Monday, February 27, 2006

// // Leave a Comment

What the 2006 Winter Olympics Taught Me

These are a few of the lessons I learned from the Winter Olympic Games: 1) If you’re female and you snowboard, you’re hot. There’s just something about it. 2) Speeds near 90 m.p.h. are typical in bobsled, luge, and skeleton races. Amazing. 3) Olympic ski teams have incredibly large support crews that manage and support the athletes, ranging from engineers that prepare and test the equipment to meteorologists who predict the racing conditions. 4) To “boot out” is a speed skating term meaning to lean so far into a turn that the side of the boot of your skate touches the ice, lifting the blade from the ice, and sending you sliding into the wall. 5) Bob Costas is still the man. 6) The Olympic Games are about pure competition, in a form that we don’t get to see too often in modern sports. They are experienced in seeing a person fall off the face of a mountain, lay injured and motionless, and then the next day appear back at the top of that same mountain; or a speed skater crying at the start line because her grandfather, who had traveled to see her compete, had died just hours earlier; or a favored biathlete who had fallen in the first seconds of his race be given a chance to win as his countrymen move to the front of the pack to slow down the race until he recovers. Despite some of the media criticism, I think the Olympic Games are fantastic, and I hope they endure and continue to provide a venue for great competition and for “struggles.” I think the first fantasy games were a complete success. Congratulations to Bryan and Dustin who showed us what it takes to win the game. Good job on pulling ahead for the bronze, Jeremy. I was glad to participate. See you back here again for the summer games in ’08.
Read More

Sunday, February 26, 2006

// // Leave a Comment

Medal olympics team, points and games

The closing ceremonies are nearly upon us and all the U.S. medal hopefuls have competed. That means this year's winter games -- and the inagural year of Fantasy Olympics -- are over. Here are the final results: Gold: If You Don't Have Olympic Fever, It Might Be Dysentary (Bryan) - 20 points Silver: Cuddling with Lee's Mom (Dustin) - 18 points Bronze: Jer-Bear's Stairwells (Jeremy) - 8 points Certificate of Participation: Dark Cloud (Lee) - 4 points Amazingly, this year's contest turned out exactly like the pre-Olympic power rankings predicted. Looks like SI was on top of things. Still, we weren't without our share of surprises. Those are outlined below. Before I get to my post-Olympic awards, I just wanted to take an opportunity to share my thoughts on the Olympic games. I've listened to the American media complain all week about how "disappointing" the U.S. team has been in Torino. It's clear to me that these people haven't done any research on Olympic history. Yes, Bode Miller was a disaster, Lindsey Jacobellis cost herself a gold medal by showboating and the Shani Davis-Chad Hedrick feud was ugly for a while. But lost in all this were the heroes of these games... people like Ted Ligety, Julie Mancuso and Joey Cheek. And let's make one thing clear: this year's team has performed better than any U.S. team in history at an Olympics held outside the United States. The old medal record for such an Olympics was 13; this year's team netted 25, just two shy of the all-time American record set four years ago in Salt Lake City. They finished second in the medal count for the second straight winter games -- only traditional powerhouse Germany did better. So let's get some perspective, people. The media is so quick to jump on anyone who makes even the smallest mistake -- like poor Sasha Cohen, who is being roundly criticized for winning a silver medal -- that they lose sight of the big picture. Either that, or Americans are so arrogant that they expect to win the medal count every time out, even though the Americans have never done so at a Winter Olympics. Contrary to what has been said over the last week, this Olympic team has not been a disappointment; in fact, it has been one of the most successful American teams of all time. So let's take the time to enjoy it! Post-Olympic Awards MVP: Chad Hedrick With a trio of medals, Hedrick racked up a total of six points to lead all athletes. If not for an unlikely gold medal for Julia Mancuso, Hedrick would have led Dustin's team to victory. Biggest Draft Bust: Halie Kim Kim was the only first-round pick that didn't win multiple medals -- and she did win any. Lee's team never really stood a chance as Hedrick, Davis and Ohno kept winning more medals. The closest Kim came to a medal was a fourth place finish in the women's short-track relay. Biggest Draft Steal: Hannah Teter The golden girl of the halfpipe wasn't picked until the sixth round, providing Bryan's team with three valuable points late in the draft. Biggest Disappointment: Bode Miller Miller will now rank with Reebok's Dan and Dave as the biggest Olympics disappointments of all-time. Powered by Nike's "Join Bode" campaign and the media frenzy surrounding his comments on 60 Minutes, Miller was the most-hyped ahtlete coming in to this year's Games. He was a favorite to medal in as many as five events. Instead, he left with no medals and was disqualified from more races than he finished. Biggest Surprise(s): Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety (tie) Coming into the Games, everyone was talking about the medal chances of alpine skiers Miller, Rahlves and Lindsey Kildow. But Mancuso and Ligety shocked the world by winning gold while the rest of the alpine team came up empty handed. The timing of Mancuso's winning runs will make her a Fantasy Olympics legend, as her gold medal provided the winning points for Bryan's team. Biggest Story Line: The Shani Davis-Chad Hedrick feud The feud between these champion speed skaters spilled over into the league, as Davis scored crucial points for Bryan's team and Hedrick carried Dustin's team to a near-victory. Thankfully, Davis and Hedrick were finally able to bury the hatchet, and Davis was seen cheering Hedrick on duing the 10,000m finals. Hopefully, Bryan and Dustin will be able to overcome their differences as well. Best Free Agent Move: Lee picks up Kathleen Kauth Lee was the only one who managed to pick-up a free agent that actually earned a medal for his team by dropping biathlete Jeremy Teela and picking up Kauth of the U.S. women's hockey team to earn a bronze medal. Worst Free Agent Move: Dustin drops Ben Agosto When Michelle Kwan withdrew from the competition, Dustin made what would have been the best free agent move of the Games by picking up Ben Agosto. If he had stuck with Agosto, Dustin would have earned another silver medal and finished in a tie for first. But a few days later, Dustin dropped Agosto and picked up Emily Hughes, costing himself two points. Top Undrafted Athletes -Danny Kass went undrafted and earned a silver medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe -As the media swarmed to 2002 gold medalist Vonetta Flowers, Shauna Rohbock led USA-2 to silver in the women's bobsled competition. -Three of the league's four teams picked up members of the women's curling team, but it was the men's curling team that emerged with a bronze medal -Rosey Fletcher, appearing in her third Olympics, won bronze in the women's snowboard giant slalom. I think that does it for this year's Games. The Fantasy Olympics were definitely a huge success, so we'll probably have even more teams for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. And as for the next Winter Olympics in 2010, I'll see you guys in Vancouver (yes, I'm actually planning to go... it should be a blast!)
Read More

