Athlete returns to NBA as first openly gay player

Jason Collins reached a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, making him the first openly gay athlete to play for the National Basketball Association.

Collins, 35, will play his first game after his “coming out” with the Nets on Sunday when they take on the Lakers in the Staples Center.

Collins revealed his orientation in May of 2013 in an article of “Sports Illustrated.” Having played for the Nets between 2001 and 2008, he is no stranger to the team. He also played for the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics.

“Time” sports contributor Sam Frizell wrote in a recent publication, “He struggled with his sexuality for his entire career, but revealing his sexual orientation made it much easier to live happily.”

“The most you can do is stand up for what you believe in,” Collins said when he came out. “I’m much happier since coming out to my friends and family. Being genuine and honest makes me happy.”

U.S. ranks high in Winter Olympics

With the closing ceremony drawing the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics to an end, let’s recap the performance of team USA’s athletes:

The games lasted three weeks with a total of 98 events. The U.S. finished with nine gold medals, seven silver and 12 bronze.

There was a total of 295 medals awarded in Sochi over the past two weeks. Russia walked away with the most medals, topping off at 33, while the U.S. finished in second with a total of 28 and Norway came in third with 26.

Team USA provided 230 athletes this year, and with a win of 28 medals, averaged out to 8.2 medals per athlete.  Some of our iconic victories were in events such as freestyle skiing, figure skating, snowboarding and bobsledding.

Going into the Olympics, there was much concern from U.S. officials for the security and safety of the athletes and audience in attendance. The possibility of threats or potential terrorist acts loomed in the minds of many. Luckily, no acts of terrorism or any kind of serious threat plagued the games.

Spelling bee reaches draw

Two elementary students in Kansas battled it out in a spelling bee that resulted in a tie because organizers ran out of words.

Sophia Hoffman, a fifth-grader at Highland Park Elementary competed against Kush Sharma, a seventh-grader at Frontier School of Innovation this weekend at the Kansas City Public Library. The competitions started out with 25 students but quickly came down to Hoffman and Sharma. After 60 grueling rounds, the pair ended with a tie.

The program provides a word list for contests across the country. After Hoffman and Sharma breezed through the increasingly difficult list of words, in addition to another 20 words organizers picked from the dictionary, they realized it was possible that they just might need some more words.

Mary Olive Thompson, outreach coordinator for Kansas City Public Library, said in an article by Dana Ford and Janet DiGiacomo on CNN’s website:

“We didn’t want to just go through the dictionary and give them more words. We feared that someone would get a word that was too easy while the other would get an extremely difficult word. We wanted to be a bit more calculated and neutral, and we wanted to give each an equal opportunity.”

These two youngsters will have a final face off in March for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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