On a gray, polluted Beijing morning, parents peer through a fence anxiously at their little darlings' wobbly dribbling skills on the soccer pitch, as they try to score goals against former Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams.
It didn't take long for politics to enter the fray of Olympic sports. On Day One of preliminary competition, members of the North Korean women's soccer team staged a short protest after a mix-up with their national flag.
The European soccer championship is taking place for the first time in former East Bloc countries Ukraine and Poland. The tournament is supposed to highlight Europe's post-Cold War unity, but the age-old plagues of racism and nationalism persist.
Ukraine is home to a small number of Africans and Asians, many of whom came during the Soviet period. One prominent expatriate in Kiev is Charles Assante-Yeboa, president of the local Africa center.
Assante-Yeboa says four years ago, a group of Ukrainians wielding knives and clubs attacked him.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: And there won't be a Triple Crown winner this year. But it's still a weekend for major matchups of all kinds, with Nadal and Djokovic, LeBron James and the Boston Celtics, and the peerless Manny Pacquiao in action. NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman joins us.
Hundreds of thousands of soccer fans, most of them men, are set to arrive in Ukraine and Poland for Euro 2012, the monthlong European soccer championship that kicks off Friday.
But what's expected to take place off the field has health experts concerned. An estimated 360,000 Ukrainians — more than 1 percent of the population — are infected with AIDS or the virus that causes AIDS, the highest rate in Europe. Sex workers are one of the hardest-hit groups.