Wind Blows Rafts to Canada

Today is Tuesday, August 23, 2016.  Winds blow rafts to Canada.  A gold medalist gets a date.  Fisherman finds a pearl.

Wind Blows Rafts to Canada

About 1,500 people on inflatable rafts were blown into Canadian waters by strong winds on Sunday.  The annual Port Huron Float Down takes place on the St. Clair River, which divides Michigan from Ontario, Canada.  The 7.5 mile route is supposed to start at Port Hurron, Michigan’s Lighthouse Beach and end at Chrysler Beach in Marysville, Michigan.

There were minor injuries and a bus service brought the American rafters back to their homeland.

Gold Medalist Gets a Date

Oakland Raiders tight end Colton Underwood asked Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman out on a date.  She said yes.  People talked about this for some reason.

Fisherman Finds a Pearl

A fisherman found a pearl that weights 34 kilograms. That’s more than 74 pounds.

Now, he found it ten years ago and kept it as a “good luck charm.”  It is easily a record and is worth millions.

Chansky’s Notebook: Olympics Better Than Advertised

Has your opinion of the Rio Olympics changed in the last week?

Honestly, I did not know what to expect when I turned on the Olympic Games for the first time. The bad publicity surrounding the 31st Olympiad had me thinking I would see a half-built Olympic village and athletes wandering the streets of Rio like homeless waifs.

Would there be masses of spectators taken ill due to the Zika virus and open water athletes hospitalized from the raw sewage we had heard so much about? The oppressive heat had to have affected some performances, we were led to believe by the biggest dooms-dayers and nay-sayers.

Perhaps everything is not perfect, as swimmer Ryan Lochte and three teammates claim they were robbed at gunpoint and were afraid to say exactly what had happened. Overwhelmingly, however, what we have seen and heard have been not only surprising but spectacular.

The vestiges shown on TV, from the magnificent Olympic structures to the beaches and mountains of Brazil, have been far more breathtaking than heart-breaking. Surely, NBC wants to show Rio and the Games in their best light, hoping to bring viewers back after lower ratings the first week. The coverage, the camerawork, the commentary have been outstanding, from Phelps to Bolt, from basketball to gymnastics, from gorgeous golf courses to high winds during high diving.

Few incidents have been reported among the half-million people who descended upon Brazil, and what looked like awful publicity for a city and country have instead become infomercials for tourism. Al Michaels and Dan Patrick are not anchoring from air-conditioned trailers or secured studios. They are outside, beaches in the background, wearing long sleeve casuals and looking very much like all is serene.

The NBC networks, including two channels covering the Games in Spanish, have given those who have tuned in a scope and breadth that, considering what we heard coming in, make for a much different viewing experience than first expected. If there is bad news anywhere, NBC is bereft to report it. What we see everywhere are tears of joy, cheers for champions and athletes and fans proud to be there representing their countries. Just as any Olympics should be.

Chansky’s Notebook: Melo’s The Man

Carmelo and Kyrie saved the U.S. Basketball team.

Kyrie Irving already proved he was clutch in the NBA, as his playoff run and late three-pointer in Game 7 of the Finals catapulted his Cavaliers over Golden State for the world championship. So we weren’t surprised to see Irving take over the game against Australia Wednesday night to preserve the 71st consecutive international win for a Mike Krzyzewski-coached team.

But, no question, the Americans would not have been in that position without Carmelo Anthony, who continued his hot shooting from the 2012 Games in London by hitting 9 of 14 three-pointers, each one seemingly saving the game the Aussies were about to snatch with their own tough-minded NBA lineup. If Anthony could always play and shoot like that, he would not be considered the scapegoat of his beleaguered New York Knicks.

Melo was fabulous, no doubt, firing that weird looking international ball toward the rim from behind the three-point line, which is not quite as far as the NBA arc but nevertheless far enough away to make his percentage pretty astounding. Australia really looked like a match for the Yanks who have not lost an international game of any kind since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, after which Coach K took over the USA Basketball program.

