News Tip: Duke Experts Available to Discuss Russia, Olympics, Sports Injuries and Performance, Related Topics

Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, run from Feb. 7-23

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, run from Feb. 7-23. The following Duke University and Duke Medicine experts are available for interviews. To arrange interviews with Duke Medicine experts, please contact Sarah Avery or Rachel Harrison.

Michael NewcityDeputy director, Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies, Duke Universitymnnewcity@duke.edu

Newcity is an attorney, Russia scholar and expert on the Russian legal system


On the threat of violence during the Olympics:"Muslim separatists would like to draw attention away from the Olympics as well as demonstrate that their struggle continues and that they haven’t been defeated. Since the Olympic Games are very much a vanity project for Putin, it wouldn't surprise me to see more bombings -- perhaps not at the Olympics, since security will be so tight -- but more likely in other parts of Russia."

"The North Caucuses are, ethnically and culturally, one of the most diverse regions of the world. While the Chechens have been involved in the most well-known and violent conflict over the last couple of decades, other Muslim groups in the region bristle under Russian rule. It is an extraordinarily complex area in terms of ethnicities, languages, religions and cultures, and, as a result, is extremely volatile."

On Russia’s anti-gay legislation:"People have to recognize that simply because the United States has come 180 degrees in the last 10 years on gay rights, the rest of the world hasn't moved at the same pace."

"Russia, on some of these issues, is far more conservative than much of American and western European society. It wasn't that long ago that homosexuality was a crime there."


Robin KirkCo-chair, Duke Human Rights Center, Duke Universityrights@duke.edu is an author and human rights advocate.

Quote: "The Olympics is an international event meant to highlight what is best about human achievement in the arena of physical strength, will, dexterity and strategy. Hosts must be held to standards that reflect this quest for excellence, in particular in the arena of human rights. A backdrop of rights abuse poisons what should be a celebration of the best our athletes can achieve."

"Russia's anti-gay agenda is particularly objectionable, since it discriminates based on qualities that are inherent to a person's being. The International Olympic Committee must ensure that future hosts adhere to high human rights standards and reflect those standards not only for athletes, but for all of their citizens."

Duke Medicine Experts

Ron Olson, M.D. Director of sports medicine for Duke Student Health; associate professor, community and family medicine

Olson is a sports medicine physician who served as the lead physician for the World University Games in Italy in December 2013, and was the physician for the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team at the Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010. Olson has also traveled with the U.S. ski teams to World Cup races in Europe.

Given his interest and expertise in skiing, Olson can address injuries in skiing, and how competition rules for the type of skis and boots that are allowed have been changed recently to reduce injuries.

Franca AlphinDietician and director of nutrition services, Duke Student Health; associate professor, community and family medicine has worked with professional and amateur sports teams and individuals, and spends much of her time at Duke working with student athletes. She also works with people with disordered eating behaviors.

Alphin can discuss the nutritional needs of athletes, including how many calories they need to prepare for certain sports and events, and whether a figure skater or snowboarder would need to consume the same types and amount of food as an endurance athlete.

Mitch VanBruggenExercise physiologist, Duke Medicine

VanBruggen is an exercise physiologist and researcher at Duke Medicine as well as a distance runner. He can discuss how athletes recover from events and transition from one to the next, and can debunk myths on the role lactic acid plays in soreness.

Claude T. Moorman III, M.D.Vice chair of orthopaedic surgery and director of the Duke Sports Medicine Center; head team physician for Duke University

A former football player at Duke, Moorman is the head team physician for the university. He can address issues of fitness levels required of elite athletes, and is also an expert in shoulder instability, knee cartilage and ligament injury, and muscle strain injury that can incapacitate top athletes. Fraser J. Leversedge, M.D. Associate professor of orthopaedic surgery

Leversedge was the site physician for the ice hockey venue at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 and the site physician for the basketball venue at the Athens 2004 Summer Games. His expertise is in hand and upper extremity injuries, including nerve and tendon repair and reconstruction.

Joel C. Morgenlander, M.D. Interim chair, Department of Neurology

Morgenlander has expertise in concussions. He serves as a member of the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee of the NFL and is a member of the Football and Wellness Committee of USA Football.