By Ken Reed
According to fans and media members who saw multiple events at the Rio Olympics, by far the best and most exciting event was the men’s soccer final won by the host Brazilians over Germany in a penalty kick shootout.
Iconic Maracana Stadium was filled to the rafters on Saturday for the gold medal game. Brazil ultimately won 5-4 on penalty kicks, setting off a wild celebration at the stadium and throughout Brazil. The win gave Brazil some revenge for a 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.
It was Brazilian superstar Neymar who gave Brazil the win with his penalty kick, which provided the final 5-4 margin.
“Neymar went to his knees, then onto his stomach, his hands covering his face, struggling to control his emotions,” according to a New York Times report. “His teammates, who had been on their knees at midfield, as if praying, began running toward him in a jubilant sprint.”
Neymar had delivered gold to his homeland. It was a triumphant deed but in the big picture pales in comparison to his work off the field in Brazil. Neymar spent more than $6 million of his own money to build the Neymar Jr. Institute. The Institute is designed to bring hope to Neymar’s devastated childhood home in Praia Grande, a neighborhood plagued by drugs, prostitution and lousy schools. In addition to his own investment, Neymar has worked to garner sponsors for the Institute.
At the Neymar Jr. Institute, children work on computers, read and write, and study English, Spanish and Portuguese. Adults use the facility in the evenings for vocational training. A dentist and doctors are available, and earlier this month, 32 children received free eyeglasses. The Institute is delivering education, health and hope.
Neymar made a difference Saturday. And that’s been the case since December 2014 when he opened the Neymar Jr. Institute.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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