Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Six of the Most Frequently Forgotten Sports of the Summer Olympics 1

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Brooke Chaplan

Olympic SailingThe Summer Olympics are always an exciting set of games played by the most elite athletes from all over the world. People from every corner of the globe travel or tune in to see the best compete for the gold. Fan favorites include gymnastics, swimming, and track and field events. However, there are a number of other events that don’t get the attention and support they might deserve. Here are a few of the lesser known, but just as exciting sports to check out in the upcoming year.

Canoe (Slalom/Sprint)
Canoeing entered the Olympic games in the 1936 Berlin games. Before it was often featured as a demonstration event. Athletes compete in canoes carrying one or two passengers. The event is typically 500 meters or 1000 meters. The length has changed over the years, with much longer races occurring in the past. The most recent change is the addition of a 200 meter event in 2009.

Handball
The Summer Olympic Games in Berlin also featured the debut of handball as an event. It was later dropped, then returned in 1972, again in Berlin. Women’s handball was added in 1976.

Water Motorsports
In 1900, water motorsports was featured as a demonstration sport of motorboats. The event was held only once as an actual event in 1908 and featured three races. The course was 40 miles and was hindered by gale force winds and wasn’t competed again. Most motor powered sports haven’t been introduced in the official Olympics, but fans of motocross, snowmobiling, and other sports can enjoy smaller events and competitions that feature worldwide athletes. Places like Bob’s Cycle & Snowmobile Supply stores and other sellers make this sport possible and affordable for more athletes all over.

Sailing
Although a less popular event than swimming, sailing can be an interesting water sport for its biggest fans. Formerly known as yachting, this event can be tricky to maneuver due to harsh weather conditions. It has been around since the Games of the Olympiad held in Greece in 1896 and has been present at every contest minus 1904.
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Celebrating Jesse Owens on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 3

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 136 Jesse OwensTo celebrate Martin Luther King Day, allow me to acknowledge one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

This extraordinary man helped initiate racial dialogue in America way back then in 1936 and will unwittingly do so now 80+ years later when a major motion picture about his life entitled Race releases next month.

Before MLB’s Jackie Robinson, the NFL’s Jim Brown, the NBA’s Wilt Chamberlain or boxing’s Joe Louis, track star Jesse Owens was regarded as the USA’s first ever African American sports icon.

On our country’s national holiday, let’s remember this great American who flew past his competitors on the track and soared above the hate and discrimination that he faced away from it.

The son of an Alabama sharecropper, James Cleveland Jesse Owens battled pneumonia as a sickly child before his family moved north to Cleveland, Ohio.

Years later, a much stronger and healthier 5’10” and 165 lb. Owens blossomed as an outstanding track and field athlete at Ohio State University. Read the rest of this entry →

Billy Mills: A Giant Killer and Trail Blazer 1

Posted on December 08, 2009 by Rojo Grande
Billy Mills is the only American to win a gold medal in the 10,000 meter run.

Billy Mills is the only American to win a gold medal in the 10,000 meter run.

“You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity; way down deeper, where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. It’s the pursuit of the dream that heals you.”

These are the words of a Lakota (Sioux) father to his young son struggling with the whys of poverty, adversity, and racism in 1940s America.

When the young Oglala Lakota brave was 12 years old his father died, leaving him an orphan. Wisely, he took his father’s advice and pursued sports in his quest to find that dream.

Football and boxing filled the void for a time, but the young lad discovered a special connection to his inner dream when he took up distance running.

“All I had was the pursuit of a dream: I wanted to be an Olympian,” the boy would later say.

He was a natural. He found success in high school, setting numerous school records. Bill Easton, the track coach at the University of Kansas, was impressed with the gangly youngster and offered him a track scholarship.

Opportunity knocked…and Billy Mills opened the door.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Al Bumbry: From Bronze Star to AL Rookie of the Year
      May 31, 2021 | 2:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month won a Bronze Star in Vietnam before going on to win American League Rookie of the Year honors and playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues.

      Though only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Al Bumbry was a four-year basketball player at Virginia State College (now University). The school restarted its baseball program during his career and Bumbry hit .578 during his senior season to earn notice from the Baltimore Orioles, who picked him in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

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