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Sports Then and Now


Archive for the ‘Summer Olympics’


Six of the Most Frequently Forgotten Sports of the Summer Olympics 1

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Brooke Chaplan

Olympic SailingThe Summer Olympics are always an exciting set of games played by the most elite athletes from all over the world. People from every corner of the globe travel or tune in to see the best compete for the gold. Fan favorites include gymnastics, swimming, and track and field events. However, there are a number of other events that don’t get the attention and support they might deserve. Here are a few of the lesser known, but just as exciting sports to check out in the upcoming year.

Canoe (Slalom/Sprint)
Canoeing entered the Olympic games in the 1936 Berlin games. Before it was often featured as a demonstration event. Athletes compete in canoes carrying one or two passengers. The event is typically 500 meters or 1000 meters. The length has changed over the years, with much longer races occurring in the past. The most recent change is the addition of a 200 meter event in 2009.

Handball
The Summer Olympic Games in Berlin also featured the debut of handball as an event. It was later dropped, then returned in 1972, again in Berlin. Women’s handball was added in 1976.

Water Motorsports
In 1900, water motorsports was featured as a demonstration sport of motorboats. The event was held only once as an actual event in 1908 and featured three races. The course was 40 miles and was hindered by gale force winds and wasn’t competed again. Most motor powered sports haven’t been introduced in the official Olympics, but fans of motocross, snowmobiling, and other sports can enjoy smaller events and competitions that feature worldwide athletes. Places like Bob’s Cycle & Snowmobile Supply stores and other sellers make this sport possible and affordable for more athletes all over.

Sailing
Although a less popular event than swimming, sailing can be an interesting water sport for its biggest fans. Formerly known as yachting, this event can be tricky to maneuver due to harsh weather conditions. It has been around since the Games of the Olympiad held in Greece in 1896 and has been present at every contest minus 1904.
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Celebrating Jesse Owens on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 0

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 136 Jesse OwensTo celebrate Martin Luther King Day, allow me to acknowledge one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

This extraordinary man helped initiate racial dialogue in America way back then in 1936 and will unwittingly do so now 80+ years later when a major motion picture about his life entitled Race releases next month.

Before MLB’s Jackie Robinson, the NFL’s Jim Brown, the NBA’s Wilt Chamberlain or boxing’s Joe Louis, track star Jesse Owens was regarded as the USA’s first ever African American sports icon.

On our country’s national holiday, let’s remember this great American who flew past his competitors on the track and soared above the hate and discrimination that he faced away from it.

The son of an Alabama sharecropper, James Cleveland Jesse Owens battled pneumonia as a sickly child before his family moved north to Cleveland, Ohio.

Years later, a much stronger and healthier 5’10″ and 165 lb. Owens blossomed as an outstanding track and field athlete at Ohio State University. Read the rest of this entry →

What the Marvin Sharp Case Means for the 2016 Olympics 2

Posted on September 15, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
Marvin Sharp was a coach during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Marvin Sharp was a coach during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Every four years, young female gymnasts from all over the world draw the eyes of many nations and become stars of the summer Olympics. But with less than a year to Rio 2016′s opening ceremony, a Team USA gymnastics coach faces state and federal charges of child molestation and child pornography.

The coach, Marvin Sharp, owns and directs Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was arrested on August 25, 2015, on suspicion of child molestation. Two days later, he appeared in court to hear the state charges against him: four counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual misconduct

In the investigation that followed Sharp’s arrest, officers searched his home and business and found thousands of child pornography images. Sharp faces additional federal charges related to the child pornography.

USA Gymnastics issued a statement the day of Sharp’s arrest. They affirmed that athlete safety is their top priority, saying these charges go against their philosophy and standards. They also stated they are cooperating with investigators regarding Sharp’s case.

Still, when situations like this arise, it’s helpful to examine how coaches become Team USA and Olympic team coaches. To qualify as a Team USA gymnastics coach, coaches must obtain a membership with USA Gymnastics. Membership requirements include a background check that lasts two years. Any coach at a Team USA–sponsored gymnastic event must have a membership.

