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#BackChannel: Politics On The Olympic Podium

The Olympics are heralded as an international event rooted in intense competition, national pride and athletic successes. But the Olympic Games can often reveal complex race issues and overzealous displays of nationalism.

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, athletes of color like U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel and U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas have been in the spotlight.

Manuel became the first black woman to win an individual medal in swimming, while Douglas was criticized after she did not put her hand over her heart during the national anthem. Both Manuel's and Douglas's Olympic experiences demonstrate the range of public response to athletes of color.

Host Frank Stasio talks with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown, professor of film and broadcast media at St. Augustine's University, and Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African & African American studies at Duke University, about the legacy of athletes and politics at the Olympics.​

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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