Katie Ledecky with her 400 free gold // Getty Images

Katie Ledecky with her 400 free gold // Getty Images

Swimming

No Michael Phelps but Katie Ledecky is so good

KAZAN, Russia — No Michael Phelps but when you have Katie Ledecky, you get records. So maybe the only ones happier than Ledecky after she set a world championships record Sunday night in the 400-meter freestyle was, well, everyone who  wondered, exactly, what this meet would be like without Phelps, the one and only.

All sports need big stars, and in the absence of Phelps, beyond doubt the biggest name in swim history, Ledecky showed Sunday — again — why she is one of the most gifted, truly thrilling athletes in the Olympic scene.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at Monday's news conference // screenshot

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at Monday's news conference // screenshot

2024 Bid Cities

Ding, dong, the wicked Boston bid is dead

From the opening words of Mayor Marty Walsh’s hastily called news conference Monday morning, it was apparent that the wicked Boston 2024 bid was dead. He started by talking about how, back in January, when the U.S. Olympic Committee picked Boston, there was a big celebration. This is how you tell a story when the story is over — going back to when it all started.

This news conference became a sweet trip down memory lane, with thanks to everyone who had taken part, before abruptly making a segue into political comedy and absolute farce. After avowedly being a supporter of the bid for months, here was the mayor now in a race to beat the USOC to the punch in announcing the candidacy was over — saying he would not sign the host-city contract. This even though he had repeatedly committed in months prior to doing just that.

Swimming

Free Michael Phelps

This space believes in making things simple and easy. So here it is: Michael Phelps should swim at the 2015 world championships in Kazan, Russia.

USA Swimming suspended Phelps for six months in the aftermath of his drunk-driving incident in Maryland last September. That suspension has run, and he will open his 2015 season by swimming this week at a meet in Mesa, Arizona. In addition to that suspension, Phelps and USA Swimming agreed — and “agreed” is putting a spin on it — that he would not be on the U.S. team in Kazan. Now the time has come to fix that.

He Zhenliang, the former IOC vice president, in 2008 // Getty Images

He Zhenliang, the former IOC vice president, in 2008 // Getty Images

IOC

The legacy of China’s He Zhenliang

The Olympic movement is all about changing the world. Very few people actually effect such change. Everything you see now that reflects China the important player on the world sports stage — all of that is, in some piece big or small, the work of He Zhenliang, a former International Olympic Committee vice president who died Sunday at age 85.

Mr. He, as it seemed everyone in Olympic circles called him, was a remarkable man. He was not only the bridgehead, as David Miller pointed out Monday in the Olympic newsletter Sport Intern, but then the bridge between China and the world outside. There have been tributes, and appropriately, from around the world. Yet those tributes have missed, or glossed over, the tribulations and complexities that helped shape Mr. He.

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Swimming

The Phelps suspension: why the rush to judgment?

Cross-country ski champion Petter Northug was sentenced last Thursday in court in Norway to 50 days behind bars after being convicted of drunk driving. Which brings us to Michael Phelps, the 24/7 media spin cycle we live in and the rush to judgment that led to the significant suspension USA Swimming levied against Phelps for his recent DUI arrest in Baltimore.

What was to be gained by USA Swimming rushing to this judgment? More — what was lost by waiting?