Anthony’s 31 points was the difference in giving the U.S. a working margin, as NBA stars from down under led by the Spurs Patty Mills put the Americans down a halftime – another first for the U.S. since Athens — and kept them within range until the last few minutes. If the Olympic TV ratings weren’t down 35 percent, Melo might actually have a chance to become a true cult hero like Dream Teams of yore. This was only a prelim to the medal round, where Australia might be waiting for a rematch in the gold medal game.

Why exactly is Anthony considered a bad egg in pro basketball here? His team doesn’t win, but that’s more the fault of the roster around him. And he has certainly become an articulate spokesman for social issues more than most current pros and those who have preceded him. New York fans consider him a selfish ball hog who wants to be the first option and objects to any trades that might take him out of that role. But he clearly wants the rock in Rio. And we might need him to have it if another gold medal is to be had.

Chansky’s Notebook: No. 1 – For Now

Swimmers can be pretty and pretty candid.


The events are spectacular on HDTV, like the incredibly dominant U.S. women’s gymnastics team and the swim relays and individual races. But sometimes a little extra-curricular activity adds to the coverage.

Lilly King, a 19-year-old breast-stroker from Indiana, was caught in a finger-waving battle with a rival qualifier whom King thought shouldn’t even be in Rio. Russian Yulia Efimova, who finished two-tenths of a second behind King in her qualifying race, was shown on TV wagging her index finger after winning her heat.

King, who swam the top semifinal time of the women’s 100 breast stroke, saw it on the screen and waved her No. 1 right back at Efimova. Why, King was asked by NBC reporter Andrea Joyce. “You’re shaking your finger No. 1, and you’ve been caught for drug cheating—I’m just not a fan.” King said. Okay, ask a straight question and get a straight answer.

Efimova, twice suspended for doping violations, was one of the Russian athletes who were late additions to their Rio team. King had already criticized her earlier Sunday, suggesting a clean field would be preferred. They will square off Monday night, and we’ll see whose finger will be wagging.

Meanwhile, N.C. State swimmer Ryan Held went from winning a national championship to making the Olympic team to getting the call for the gold medal race in the 4 x 100 relay with 31-year-old Michael Phelps. Held barely held it together on the medal stand after he swam the second leg and turned it over to Phelps who gave the U.S. the winning margin with his best-ever split of 47.12 seconds.

After the race, WRAL reporter Jeff Gravely caught up with the emotional Held and asked him what he did when the race was over before getting the gold medal that was by then hanging around his neck. He said he went looking for his parents and then darted into the locker room where he went looking for a trash can, showing Gravley his best barfing motion.

By the way, Phelps won his 19th gold medal and 23rd overall, while burgeoning superstar Katie Ledecky won the first of what could be her handful before everyone leaves Rio…index fingers up.

August 1, 2016: Cleaning Rio

Jeff discusses the science behind cleaning Rio’s water – and explains why officials were never going to have it done on time. (Also, Jeff and Aaron diss the Donald.)

August 1, 2016: Her Name Is Rio And She Got Sick From Dancing On The Sand

The Rio Olympics begin on Friday, but will the logistical problems overshadow the competition?

17 Tar Heels Competing for Olympic Gold in Rio

With the Summer Olympics Games set to begin next week, 17 athletes with ties to UNC will be making the trip to Rio to compete for their respective countries.

Former Tar Heel student-athletes will compete for the United States, Turkey, India and New Zealand in the games across track and field, field hockey, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s soccer.

UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham issued a statement about having 17 former Carolina players competing in Rio:

“We are proud to have so many students representing North Carolina and their countries at the 2016 Olympics. Our coaches recruit world class students who come to Chapel Hill to compete at the highest level for national championships, conference championships and Olympic medals. We will be watching and cheering them on during the Games.”

Eight of the 17 Tar Heels in Rio will be competing in women’s soccer; seven for Team USA and one for New Zealand.

Five former Carolina stars will represent the US field hockey team.

That leaves two Tar Heels competing for a gold medal in basketball – one on the men’s side and one on the women’s – and two Tar Heels in track and field.

