After one of the most decisive wins in Kentucky Derby history, Barbaro broke his leg at the Preakness, ending a promising career and beginning a herculean effort to save his life.
On the joys of watching the winningest tennis player of all time play live at Wimbledon.
The first piece of gonzo journalism, annotated.
Wealthy businessman Merv Bodnarchuk put together a curling Dream Team. Then he put himself in the lineup.
Tracing the Boston Marathon route via the people who live and work along its course.
The gamblers and teenage cons who haunted New York City’s 60s-era all night bowling alleys.
Behind the scenes of the lovely, strange world of competitive eating.
Captain Iván Castro, who lost his vision in Iraq, runs the Boston Marathon.
An American enrolls in a Beijing ping-pong school. A series of humiliations ensue.
On surf legend Eddie Aikau and the complicated history of Hawaii.
Life as an elite Scrabble player at the “first-ever four-day, 54-player, 24-match $100,000 Scrabble Superstars Showdown.”
On the scene of the darkest games in Olympics history.Part of our Olympics primer, on the Longform blog.
An Englishman’s account of the first modern Olympic games.
Three years after her gold-medal performance – and amidst rumors of a fall from grace – the author travels to Transylvania to track down gymnast Nadia Comaneci. He also enjoys several drinks with her coach, Bela Karolyi.Part of our Olympics primer, on the Longform blog.
Surfing San Francisco with a true believer.Part of our collection of stories on surfing for Slate.
An interview with Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich on his career afterlife as a “a clocker and chart-caller” and occasional breeder at an Iowa race horse track.
“Over the past century, coaches have used intuition and discipline to vastly improve athletic performance. Now scientists are taking the last step, helping athletes approach perfection.”
On conspiracy theories in sports, from the ‘85 NBA draft lottery to Michael Phelps’ gold medal performance in the 100-meter butterfly.
What happens when Moneyball-style statistical analysis is applied to mixed martial arts.
How the golfer hasn’t changed, post-scandal.
Try as his publicity squad might, it's tough to maintain—or now restore—the Tiger Image when former insiders sprout secret-sharing campaigns. "It's always a divorce," David Feherty, longtime commentator and golf-gab-show host, told me recently. "Tiger expects the curtains to remain drawn, and when somebody opens them, it pisses him off. He has appeared superhuman for so long, and it's like he feels the need to perpetuate that myth."
A newspaper writer’s attempt to solve the mystery of a homeless man who claims to be a once-famous boxer.
On Mike Powell, a Chicago-area high school wrestling coach who hasn’t allowed a life-threatening illness to interrupt his life’s work.
On a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and the body-building culture of Venice Beach in the 1970s.
How a rugby legend came out and made history.
On the recovery of snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a massive brain injury five days before the 2010 Olympics.
On playing chess and waiting to get arrested.
On champ-turned-coach Alberto Salazar and the New York City Marathon.
When the greatest players in the world go head-to-head, things can get downright angsty.
The underground culture of big waves and wild times in 1961 Malibu, and the gang of teenage boys who worshiped at the feet of the beach’s dark prince, surfing legend and grifter Miki Dora.
On the world’s longest foot race, which takes place entirely within Queens, N.Y.:
Such were the hazards last summer in Jamaica, Queens, at the tenth running of the Self-Transcendence 3,100. The fifteen participants—all but two of them disciples of the Bengali Guru Sri Chinmoy, who has resided in the neighborhood for forty years—hailed from ten countries on three continents. They ran in all weather, seven days a week, from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, or until their bodies compelled them to rest. If they logged fewer than fifty miles on a given day, they risked disqualification. By their own reckoning, the runners climbed eight meters per lap, mounting and descending a spectral Everest every week and a half. They toiled in this fashion for six to eight weeks, however long it took them to complete 5,649 circuits—3,100 miles—around a single city block.
A profile of Florida legend—and pardoned killer—Charlie Driver.
Kevin is the only surviving Von Erich brother, born into a wrestling family that lived and died by the code of the ring.
The story of the 100 mile Barkley Marathons.
What makes it so bad? No trail, for one. A cumulative elevation gain that’s nearly twice the height of Everest.
Manny Pacquiao, possibly the greatest boxer of his era and still in his fighting prime, on the campaign trail for a congressional seat in the remote, untamed Southern province of the Phillipines that spawned him.
You’re not supposed to just vanish at Vortex Spring. Dive too deep and you might not make it back to the surface, but a search party will eventually find your body. Nobody has found Ben McDaniel yet.
How skateboard legend Mark “Gator” Anthony was born again, first as a street preacher, and then as a rapist and murderer.
Chris Klucsarits, aka Chris Kanyon aka Mortis,was a ’90s name in wrestling whose comeback had dual aims; for him to gain a spot on WWE’s roster, and to become wrestling’s first out star. It would end in suicide.
Over the past 33 years, Dick Hoyt has pushed, pulled and carried his disabled son, Rick, through more than 1,000 road races and triathlons, including 28 Boston Marathons. But as time bears down on them, how much longer can they keep it up?
How a commuter college in Miami became a chess powerhouse.
How Lalit Modi built a billion-dollar cricket empire—only to be exiled from his sport and homeland.
A profile of a 25-year-old Spanish sensation.
The bizarre tale–and unlikely turnaround–of an NHL player who tried to have his youth coach murdered.
“If genius is hard to define, madness is even more so.” One chess champion’s take on the tortured life of another.
A profile of Vova Galchenko, teenage juggling virtuoso and early viral star.
A remembrance of relationships formed when the author, at 13 and using a false identity, frequented hockey chat rooms.
In 1998, at age 45, Ken Bradshaw surfed the tallest wave in recorded history.
A 134-pound magazine writer takes his chances at the U.S. Open sumo championships.
Searching for Jimmy Robinson, a boxer who fought Muhammad Ali in 1961, then disappeared.
Inside the world of competitive coding.
Michelito Lagrevere is a 12-year-old Mexican matador sensation.
Nobody knows the full story of why legendary surfer Andy Irons died in a Dallas hotel room earlier this month. But some who knew him have come forward to discuss the demons he’d battled for years.
The comeback of Marty Reisman, the most flamboyant figure in the history of table tennis, and the self-proclaimed greatest hardbat player ever.
Notes from the Friars Club roast of Don King.
A profile of Jimmy Connors on the eve of the 1978 U.S. Open. Connors’ legendary confidence, honed by his mother since childhood, was in freefall. (He would go on to win the final in straight sets.)
The life and death of Johnny Romano, the youngest pro skateboarder ever.
In the British sport of “ferret legging,” underwear-less competitors tie their trousers at the ankles, stuff a pair of the carnivores down there, and hold on for as long as possible. Reg Mellor is the world’s best.
In Mexico’s remote Copper Canyon, the Tarahumara Indians party hard, get by on a diet of carbs and beer, and can still run 100 mile races, even in their 60s.
John Friend, who founded a new school of yoga, says the practice should be about both exercise and spirituality. Oh, and making money.
The champ is now a vegan, claims to be broke, and says he feels freer than ever before. “I have this uncanny ability to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘This is a pig. You are a fucking piece of shit.’”
On his journey from phenom to champion to wannabe rock star to Emmy-winning commentator, John McEnroe hasn’t changed much.
Muhammad Ali and his followers were the greatest show on earth. Then the show ended, and life went on.
Inside the twisted, half-conscious world of Jure Robic, the Slovene soldier who might be the world’s best ultra-endurance athlete.