Monday, August 25, 2008

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Division points for bronze and gold won

All the calculations are finished and we have our winners: Gold: Fans of Gro Hammerseng (Ed/Will) from the Jenny Thompson Division Silver: The Minstrel Winos (Julie) from the Jesse Owens Division Bronze: Bristol Olympics (Peter) from the Mary Lou Retton Division It's also worth giving some recognition to Jim's Dino-Crushers (Jim) who won the Jim Thorpe Division and just missed out on the overall bronze thanks to the tie-breakers. All four of these teams featured Michael Phelps, but three divisions were won by non-Phelps teams: Tamara Willit Hurt (Leslie) won the Carl Lewis Division. The Torch Bearer (Christy) won the Matt Biondi Division. Uncle Sam's Chariot of Fire (Jeremy) won the Mark Spitz Division. Now, on to some other awards: Non-Phelps Gold Medal: Tamara Willit Hurt (Leslie), who racked up 47 points without Phelps. Leslie would have won in four different divisions... and not just because she is the Commissioner's wife. Worst Score with Phelps: Panda-monium (Virginia & Caroline), who scored just 35 points despite having 24 from Phelps. Dark Cloud Memorial Certificate of Participation: Cool Runnings (Charis), who scored just 4 points and finished last. You'll get'em next time, Charis. Most Ironic Name: Mao Tse Bronze (Shawn), who lived up to his name by finishing with - you guessed it - the bronze in the Mark Spitz Division. Biggest Draft Steal: Shiffer Brains (Brian), who got 8 points from Matt Grevers, who he drafted in the 12th round. Biggest Draft Bust: Cool Runnings (Charis), who missed the news about Morgan Hamm's injury and picked him in the first round... and never cut him. Best Team Name: Beijing Saddles (Jason) from the Jenny Thompson Division. Highest Scoring Division: Jenny Thompson Division with 239 points (we had to throw out the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Division, which had 8 people, and the Jim Thorpe Division, which had Australian athletes). Lowest Scoring Division: Carl Lewis Division and Mark Spitz Division (tie) with 206 points each. Final Standings: 1 Fans of Gro Hammerseng Ed 59 2 The Minstrel Winos Julie 57 3 Bristol Olympics Peter 55 4 Jim's Dino-Crushers Jim 55 5 Cubicle Farm Medalists Kat 52 6 Team TBD Gavin 52 7 Girls Rule, Boys Drool Courtney, Channing, Campbell 49 8 Tamara Willit Hurt Leslie C. 47 9 The Torch Bearer Christy 46 10 North of the 49th Parallel Roel 44 11 Hellooo Olympian! Dan 43 12 Rough Riders Zeb 42 13 Shiffer Brains Brian 41 14 Uncle Sam's Chariot of Fire Jeremy 40 15 Team (Your Company's Name Here) Lea D. 40 16 Jersey Sea Turtles Lauren 39 17 Beijing Saddles Jason 39 18 Team TBD Megan 38 19 The Fighting Irish Sara 37 20 Baylor Beijing Ballas Brandon 37 21 Hollywood's Heroes Mike 37 22 2Gym=1Swim A.J. 37 23 Two Hookers and a 41-year-old Mom AOL Sports 36 24 Phelps' Body Double Bryan 36 25 Big Momma Melissa 36 26 Team TBD Robby 36 27 REDSTORM Daniel 36 28 Panda-monium Virginia and Carolyn 35 29 WeGotGuns! Scott 34 30 The Gold Diggers Dustin and Gretchen 34 31 Team TBD Weston 34 32 Team TBD Tom C. 33 33 Orangeblooded Mike 32 34 Mao Tse Bronze Shawn 32 35 America's Red Army Shawn R. 31 36 Team TBD Steve 30 37 DrewsCrew Jim 30 38 Thunderball Marc 30 39 The Orioles Conor 29 40 Puscifer Laura 29 41 Destinee's Hookers Cameron 29 42 Team TBD Joel 29 43 Gang Green Joe 29 44 H.I.P.P.O.S Maria S. 28 45 Bling-Bling Travis 28 46 Team TBD Eric 28 47 Team TBD Benjamin 28 48 Team TBD Clay 28 49 The Drunken Sailors Helen 28 50 The Fighting Song Matt K. 28 51 The U.S. of France Andrew 27 52 Team TBD David 27 53 Chicago 2016 Tom G. 27 54 The Riptides Maeve 27 55 Agent XXIX Brandi 27 56 Dim Sum of This Lauren 26 57 People's Republic of Boozin Susan, Patrick, Erica and Paul 25 58 Summer Surge Wilson 25 59 USA Rocks the Olympics Isaac 24 60 Redeem Team Derek 23 61 THE Cinderella Story Stephanie S. 23 62 Aces Hadra 22 63 Run Like You Stole Something Wagner 22 64 Team Ryder Leslie 21 65 Marion Jones Steroid Puddle Scott 21 66 an yun Lee D. 20 67 USA RULES Dennis 18 68 The Hoyas Dave 18 69 FatGuyWins Cory 17 70 Oerter Team Steve S. 17 71 Cool Runnings Charis 4
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

