We've all had the experience of watching a great athletic performance — from gymnast Mary Lou Retton defying gravity to Michael Jordan sinking a mind-blowing turnaround jumper — and wondered: Were they born with that talent or can you get there with hard work and practice?

It's the fourth most popular sport in the United States and more than 30 million people play it in the United States and Canada. Around 13 percent of Americans played it in 2012. There are hundreds of variations across multiple sports, but football is by far the most popular.

And it's pure fantasy.

Slackline World Cup In U.S. For First Time, At Hoopfest

Jun 24, 2013

7,000 or so basketball teams take to the streets of Spokane this weekend to play in the 24th annual Hoopfest. Hoopfest’s organizers have a new trick up their sleeves this year, which will bring athletes from around the world to compete in a different sport. Paige Browning has the story.

The University of Oregon softball team is going to the “NCAA Super Regional” after winning the Regional final Saturday in Eugene. The Ducks defeated Big 10 Conference Champions Wisconsin. KLCC's Jes Burns has more.

Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The sport of skijoring sounds like an awesomely bad idea someone cooked up on a long winter's night. Picture this: You navigate an obstacle course, on skis, while being pulled by a galloping horse. Yet equestrian skijoring has taken off as a sport in the snowy climes of Switzerland, Canada, and now, parts of the Northwest. This weekend, teams will go ski-to-ski and hoof-to-hoof at a competition in Sandpoint, Idaho. Jessica Robinson visited one skijoring practice to ask: Why?

The University of Oregon is looking for a new head football coach. Chip Kelly announced Wednesday he’s leaving for the NFL to lead the Philadelphia Eagles. UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens says player recruiting is underway so this is a less than ideal time for Kelly to leave. Mullens describes what they’ll be looking for in a new coach.

Photo by Derek Ramsey / Wikimedia Commons

The holiday season is upon us. And along with that comes ski season. Snow is falling in the Cascades. Wednesday is opening day at Crystal Mountain and Mount Baker. Tuesday Stevens Pass opened.

But giddy enthusiasm from skiers and snowboarders’ throughout the region is overshadowed by an accident at Stevens Pass last February. It was big.

News Report: “We’re gonna begin with those deadly avalanches. A deadly avalanche near Stevens Pass /We are gonna begin with the breaking news: that deadly avalanche in Washington state.”

Three people were killed that day.

Now, as KUOW’s Sara Lerner reports, ski industry veterans are trying to come up with new ways to keep people safe in the back country.

Washington-born and raised goalkeeper Hope Solo saved the day, quite literally, according to her teammates in the Olympic women’s soccer final Thursday. Team USA held on for a 2-1 victory over Japan to win the gold medal. When the final horn sounded, U.S. goalie Solo was mobbed by her fellow players. Solo says she knew the game was on the line when she made a dramatic lunging save in the waning minutes of the game.

Galen Rupp Takes Silver in the Olympic 10k

Aug 6, 2012
Photo by Jes Burns / KLCC

Good news for Northwest track athletes at the London Olympics. U of O grad Galen Rupp made history Saturday in the men's 10,000 meters, winning silver. KLCC’s Jes Burns has the story.

Softball Knits Northwest Palauan Community

Jul 25, 2012
Photo by Bill Lascher.

This weekend, sports fans worldwide turn their attention to London and the start of the Summer Olympics. But there's another international athletic competition here in the Northwest that will draw hundreds of immigrants from the tiny island nation of Palau. It's a softball tournament that's become a major event in the lives of Pacific Islanders living in our region and beyond. Journalist Bill Lascher has our story.