Olympics

Fans craving football can look to NFL talent on display in other sports in Rio

Fans craving football can look to NFL talent on display in other sports in Rio

When the NFL announced the Hall of Fame game would be canceled Sunday evening, football fans across the country collectively groaned. Some of the grumbling came because many fans don’t buy into the preseason hype of watching backups fight for roster spots, but many other fans were disappointed because the Hall of Fame game represents the first pro football fix since February.

If you fall into the latter group, fear not: you can get a taste (albeit a little different taste) this week in Rio. For the first time since 1924, rugby is making an appearance at the Olympics and on the new U.S. national team you can catch a couple of NFL players, fast-paced action and plenty of scrums on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Big Ten fans may remember Nate Ebner, an Ohio State walk-on who earned a scholarship due to his standout special teams play. Now a safety and special teams specialist for the New England Patriots, Ebner received permission from head coach Bill Belichick to skip out on camp to play rugby in Rio.

Joining him will be former Philadelphia Eagles wideout, Perry Baker. Baker first hoped to turn heads as a burner in the NFL, but his pro football career ended before he ever took the field because of a knee injury. Now Baker has made a name for himself in the rugby world, especially after an incredible performance in London that helped the U.S. bury the iconic New Zealand national team.

If track and field is more your speed, former Detroit Lions running back and first-round pick Jahvid Best will run the 100-meter sprint for St. Lucia on Saturday. Best also had his NFL career cut short due to injuries, but before he retired he racked up 303 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns against the Bears in three games.

For fans who simply must have the NFL, week one of the preseason is *scheduled* to begin this Thursday - pending endzone and midfield paint jobs.

Need a Winter Olympics fix? There’s an app* for that.

Need a Winter Olympics fix? There’s an app* for that.

Xfinity’s X1 Olympics Experience — progressing since London’s 2012 Olympics — features new software launching this season to give fans the comprehensive coverage they want.

For the first time, the Xfinity Stream App — a blending of traditional TV with power of the internet to give an at-home and on-the-go 24/7 experience — will be the Olympic fan’s primary resource for coverage on their favorite devices. This means video access for any event, both live and on-demand, no matter where you are.

Also, more than 50 Olympic channels will be offered by X1, including on-demand clips from epic wins, trending highlights and funniest moments of the games. Also, each sport will have its own individual homepage serving as a hub for the respective sport's comprehensive multi-platform content. No matter your preference, the customizable experience can be changed to reflect what each individual fan wants most.

Within the X1 Olympics Experience, there will be helpful, easy-to-use ways to get real-time information in the daily summary page, a one-stop cheat sheet for the biggest news, latest results, medal count and more. With 102 events offered, it’ll help viewers decide their plan of viewing action and stay up-to-date with the latest information.

For more, check out the interview above from Vito Forlenza, who serves as Executive Director, Business Product Management for Comcast Cable.

Chicagoan headed to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter World Games

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Chicagoan headed to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter World Games

Rosie Langello

Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

Barbra Shimoda said she vividly remembers the first time her son starting skating at the age of 7. She never imagined it would lead to him attending the 2017 Special Olympic Winter World Games.

"Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen," Barbra Shimoda said. "We know we have our State Games in Illinois but the World Games—it's just not something you can plan for."

Out of 6,800 Chicago Special Olympic athletes, Tommy Shimoda is the only Chicagoan attending the games. The 24-year-old is headed to Austria in March with six other athletes from Illinois that will be representing Team USA. He will be competing in two speed skating events; the 500-meter race and the 777-meter race.

Shimoda is diagnosed with autism and communicates to others using a voice box. He’s been skating for 17 years and said his biggest inspiration is his brother, Clarke.

"I like speed skating because I get to go fast," Shimoda said. "Since I started training more for the games, my brother said I now skate faster than him."

Shimoda has been preparing for the World Games ever since he found out he would be attending after the State Games last year.

"I have been practicing three times a week," Shimoda said.

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.