Mark Starr

Stories by Mark Starr

  • 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...
  • Olympic Preview: Doping and Marion Jones

    The games are still more than a week away and would-be Olympians—from the United States to Bulgaria to China—have already tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. And no doubt more Olympic athletes will flunk drug tests in Beijing. Doping has been part of the Olympics for almost a half century now, and nobody believes Beijing will be an exception. That said, athletes there will be subjected to more tests than ever before—an "anywhere, any time" standard is now in force. Testing methods have also been improved, though only the scientists know exactly how much, as anti-doping forces have been deliberately vague about their capabilities. They have revealed, though, that for the first time they'll be conducting blood tests looking for human growth hormone.At the least, uncertainty could serve as a deterrent. So, too, might the dramatic fall from grace of former Olympic queen Marion Jones, whose role in the BALCO scandal turned her into a felon. She has been stripped of all five...
  • Hot Rivalry: The U.S.-China Gold-Medal Rush

    From its inception, Beijing 2008 was ballyhooed as a nation's coming-out party, one that would presage the Chinese Century. But you don't get your very own century without first establishing supremacy in international sports. Four years ago in Athens, China finished a surprising second in Olympic gold medals, ahead of Russia and just four behind the United States. If subsequent world titles are any indication, we might look back on Beijing 2008 as the moment when China surged past the United States in the gold-medal count for the first time—and never looked back.Ever since these Games were awarded to Beijing back in 2001, China has invested billions in sports development. The centerpiece has been an effort called Project 119, which targeted multiple-medal sports—swimming, track and field, rowing and canoeing—in which China has traditionally lagged. (The number 119 represented the total gold medals initially up for grabs in the targeted sports; in Beijing, those sports will actually...
  • 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?