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Interesting Facts about the Olympics posted by Olympics

The Olympic Flag

The official flag for the Olympics was created in 1914 by Pierre de Coubertin. The five rings are meant to symbolize the five continents, and these rings are interconnected, which symbolizes the gaining of friendship by playing these games on an international level. The colors of these rings were chosen to be red, green, black, yellow, and blue, as these colors mostly appeared in the flags of countries of the world. This official flag was first unfurled at the 1920 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Flame

The lighting of the Olympic flame is a practice that has been there since ancient times. In Greece, the official fire was lit from the sunrays, and the flame was kept burning throughout the games. In modern Olympics, the flame made its first appearance at the 1928 Olympic Games played in Amsterdam. The flame is supposed to symbolize striving for perfection and purity. The Olympic Torch relay was started by Carl Diem, the chairman of the Olympics committee, in 1936. The Olympic Torch is lit initially at an ancient Greece site using a curved mirror and the sunrays. This ceremony is officiated by women, who wear white robes in ancient style. The flame then is taken to the place where the games are played, passing from runner to runner, until it reaches the destination. This Olympic Torch is then kept alight until the games are over.

The Olympics Motto

The Olympics motto is in Latin, Citius, Altius, Fortius, which means Swifter, Higher, and Stronger. This motto was coined in 1921 by Pierre de Courbertin, who is considered the founder of modern Olympic Games.

Continue reading "Interesting Facts about the Olympics"

Jeff Ponder

Thomas Betters Luongo in the End posted by Jeff Ponder

More often than not, the better goalie will prevail in game seven.

Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins proved just that in game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.  Thomas earned his second shutout of the series, while also recording an amazing 1.15 GAA and a .967 save percentage in the final seven games.  Here is the laundry list of achievements that he can add to his resume:

-The oldest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP (37 years old).

-He recorded the most saves in a Final (238).

-He recorded the most saves in a playoff year (798).

-He faced the most shots in one playoff year (849).

-He is the first goaltender to win three game sevens in one playoff year.

-He is the first goaltender to ever post a game-seven shutout on the road in the Final.

-He allowed just eight goals against the Canucks, which is the fewest amount of goals scored in a Final that went seven games.

These are pretty impressive notes for a guy that started the season as the backup to Tuukka Rask.  There is no doubt about it that Thomas has come a long way this season.  Maybe his improvement throughout the season is what drove him to be the goaltender he was Wednesday night.  It was just over a year ago that Americans were questioning Team USA General Manager Brian Burke’s decision to have Thomas on the USA Olympic Team in Vancouver.

Let’s take a trip to the past, shall we?

Ryan Miller sat on top of the world as the top-goaltender in the United States.  He got the nod against Team Canada and their star-goaltender, Roberto Luongo.  In a well-played, evenly matched game, Luongo came out as the winning goaltender as Sidney Crosby beats Miller in overtime.  Where is Tim Thomas during all of this?

Continue reading "Thomas Betters Luongo in the End"

Colin Linneweber

The Mayweather vs. Mosley fight was as real as Pam Anderson's breasts posted by Colin Linneweber

WBA welterweight super champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley is scheduled to battle undefeated “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather May 1 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
However, the two pugilists nearly fought Tuesday during a publicity tour for their bout at the Nokia Theater in New York City.
Granted, the dustup between Mosley (46-5-1, 39 KOs) and Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) appeared to be staged and as authentic as Pamela Anderson’s breasts.
Nevertheless, it is quite evident that there is genuine animosity between Mosley and Mayweather.
“He may be the champ, but we all know belts don’t do nothing but collect dust,” said Mayweather, 33, the winner of six world boxing championships in five different weight classes. “I’m in the check-cashing business, baby.”
Mayweather, who captured the bronze medal as a featherweight at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, had an opportunity to really be “in the check-cashing business, baby.”
A scrap between “Pretty Boy” and Ring Magazine’s number one pound-for-pound boxer, Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), would have generated unprecedented riches.
The Pacquiao versus Mayweather contest was tentatively slated to occur March 13.
However, the matchup pathetically disintegrated when the two asinine camps could not agree upon a drug testing protocol for the fight.
Mayweather instead inked a contract to fight Mosley who, almost comically considering the aforementioned dispute, admitted to a grand jury in 2003 that he used steroids and was connected to the notorious BALCO scandal.
Continue reading "The Mayweather vs. Mosley fight was ..."

Brandt Barstad

2010 Winter Olympics: Spectator's perspective posted by Brandt Barstad

In the Mix of Vancouver’s Kicks

It is a rare occurrence for one to attend and witness an event that carries the magnitude as awe-inspiring the Olympic Games, but Angela Graves, her husband and her two children, ages 11 and 15, were few of the lucky spectators who were able to make the trip from their home in Renton, Washington to Vancouver to view such an extraordinary display of athletic competition.

