The approach to the facility's massive central plaza


South Korea’s “truly impressive” way

JINCHEON, South Korea — Just last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced a campaign to expand and re-design its 35-acre campus in Colorado Springs, Colo., the centerpiece a training facility to be named in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who wrote the 1978 law that made the USOC what it is now.

The facility in Colorado Springs, a long time ago an Air Force base, is patently in need of an upgrade. It opened for Olympic business in 1977. Even so, the federal government isn’t throwing money at the problem; because of that 1978 law, the USOC must support itself. Now comes the job of actually finding the dollars for that renovation.

Photographers crowd around as Korean Olympic Committee president Y.S. Park, IOC president Jacques Rogge and Pyeongchang 2018 president Jin Sun Kim ready for a ceremony marking the signing of the 2018 organizing committee's marketing plan agreement


Pyeongchang 2018: taking Korea to the next level

SEOUL — Amazing how time really does fly. It will be 25 years this summer that Seoul played host to the 1988 Summer Games.

People like to talk about the Barcelona miracle, about how the 1992 Olympics made Barcelona the hot spot tourist destination it is now. And that’s true enough. But four years before, those 1988 Games did something profoundly amazing. They made South Korea a modern nation.

Daina Shilts, 22, of Neillsville, Wis., Special Olympics snowboarder


Special Olympics send-off: feeling the joy

Next week, there’s a super little event down in New Orleans that will occupy thousands of reporters, camera crews and beignet-consuming, bead-throwing party-goers. You won’t be able to escape it.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the world, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, another major sports event will be going on, too. If you read anything about it in your local newspaper, however, it’s likely to be buried back in the very back pages. It’s unlikely to command a fraction of the television time, if that, that Ray Lewis or Colin Kaepernick will.

Leanne Smith and Lindsey Vonn celebrate after finishing third and first in Saturday's World Cup downhill in the beautiful Italian mountains // photo Doug Haney, U.S. Ski Team


Sorry: Justin Bieber not the secret

Last summer, before dominating the London Games, the U.S. swim team memorably made a just-for-fun video of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

This winter, the U.S. women’s ski team is on a killer roll, underscored by yet another memorable performance Saturday, when Lindsey Vonn won the downhill at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, with Leanne Smith third.


Like air in the tires or water in the bottles

My first nine years at the Los Angeles Times were spent covering hard news. The 1990s were incredible years to be a news reporter in Southern California: wildfires, earthquakes (Thursday marked the 19th anniversary of the devastating Northridge quake), riots, the Menendez brothers and, of course, the O.J. Simpson matter.

When I moved over to the sports section in 1998, and almost immediately started covering the Olympic movement, a friend at the New York Times told me, referring to the athletes I was now covering, “You know, they’re all doping.”