Thursday, February 16, 2006

// // Leave a Comment

Cost Team USA medal

After one week, we’ve seen a lot of surprises at the Olympic Games. Lee’s Mom has experienced the thrill of victory as upstart Ted Ligety won the gold. The Stairwells have experienced the agony of defeat as American “stars” Bode Miller and Apollo Ohno have come up empty. With a week to go, many more surprises could be on the horizon. But let’s take a look at where the teams stand so far. 1. Dustin – four medals, 12 points Seth Wescott’s gold today in snowboard cross put Dustin’s team alone in first place. Already with four gold medals to his credit, Dustin may be on his way to breaking Eric Heiden’s Winter Olympic record of five gold medals. The best events are still ahead for Chad Hedrick and Jennifer Rodriguez… and who knows what else Ligety – certainly the steal of the draft in the fifth round – is capable of. Were it not for disappointing performances from Jeremy Bloom and Mark Grimmette, this contest could already be over. Still, Dustin appears to be in control for now. 2. Bryan – four medals, 9 points After loading up early on snowboard medals, Bryan is going to need some help from Shani Davis and his duo of alpine skiers if he hopes to get past Dustin. Hopefully, Lindsey Kildow’s gutsy performance in the downhill will propel her to success in the events to come. Tabith Belbin also has a chance to medal. If these athletes step up, Bryan’s team still has a chance. 3. Jeremy – no medals, 0 points Ohno and Miller have each laid an egg so far, but they still have five events between them. If they are able to win some medals, preferably gold, the Stairwells will be right back in the thick of things. A solid performance from Sasha Cohen is also a must. Not surprisingly, Jeremy’s cross country skier and biathlete came up empty. 4. Lee – no medals, 0 points A Dark Cloud certainly seems to have settled over Lee’s Team. First-round pick Halie Kim looked awful in her first event and rumors of an injured ankle have to pose a concern about her medal potential. Lee’s best hope for a medal is probably Lindsey Jacobellis, who is the last medal contender from the high-powered U.S. snowboarding team. Rahlves and Hays also have a chance to reach the podium. As for the rest of his team, it will take a big surprise to get more than one medal from that group. Right now, he appears to be out of it… but never say never at the Olympics. Random Olympic thoughts… No, I am not a Bodeist. So stop asking, Nike… but seriously, has there ever been an American athlete with more hype do absolutely nothing? What? This happens all the time? Like every year at the NFL and NBA drafts? Are you serious?... either way, Bode needs to shut up and win something… Random note: Apollo Ohno is dating Allison Baver, also a member of the short track team. But I’m guessing they didn’t meet on the ice. Those speed skating outfits aren’t flattering on anyone… One thing we learned watching Lindsey Kildow’s gutsy downhill run: She could definitely beat me up. That girl is tough… Is Ohno turning into Dan Jansen? He seems to be falling down a lot… Just for the heck of it: Johnny Spillane… I feel bad for Michelle Kwan, but I think she did the right thing by stepping aside gracefully… The U.S. snowboarders have been dominant. But the real question is, does anyone outside of America care about snowboarding?... Shani Davis was the only world class speed skater that didn’t participate in the team pursuit and it cost Team USA medal. Selfish? You bet… Thanks to Johnny Weir, I think we can safely say that men’s figure skating has never been gayer than it is right now… The American men’s hockey team is terrible...
Read More

best dry herb vaporizer