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Showing posts from 2018

A Look Back at 2018

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What an interesting year it was! There were ups, there were downs, and there were Olympics! We're bringing the year to a close with a look back at some of the biggest stories of each month.

January: Larry Nassar Sentencing

After a fall trial where a lot of horrific details were shared about MSU ex-physician Larry Nassar and his attacks on US gymnasts and MSU athletes, he was sentenced to 175 years in prison.

As a result of the allegations coming to light and the subsequent conviction, USA Gymnastics experienced a huge shift in leadership (three times, actually), filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has been threatened with a revoking of its membership by the USOC.

It will be a while before I can put any trust into USA Gymnastics. But that doesn't mean we can't support the athletes that compete! If anything, we give them even more support now because of everything they've been through.

February: PyeongChang Winter Olympics!

There were so many wonderful memories from thes…

The Next Olympic Hopeful: A Live Blog

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So remember last week when I said I wasn't going to have a blog this week because of Thanksgiving? Well, I ended up with a free Saturday evening on my way back home from Pennsylvania and remembered that The Next Olympic Hopeful was airing on NBCSN. Then I remembered how crazy busy my December is going to be and that I probably won't be putting out any articles that month, so I should probably put one out now.

And thus, my live blog of The Next Olympic Hopeful began. Enjoy!

If you want to view this as you read, you can catch it online at nbcsports.com. I'll put down times so you can easily track along with your viewing!
(PART 1 and PART 2)


:00 Aw, Opening Ceremony memories...

:01 I wish I was fit enough to put out an audition for this show. Instead I'm watching it. Bummer.

:02 I totally remember visiting that gym in Colorado Springs! Such a cool place - you all should go there. (It's free!)

:03 I will admit that I hate reality shows - mostly because of the editing that…

Hosting the Olympics: Facing Facts

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This week, the city of Calgary voted against hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, with about 54% of the voters voting "no" to the referendum.

This means that there are only two cities left in the running for these Olympics: Stockholm, Sweden and Milan, Italy. In the past few months Sapporo, Japan; Sion, Switzerland; and Graz, Austria have all dropped out. Even Milan's host bid is unique: it is actually a dual-city bid with Cortina, spreading out the host duties.

Coincidentally, I was catching up on my Olympic YouTube videos and watched this video, which was recorded during the Olympism In Action forum last month. It's about 40 minutes long, but worth your time:

In short, there were several people directly involved with hosting the Olympics in their respective cities, and one - Chris Dempsey of the No Boston Olympics movement from 2024 - who was involved with making sure the Olympics never came to his city.

The spectacle of hosting an Olympics has now been overshadowed b…

What is NBC Sports Gold and Should I Get It?

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I watched the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating today on NBC, where we got two competitions - men's and women's figure skating - in just an hour and a half. Without too much fanfare, we got barely any of the short programs and a handful of free programs. No pairs, and no ice dancing.

The supreme editing makes sense since it was on NBC proper, but still a bit disappointing. The crew actually doesn't travel there, either, which is why we don't get any interviews.

But at the end of every broadcast, we are urged to check out NBC Sports Gold to get even more figure skating, including live broadcasts of many of the competitions NBC would air instead of the tape-edited features.

It frustrates me, because as much as I want live-streamed coverage, I don't want to fork over more money since I already have the yearlong pass for track and field.

Here are some details for the Gold pass:

NBC offers a Gold pass for a given yearly period for certain sports, includingTrack and Field…

Play it Again, Sam

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I have a love/hate relationship with Sam Mikulak.

Love, because c'mon. The dude is gorgeous, AND he attended the University of Michigan and helped their gymnastics squad win two NCAA titles. He always has a smile on his face, and is very upbeat and supportive of his teammates.

Hate, because when it comes to international competition, Mikulak fades. At least, that's what I've always thought.

Last week was the artistic gymnastics world championships, and while the world was talking about Simone Biles (as they rightly should), I decided to take a different spin by looking at the only US male gymnast to get a medal. He had to wait until the very last event to get it, but he did.

This is a time of peak performances in the male gymnast world. It is absolutely incredible the things that they are able to do with their massive muscles and tumbling skills. It is an entirely different sport compared to women's gymnastics, and doesn't get the publicity that maybe it deserves …

Book Review: Running For My Life

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Often we hear Americans complain about "first world problems." We know that our issues aren't as bad as those who live in smaller, poorer countries, and we acknowledge it with that phrase. But let's be honest - even though we might convince ourselves that we get what they go through, we don't.

The things that I read in Lopez Lomong's book, Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games were eye opening. As a six-year-old, Lomong was taken from his parents by Sudanese soldiers in the People's Liberation Army in order to be trained as a child soldier.

The boys were stuck in one large room, ate terrible food out of one bucket, used the bathroom wherever they could, and watched as fellow boys died around them. With the help of some boys from his village, he escaped the camp and literally ran for his life to Kenya.

At the UN refugee camp, we would assume that Lomong's life drastically improved, but it…

Practicing What I Preach - Find the Tournaments and GO

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It is so common for us to turn on the television, watch a sport, and think, "Man, it would be really cool to be there."

Well, not all the time. If there's blistering heat or freezing cold, it might be more comfortable to watch on the couch than in the stadium. But be real: if an incredible event in sport took place, don't you want to say that you were there?

