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Sports Then and Now



Common Back Injuries and How Athletes Can Treat and Prevent Them 0

Posted on August 28, 2018 by Joe Fleming

BoltBack injuries are a common issue among athletes, especially those who compete at a high level.

For example, before he retired, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt had to take a significant amount of time off from his sport to deal with severe back pain. Professional golfer Tiger Woods also had to take time off as he underwent surgery to repair a damaged disc.

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to suffer from a back injury, though. Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned pro, it’s important to know how to treat and prevent these common back injuries.

Common Back Injuries

The following are the most common types of back injuries that athletes tend to experience:

Lower Back Injuries

Many athletes struggle with lower back injuries. The following are some of the most common injuries they experience:

  • Back strains (injuries to the soft tissues — muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, etc.)

  • Spondylolysis (stress fractures in the lower lumbar spine)

  • Herniated discs (the nucleus — center of the discs of the spine — ruptures outside of the normal place)

Runners, golfers, gymnasts, and weightlifters most frequently experience lower back injuries. Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

Tyson Gay is the Last Man Standing in 2010 12

Posted on August 24, 2010 by Rojo Grande

Tyson Gay stands alone as Bolt and Powell throw in the towel.

It was supposed to have been the climactic finale – the mouth-watering replay of 2009′s World Championship 100-meter dash in Berlin.

Yes, that race.

The one where Usain Bolt obliterated his own amazing 9.69 world record from Beijing, 2008.

The one where Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, the world’s next fastest sprinters ever, were sucked along in Bolt’s draft to post incredible yet inadequate times of their own (9.71 and 9.84).

The one which catapulted Bolt into stratospheric realms, beyond the reach of mere humanity.

But that was 2009 and this is 2010 – and since that race, a few million gallons of water has flowed under the bridge:

  • Later in 2009, Gay established a new American record (9.69) in Shanghai in a race he described as “not technically good”.
  • The 2010 season has been the quadrennial “down year” with no global championships, thus many athletes have used 2010 as a year to retreat from intensive training regimens to rest and heal.
  • The new Diamond League series of 14 international meets was launched, promising track and field fans multiple head-to-head showdowns. While there were several extremely talent-laden meets and exceptional performances, many of the elite match-ups failed to materialize because of the down year or debilitating injuries.
  • Gay beat Powell in Gateshead, beat Bolt in Stockholm, and established the season’s best time (9.78) in London.
  • Bolt and Powell have since shut down their seasons, citing lower back (some say spine) problems.

So now, instead of the Big Three getting together in Brussels this Friday in the final Diamond League meet (and that sumptuous re-match of 2009), only Gay remains to give fans a glimpse of the brilliance which might have been. Read the rest of this entry →

Tyson Gay Brings Usain Bolt Back to Earth 2

Posted on August 07, 2010 by Rojo Grande

Like the elusive butterfly, Usain Bolt fluttered about the cosmic regions just beyond the reach of mere humanity. His fame and image took on such lofty levels after his utter demolition of two world records* – not once, but twice.

All along, Bolt had shunned his public deification, insisting he could be beaten, if only on a bad day.

But his followers would hear none of it, exalting him even higher – into aerie territory reserved for the likes of Jordan, Pele, Ali…

Ever the realist, Bolt again left a thin crack in the door, saying 2010 would be his rivals’ best chance at an upset. His primary focus would be on 2011 (World Championships) and 2012 (Olympics).

To American Tyson Gay, who wears the mantle of “world’s second-fastest human” like a dirty rag, the crack in Bolt’s door must have seemed like the gaping maw of paradise. Read the rest of this entry →

Track and Field: Keep it Pure and Simple 5

Posted on May 25, 2010 by Rojo Grande

The common kitchen match.

It’s been around for nearly two centuries, essentially unchanged. Today’s high-tech geniuses have not come up with a cheaper, safer, more portable source of fire.

John Browning’s Colt .45 auto-loading pistol.

In an age where a missile can be guided through a knothole from outer space, Browning’s 1911 design is still without peer in regard to efficiency and reliability.

The Great White shark.

No frills. No attractive lures. It sees what it wants and gets it. Over millennia, it has not changed or evolved. The perfect killing machine has no need to adapt.

The beauty is in the simplicity.

