Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

The Man Time Forgot – Ole Einar Bjoerndalen Gets Gold

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

When casual fans talk about the Winter Olympics they bring up the Biathlon, incredulous at this sport that combines Cross Country Skiing and Shooting. When Winter Olympics enthusiasts discuss the Games, they say the name Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Norway’s 40 year old hero has now medaled in five Olympic Games and added his 12th Olympic medal to his legacy, incredibly his 7th Gold Medal.

This was the Men’s 10k Sprint event with 10,000 meters of cross country skiing and two shooting stations, a prone and a standing shoot of five targets each. Among the top ten finishers there were only four penalties (for a missed shot) taken among one hundred shots. It was an astoundingly clean shooting night for the top finishers, but one of those who missed was actually Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. This forty year old man, this untouchable champion, many years older than most of his competitors, was so fast on his skis that despite his penalty lap he left the field behind to tie his countryman Bjorn Daehlie with 12 all time Olympic Winter Games medals, the most of all time. Bjoerndalen is now also the oldest individual Gold Medal winner in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

Kings of the Long Skate

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

At the Adler Arena on a 400 meter oval of pearly white ice the best long track speed skaters in the world battle for Gold. In these distance events, you race against the clock and not the person on the ice next to you. It takes patience, focus, self-awareness and incredible talent. Historically, the Dutch honor this event in their home country like no other and historically they dominate these events accordingly. The distance the Netherlands hoped to lock down today was the 5,000 meters and they fielded a strong team led by the World Record holder and reigning Olympic champion Sven Kramer.

In Vancouver in 2010 Kramer experienced both amazing triumph and crushing disappointment. He won Gold early in the Games in the 5,000 meter and then with a huge lead and little ice left between him and another Gold Medal in the 10,000 meter event, a coaching error caused Kramer to skate into the wrong lane and he was disqualified. It was heartbreak on the Olympic stage, but a champion like Kramer didn’t let it affect him long. Since 2010 he has secured his position as the dominant force in long track speed skating and he came to Sochi with his expectations and the entire nation of the Netherlands set on more Gold.

He started the race with split times slightly off the pace of Russian Denis Yuskov who came out blazing hot with lap times in the mid 28s range. By the mid point in the race though, Kramer overtook the Russian through sheer consistency in his lap times. He built and built his lead and posted an Olympic Record and an extremely challenging time for the final three pairs to overcome. None of them did. Kramer cruised to Gold with absolute power and confidence built on the consistency of his lap times. With Dutch royalty in the stands to celebrate him, Kramer watched from the tunnels under the main floor as two of his countrymen, Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma, took Silver and Bronze respectively. It was a sweep for the Netherlands in their favorite and most prideful sport of Long Track Speed Skating. This made their Olympics and they’ve only just begun.

The Olympic Winter Games, Sochi 2014

Friday, February 7th, 2014

The XXII Olympic Winter Games have officially begun. Man, it feels good to be back! It’s been only about a year and a half since the Summer Olympics in London but it’s been a full four years since we last hit the slopes and shaved the ice with the world’s best Winter athletes in Vancouver. Last nights’ coverage on NBC didn’t begin with the Opening Ceremonies but with two new events that heralded in what promises to be another amazing Games.

Slopestyle snowboarding is an event that takes place on a snowboard park recognizable to anyone who’s hit their local slopes, but exponentially more challenging: higher, faster, and with three towering jumps. Individual athletes cruise through this world class crafted terrain park hitting tricks as they fly downwards. It’s a judged event and if the qualifiers showed anything, they showed that it’s an event to watch.

The other new event that debuted on night one was Figure Skating Team. This event combines the four disciplines of ice skating: Men’s, Ladies’, Pair, and Ice Dancing. The scores are put together based on the relative finishes in the individual events for a team total that determines medal places. Using this event as a predictor of who to watch you have to look at Yuzuru Hanyu in the male category. He is the most graceful skater in the competition and he carries all the power of the former Gold Medalist, Russian Evgeni Plushenko. In the pairs, it was Russian duo Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov as Cinderella and Prince Charming who owned the night with their sheer power, charisma, and execution.

New events and old will combine at these 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi Russia to make two weeks of the most exciting competition in the world. The world has come to Russia, unifying to celebrate world culture and athletic achievement for all to see. Again as before, Let the Games Begin!

London 2012 – The Fall and Rise of Michael Phelps, a Prediction

Monday, July 30th, 2012

On Saturday, Michael Phelps failed to defend his Gold Medal in the 400 IM.  He fell to fourth place and watched his teammate and rival Ryan Lochte steal his crown and destroy the field.  Phelps met with Andrea Kremer after the race and seemed hard hit by the loss and his inability to medal.  He talked about going into the race with the wrong plan and he looked anywhere but at the camera or at the reporter asking him questions.  He seemed to the world to have slipped, if not fallen altogether.