As a lover of the Olympics, it has become a goal of mine to not only watch more Olympic events outside of the two weeks of Winter and Summer Games, but also attend more stuff. And with not one, but two national championships coming to the great state of Michigan, I would be remiss if I didn't try to attend a session or two.

The first is the US Figure Skating Championships in January. Those are taking place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Unlike this year's Stars On Ice show, this is a competition, so the athletes will be giving their all and trying hard stuff so they can go on to the world championshi…

Youth Olympics: A Strange Alternate Reality

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A few years back I lived in Wisconsin. Because I'm originally from Michigan, the transition from one Midwest state to another wasn't that big of a deal. However, there were just enough little things all over the place to remind me that I wasn't in my home state anymore. It felt like a parallel dimension; everything is the same, but everything is just a tad different. 
I have that feeling as I try to watch the Youth Olympic Games that are taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, right now. For all intents and purposes, this is an Olympic event. The official logos and colors and designs are plastered all over the place. Athletes are wearing their countries' colors (and sometimes the exact same uniform as two years ago). Omega is still displaying the screens. There's even the same English announcers! 
But it all seems different.
For one thing, I don't know anyone. Due to my constant intake of Olympics news, I am well familiar with athletes from many of the differ…

I Am Bolt: Documentary Review

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Last week I was flipping through Netflix and was reminded that the documentary I Am Bolt was there. It seemed like the perfect night for a documentary, so I turned it on! I was only thinking I'd be watching half of it, but I ended up watching all of it in one sitting!

The documentary follows Jamaican track star Usain Bolt as he prepares for the 2016 Olympics in Rio - his last Olympics. In between life, training, and injury recovery (more on that later), the doc inserts highlights of Bolt's early career and Olympic moments. It was crazy seeing him as a 15-year-old!

This was originally put together for German television and aired in late 2016. If you've been a fan of Bolt, this documentary will only make you like him more. He's not always shown to be omniscient - leading up to 2016 he actually suffered a hamstring injury early in the year which postponed his training. It also reared up in the national championships, and if you remember, he didn't race in them but wa…

Winter Is Coming

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It stinks for some of us to think about it, and it's a delight for others. Regardless of which way you feel, winter is coming, and winter Olympic sports are reminding us of that fact this week.

While the first day of fall was a mere week ago, winter sports are starting up their long seasons with warm-up competitions and tuneups. Already we've had competitions in figure skating, bobsledding, and curling, and the NHL season starts this week.

Because the Winter Olympics were back in February, it seems crazy that the winter sports are already starting up their new seasons. But it just means that this year is flying by, and that these athletes spend a lot of time training and competing. It's not like high school where the season is just three months of the year.

Since we are in the beginning of the quadrennial for winter Olympic sports, the competitions are going to be just a bit lackluster. Maia and Alex Shibutani are actually taking the entire year off of competition, and I&…

Breaking2 Documentary Review

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Okay, back to reality.

I think it's pretty cool how streaming platforms are allowing us to view documentaries and other shortform films that used to be aired and then subsequently never seen again.

A few months ago I reviewed Icarus, found on Netflix. But this week on YouTube, I found Breaking2, a documentary on three athletes vying to break the 2-hour marathon mark. It originally aired a year ago on National Geographic before the running of the Berlin Marathon, when everyone thought Eliud Kipchoge would break. He didn't actually do it until this year, which made watching this documentary now even more fun.

Here, I'll just post the whole documentary:


Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea were all profiled over six months and trained to run in a specially-designed marathon sponsored by Nike. Instead of a road race, the athletes ran on a racecourse. Like a marathon, the athletes had water, gels, and pacesetters strategically placed alo…

Cut the Onion

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Boy has this been hard.

I am a lifelong sufferer of anxiety, but just over the last month has it really started to affect my life. I was  am a miserable wreck and couldn't can't love the things that I used to love.

Like the Olympics, for example.

UGH.

So my mother came over and stayed with me for a few days while I visited a doctor and got sorted out with medication. I'm seeing a counselor. I'm talking to my pastor. My coworkers know. My family knows. I'm being brutally honest with them because I want to be brutally honest with myself. I've shoved it aside for so long that it reared its ugly head in an ugly way, demanding to be heard.

I heard you. Believe me, I heard you.

My mother made me food, we talked about a lot of stuff, we watched Jack Ryan on Amazon, (which was amazing, by the way - get on it) and she was a huge help. But I did realize that she couldn't stay - I had to find ways to figure this out while living and working on my own.

Before she left,…

Book Review: The Games

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After many weeks, I finally finished The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt. I kept talking about it in podcasts and blogs, but I hadn't actually finished it! You'll find as I do my review the reason why it took so long.

The Games tries to cram all of Olympic history into one very large tome. While reading it and thinking about how all-encompassing the book is trying to be, I could only think of Leia Organa talking to Grand Moff Tarkin during Star Wars: A New Hope: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." 
The book starts off modestly. We read about the formation of the ancient Greek games and Pierre de Coubertin's efforts to bring them into the twentieth century. We read all the hurdles that had to be overcome and other people's efforts to present a similar Olympic-style competition in their areas as the Olympics grew. 
I found the first half of the book to be very good. It is ama…