWSWEEK's Mark Starr, a lifelong Pats fan, spoke with Coughlin as the new NFL season kicks off this week. ...
  • Starr: Manny Ramirez and the Hall of Fame

    I confess I have, at times, been quite amused by the former Red Sox outfielder's antics. But ultimately we are talking about a character flaw that should weigh on any assessment of Ramirez's career.
  • Olympic Preview: Track and Field

    There are only two things in Beijing bigger than 7-foot-6 hoops star Yao Ming: the Great Wall—and hurdler Liu Xiang. Liu's victory in the 110-meter hurdles in Athens was arguably the most surprising of China's 32 gold medals there, and unquestionably the most celebrated back home. No Chinese man had ever before won Olympic gold in track and field, and his triumph turned him into a folk hero, not to mention a pop icon. Liu's face is splashed across billboards and milk cartons, turning him into a one-man metaphor for China's emerging athletic and economic supremacy. The nation is poised for a coronation—make that a deification—on Aug. 21 if Liu can repeat his triumph. But there are some unexpected hurdles in his path. For one, Liu has to prove he's recovered from a hamstring injury that forced him out of a race in June. The bigger worry is Dayron Robles, a 21-year-old Cuban who has blossomed this year and broke Liu's world record. Now a nation frets that Aug. 21 could instead be a day...
  • Summer Olympics Preview: Dara Torres

    The Summer of 1984, Los Angeles: A year before Michael Phelps was even born, hometown girl Dara Torres, just 17, won an Olympic gold medal in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay. Three golds, one silver and four bronzes later, Torres, now 41, will become the first U.S. swimmer to compete in five Olympics. Consider: the last time she reached the Games—Sydney in 2000—she was already the team's oldest swimmer. In Beijing, where Torres will race the 50-meter freestyle and two relays, the second oldest swimmer on the team will be 26-year-old Amanda Beard. The saga of Torres, our ageless wonder, has become a fan favorite.But while everyone is impressed, not everyone is convinced. Some journalists have wondered aloud if this fairy tale is exactly that. They can't comprehend how Torres could swim the fastest 100 meters of her life—at her advanced age, after a lengthy retirement, and just two years after giving birth—without doping. Torres says she is clean, noting that she has volunteered for a...
  • Gymnastics: A U.S.-China Olympic Face-Off

    China's girls on bars and beams are adorable. Ours are, too. More important, though, the Chinese and U.S. women's gymnastics teams are the best in the world, making this the one sport in which the two Olympic powers can really go to the mats. The American squad might be even more accomplished than the gold-winning "Magnificent Seven" from Atlanta in 1996. Its four leading lights—Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel and Alicia Sacramone—have combined to win 25 medals in world competition. Last year the U.S. girls wrested the team title from China by less than a point (0.95). It was a reversal of the previous year, when China bested the United States by an even slimmer margin. The team final is Aug. 13, and a single misstep could be fatal.Expect some fireworks on the men's side, too, with Paul Hamm returning to competition after a three-year hiatus. Hamm, the men's gold-medal winner in Athens, will have to shed the rust and rebound from a broken hand at the same time. His No....
  • Tyson Gay vs. Usain Bolt in Olympic 100 Meters

    No Olympic sport has had more star reputations ruined by doping than track and field. Sure, cycling, swimming and weightlifting have all taken big lumps. But so many heroic runners have turned into goats—Ben Johnson, Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin, Marion Jones—that we don't feel the same excitement about the new kids on the blocks.Long before doping tainted the sport, though, Olympic immortals like Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph wove the sprints into the American sporting fabric, and the titles of "world's fastest man" and "world's fastest woman" still have special resonance. Even now it's hard not to feel a thrill when the runners toe the line for the 100-meter dash.In Beijing, the men's showdown will be among the most anticipated in these Games. American Tyson Gay figured to be the favorite after sweeping the 100-200 double at last year's world championships. Then came a bolt of lightning—21-year-old Jamaican Usain Bolt, who exploded past Gay en route to a world-record time of 9.72...
  • Olympic Preview: Long-Distance Running

    THOSE who view the Olympics through a red-white-and-blue prism tend to regard track's distance events as bathroom breaks. Too bad, because that means they've missed some classic duels, usually between African runners. No American has won the Olympic 5,000 meters since 1964 or the 1,500 since 1908. So how is it possible that a single American could win both races in Beijing? Because if you can't beat 'em, you import 'em. Bernard Lagat, 33, who pulled off that dazzling double at last year's worlds and has medaled for Kenya at a pair of Olympics, moved to the United States in 1997 and became a citizen in 2004. He's our Kenyan now.As it turns out, the entire U.S. contingent in the 1,500 is a tribute to the American melting pot. Alongside Lagat will be Leonel Manzano, whose family crossed from Mexico to Texas when he was 4 years old, and Lopez Lomong, who was kidnapped by rebels in Sudan when he was 6. After escaping to a Kenyan refugee camp, where he spent a decade, he came to the...