Water polo

Baring it all, for art

It is so, so tempting to dismiss "The Body Issue" from ESPN The Magazine as either a lame attempt to compete with Sport's Illustrated's swimsuit issue, or just so much voyeurism, or both. The clock is already running on which librarian in which city declares the whole thing an abhorrent shock to the system, and orders it banned.

That would be foolish.

To look at the photos themselves in the magazine, which goes on sale Friday, is to be reminded once again that the human body comes in an astonishing variety of different sizes and forms and features, and to realize that humankind has celebrated the gift of our bodies since the dawn of time, and it's absurd to pretend that we don't, or we shouldn't.

Here are some of the best of the best among us, among them Olympic athletes past, current and future.

Click here to read the rest at TeamUSA.org.

And here for an ESPN photo gallery.



Sydney: still the best-ever

The night that Cathy Freeman won the 400 at the Sydney Olympics, some 118,000 people jammed into Olympic Stadium. Down on the field, she would later say, the sound and light and noise was almost overwhelming. So, too, the expectation. She said it was like trying to get your bearings and finding yourself in electric jello. Just off the track, in a VIP box near the finish line, the chief organizer of those 2000 Sydney Games, Michael Knight, was sharing the evening with a number of influential aboriginal activists, among them Lyall Munro, a campaigner for aboriginal rights since the 1960s.

Cathy Freeman, in Lane Six, was not first as the field swung around the final turn, the stadium keening with sound. But then she turned on the jets. She won convincingly. And as she crossed the line, as all those in Knight's box gave in to cheers and hugs, they noticed that Lyall Munro had tears in his eyes. They were tears of joy.

"In 50 seconds," Lyall Munro told Michael Knight that night, a rough estimate of how long it took Cathy Freeman to complete one revolution around the track, "that young woman has done for my people than I've done in a lifetime."

The tenth anniversary of the Sydney Olympics arrived Wednesday. Already so long ago -- there have been five editions of the Games since, Summer or Winter -- and yet those 2000 Games remain for many the best Olympics ever.

Click here to read the rest at TeamUSA.org.

U.S. women's water polo - a success story

You watch water polo, arguably the most difficult and demanding team sport in the Summer Olympics, and you see what looks more or less like a soccer or basketball game play out in a pool. And that's true enough. But so much more is going on below the surface, if only you know where to look.

It's a little bit like what's going on with the U.S. women's water polo team the past two years, one of the great success stories on the American scene -- to be clear, not just the Olympic scene but beyond, one of the best stories in all of American sports.

To read more, click through to teamusa.org: http://bit.ly/c3Uh1N