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Olympic team of gold medal

As you may have heard, Oprah's season premiere episode will feature 150 Olympic medalists and help promote Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. The show will air next Monday (September 8), but they are taping it in Millennium Park this morning, right across from my office. Since I have to work, I didn't get tickets, but I did stop by this morning to check out the scene. I'll post some pictures later, but here were my impressions. -It certainly seems that Chicago loves the Olympics (or at least loves Oprah). The line at 8:00 a.m. stretched as far as the eye could see. I walked past at least 5 blocks of people waiting in line down Michigan Avenue... and these were just the people waiting to get lawn seats. That doesn't account for the additional 2,000 people who waited in long lines last Saturday to get pavilion seats. -Perhaps I was being naive, but I kind of thought I would be able to walk through the park and at least get a look at the stage. That was not the case. They had that place locked up tight, with police barricades stretching the length of the park on all sides and lots of police (not to mention Oprah's security folks, who dress like secret service and talk into their sleeves). I quickly realized I would have to get creative if I wanted my visit to be worthwhile. I saw a group of folks with blue wristbands (different than those given to the people in line), so I decided to see where they were headed. I followed them around to a back door, which was by the press entrance. There were tons of press lined up, so I figured that this is where the athletes were arriving. There were remarkably few "civilians" back there (probably scared off by the cops), so I shimmied right up the barricade. -The first athletes I spotted were Chris Bosh and Tayshaun Prince, sporting gold medals and Team USA warm-ups. They were actually inside already. Rumor was that everyone on the Redeem Team was able to make it except LeBron. I guess Oprah has some pull. I came to find out that most of the athletes arrived about 10 minutes before I got there aboard double decker buses (wish I had seen that), but the star of the show was yet to arrive: Michael Phelps was still on his way. -Next up was the women's gymnastics team, led by Nastia Liukin. I didn't see Shawn Johnson, but it looked like the rest of them were there. Of course, it was hard to see from my vantage point because all the girls were shorter than the railing... which was a stark contrast to the men's and women's hoops players. -Other Olympians I saw: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmello Anthony, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie, a couple other members of the women's basketball team (sorry ladies!), a couple guys who I am pretty sure were swimmers, and a few indoor volleyball players. -For the Mizzou fans in the crowd, I'm also pretty sure I spotted Ben Askren. The hair and the chin are, of course, pretty distinctive. The only thing that gave me pause was the fact that Ben didn't actually win a medal (he'll get'em in London, though... just you wait). I yelled out an "M-I-Z" but got no response. Either he didn't hear me or it wasn't him. -Now, the moment you've all been waiting for: Yes, I saw him. Michael Phelps was the last athlete to arrive, along with his mother and his sisters. Now, I'm not going to say he's a prima dona, but his entourage seemed a bit excessive. When three black Escalades and two unmarked police cars pulled up, the folks around me started to speculate that perhaps Barack Obama was showing up... or (GASP) it was finally Oprah!!!!! I was intrigued by the possibility of Obama, but couldn't care less about Oprah, so I was happy to see it was Phelps. He took a reasonable amount of time with the media before heading up to the staging area. But if you need to know how famous Phelps is, here's an example: As he was working his way down media row, two double decker buses and a trolley filled with the Olympians' families arrived. These people are all related in some way or another to Olympic medalists... and some of them were practically falling off the bus trying to get a shot of Phelps. I managed to get a pretty good one, which I hope to post later. -After Phelps, I had to get going (sorry ladies, no Oprah photos here), but I could tell she was coming because the media was all still in place. All in all, an interesting morning. It's not very often you see that many world class athletes in one place. It's also the closest I've ever been to an Olympic gold medal (that is, until Lee wins gold in the Modern Pentathlon).
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

