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Archive for the ‘Summer Olympics’


The Greatest Olympic 100m Champions 12

Posted on July 28, 2011 by Rod Crowley

With the countdown on to the 2012 London Olympics (yesterday was one year til the opening ceremony), I’ll be starting a new series of posts looking at some of the greatest Olympians. To start off here’s a view on the best ever 100m runners.

Who was or is the best ever Olympic Mens 100m Champion is not necessarily the easiest question to answer but having seen Usain Bolt take the Gold Medal in a new World Record time in the 2008 Olympic Final at the Beijing Olympic games, it is difficult to challenge that the reigning champion is the best ever, but who else must be considered?

Bolt of course also took the Gold Medal in the 200m in Beijing and has since gone on and broken that world record several times. His current record of 9.58 recorded in Berlin in 2009 will be hard for even him to beat and it is why he is the favorite in the 100m Odds to win a second Olympic Gold medal next year at London 2012.

The Olympic champion from the 2000 Games in Sydney, Maurice Greene was an outstanding champion in his own right. He was a world record holder during his heyday and also won two 100m world championships in Athens and Seville.

Greene, who is an American is also a former world indoor champion as well as the world record holder for the 60m and is the joint fastest man of all time over the 50m dash. Read the rest of this entry →

Biggest Milestones in U.S. Women’s Sports History 7

Posted on July 23, 2011 by Jena Ellis

Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman to win three Gold Medals in a single Olympics.

America’s heartbreaking loss to Japan in the Women’s World Cup final, though painful, was hardly a setback for women’s sports in this country. During this summer, the world’s No. 1 team provided enough drama to captivate men and women from coast to coast, drawing large television audiences and even setting a Twitter record of 7,196 tweets per second. Hope Solo and Abby Wambach became household names and served as inspiration for girls who strive to play soccer and other sports at the highest levels. None of it would’ve happened, however, without the following milestones. Each one marked an important moment in not just women’s sports history, but sports history.

1. President Nixon makes Title IX a reality (1972)
Signed into law by the socially moderate President Nixon, Title IX specified that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Participation in women’s sports has grown significantly in the decades following its passage, as a 2008 study indicated that women’s college athletics has expanded to 9,101 teams (8.65 per school).

2. Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals (1960)
Women’s track and field became one of the Olympics’ flagship events thanks to Rudolph, who became the first American woman to secure three gold medals (100m, 200m, 4 x 100m relay) during the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Dubbed “the fastest woman in history,” a worldwide audience was able to witness her blazing speed on television, enabling her popularity to soar. Her impact was especially felt in the US, where a demand for equality was just beginning to manifest.

3. Women’s soccer wins its second World Cup (1999)

This one was extra special because the US was the host country, allowing the women’s soccer team to demonstrate its talent before pro-American home crowds, interest that even surprised the players. Never before had America rallied behind a women’s team in such a manner — most people forgot about the gender distinction and milestones, and just rode the wave of patriotism to the final. That’s when, of course, Brandi Chastain memorably connected on the game-winning penalty kick, ripping off her jersey in exuberance. With 90,185 fans in attendance, it became the most-attended women’s sporting event in history. At the time, it garnered a remarkable 11.4 rating, the most-watched soccer game in US television history and one-tenth of a point higher than the average rating of that summer’s NBA Finals. Read the rest of this entry →

“The Blade Runner” One Step Closer to Olympic Dream 5

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Rojo Grande

Try to wrap your brain around this scene:

An 11-month-old South African baby lies in a post-op recovery room, having just had both legs amputated just below the knees.

As his parents hover over the boy, they put aside their own doubts and fears to bravely speak words of affirmation and hope.

Yet secretly, in private moments, they wonder how their child will ever cope in a world populated by people with legs, ankles and feet.

As is true in much of life, the outward appearance often speaks the loudest while hidden inside, the attributes of courage, heart and determination quietly do their work and ultimately have the last word.

Oscar Pistorius was born without fibulae (lower leg bones). His deformed lower legs were surgically removed before he was a year old. He was fitted with carbon fiber prostheses which emulate the function of leg bones, ankles and feet.

In time, the boy with no legs became actively involved in rugby, water polo and tennis. In 2004, he took up running as a therapeutic recovery exercise following a rugby injury.

Before long he was dominating every Paralympics race he entered, from 100m through 400m. Eventually he became the world record holder in the “disabled” version of the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints.

In Beijing, 2008, he won sprinting’s Olympic triple crown (100m, 200m, 400m).

The “disabled” version.

Some would say his accomplishments represented the peak of his potential. But Oscar knew other, more able-bodied runners were producing faster times—and he wanted to run with the big dogs.

He even had visions of one day running beside the world’s best in the World Championships and especially in the Olympics. Read the rest of this entry →

Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century 4

Posted on June 26, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Babe Didrikson Zaharias was the most successful female athlete of her generation.

The LPGA will crown its 2011 champion later today, but it was on this date 100 years ago that one of the catalysts for the LPGA and the greatest female athlete of all-time was born.

Though there have been many great female athletes, none has ever been able to duplicate the athletic prowess or cross into the world of men’s sports with quite as much success as Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Whether competing in basketball, baseball track and field or golf, Zaharias wasn’t just considered to be “pretty good for a girl”, she was generally recognized as being a special athlete.

While Zaharias first enjoyed success in basketball, leading her team to a 1931 AAU Championship, it was track and field where she initially gained a larger following.

In the Spring of 1932 she entered the Amateur Track and Field Championships in Evanston, Illinois as the lone team member for the Employers Casualty Insurance Company of Dallas, Texas. Competing against teams that included as many as 22 women, the “one-woman track team” dominated the competition.

