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Sports Then and Now


The History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Just as modern medicine has evolved over the years, so too have performance-enhancing drugs. Although they have only come into the spotlight in recent times, the practice of using drugs to gain an advantage over an opponent is older than Rome. These days, the efforts of professional athletes to cheat has caused irreparable harm to the record books of some major sports, most notably Major League Baseball. So as we debate about whether or not steroid-users should get into the Hall of Fame, or what good the next policy will do regarding illegal substances, we should first look back at how performance-enhancing drugs have come this far.

Ancient Greece and Rome

The beginning of performance-enhancing drugs is almost the same as the beginning of organized sports. In ancient Greece, some of the earliest Olympians used abnormal substances in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Their drug of choice would either be plant seeds or extracts of mushrooms. Later in Rome, gladiators were known to have turned to drugs. It’s difficult to blame them, but gladiators would dope for various reasons, from dulling pain to creating a bloodier spectacle for viewers.

The Dangerous History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

knud-jensen

While cheating and gaining an unfair advantage are terrible actions for an athlete to take, the worst aspect of performance-enhancing drugs is that they can cause extreme harm to the user. Read the rest of this entry →

25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Earlier this week marked the 25th anniversary of the worst stadium-related disaster in English sports. On April 15, 1989, the Hillsborough Stadium disaster occurred during an FA Cup semi-final match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 96 people, who were honored at a ceremony at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club. While Liverpool currently sits atop the English Premier League, this week serves as a period to remember the 96 people lost at Hillsborough Stadium 25 years ago.

hillsborough_stadium_disaster_17_october_2011

The Tragedy

25 years ago, the FA committee selected Hillsborough Stadium as the neutral site for the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. At that time, most English stadiums included high, steel fencing around the pitch in order to prohibit any rushing of the pitch, either friendly or hostile. Standing room for supporters was provided just beyond the fence. On the day of the disaster, only one terminal was opened for Liverpool fans to enter through, as a precaution to keep them separated from the Nottingham Forest fans. Massive overcrowding made the open terminal dangerous to both those who were attempting to get into the match and those who were being turned back for not having a ticket. In order to avoid injuries in the original entryway, police decided to open an exit gate that was designed to service departing fans.

The exit gate led to a narrow pathway to which fans flocked when it opened. Unfortunately for many fans, the narrow pathway led to the steel fence. As thousands of fans entered, many of them were pressed up against one another and a human crush formed. The police that were supposed to be stationed at the entrance of the gate should have cut off the flow of fans and direct them to another way in, but there were no policemen stationed outside the gate for unknown reasons.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Traditional Sports vs. Modern Sports – Which Is Better?

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Brian Braindeaux

Many of our favorite sports have changed drastically over the last few decades; with some becoming obsolete altogether. Some of the sports that were popular with the rich and famous are now sports we all play on a regular basis whereas some sports we all used to play are now nowhere to be seen. Were traditional sports better than their modern counterparts, however? Let’s take a look at some of the hobbies and pastimes that have changed over the years, and which was better; traditional or modern.

Motorsports

Motorsports
Back in 1946, Formula One became the premier single seated racing sport in the world, and it hasn’t given up that title to any other motorsport. Pre-war regulations used to determine the engine capacity of the racing cars, with manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo leading the way in the competition. 4.5 liter cars were allowed, non-supercharged, to race against a supercharged 1.5 liter model. With only a handful of manufacturers being able to compete, the competition was unlike anything sports lovers had ever seen before. Now, the regulations and the cars have changed exponentially, making the competition faster, more thrilling and far more expensive. The Formula One today is followed by millions of motorsport’s fans; some of which travel the globe in order to watch their favorite driver or team. Although the adrenaline rush of motorsports is far greater now, there was something so fantastic about motorsports back then. We think the traditional sport beats the modern day version, hands down. Read the rest of this entry →

Traditions at the Masters Golf Tournament

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Scott Huntington

The Masters Tournament is held every year at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Originally established in 1934, the tournament has become perhaps the most renowned on the PGA Tour because of the history and traditions that are associated with it. Organizers have reshaped and redesigned the course over the years, but these traditions remain and will continue to do so well into the future.