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Teams for gold medal

Well, we're just over halfway done with this Olympics and we've already had our share of breathtaking moments. If you haven't been blown away by the performances of Michael Phelps (with some help from Jason Lezak), Nastia Liukin, and Natalie Coughlin, I'm not sure what to tell you. Plus, did you see that 100m final from Usain Bolt? Ridiculous. There have also been some fireworks in the Fantasy Olympics. Powered by Phelps, Cubicle Farm Medalists (Kat) has racked up an astonishing 51 points over the last nine days to take the overall lead. The question will be whether all the teams with Phelps can hang on. The only remaining medal hopefuls for Kat's team are Darvis Patton, Marcie van Dusen and Diana Lopez, so this is a long way from over. Even more surprising, some divisions are being led by teams without Phelps. With the help of some great value in the middle and late rounds (Lezak, Margaret Hoelzer, and Matt Grevers), Shiffer Brains is leading the Matt Biondi Division and could pull off the huge upset if Liukin, Bernard Lagat, Muna Lee and Mikele Barber can bring him home. Another battle is brewing over in the Mark Spitz Division where Uncle Sam's Chariot of Fire (Jeremy) is tied for first with Panda-monium (Virginia & Caroline), which features Phelps. It's also tight in the Shannon Miller Division, where the Jersey Sea Turtles (Lauren) trail the Phelps-powered North of the 49th Parallel (Roel) by just two points. It looks like it should be a tight race all the way to the finish and you never know who will surprise. Two years ago, we thought it would all come down to Shani Davis vs. Chad Hendrick before Julie Mancuso surprised us all with the gold. Who will it be this year? Let's take a look at the events coming up over the final week. 1. Lots of folks who couldn't get Phelps hitched their wagon to the U.S. Track team. They have been disappointing so far, but there's lots of running to do. The biggest event may be the men's 400m final on Thursday, which should be a showdown between 2004 gold medalist Jeremy Wariner and his American rival LaShawn Merritt. 2. Wednesday will the start of four big days if you have a member of the U.S. taekwondo team on your roster (also known as the Lopez family). A Steven Lopez three-peat could mean three huge points for your team. 3. The team finals at the end of the week will be huge. The softball team and women's hoops are expect to win without difficulty, but you never know at the Olympics. The women's soccer team should face a much stiffer challenge. The date circled on my calendar is next Sunday, where we'll see if the Redeem Team can finish off its gold medal run. Plenty of fantasy points to go around. 4. The beach volleyball finals are on Thursday and Friday, which could reward important medals late in the week if the remaining U.S. teams can avoid the upset. Hope everyone is having fun!
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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Open letter to the U.S. women's gymnastics team

Lea found this great open letter to the U.S. women's gymnastics team via The Best Week Ever: "Dear U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team, I am proud of you. You are a group of strong, intelligent, artistic women whose thighs could easily kill a man. So what if a group of 4-year-olds beat you? So what if some of you wobbled, stumbled, or fell? There’s a whole hell of a lot that you did and CAN do: You still have the ability to do flips in the air and land on a strip of wood that’s no wider than this box of chicken fries I’m eating right now. You can hurl your body into the air, do some crazy twists and turns, land on your BROKEN ankle, stick the landing, and still manage to smile like a champion. You can run across a giant mat that looks bouncy and fun but sounds (and feels) like it’s made of concrete when you land. You can rock a shiny leotard that looks like it was painted onto your body. You don’t need to wear a pound of glitter on your face to make yourself look like you’re an adult. China only beat you by 2.375 points. Most of that gap was a result of China’s impeccable performance on the uneven bars, not because of Alicia Sacramone’s fall off the balance beam. In case you couldn’t hear the announcers, who reminded us of this fact 400 times throughout the event, the girls on the Chinese team were taken away=2 0from their parents when they were still toddlers. At least you’ve got family! And you’re hot!"
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Monday, August 11, 2008