And then on Sunday, Phelps rose again.  In the final of the 4×100 Free Relay, Phelps swam the second leg and blew open a full body length lead (all six feet and four inches worth) on the rest of the field.  While Lochte couldn’t hold the lead his team had built through the anchor leg, the last 100 meters of the race, Phelps burned through the pool with the fire of a champion and gave the Americans the strong leg they needed to secure a Silver Medal.

Michael Phelps is the greatest competitive swimmer in the history of the world.  And this is the prediction that will prove true over the next two weeks: Michael Phelps isn’t done yet, 3 more Gold Medals are on their way.

Keep watching.

Look-e-Likes

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I was watching the video for the Snow Patrol song, Just Say Yes, and I couldn’t shake the idea that the lead singer looks just like Jamie Kennedy.  That happens to me all the time.  Either people look like someone else directly, or they’re like a combination of people.  There’s this new girl at work and I nudged my buddy and said, “She looks like a mix between Maggie Gyllenhaal and Dominic Monaghan.”

“Who’s Maggie Gyllenhal?” is what he says.  But this other guy who overheard us goes, “Yep.  I see it.  Wow, that’s weird.”  That’s about as good as it gets.  The room was split when we were watching this year’s American Idol and I said that Bosa Mora’s dad from episode one looked like the Nigerian Jim Lampley (Lampley does boxing commentary and the daytime Olympics coverage on NBC).  Half of us were cracking up and the other half were just plain hatin’ when they said they didn’t get it (because I know they got it, the guy looks just like him).

Big Game Hunter

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

I’m a huge fan of the big event.  This morning I watched the men’s final of the Australian Open and this marks the start of a big year for big events.  I love watching Grand Slam tennis.  This one kicked off with another Roger Federer final.  The Super Bowl is in a week.  Then, less than a week after that we’ve got the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  This will get a lot of Entertainthing blog time and by the end I hope to make everyone a fan of the Olympics.  There is no place like the Olympics for competition, culture, and pride in all of sports.  Then, March Madness…well, look this year has all the standards, but this is an Olympic year.  And a World Cup year.  Hosted by an African nation for the very first time, this World Cup should be amazing.  But that’s like saying, this bowl of ice cream is good.  Every bowl of ice cream is good and every World Cup is amazing.  It’s the only other place where competition, culture, and pride are so evident.  So, even though we’ve got almost no shot now of seeing Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight to decide the Best-Ever-Champion-Of-Lightweight-Boxing, we’ve got one of the best years ever ahead of us.  And then only four more years till it all happens again.

Saturday’s Football Commercials

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I get so involved in what I watch on TV that commercials for me aren’t an aside, aren’t separate, but they’re part of my entertainment.  So I actually expect to be entertained by my commercials.  They don’t have to be funny, they don’t have to be emotional, they don’t have to be inspiring, but they better be something.
Even though I didn’t see them yet today, I love the Emmerson inspired and inspiring Levi commercials, Dow’s the Human Element campaign is like watching a National Geographic magazine on TV, some Bud Light commercials are funny, Coke has some great ads, so does Mastercard.  Local ads never stand a chance, like a Menards spot or local news preview.  And today, Subway didn’t really perform and neither did Cisco.

Subway signed Phelpsy (Michael Phelps) recently and I’m all about it.  I love Phelps and I love the Olympics.  I love the Olympics.  The worst thing in entertainment though is when you underuse somebody.  You’ve got the most successful Olympian and best swimmer of all time with Michael Phelps and instead of having him do anything cool, you make a computer animation of him swimming out of his local pool and out into the street (still swimming, actually swimming through concrete) and then swimming through wheat fields on his way north to Vancouver.  For the Winter Olympics.  I guess Subway thinks they started an ice swimming event up there in British Columbia, or that we’re stupid enough to just see Phelps and think, “Yay, Michael Phelps is going to that Olympics again.”

I’m going to interject here because I’m writing this live.  I hate almost all car commercials equally, but I especially dislike the Denis Leary Ford Truck commercials.  He’s soooooooo cooooool, the way he’s sarcastic at me about some truck.  Congratulations.

So Cisco.  I usually like the Cisco commercials where the rich American students play games with the Chinese students over satelite.  Today, Ellen Page joined the class.  It felt a lot like when you throw a really famous guest star on a TV show even though it doesn’t make any sense.  I’m going to paraphrase here (this commercial doesn’t deserve to be quoted directly).

Teacher: Kids, this is Ellen Page.

Class: Hi, Ellen Page!  We’re going on a field trip to China.

Ellen Page: Hi kids.  So you’re going to China, huh.  Ha.  China.  I think there’s something sarcastic I could say here, but…well, anyhoo.  I used to go to a farm.  For my field trips.

Class: No, we go with the TV to China!
Ellen Page: Ciscoooo.

Ellen Page should go to China.  I don’t think they want her.