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Sports Then and Now



Eric Heiden: Speed Skating Superstar 4

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Dean Hybl

The February Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the individual star of the Winter Olympics best remembered for the performance of one team.

During the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, 21-year-old Eric Heiden completely dominated the men’s speed skating events winning all five gold medals. Read the rest of this entry →

Apolo Ohno Skating His Way into Olympic Glory 8

Posted on February 27, 2010 by JA Allen
Ohno stays upright during the 2010 Olympics 500-meter short-track finals.

Ohno stays upright during the 2010 Olympics 500-meter short-track finals.

What did I love about the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Without a doubt, it was Apolo Anton Ohno and the exciting world of short-track speed skating.  What a ride!

Yes, Ohno was robbed of a silver medal in the 500-meter short-track speed skating final.  Come on, ref!  The only fair thing to do was to start the race over or “replay the point, gentlemen,” because no one escaped the hands-on havoc during the last lap of that terrific race.

Ohno came into the final as the defending champion, having won the gold in the 500-meters four years ago.  But no one really expected him to repeat in 2010, although you can never count Ohno out.  The man simply does not know how to quit.

27-year old Ohno definitely was not the fastest man on the ice last night but he was the smartest and perhaps the most powerful, experienced and determined.  Like a cat with two more lives to spare, Ohno went after the medal and took his chances.

Read the rest of this entry →

7 Olympic Medals and Counting for Apolo Ohno 5

Posted on February 21, 2010 by JA Allen

OK – I confess.

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2007 Winners of Dancing with the Stars Apolo Ohno and Julianne Hough.

I watched Apolo Anton Ohno on Dancing with the Stars and fell in love with him as he moved that gorgeous blond Julianne Hough around the floor.  He was, in a word, magnificent.

That radiant smile and generous persona lit up the airwaves.  The man knows how to please and how to dance…

How does that translate into Olympic speed skating?  Practically speaking, Ohno has become a cottage industry for the Olympics.  He has drawn his Dancing with the Stars fans in droves into this exciting Olympic event.  His charm and genuine good humor also endear him to speed skating fans and fellow athletes around the world.

Saturday night as he skated in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the 1,000 meter short-track, it was difficult to watch, waiting for Ohno to do the seemingly impossible once again.  He has made a habit of finding a way to medal in cliffhanger fashion.

Last night in the semifinals where he had to finish in the top two, his original move to pass on the outside was thwarted and Ohno found himself in trouble once again.  But the wily American simply waited until there was a microscopic opening and darted past on the inside, securing second place and earning a spot in the finals.

I finally remembered to breathe as the replays began.

Did I fail to mention that Pacific Coliseum was packed.  Yes, there were two Canadian brothers skating in the event, but the cheers for Ohno also rocked the place as he has become a focal point for advertisers and commentators at the Winter Olympics held in Vancouver in 2010.

In the finals Ohno almost suffered the agony of defeat.  After making a daring move into second place with 2 1/2 laps to go, Ohno slipped, almost falling and found himself at the back of the pack in an instant. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Read more »

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