Kobe Bryant stories from Olympics shared on Sports Uncovered podcast

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Usain BoltApril Ross and Sue Bird shared memories about Kobe Bryant for the latest NBC Sports “Sports Uncovered” podcast published Thursday.

In “My favorite Kobe story,” some of Bryant’s peers and friends shared their favorite stories, some previously untold, about the basketball legend, one of nine people who died in a helicopter crash last January.

Bolt recalled meeting Bryant for the first time at an NBA All-Star Weekend.

Bird painted the picture of Bryant ripping out a picture of an NBA rival while at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for motivation.

LISTEN: Sports Uncovered: My Favorite Kobe Story | On Apple Podcasts

Ross, a two-time Olympic beach volleyball medalist, said her favorite memory from her first Games in London in 2012 — aside from winning a silver medal — was meeting Bryant at the Opening Ceremony.

“I saw Kobe and thought there’s no way he’s going to talk to me,” she said on Sports Uncovered. “I went up though anyways and started a conversation and asked him a couple of questions. He took all the time in the world to talk to me like I was the most important person there. He made me feel like I was really a part of Team USA.”

Ross gained more admiration for Bryant, who later during the Games took his family to cheer Missy Franklin and the U.S. swimmers. Bryant also attended a 2008 Olympic beach volleyball match featuring Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Trials.

“He really paved the way for male athletes to take a big interest in female sports,” Ross said. “The fact that he has daughters that play was really important, and he was so interested in their success as athletes.”

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Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”