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Coach Pat Summitt Reaches the Top in College Basketball

Also: A question from Brazil about Washington D.C. And music by Somali-born hip-hop artist K'naan. Transcript of radio broadcast:

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.


I’m Doug Johnson. This week:

We play music by Somali-born hip-hop artist K’naan,

And answer a listener question about the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. ...

But first, we report about a record-breaking college basketball coach.


Pat Summitt


The National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournaments began Thursday.These games decide the national winners of college basketball. The University of Tennessee women’s basketball team will attempt to win its ninth national championship. Last month, the team and its head coach, Pat Summitt, celebrated a historic victory. Barbara Klein explains.


On February fifth, the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team defeated the University of Georgia.It was a victory unlike any other. It was the one thousandth victory for Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt.

She is the first National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One coach in men’s or women’s basketball to win one thousand games.

More than sixteen thousand people gathered to watch the historic game. With forty seconds left in the game the crowd stood and began shouting “One thousand!One thousand!”

Many people believe Pat Summitt’s winning record will not be reached by another college basketball coach for a long time. Only two Division One basketball coaches have had at least nine hundred wins. One is Bob Knight, the former coach at Indiana University and Texas Tech University. The other is former University of Texas women’s coach Jody Conradt. Both are retired, but Knight is considering a return to coaching.

Pat Summitt became head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in nineteen seventy-four. She was just twenty-two years old. She has coached there for thirty-five years.

Since that time she has built many successful teams and received many top coaching awards and honors. She has led the Tennessee Lady Vols to first place in eight N.C.A.A. national championships. Many of her players have gone on to play professionally.

Pat Summitt has also had international victories. In nineteen eighty she was an assistant coach on the United States Women’s Olympic basketball team. Four years later, as head coach of the women’s Olympic team, she led the players to a gold medal win.

For the first time in Pat Summitt’s career, the current Lady Vols team lacks experience. That is because seven team members are first-year students. At the beginning of the season she joked about whether the team could win the seventeen victories she needed to reach one thousand wins. But after the historic victory, she did what she is known for doing. She thanked the team and many others for their part in her success.

PAT SUMMITT: "I’ve had great coaches and just tremendous support along the way. Tennessee said yes to women’s basketball long before it was a popular thing to do. So I owe a lot to the university and the people that made it happen."


Washington, D.C.


Our listener question this week comes from Brazil. Reginaldo Anunciacao wants to know about Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States.

Washington is not a large city. It is only about one hundred fifty-five square kilometers. New York City is close to eight hundred square kilometers. And, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro is more than one thousand.

Population estimates from two thousand seven show more than five hundred eighty-eight thousand people living within D.C. borders.The city’s population grew between two thousand and two thousand seven, but not as fast as the country as a whole. The number of Washingtonians grew about three percent during that period while the United States population increased more than seven percent.

The racial population in D.C. is about fifty-five percent black and thirty-nine percent white. Just over seventeen percent of Washingtonians live below what is considered the poverty level in the United States. For a family of two, the poverty line begins at yearly earnings of fourteen thousand dollars or less.

On Monday, Washington, D.C., health officials reported shocking information about H.I.V. infection in the city. They said that at least three percent of residents are living with AIDS or the virus that causes the disease. That percentage puts the H.I.V. situation in Washington at an epidemic level. In fact, D.C. health officials say infection rates in the nation’s capital are higher than in West Africa.

Washington, D.C., is like no other place in the United States. It is not a state or part of a state. The D.C. stands for District of Columbia, a federal district.

Residents must pay federal taxes like other citizens.But they have no say in how that money is spent. This is because people who live in Washington, D.C., have no voting representation in the United States Congress. The city has a delegate to the House of Representatives who is not permitted to vote. If you have ever visited, you might have noticed the popular license plates on many D.C. cars. They say “Taxation Without Representation.”

In fact, it was not until nineteen sixty-four that D.C. residents were even permitted to vote in presidential elections.

Many Washingtonians and the city government are fighting for D.C. statehood. Some are working toward voting rights in Congress. Still others say the answer is to end federal taxes for Washingtonians.

Late last month, the United States Senate passed a bill to give D.C. a voting member in the House of Representatives. A House committee is now working on the legislation. It is not known when it might come to a vote in the full House.




The Somali-born hip-hop artist K’naan recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.K’naan is traveling around the world to get support for his second album, “Troubadour.” Faith Lapidus has more.


The album was produced in Jamaica at the recording studio of the famous reggae musician, Bob Marley. His son, Damian Marley, sings with K’naan on the album. This song, “America,” is a mixture of hip hop, reggae and African music.


K’naan lived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, until nineteen ninety-one. He fled with his mother on the last public flight out of the country before the overthrow of the government. Mother and son settled in New York City before moving to Toronto, Canada. Many of K’naan’s songs are influenced by his childhood in Mogadishu.

In "People Like Me" he sings about how he and his cousin accidentally exploded a small bomb they found at school.


K’naan also writes songs about life in the United States and Canada. He once told a reporter he does not know where home is. He said exile has its own flag.We leave you now with K’naan singing "Wavin’ Flag." This song expresses how he feels living in exile.



I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

It was written by Lawan Davis, Kim Varzi and Caty Weaver who was also the producer.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.