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.
<strong>Larger Than Life:</strong> Tourists pose in front of a UEFA Euro 2012 Cup placard on Kiev's Independence Square in Ukraine. Europe is entering a packed sports schedule — but soccer still reigns supreme, says Frank Deford.
It's a prime irony that while Europe is suffering a great financial crisis, in counterpoint, the Continent is starting to spend the summer awash in a veritable plethora of joyous sporting events, a rolling athletic circus to divert Europeans from Angela Merkel telling them to get serious and tighten their belts.
Now, as is the case every summer, there are two Grand Slam tennis championships — the French Open, which is already under way, and Wimbledon. Then the Tour de France and British Open golf.
One of the ways Spaniards console themselves amid their failing economy is with their beloved sport of soccer. If you can't afford tickets to a game, it's always on TV in your local bar.
"For an escape from work, economic problems — just enjoy it and support your team," says soccer fan Ivan Rassuli, who's having a beer as he watches a match at a bar. "Everybody likes football. Maybe like the NBA or baseball in the United States."
But futbol, as Spaniards call soccer, has followed the same sorry trajectory as Spain's economy.