Zaharias won five events (broad jump, shot-put, javelin, 80-meter hurdles and the baseball throw) and tied for first in the high jump. She earned 30 total points in the team competition to finish well in front of the second place Illinois Women’s Athletic Club, which had 22 athletes and scored 22 points.

As a result of her amazing one-woman performance, Zaharias qualified for three events at the 1932 Summer Olympics, which were held in Los Angeles. She won the Olympic Gold Medal in the 80-meter hurdles and javelin and finished second in the high jump. Read the rest of this entry →

The Sad Demise Of West Indies Cricket 5

Posted on June 09, 2011 by Rod Crowley

By the end of the 1960’s the West Indies, under the inspired leadership of the game’s greatest ever player, Sir Garfield Sobers, had established themselves as the dominant cricket team in the world. Fifty years later they are almost nowhere to be seen!

The decline of cricket in the West Indies probably began in the mid 1980s but only became truly noticeable ten years or so later. At that time they still had the basis of a very strong bowling attack with Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose assuming the mantle from the formidable quicks of the past. Bowlers such as Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Gardner and Andy Roberts to name but just a few who were all capable of putting the fear of the God’s into any batsman brave enough to face them at the crease, never failing to take wickets in the process.

In the 90s they also had Brian Lara, who arguably was the best batsman on the planet at that time, although Sachin Tendulkar fans would argue vehemently to the contrary. Lara came off the same conveyor belt of batsman as those before him, players who would play with ferocity, flair, style, timing and always with golden smiles on their relaxed faces. Who could possibly forget the contributions made at the crease by the likes of Sobers, Sir Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge and Alvin Kallicharan?

From 1976 until 1991, the West Indies won 59 of 122 tests played, losing only 16 and were easily the best test team in the world. They soon became the best one day team in the world too, particularly once that version of the game began to flourish worldwide. Had T20 been around during those days, the other countries simply would not have turned up for the T20 World Cup, it would have been totally unfair.

Throughout the last century, each generation of West Indies cricket teams spawned their successors, cricket was the only game in those beautiful islands that anyone wanted to play. The stadium’s were crammed every match with the most colourful and musical crowds seen anywhere in the game. They were usually royally entertained by one or two outstanding innings played by one or two of their many outstanding batsmen. They relished too the cowering opposing batsman who had the temerity to stand up to their bowlers, before either having their wickets smashed or their fingers broken. It was often said that the short balls bowled by a West Indies bowler broke more hearts than it did digits!

Those halcyon days of West Indies cricket however seem to be over, other influences have arrived in the islands, mostly from their near neighbours, the USA. The extremely talented sportsmen the islands have always boasted are being tempted to try their hands at American sports while others take advantage of the educational facilities that become available to them from the States. Olympic Games 100 metre sprint champion, Usain Bolt, is a typical example of what outstanding athleticism can earn. He is already a multi-millionaire which is something that would have been impossible for him to achieve had he taken up his first sporting love, cricket, as his sport.

Many others are finding themselves involved in professional baseball and basketball, where money is the incentive and cricket is the forgotten. TV audiences in the country switch on to American TV these days dragging them further away from their sporting heritage and their potential future players further away from the game.

As it stands currently, the West Indies are ranked as the number seven of nine test playing teams in the world and are at number eight in the ODI rankings. Some are even suggesting that they may have to qualify to be involved in the next ODI World Cup, with teams like Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and Ireland threatening their position. All in all, it is a very sad demise and one as Michael Holding once said that they will never recover from.

Their current performances on in the series against India is evidence of just how far behind the West Indies have fall behind the game’s elite.

Oden Tale Is Familiar One For Portland Trail Blazer Fans 3

Posted on November 20, 2010 by Dean Hybl

There hasn't been a lot for Portland Trail Blazer fans to smile about since the selection of Greg Oden in the 2007 NBA Draft.

The announcement this week that Portland Trail Blazer center Greg Oden is out for the year while undergoing microfracture surgery for the second time in four years is simply the equivalent of tossing more salt into an old wound for Trail Blazer fans.

When Portland management made the decision in the spring of 2007 to bypass Texas forward Kevin Durant and choose Ohio State center Greg Oden with the first pick in the NBA Draft, fans hoped the move would work out better than a similar decision 23 years earlier.

In 1984, the Trail Blazers passed on selecting a young guard from North Carolina with the second pick in the NBA Draft to instead shore up their frontcourt with Kentucky big man Sam Bowie.

Over the next five seasons, Bowie would average 10.5 points per contest while playing in a grand total of 139 games for the Trail Blazers. Conversely, during those same five seasons, Michael Jordan claimed three of what would ultimately be 10 NBA scoring titles while building the Chicago Bulls into a franchise that would claim six NBA titles in the 1990s.

The reasoning at the time was that Jordan played a similar position to that of Clyde Drexler, who Portland had drafted the previous season out of the University of Houston. Drexler would go on to make eight All-Star appearances with the Trail Blazers and twice lead the team into the NBA Championship Series (including once against Jordan’s Bulls), but would never lead Portland to the title.

Similarly, when Portland approached the 2007 NBA Draft they felt second year swingman Brandon Roy was comparable in position and ability to Durant and instead needed to use the draft choice to enhance their frontcourt. Ironically, it was Roy who had represented the team at the NBA Lottery when they had received the top selection. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Early Wynn: 300 Game Winner
      August 1, 2020 | 8:37 pm
      Early Wynn

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month pitched in four decades, was a veteran of World War II and is one of only two pitchers to finish with exactly 300 career victories.

      Hall of Famer Early Wynn began his career as a 19-year old in 1939 by pitching three games for the Washington Senators. After spending the 1940 season in the minors, he went 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in a brief stint in the majors in 1941.

      Read more »

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