Since man first became aware of his own existence, he followed a pattern observed in his fellow four-legged creatures: a playful pre-enactment of more serious matters to come.

Just as young pups and adolescent colts feigned fighting as practice for future survival, humans engaged in games, mimicking the skills necessary for hunting and warfare.

Running, jumping, throwing.  Strength, agility, speed. An inborn competitive spirit drove man to seek the fastest, the strongest, the most enduring.

And such was the genesis of what we now call Track and Field.

The basic elements of my favorite sport have not changed over the centuries. It still comes down to a single individual, sometimes with a single implement, striving against an opponent to determine how fast, how high, or how far.

No frills, no protective gear, rain or shine, clothed in only the essentials. Competition in it’s most raw and fundamental form.This is why the sport appeals to me.

The beauty is in the simplicity.

Lately my sport has lost some of it’s popularity. Some blame drugs. Some blame a lack of media attention. Others say not enough blood and violence.

The drugs have been prevalent in almost every sport. Track and Field now has one of the most stringent testing regimens in sport, to the point of even banning some substances which have no performance enhancing properties at all. The modern athlete is subject to an ever-invasive presence few of us are even aware of.

Since the “Golden Age of Track and Field” (1960s and 70s), yes, media attention has been diverted to other sports, more by default than public demand.

When one considers the two Track and Field powers of that day (USSR and USA), perhaps the two misguided Olympic boycotts in 1980 and 1984 did more harm to the sport than good for the world. Ponder the timing.

Blood and violence? Society, with it’s onslaught of non-stop multimedia and virtual reality has become de-sensitized, and clamors for more and more stimulus. Is the sight of Usain Bolt twice demolishing two world records not stimulus enough?

The temptation by those in power, to right the sport’s ship, may tend toward the way of the world: more glitz and gimmicks. I appeal to those in power to not go down that road. It will surely lead to the dilution of one of history’s purest sports.

The appeal is in the raw purity of the sport

IAAF’s inaugural Diamond League Series, featuring the world’s top talent, teeters precariously in that direction. The format eliminates many of the traditional events at each venue to satisfy the time constraints of television and a perceived “microwave” society.

While the basic concept is good in that it does guarantee the most elite athletes will appear at 14 venues across the globe, the series needs some tinkering. What is not guaranteed is that the best of the best will consistently meet head-to-head throughout the season.

A thrill-seeking public will quickly tire of yet another predictable outcome when superstar meets “also-rans”.

Given Track and Field’s steady popularity over the decades, perhaps a look back would be more prudent in searching for answers.

The current down cycle in the sport is but a blip in the grand scheme of things.

Track and Field has endured the Fall of Rome, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the Inquisition, the Industrial Revolution, two World Wars and the Beatles. Through it all, it has maintained its purity, simplicity and integrity.

Society is not the constant in this equation. Our sport is.

Society will eventually sicken itself as its tolerance level for more stimulus is finally achieved. It will come full circle and again long for the pure and simple. Hopefully our beloved sport will be there waiting, unchanged, for a new generation of fans.

The beauty will be in the simplicity.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Paul Warfield: The Perfect Receiver
      December 10, 2018 | 3:36 pm

      Warfield-DolphinsThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was perfection personified as a wide receiver during his NFL career.

      Known for his fluid movement, grace and jumping ability during his 13 year NFL career, Paul Warfield was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and key performer for the Miami Dolphins during their 17-0 campaign in 1972.

      Because the role of the wide receiver has changed so much and today’s star receivers get the ball thrown to them so many more times than in the pre-1978 era, Warfield is often overlooked when discussing all-time greats.

      But, think about this. Warfield averaged 20.1 yards per catch for his career (427 receptions, 8,565 yards) and 19.9% of his receptions went for touchdowns (85). By comparison, Julio Jones has averaged 15.5 yards per catch for his career and a touchdown in 6.9% of his receptions (46 TDs in 669 catches). Antonio Brown averages 13.4 ypc and a TD in 8.7% (70 of 804) of his receptions. Terrell Owens averaged 14.8 ypc and a TD in 14.2% of his receptions. Even Jerry Rice, considered the greatest receiver of all-time, averaged only 14.8 ypc and a TD in 12.7% of his catches.

      Read more »

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