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Archive for the ‘Summer Olympics’


Al Kaline: From Kid Star to Hall of Famer 1

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 6

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 →

U.S. Gold Medalists Alex Morgan & Sydney LeRoux Are “NOT IMPRESSED” About Halloween (PHOTOS) 1

Posted on October 29, 2012 by Joe Gill

U.S. Gold Medalists & members of the USWNT, Alex Morgan and Sydney LeRoux paid HOMAGE to their fellow Olympians for Halloween.

Morgan & LeRoux Are NOT Impressed

Alex Morgan did her best McKayla Morgan “Not Impressed” smirk. Teammate Sydney Leroux also took her shot at the famous U.S. gymnast frown.

Makes you miss the Summer Olympics doesn’t it?

 

H/T Goes To Die Hard Sport.

1972 Olympic Terrorist Attack: Remembering Sports Darkest Day 2

Posted on September 05, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Jim McKay kept the world abreast on the tragic events of the 1972 Munich Olympics.

It was 40 years ago, September 5, 1972, when sports and politics merged in a tragic manner with the killing of 11 Israeli hostages during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.

One of the things that made this tragedy so engaging was that it was broadcast live across the country and world through the reporting of ABC News and Sports. While today having cameras covering live-action events is standard practice, this was ground breaking real-time access in 1972 and gave viewers a far different perspective of what was happening than ever before.

Anchoring the coverage for ABC was renowned sports broadcaster Jim McKay. In addition, Chris Schenkel in the studio and  Howard Cosell and Peter Jennings posted on the grounds added unique perspective and insight.

Now 40 years later re-watching the coverage it looks a little primitive and dated compared to modern high-definition video, but for the times it was amazing that they were able to get such close-up footage of the terrorists, police and negotiators.

While there is little doubt that the negotiations and rescue mission associated with the tragedy were badly managed and plagued by confusion and ineptitude by the Germany police, the broadcast by ABC was handled with amazing professionalism and grace.

The final announcement by Jim McKay that they were “all gone” was done with amazing humility, sadness and grace and stand as one of the most memorable live broadcasts in television history.

It is quite sad that 40 years later the Olympic leaders refused to recognize this tragic event with a moment of silence. The tragic occurrences of Munich transcend politics and political views and should be remembered as a sad moment where innocent athletes had their dreams and lives snatched away. Acknowledging and remembering these athletes is not a political statement, but a statement about the importance of human life and the mission of the Olympics to bring together people from different nations around a common purpose.

In remembrance of the 40th anniversary, here are some clips from the amazing ABC coverage as well as documentaries that look back at the tragic events.

Read the rest of this entry →

Olympic Track & Field History: 4 Interesting Sprint Sub-Plots 9

Posted on July 16, 2012 by Rojo Grande

Doesn’t it seem ironic (and almost cruel) that one of the most heavily promoted, highly anticipated and most-viewed disciplines in all of Olympic track and field is over in a matter of seconds?

If it were a boxing match that ended so quickly after it began, we’d be demanding our money back.

Yet the very essence of the sprint—sheer speed—is its appeal. It’s why we watch, and we accept its brevity without misgivings or regret.

For the athlete and spectator alike, the sprint satisfies one of the three tenets of the Olympic motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Faster, Higher, Stronger”).

And though the sprints themselves occupy such a brief moment in time, their residue lives on in the vaults of Olympic history—and often with a surprising backstory.

Let’s enter the vault and take a look.


Valery Borzov, Soviet Union, Munich, 1972

Valeryborzov1_display_image

The Cold War was still a bit chilly in 1972.

A shroud of mystery separated East from West in Europe, and Americans, too, were curious as to the reports of a steely-eyed Russian who ran with machine-like precision at world-class speeds.

As it happened, America (and the world) got a real good look—at Valery Borzov’s heels.

But this story is as much about who didn’t stand on the podium as who did.

Team USA was led by Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson, who both equaled the world record (9.9 seconds hand-timed) at the 1972 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Indeed, the Americans were riding a wave of sprint dominance at the time, and any (non-military) threat coming from behind the Iron Curtain was regarded as little more than a nuisance.

Hart, Robinson and Robert Taylor were on their way to the track for their quarterfinal heats, when they noticed on an Olympic Village TV that the heats had already begun.

They raced to the stadium, but only Taylor—who was scheduled for Heat 3—made it in time to quickly dress down and enter the blocks. Hart and Robinson, assigned to earlier heats and working from an out-dated schedule, were disqualified.

Later in the finals, Borzov, legs churning like pistons, made quick work of the field, taking gold in 10.14 seconds.

Robinson and Hart vowed redemption in the 200-meter dash but the Soviet automaton proved his earlier victory was no fluke, winning the half-lapper in 20.0 seconds.

It was about this time in history when Westerners began to take a hint from the Eastern Bloc nations and sprinting became less an issue of raw speed and more an issue of the science of sprinting. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Maureen Connolly: Little Mo
      July 3, 2015 | 3:39 pm
      Maureen Connolly

      Maureen Connolly

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the most dominating women’s tennis player of her career before a tragic accident ended her career while she was still a teenager.

      Maureen “Little Mo” Connelly won the final nine majors in which she competed, which is quite impressive given how challenging Serena Williams is currently finding it to win four straight majors for the second time in her career.

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