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Medal Counts and Rules Recap

Your Fantasy Olympics Committee hopes you are enjoying the already epic Olympic competition. (Did you see that swimming relay? Amazing.) In case you’ve not noticed, all medal counts will be updated by the Commissioner or a member of the Fantasy Olympics Committee. We aim to update medal and division counts by the end of the working day (Eastern time). So keep checking back to see where you stand. Also, we recap here the Rules and the Announcements to reiterate how we score the league: 1. For this Olympiad competition, we randomly divided 85 teams into 11 leagues. In light of the increased number of athletes at the summer games (nearly 600 on Team USA), each team picked 12 athletes plus 1 tiebreaker country. We will crown 11 league winners, in addition to an overall champion. The prize will remain the same as in the past: unending respect and admiration, and maybe a free drink from each of the other participants the next time you see them. 2. Remember: Each player will select a total of 12 athletes. Any athletes not drafted will be deemed Free Agents. Teams may add, drop or trade players through their first event. Whoever holds the athlete at the time of his or her first event is locked in and cannot remove the athlete from the roster. A player may draft a tiebreaker country in any round, but remember that the medals won by that country will only come into play in the event of a tie. 3. Medals in team sports can only count once toward the final total, and team sports can only be chosen by one person per league. For example, someone pinning their medal hopes on USA Basketball should choose the team, not LeBron James. After that team is chosen, no one else can choose that team. 4. However, anyone who competes in an individual sport (i.e., swimmers, runners, etc.) should be chosen individually, and each relay medal will count toward your total. The basketball player can't win an individual medal. However, if you take Lezak—SERIOUSLY, HOW GREAT WAS THE 400 FREE RELAY!?!—you do so because he can win medals in several events. Same thing with Venus or Serena. The point is that you get all medals for any athlete who compete in individual events, even if some of those medals come in relays. 5. The winner will be the team with the most points at the end of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Points will be assigned as follows: 3 points for a gold medal, 2 points for a silver medal, and 1 point for a bronze medal. Each team’s final score will be based on an aggregate score from his or her 12 players. 6. Each player will also select one non-USA country whose gold medal count will be used to determine a winner, in the event of a tie among two or more players’ aggregate scores. If the gold medal count fails to break the tie, then the silver count, and finally the bronze count, will be used. 7. We do not weight any sports. 8. Have fun. And tip your waitstaff. They’re working hard for you.
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Friday, August 8, 2008

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Team USA loses key athletes to injuries

Injuries always have an impact on fantasy sports. But with the Olympics, something is notably different. Unlike an injured football or baseball player, an injury to an Olympic athlete doesn't represent a seasonal setback, it represents, in many cases, an end to a dream. As the XXIX Olympiad nears, several U.S. athletes have sustained injuries that will keep them from competing. Women's soccer star Amy Wambach went down recently with a leg injury that will keep her sidelined in Beijing. Paul and Morgan Hamm, the stars of the Men's gymnastics squad, will be forced to watch the games as well. U.S. boxer Gary Russell Jr. collapsed trying to make weight and is out of the competition. And a knee injury will keep tennis player Lindsay Davenport out of singles play, although she is still holding out hope for the doubles matches. So before the games get underway and we become consumed with those competing, it is appropriate to recognize these injured athletes who have put in countless hours over the past several years in preparation for Beijing. Even though they won't get to compete, we are proud of them. We thank them for representing themselves and our country with class, and we wish them all the best in their athletic careers.
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