Green Jacket

adam-scott-masters-green-jacket-rain-photo

Since 1949, the winner of the Masters has been awarded a green jacket. This golfer is only permitted to keep the jacket until the following year’s tournament, at which time it must be returned to the clubhouse. Past champions are allowed to wear the green jacket that they have won whenever they return to the golf course, but should never wear it anywhere else.

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Daredevil Days: The 6 Most Outrageous Evel Knievel Stunts of All Time

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Dixie Somers
Evel Knievel was one of the most famous sports personalities of the 1970s.

Evel Knievel was one of the most famous sports personalities of the 1970s.

Inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, Evel Knievel was dubbed “one of the greatest American icons of the 1970s” by The Times. He held the Guinness World Record for the “most broken bones in a lifetime” with 433 over the course of his career. Of more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980, here are the most outrageous stunts he ever attempted.

Caesar’s Palace
Outrageous doesn’t begin to describe Evel Knievel’s jump of the fountains at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and how he got there was even more unbelievable. In 1967, Evel created a fictitious corporation called Evel Knievel Enterprise, three fictitious lawyers to present his ‘case’, and even made fake calls to the casino’s CEO claiming to be from ABC-TV and Sports Illustrated. That was only the beginning of Knievel’s Caesar’s Palace fiasco, and even though he crashed during the jump, the ordeal, and his recovery, made him as famous as ever.

Ontario, California
On February 28th, 1971, riding his Harley-Davidson XR-750, Evel Knievel successfully jumped 19 cars to set the new world record. Filmed for the movie that held his name, Evel Knievel held that record for 27 years, until it was eclipsed by Bubba Blackwell. Bubba jumped 20 cars in 1998, also using an XR-750.

Los Angeles, California
In November of 1973 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Knievel successfully jumped 50 stacked cars. After that jump, he held the record for jumping the most stacked cars on a Harley-Davidson XR-750 for 35 years, until it was broken in October of 2008. His beloved 300lb, fiberglass and aluminum XR-750 is currently a part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Read the rest of this entry →

Top 5 Sports Betting Events for Summer 2014

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Brian Braindeaux
Some people credit sports betting as a key to increased interest in some sports.

Some people credit sports betting as a key to increased interest in some sports.

Summer 2014 is going to be a good one for sports-lovers everywhere.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will turn up the heat big time in June and the temperature won’t go down till September, when the finals of the US Open Tennis championships take place.

In between, there will be plenty of action to satisfy fans. The Men’s golf US Open starts on the same day as the World Cup finals and less than two weeks later, the NBA Draft will give us plenty of excitement to keep us pumped throughout the season.

FIFA World Cup (June 12 – July 13)

Soccer will kick off the 2014 summer sports extravaganza. Millions of fans worldwide will be glued in front of their TV screens watching the most-eagerly anticipated sporting event in the world.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup finals will be broadcast from 12 different stadiums in beautiful Brazil and will see 32 national teams battling it out over a full month of matches to earn the title of world champions.

With Brazil, arch-rivals Argentina and reigning champions Spain featuring highly in the bookmakers’ lists, it’s tough to pick up a definite winner for now.

Make sure to keep on top of the latest news and rumours to learn about the teams’ strategies and the latest odds. Soccer betting offers a wide selection of bets including half-time and full-time scores, match and round winners, and of course, tournament winners.

Golf Men’s US Open (June 12 – June 15)

The US Open is the biggest professional golf tournament on the PGA and European Tour calendar and this year’s edition promises no less excitement that previous years.

Over 150 players will converge at the No. 2 Course in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where the tournament is being held for the third time in its history.

Tiger Woods is being touted as the most likely to take the title at the US Open even though he hasn’t won a title in a long time, with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott coming in second and third place respectively according to the bookmakers’ preferences.

Justin Rose, the current champion, is languishing behind with the odds not being in favour of him retaining the title. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Hoyt Wilhem: Knuckleball Workhorse
      April 7, 2014 | 8:51 pm

      The April Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was 29-years-old when he made his major league debut, but still managed to pitch for 21 years and become the first pitcher in MLB history to appear in more than 1,000 games.

      Hoyt Wilhelm made his professional baseball debut as a 19-year-old in 1942, but after serving in World War II (earning a Purple Heart during the Battle of the Bulge) and then spending five years in the minor leagues it wasn’t until 10 years later that he would make his major league debut.

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