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Sports Then and Now



5 Once In A Lifetime Sporting Experiences To Tick Off 1

Posted on June 01, 2017 by John Harris

5-Experiences-1Being a sports fan comes with passion, dedication, heartbreak, and ecstasy. It is a lifestyle littered with the unpredictable. But no matter who you support or what sport you play, there is one thing all sports fans can agree on; live events always offer up the best experiences you’ll ever be apart of. That’s why we have compiled a list of some absolutely must-have experiences every sports nut should soak up in person, with your own eyes; your heart beating so hard you can see it through your shirt.

5-Experiences-2The Kentucky Derby

Being in the infield at the Kentucky Derby is one of those rare experiences that you are likely to never forget, and yet may not remember either. The atmosphere, the booze, the suave suits and crazy hats and the big bucks get thrown down. It is electric. Yes, there is something nice and fancy about being in a suite, but nothing beats being in the middle of drunken horse-racing fans, cheering and jeering their horse with the dreams of leaving a little richer. Read the rest of this entry →

What the Marvin Sharp Case Means for the 2016 Olympics 3

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 →

4 Questions Raised by Michael Phelps’s Return to Olympic Competition 4

Posted on August 29, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Just when we had begun contemplating a summer Olympics without swimming veteran and champion Michael Phelps, we suddenly find we don’t have to.

He shocked everyone with the unexpected announcement that he would be stepping out of retirement to compete for gold once more.

Perhaps it’s because he truly missed being in the water: what some consider to be his natural element. Others think it could be the leader in him, as performances by other American swimmers leave much to be desired as of late.

michael phelps

As all eyes turn to Brazil, the host nation of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, there are some questions that many would like to see answered by and of Phelps before he hits the water in a couple of years’ time.

Why did he Leave Retirement?

“I missed being in the water,” said Phelps of his absence. “And I missed those kinds of races.” Read the rest of this entry →

The Tragic Story of Hockey in Czechoslovakia 3

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Czechoslovakia was a hockey power during the 1940s and 1950s, winning gold medals in the World Championships in 1947 and 1949. The country’s national teams also won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics, losing to Team Canada on goal differential. Unfortunately, two tragic events ended the careers of most of the players responsible for this success, launching Czechoslovakian hockey into a dark period where they did not win a major tournament for over 20 years.

czechoslovak-national-hockey-team-probably-1949

The Plane Crash

In 1948, the Czechoslovakian team was on top of the world, having taken over as perhaps the most dominant hockey nation in the world. In preparation for the upcoming 1949 World Hockey Championships, the team scheduled a couple of exhibition games against Great Britain. The team would fly from Paris, where they had been staying, to London for these games.

Eight of the players flew out the day before the game and spent the night in a hotel. These players arrived without incident and made their way to Wembley Stadium the next day for the game. The remaining six players stayed in Paris for an extra night and left the morning of the game. These players, Miroslav Pokorny, Zdenek Svarc, Zdenek Jarkovsky, Karel Stibor, Vilibard Stovik and Ladislav Trojak, were never heard from again, as their plane vanished over the English Channel.

Read the rest of this entry →

Does Team USA Have What It Takes to Win Hockey Gold in Sochi? 2

Posted on December 03, 2013 by Scott Huntington

“Do you believe in Miracles?!” Better question: Can you believe the United States Men’s Ice Hockey Team hasn’t won gold in 33 years? After coming heartbreakingly close to pulling an even bigger upset over Team Canada in 2010, Team USA may have assembled the strongest roster since its Gold Medal Lake Placid team from 1980. GMs David Polle, Ray Shero and Director of Player Personnel Brian Burke have a huge talent pool to choose from this time around, and the names of the 48 invitees to orientation camp reflect not only the proven NHL talent that the United States has built up, but also the youth that USA Hockey’s development program has been fostering. The caliber of this talent pool is a testament to the progress that USA Hockey has made in creating a youth development program that rivals that of our Neighbor to the North. With well-respected Jack Adams winner Dan Bylsma behind the bench, Team USA has high expectations not only from fans, but from the international hockey community.USA hockey

Read the rest of this entry →

Olympic Track & Field History: 4 Interesting Sprint Sub-Plots 13

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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