It was a late morning start, just about 10 o’clock am, when the Graves family left their home heading north.  Crossing the border was no trouble, no lines and no hold ups kept the small family of four from pushing onward the 153 mile drive to the hosting city of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  Once arriving in frosty Canada, the family decided to stop and spend the night in a small motel located in the city of White Rock, just across the border and 126 miles from their home town.

“We were out of the way of all the continual craziness, yet close enough to do what we want,” said Angela as she and her family acquainted themselves to their new Canadian setting.  After a small dinner of fish and chips, the family’s first Olympic stop would be the curling venue.

The curling event spawned a crowd that was nothing less than thrilled and delighted.  The wave broke out amongst the yelling and cheering spectators as they cheered not only for Canada, the country from which most spectators resided in, but for every athlete.

“Even the French got a few cheers,” she said.

Continue reading "2010 Winter Olympics: Spectator's perspective"

Andy Charles

Hiller gives Ducks something to hang on to posted by Andy Charles

Of all of the impressive performances at the Winter Olympics, Switzerland goalie Jonas Hiller proved just how good a player he is going to be for the Anaheim Ducks as he came ever so close to guiding the minnows to an unlikely semi-final place.

Hiller stood on his head in making 42 saves in their quarter-final defeat at the hands of the United States, conceding just one goal to Zach Parise early in the third period as the Swiss, one of the outsiders for the tournament, eventually only succumbed 2-0 to a late empty-netter.

The Ducks netminder came into the season in competition with Jean-Sebastien Giguere for playing time in Anaheim, and despite some poor results for the team he soon saw off his competitor, who was eventually traded to Toronto.

Indeed the only problem he may have over the rest of the season is tiredness, since he has already matched his career high in playing 46 games in the NHL this season, and with only Vesa Toskala as his backup now, you can expect him to play the vast majority of their remaining games as they seek a playoff place.

Sadly for Switzerland, who also surprisingly (as far as NHL Predictions go) made it to the quarter-finals in Turin in 2006 as well, their offensive stars could not match Hiller’s performances as they totalled only 11 goals during the whole tournament.

But with only one defenseman – Mark Streit – even playing in the NHL it really comes as no surprise that they had to leave it to Hiller to get them so close to what would have been another Miracle On Ice.

Continue reading "Hiller gives Ducks something to hang on to"

Victor Small

For Once Hockey Got It Right: The Grades Of International Tournaments posted by Victor Small

There have been very few sports organizations that seem to place themselves in positions that make their fans happy. Today, a decision the NHL made quite some time ago, manifested into something special. Luck, a large stage, and superior talent has more than likely added to the fan-ship of the league.

For the very first time, millions of Americans (including myself) got a chance to witness what is to be appreciated about the often maligned sport of hockey. The gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada was a masterpiece and a joy to watch. Those who didn't know what "icing" was (when a player shoots the puck passed both red lines), as well as the other seemingly foreign rules ignored them to watch a game played with passion and intensity. 

This game, thankfully, included the best players in the world, all of which play in the NHL. the NHL decided to shut down its offices to allow their players to play and represent their respective countries. Thank You NHL! You got it right where so many organizations have not. You put the game first where so many leagues have failed to do so. For this instance you pass with flying colors (A+). So lets see how the rest of the sports did:

BASEBALL: The baseball classic occurs every three years at a time when very few care. It starts almost a month before opening day and almost none of the players have hit their strides (which doesn't happen until about June). Essentially it is a glorified spring training with a trophy. It's hard to get excited about a mistake prone, mediocre tournament where 3 or 4 teams have a chance to win it, and maybe 1 or 2 play like they actually want it. Here level of play does these in. D+

Continue reading "For Once Hockey Got It Right: The ..."

Jeff Ponder

A Chat with Doug Stolhand of the Puck Podcast posted by Jeff Ponder

One of hockey's best critics was given the opportunity to sound off in an interview.  He did not disappoint, as he took full advantage of this occurrence.

Doug Stolhand is the co-host of the Puck Podcast, a weekly hockey podcast that discusses happenings from around the league every Saturday.  He did not start as a podcaster though; just like a professional sports player, he had to spend his time in the minor leagues before hitting the big time.

“I really got into hockey when I went to college.  The Fresno Falcons are a minor league team in Fresno; I went to Fresno State,” Doug said, “I started following them.  I ended up doing play-by-play and color commentary in two different seasons for them on the radio.  That's when I really got into hockey.”

The Falcons may have been the start of his love for the sport, but the Anaheim Ducks are what really seemed to keep Doug's interest.  Living in Los Angeles, the Kings never seemed to entice Stolhand.  The Ducks moved in to town in 1993 (then as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim), and Stolhand was drawn in almost instantly.

“I thought it was very cool to have the opportunity to follow a team from the very beginning and remember all the players and all the coaches from the entire history and eventually even watch them go from being an expansion team all the way to Stanley Cup Champs.”

