The SportsThink Weekly Review #53

August 6, 2021

Hello and welcome to the fifty-third edition of the Weekly Review! A lighter than usual week, but I’ve got 4 good reads for your weekend.

Let’s get on with the content!

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Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week

  1. A Sardinian Summer: the Forgotten Story of the Chicago Mustangs, by Vadim Furmanov, via Cafe Futbol. From 2013. Excellent piece of obscure US soccer history. A chronicle of the short lived United Soccer Association, an American summer soccer league made up of…foreign professional teams placed in semi-random American cities. The focus here is on Cagliari, a Sardinian Club, who were transformed in the Chicago Mustangs. Fun read even if you’re not a big soccer person.

  2. A Track Built For Speed is Already Producing Records, by Tariq Panja, via the NYT. Nice article on the track in Tokyo. Not track the sport, but THE track itself. (related: this LA Times piece on the baseballs being used in Japan.) Not to take away from the athletes, but a reminder that many extraordinary performances these days are as much about the technology at play as they are about the athlete, training, nutrition, etc. A good excuse to share this excellent video on the subject, which is well worth the 15 minutes.

  3. How a 1921 Baseball Radio Broadcast Marked the Dawn of Sportscasting, by Phil Sheridan, via Cool piece of history on the 100 year anniversary of the first baseball (and likely, any sport) radio broadcast. Also cool to see actual history on a History Network outlet, rather than the usual Ancient Aliens fare.

  4. Escape From White City, by Liam Boylan-Platt, via Lope. This week’s Olympic headlines included the story of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, the Belarussian sprinter critical of the Lukashenko regime. After criticizing her coaches, Tsimanouskaya was ordered to return home, setting up a narrow escape from the Tokyo airport that included a stint in Japanese protective custody and ended with her receiving a humanitarian visa from Poland, where she and her husband are now living in exile. Stories of defection and escape from international sport settings are remain somewhat common, but really peaked during the Cold War era. This piece by Boylan-Platt covers one such story, that of Romanian sprinter Ion Orpis at the 1956 Amateur Athletic Association championships in London. Really well researched and told.

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See you next week,