Russia's Yulia Efimova, left, looks on as United States' Lilly King celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's 200-meter breaststroke final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Michael Sohn / AP

Beyond the athletic competition, feats of strength, and patriotic triumph, the Olympics serve as a moment where countries can come together and put their differences aside. But politics has played out during the first week of competition.

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, center, speaks as coach Steve Kerr, left and general manager Bob Myers listen during a news conference at the NBA basketball team's practice facility, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Oakland, Calif.
Beck Diefenbach / AP

The Golden State Warriors formally announced the signing of former Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant on Thursday. Durant publicized his decision Monday, but Thursday marked the first day free agents could sign their deals. He agreed to a two-year contract worth more than $54 million.

During a news conference at the team's practice facility in downtown Oakland, Durant said the relationships he built in Oklahoma City made the decision to leave difficult.

World Views: June 26, 2015

Jun 26, 2015

Guest host Brian Hardzinski talks with regular contributor Rebecca Cruise about apartheid-era South Africa and the former country of Rhodesia, and why many white supremacist groups embrace the African country that no longer exists.

Then Cruise talks with ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen about establishing the first 24-hour sports broadcasting network and how it became the self-proclaimed worldwide  leader in sports. 

A control room in the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn.
mike dunn / Flickr

At 7 p.m. on September 7, 1979, ESPN hit the airwaves with the first episode of its flagship program, SportsCenter. Although ESPN has become a staple of international sport and television, cofounder Bill Rasmussen says that when he first pitched the idea of a 24-hour sports network, reactions were mostly negative.

“I had people off the street say [a 24-hour sports network is] never going to work. I had business people say it’s never going to work,” Rasmussen said.

But he believed his idea was a good one.

Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon is working feverishly to keep the St. Louis Rams in the city as the football team’s owner, Stan Kroenke, threatens to return the team to Los Angeles.

With the quality of the Rams’ current stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, at the heart of the dispute, officials are touting a plan to spend potentially $400 million on a new one.

But opposition is rising as locals recall the unbalanced deal they got two decades ago when the Rams first arrived in St. Louis. The city is still making payments on the Ram’s old stadium.

For British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking — subject of a just-released biopic — being one turned his life around. American newshound Anderson Cooper was one, the Yale Daily News reports. So was photographer Lord Snowdon, former husband to Princess Margaret, according to Rowing History.

Growth Is 'Goal' For Metro Soccer Programs

Sep 5, 2014
A member of the Rose State College Raiders women's soccer team goes in for the kick.
Kenneth Beachler / Rose State College

Rose State College recently established both men’s and women’s soccer teams, hoping to kick off new interest in their college.

Called the “Raiders,” named for daring, barn-storming World War II bomber pilots; the teams compete in Division I, Region II of the National Junior College Athletic Association. But they also hope to garner interest in the college in the hearts and minds of would-be students and their parents.

NCAA Board Hands 5 Biggest Conferences More Power

Aug 7, 2014

The NCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a package of historic reforms Thursday that will give the nation’s five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally change some of the basic rules governing college sports.

If the 16-2 decision stands, there will be striking differences between the 65 largest schools and the more than 280 others in Division I beginning as early as Oct. 1, though few expect change to come that quickly.

Gone are the days of waiting for angry letters.

Social media allows the NFL, NASCAR and other pro sports leagues to hear from fans in real time. And that feedback has become so important, leagues have built what are essentially social media command centers to monitor trends and engage directly with fans.

Johnmaxmena2 / Wikimedia Commons

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will miss the rest of the season because of a torn knee ligament.

The Rams said Monday the extent of the injury to Bradford's left knee was confirmed after an MRI exam.

Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers when he landed on his knee after being shoved out of bounds by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.

Kellen Clemens replaced Bradford, who has thrown for 1,687 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.  

Matt Wansley / Flickr Creative Commons

The organization that oversees tens of thousands of Oklahoma high school athletes, cheerleaders and other extracurricular activities is facing fierce criticism from parents, coaches and school officials over how it operates.

Several people testified Tuesday before the House Administrative Rules Committee about their experience with the private, nonprofit Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. Legislators who requested a formal study of the association say they have received numerous complaints that there is little oversight of the organization.

Going "Home" For the First Time

May 14, 2013
Brant Morrell

“Ever since I could walk I’ve never been a home run hitter, I let the other guys do that and grab the glory.” says Craig Aikin, Centerfielder at the University of Oklahoma.

Craig Aikin is a freshman Centerfielder for the University of Oklahoma’s baseball team. He’s generously listed at 5’ 10” on the Sooners roster. He’s known for his speed, but he showed at a young age he has some power.

“It was coach pitch, I was six or seven,” says Aikin. “I remember my dad was standing there throwing, he was the coach, and I would get frustrated cause he wouldn’t throw me a strike.”

Waltzing To Victory: An Interview With Luke Bryant

Apr 15, 2013

Luke Bryant was on the track team at OU and is currently ranked 6th in the nation. He won big 12 in the discus his freshman and senior years. He also won third at NCAA, and made it to the Olympic trials his senior year. Sitting down in Luke Bryant’s bedroom where dozens of trophies line the walls and shelves, said he first picked up the discus almost by accident.