Team USA Gymnastics coaches become Olympic coaches only if an athlete they train earns a spot as an Olympic athlete. To earn the five open spots, gymnasts must place among the top competitors at the US Olympic Trials. The individual all-around champion earns an automatic spot; a selection committee names four other team members and up to three alternates. Read the rest of this entry →

Al Kaline: From Kid Star to Hall of Famer 4

Posted on May 31, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Al Kaline

Al Kaline

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was only 20 years old in 1955 when he collected a league-leading 200 hits and won the American League batting title with a .340 batting title.

Much like the young stars of today, Al Kaline took the baseball world by storm in the 1950s when he made his major league debut at 18 and just two years later finished second in the MVP voting. In making his first All-Star team in 1955, Kaline not only won the only batting title of his career, but he also hit 27 home runs, scored 121 runs and drove home 102 runs. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Sports Greats Lost in 2014 8

Posted on December 31, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Earl Morrall spent 22 seasons in the NFL and helped lead the Miami Dolphins to a perfect record in 1972.

Earl Morrall spent 21 seasons in the NFL and helped lead the Miami Dolphins to a perfect record in 1972.

One inevitable component of the end of the year is reflecting on those who we lost during the previous year. As always, we said goodbye to many sports greats during 2014.

Below are brief remembrances of just a few of those who passed away in 2014. Click here to check out a more comprehensive list.

Jean Beliveau – Hockey Hall of Famer – 83 years old
A member of the Montreal Canadiens for 20 years and a member of the NHL Hall of Fame, Jean Beliveau helped lead his team to 10 Stanley Cup Championships and is considered by many as one of the 10 greatest players in NHL history.

Rob Bironas – NFL Kicker – 36 years old
After bouncing around the Arena Football League and several NFL tryouts, Rob Bironas finally got his shot with the Tennessee Titans in 2005 and was their kicker for nine seasons before being released prior to the 2014 season. He developed into a Pro Bowl kicker and scored 1,032 points while converting 85.7% of his field goal attempts.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter – Professional Boxer – 76 years old
Best known by many for the feature film “The Hurricane” in which Denzel Washington chronicled his life as a professional boxer and 20 years in prison, Rubin Carter had a career record of 27-12-1 as a middleweight and lost to Joey Giardello in his only championship bought. He was twice convicted of a triple murder, but the conviction was eventually overturned and Carter became a champion for those wrongly accused of crimes. Read the rest of this entry →

The History of Running – Have We Come Full Circle? 2

Posted on September 30, 2013 by Daniel Lofthouse
Abebe-Bikila

Abebe Bikila was known for running marathons barefoot, including his victory in the 1960 Olympics.

Of all the sports and exercises in the history of the world, the most fundamental and common is undoubtedly running. The prizes in the very first footraces were the largest. In the first footraces ever it was a race to elude predators. It is easy to visualize early man going into a sprint to reach the safety of a cave or fire while pursued by a sabre tooth tiger or equally ferocious animal. While hard to call it a sport with those stakes, it is none the less undoubtedly the origin of the sport of running.

As the centuries went past the first Marathon was thought to be run around 500 BC and the survival skill of running evolved into a sport. Since those earliest days the question of what is the best footgear to run in has been asked, answered, and refined hundreds of times. The sandals laced up around the ankles protected the feet from rough terrain but the earliest Olympiads foreswore those often times for bare feet to save those few ounces in weight. That is not dissimilar to the last 100 years where shedding of weight while preserving protection and support has become a billion dollar industry highlighted by the likes of Nike, Adidas, and New Balance among many others.

The technology and science has gone from the basics of protecting the soles of feet and proving traction, to increasing cushioning and comfort, to literally having loaded springs that artificially increase stride and speed.  Throughout all this advancement in technology, there were still famous runners like Abebe Bikila that won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Games while running the marathon barefooted. Read the rest of this entry →

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