The full list of former UNC players in the Olympics is below, courtesy of

  • Harrison Barnes, US men’s basketball
  • Shane Flanagan – US track and field
  • Vikas Gowda – India track and field
  • Crystal Dunn – US women’s soccer
  • Whitney Engen – US women’s soccer
  • Ashlyn Harris – US women’s soccer
  • Tobin Heath – US women’s soccer
  • Meghan Klingenberg – US women’s soccer
  • Allie Long – US women’s soccer
  • Heather O’Reilly – US women’s soccer
  • Katie Bowen – New Zealand women’s soccer
  • Jackie Briggs – US field hockey
  • Rachel Dawson – US field hockey
  • Caitlin Van Sickle – US field hockey
  • Katelyn Falgowski – US field hockey
  • Kelsey Kolojejchick – US field hockey
  • LaToya Pringle Sanders – Turkey women’s basketball

Five Tar Heels Representing United States Field Hockey in Olympics

Five former Tar Heels have been selected for the 16-member team that will represent the United States in women’s field hockey at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil this August.

Jackie Briggs, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, Kelsey Kolojejchick and Caitlin Van Sickle were named to the team on Friday.

This will be the third time Dawson and Falgowski will be representing the US in the Olympics.

All five played for the Champions Trophy team that won a bronze medal in London last month.

After entering that London tournament as the No. 7 team in the world, the tournament victory pushed the US up to fifth.

The United States opens Olympic play on August 6 against Argentina – the second ranked team in the world.

Stroman On Sports: An Olympic Challenge

The 2016 Olympics is fast approaching, and all the eyes of the sporting world are soon to descend on Rio de Janeiro – but with concerns about pollution, poverty, disease, and a lack of infrastructure, it’s increasingly unclear whether Rio will be ready.

Deborah Stroman is a sports commentator and a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She and WCHL’s Aaron Keck discussed the state of the Olympics (including her experiences at Olympics past)…


…as well as the state of Tar Heel men’s and women’s basketball.

Olympic Medalist and Chapel Hillian Nick McCrory Retires

23-year-old Olympic medalist and Chapel Hillian Nick McCrory announced his retirement from diving earlier this year. But he’s not putting the sport behind him just quite yet.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make after diving for 15 years, but he recently came to the conclusion that it was time to call it quits.

“It was really hard and a decision I didn’t want to make. I don’t remember not diving in my life. It’s always been a huge part of what I do and who I am so that was really tough and huge adjustment,” Nick says.

Nick’s decision was partly due to a degenerative knee condition that he’s been battling for several years. Eventually, the condition became too much to work around.

Nick McCrory in action!

Nick McCrory in action!

Nick’s mother, Ana McCrory, says that his time spent training and competing shaped him as person, and she believes that his experiences will benefit him as he moves forward.

“It was a wonderful, overall, wonderful experience for him and one he’ll never forget. And its really shaped him as a person, you know, its taught him how to interact with other people from different cultures. As well as how to control his.. you know he was always such an active child, and he had to learn a lot of self control and diving certainly did that for him,” Ana McCrory says.

Nick is currently living in Indiana, where he is preparing for medical school applications and volunteering alongside his coach, Drew Johansen.

“Well I mean I love coaching and Drew knows that. One of the things that I liked about him as a coach is his technical approach to the sport and how detail oriented he is. One of the things that he does is watch a lot of diving videos to help become a better coach. He knows that I love the technical side of the sport and coaching in that way, so that was kind of how the connection got made,” Nick says.

Ana McCrory can tell that Nick is really enjoying helping out Coach Johansen.

WCHL's own Ron Stutts in studio with Nick McCrory and his medal.

WCHL’s own Ron Stutts in studio with Nick McCrory and his medal.

“He loves working with kids, loves teaching them, you know, all those diving skills that he knows. He gets great pleasure from seeing the kids learning things that he has taught them, so that’s been really nice,” Ana says.

Nick doesn’t know if this will lead to a career in coaching, but he hopes he’ll be able to stay involved with diving as he moves on to the next chapter in his life.

“I’m still figuring all that out. I do love to coach, I love the sport of diving. I don’t know right now if that’s a thing I’ll end up doing for a career. But whatever I end up doing, I do hope to stay involved in diving in some capacity whether it’s coaching on the side, or helping whatever program I am living nearby or various other things. I think diving is such a special thing that I always want to be involved in, in some way,” Nick says.