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Archive for the ‘Summer Olympics’


The History of Running – Have We Come Full Circle? 1

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) 0

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 1

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 1

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 →

2012 Olympic Preview: USA Archers Are Aiming For Gold 4

Posted on June 28, 2012 by John Ogalbe

The USA women's archery team will be heading to London for the 2012 Olympics after surviving the recent qualifier.

The USA Archery Team will aiming to defy the betting odds and win a medal at London 2012, after the women’s team successfully qualified by beating Mexico at the recent Archery World Cup competition at the Golden Spikes Event Centre in Ogden.

It was a close call as to who would eventually be on the plane to London, as both teams had regulation scores of 213, and then in the shoot-off, they each posted identical scores of 127.

Up stepped Jennifer Nichols, whose arrow went closest to the dead-center of the bull’s-eye to knock the Mexicans out and ensure that the USA women’s team would return to the Olympic Games, having missed out in Beijing.

For Nichols herself, it will be a third visit to the Games, and she will be joined by the exciting 19-year-old Miranda Leek who is already ranked number one in the USA and 9th in the world. Read the rest of this entry →

Can Spain End USA’s Olympic Basketball Domination? 4

Posted on June 01, 2012 by John Ogalbe

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will be playing on different teams during the London Olympics.

Since basketball was first included as an Olympic Games event at Berlin, in 1936, the United States has been very much the dominant force. They won every gold medal up to 1972, when the Soviet Union finally beat them in Munich.

However, since then, it has been mostly a case of ‘normal service resumed’, with just two instances of bronze (Seoul 1988 and Athens 2004) tarnishing the otherwise brilliant glow emitted from the gold cabinet.

None of this comes as a surprise, when you consider that the NBA is the strongest basketball association in the world. Indeed, in the 1990’s, the USA were able to call on the services of none other than the legendary Michael Jordan, to help secure their rightful place at the top of the tree.

They can be beaten, as Argentina proved at Athens 2004, but there was no chance of a repeat shock, four years ago, when LA Lakers player, Kobe Bryant, led the USA to gold in Beijing. He is now in his thirties though, and that will give hope to the other 11 teams in the competition, notably, Spain, who have become a real force in world basketball of late. They have their own talisman in Pau Gasol. 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.

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