Mark Starr

Stories by Mark Starr

  • 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...
  • Starr: Keep Marion Jones in Prison

    The president should not commute the disgraced Olympian's sentence. Her precipitous fall sends a chilling—and essential—message to our athletes.
  • Tiger vs. Phil, and the Power of Rivalry

    Tiger is paired with Phil—though we all know he stands alone. But a new HBO documentary reminds us that nothing invigorates the game like rivalry.
  • Looking for a Hero

    Big football tournaments often seem to end in failure. Will this year's Euro Cup be any different?
  • Starr: Blame Stern for Mayo Mess

    You can't blame the NBA if former USC basketball star O. J. Mayo proves to be a bad apple. But the league does bear some responsibility for the scandal surrounding him.
  • Starr: Forgiving Bill Buckner

    The 'goat' of the 1986 World Series returns to Fenway Park for a long, overdue reconciliation with Boston fans.
  • Starr: Unmoved by the Sox in Tokyo

    Baseball kicked off its season in Japan, and this Red Sox fan found himself surprisingly blasé about the whole affair.
  • Glimpses of a Golden Age

    While Major League Baseball opens its season Tuesday showcasing its future—the Oakland A's face the champion Boston Red Sox in Tokyo—former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent has kept a keen eye on the game's past. His second volume of oral histories, "We Would Have Played for Nothing," featuring stars of the '50s and '60s, hits stores next week. He talked with NEWSWEEK's Mark Starr. ...
  • Starr: Remembering Brett Favre

    It's hard to rejoice when a singular fan favorite decides to hang 'em up. But it's time for Favre to go, and I'm thrilled he knew it.
  • Starr: Free Speech, Beijing and Darfur

    I believe in free speech. Which doesn't mean I want to see athletes making political statements from the medal podiums in Beijing.
  • Starr: Patriots Own the 4th Quarter

    Last year the Pats faltered down the stretch against Indy. This season they have owned the fourth quarter against everybody.
  • Starr: Me and the Rise of Eli Manning

    Last month I trashed the Giants' quarterback. Now he's poised to ruin my hometown Patriots' dream season. Might I be responsible for this?