As a fan of the game and a media member, Stolhand finds time to attend many Ducks games and watch all of the away games.  Obviously, he has very sound insight into the psyche of the Ducks. 
Continue reading "A Chat with Doug Stolhand of the Puck Podcast"

Goon Squad

Hockey Police? Really? posted by Goon Squad

Dangerous head hits in hockey are spinning out of control. The NHL pretends they don't really exist and junior players get the kind of suspensions that don't seem to act as a deterrent, because no sooner does the hype from one near-decapitation die down that anothert one takes place.

Hockey leagues of all levels in Canada are pledging to do more to improve players' safety in the wake of recent violent headshots. But one observer believes the sport could use a little help from the legal system.

Peter Donnelly, director of the Centre of Sport Policy Studies at the University of Toronto, counters that severe punishments like the one Cormier received don't do enough to deter players. "If there are any blatant attacks where clearly one person has gone after a person that was not expecting it, as in the incident with Cormier, I think that's a criminal act," Donnelly said. "Unprovoked attacks really have to be dealt with by criminal justice."

Donnelly said prosecutors have been wary of laying criminal charges following vicious attacks because sports organizations have never encouraged them to do so.

"The law needs to take more responsibility here and so do hockey leagues themselves," he said.

The severe sanction handed out this week by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to Rouyn-Noranda Huskies forward Patrice Cormier for elbowing Quebec Remparts defenseman Mikael Tam was hailed as an exemplary punishment by the hockey community, one that would send a clear message to the players that such acts of violence have no place in the sport.

Continue reading "Hockey Police? Really?"

Goon Squad

USA! USA! USA! posted by Goon Squad

Has it been 30 years now since the US beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid?(It seems like only yesterday...)

The Americans went on to win the gold medal in hockey that year - something that hasn't happened since, but don't expect any miracles next month at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. No, the United States still isn't favored to win a gold medal in hockey. In that respect the Americans remain underdogs. But with a roster stacked with young talent, they certainly are a medal candidate - one that the powerhouses from Canada, Russia and Sweden can't afford to overlook. "A little bit different situation [than 1980] in my opinion," said United States team captain Jamie Langenbrunner, a forward with the NHL's New Jersey Devils. "As much as Canada deserves all the credit that they're getting for the players they have, the 23 players named to the [United States] team play in the same league as those guys and we feel quite comfortable playing against them on a nightly basis. We feel we belong on the same ice."

That's a far cry from goalie Jim Craig and the 1980 team! US coach Herb Brooks had to convince that group of college All-Stars that it could compete with the grown men the Soviet Union sent over. But since 1998 the NHL has allowed its professional players to compete at the Winter Olympics. So this group of Americans is baffled by the notion that they would be intimidated by any of the major hockey powers.

Told of stories in the Canadian press that listed him as the only American capable of making the loaded Team Canada roster, forward Zach Parise chuckled. "I think that's kind of a bold statement," said Parise, also a New Jersey Devils forward. "I don't think there's going to be too many people that would agree with that."

Continue reading "USA! USA! USA!"

Goon Squad

From Russia, with love. posted by Goon Squad

Did I say love? My bad!

A huge fight that stopped a KHL Championship game just after four minutes of play has led to a criminal investigation being launched into the reasons behind the major brawl at the game between Vityaz Chekhov and Avangard Omsk on January 9th.

Match officials struggled desperately to separate the teams and eject the offending players before the game resumed, but another fight broke out after just seven more seconds of play.


The officials finally scrapped the match, with only seven and eight players, respectively, left on each team.

According to the Moscow Region’s Prosecutor's Office, the teams will be probed for disorderly conduct. "The players of both teams - using hockey sticks as tools to sort out their relationships – disturbed public order and the rules of the game, hurt each other and broke sporting rules. The match was stopped due to the fight and a lack of players in the teams due to penalties. As a result of the fight, ten Avangard players and three Vityaz men were injured, as well as the referee," the statement by the Prosecutor’s Office said.

After interviews with on-ice officials and witnesses to the game, and what the league's press release termed "the review of videotapes," the following sanctions were issued by the KHL: Both teams have forfeited the game and were fined one million rubles. (That's an American equivalent of $33,500.)

Continue reading "From Russia, with love."

Olympics News

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Olympic hoodoo still haunts hosts Brazil (Reuters)

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Brandi Chastain: On headers, concussions, soccer wages (The Associated Press)

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Boxing: After headguards, vests next on Olympic hit list (Reuters)

By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - Male boxers will step into the ring without headguards at the Rio Olympics for the first time since the 1980 Moscow Games, and their vests could be next on the hit list. "The removal of vests (from the ring) is a proposal we are looking at," a spokesman for governing body AIBA told Reuters in response to a query. "It has to be approved by the relevant AIBA commission and approved by the executive committee and then we will present this request to the IOC (International Olympic Committee)." Unlike professionals, who fight bare-chested, Olympic boxers have always worn tops -- possibly for reasons of decency in the early days although they also protected against rope burn and absorb sweat. [read full article]

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US women cruise past Costa Rica 4-0 in Olympics send-off (The Associated Press)

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International NBA players in 2016 Olympics

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