Spotlight: Handball

I really enjoyed presenting my Olympics plans to my students this week! I would have been happy to show you pictures of the fun...but no one took them. Ah, well.

In the presentation, I showed students the events I was going to see. Many of them piqued their interest, but a couple of them resulted in confused looks. One was 3x3 basketball, which they didn't realize even existed as a real sport. And the second was handball!

This was the picture I showed in my presentation:

It doesn't show very much, but this is a sport I definitely know the kids were not familiar with! What's the point? How many players? What does the court look like? What is he throwing the ball at?

The Rules

Basically, handball is a mix of soccer (football) and basketball. The court is larger than a basketball court, but has the same layout with a center line and arcs on either side. However, the goals are similar to soccer goals, but smaller. Like hockey, players can come on and off the court without goin…

Find Your Olympians!

I sit, once again, watching the US Track and Field Indoor Championships, wishing I could be there to cheer them on.

It seems to me like all the competitions I'd like to attend are either 1) too far away, 2) too expensive, or 3) sold out. It is a big bummer.

Last year, I was lucky enough to go to two national championships in Michigan. This year, I don't seem to be as lucky finding competitions near me.

So when competitions escape me, I need to find the competitions!

This weekend, two top-tier men's collegiate gymnastics teams competed in Ann Arbor, and I was fortunate enough to be in the area. While it's not a major event in Olympic sports, this is the next best thing.

The event was free, which meant that both my parents also came along with me. Sometimes the gymnastics competitions are in the Crisler Center, but since the men's basketball team has a game tomorrow, they used their primary facility that has far fewer seats - Cliff Keen Arena.

The University of Mich…

The Tokyo Ticket Addiction: A Tokyo Prep February Update

I have a problem, guys.

CoSport keeps dropping tickets, and I keep browsing.

And then...I buy...?

Let's face it: attending an Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I know that LA2028 is eight years away, but who knows where I'm going to be in my life? Maybe I'll be married with children!

(Ha. I just made myself laugh. Moving on.)

Regardless of what the future has for me in 2028 (and no, going to Beijing, Paris, or Milan/Cortina is not happening), I have plane tickets booked for three weeks in Japan, and I'm going to take advantage of it.

One year ago, I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to buy any tickets. Now, I have no worries! Well, maybe one: that I spend too much money.

This past Thursday CoSport did another big drop of tickets, and I make it a routine to get into the queue. It's a randomized lineup, so I ended up 1000 people behind. That's a nice thing because it basically told me I wouldn't get the Big Ticket Events.

(Big Ticket Even…

A History of Lighting the Cauldron: Part 2

Helsinki. Melbourne. Rome.

These are the three Olympics we'll be covering today in our monthly "Light the Cauldron" series.

Helsinki 1952: The Cauldron Gets Some Style

While the cauldron in 1948 was pretty similar to Berlin's cauldron of twelve years earlier, Helsinki 1952 brought class to the cauldron that was at field level. There was a bowl on five thin legs that was lit by Paavo Nurmi. Nurmi won numerous gold medals in the 1920s in distance running for Finland and lit the lower cauldron. Then he passed it on to four Finnish soccer players that relayed it to the top of the Helsinki stadium, where the larger cauldron was lit by Hannes Kolehmainen, another multi-gold-medalist.

This was the first Olympics where the flame was carried via airplane and horseback. To avoid taking the flame through the Soviet Union (which was still not a prominent Olympic force for another few years), it was flown to Copenhagen and then actually moved north to the Arctic Circle before goi…

Tokyo 2020 Prep: Touring Outside Tokyo

The Olympics are the main goal of my trip to Tokyo in less than six months. (!!!!) Last weekend, I spent some time filling my calendar with all the stuff I've already accomplished for the trip, including airline reservations, hotel reservations, and sporting events.

After I filled it out, I realized I have a few holes! I have two nights near the beginning of my trip that I still need to find a place to the entire third week. (Surprisingly, I don't have holes in my Olympic events. Tell my 2018 self that fact and she'd be shocked!)

When I booked my airline reservations, I spent a lot of time trying out a bunch of combinations of times to travel as well as places from which to commute. In the end, I went with a three week itinerary because it was the cheapest way to maximize my time but still be in Japan for the entire two weeks of the Olympics.

That means that after my final event (which is on Day 16), I need to find something to do!

I'm guessing that most p…

Tokyo 2020 Prep: News Updates and Watchlist 1

The weather might be cold outside for those of us in the northern hemisphere, but the preparation for the Olympic Games are heating up!

(Get it? Heat? Tokyo will be hot? All the news media is talking about it? Never mind.)

This week brought up a few Tokyo 2020 items for which we can get excited! First of all, the design for the Olympic and Paralympic tickets were unveiled. The pictogram for the specific event is at the front, and the background colors are based on the Japanese color scheme kasane no irome, which was used for fabrication of kimonos  in the eighth through twelfth centuries. 

I personally really like the color scheme, and appreciate that the pictograms are found on there. After all, pictograms didn’t exist at the Olympics until Tokyo 1964!

Yesterday, the large Olympic rings (famous for highlight reels) were floated to their resting spot in Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo. Next Friday Tokyo plans to do a fireworks show to celebrate the rings and also get everyone excited t…

Spotlight: 3x3 Basketball

In my "Spotlight" series during 2020, I will be taking a look at sports that I will be watching LIVE and IN PERSON when I travel to Tokyo for the Olympics!

I have to admit that a lot of this series is meant for my benefit! While I am well versed in the wide world of athletics (track and field), many other Olympic sports' rules and athletes are pretty unfamiliar. So as I research, I can take that information with me as I sit in the stands.

This week, we are taking look at 3x3 basketball.

Many of you might be confused as to exactly why 3x3 basketball is an Olympic sport. Keep in mind that there are approximately eight billion different swimming events in a single Olympics (give or take), so why not pbarovide another opportunity to enjoy some basketball?

This is the first year that it will be played at the Olympic Games, though it has made a presence in the Youth Olympic Games since 2010 and has grown in popularity all over the globe.

We'll be covering FIBA 5x5 basketb…