The Day the NFL Took Over Alabama

Everything looked and felt different on that cool autumn night in Alabama five years ago. There was LeBron James striding through the darkened corridors of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, trying to find his seat in the moments before No. 1 LSU played No. 2 Alabama on November 5, 2011. High above the field, Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, settled into her private box to watch the college football matchup billed as the latest “Game of the Century.”

She's Punching Her Way Beyond an Abusive Past

...inn the small hours of the morning...Claressa Shields, the daughter of an underground street fighter, a hard man who once made $35,000 cash for cracking the jaw of a bricklayer in a parking garage, had work to do. She moved close to the window in her hotel room on the upper floor of a high-rise, tiptoeing so she wouldn’t disturb her sleeping roommate. She stretched her arms. She loosened her neck. Then, in the quiet, she began doing what her dad taught her, swinging her fists through the air, slowly at first, then faster—a hook, an uppercut, a double jab, a cross. The first American female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal started to bob and weave and shuffle her feet as she punched an imaginary opponent. Within seconds, the 5’10", 165-pound middleweight was in a trance-like state, her escape to another world complete.

Simone Biles: From a Girl Without a Home to an Olympian

SPRING, Texas — They were sitting in their living room in 2002, an otherwise ordinary winter evening on the Texas plains, when Ron Biles asked his wife the question—one that would ultimately alter the course of U.S. gymnastics history. Oh, this was a heavy question, freighted with long-term consequences and implications that not even Ron could have divined. His wildest dreams simply didn't stretch as far as an Olympic gold medal—or maybe even five—being tied up in what he was about to ask. Here is what Ron knew on that cool night in the Lone Star State: His daughter from a previous marriage was struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. A mother of four children, she had recently lost custody of all of them, including five-year-old Simone and three-year-old Adria Biles. Their father had abandoned them years earlier.
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