Tag Archives: Vancouver 2010

What? It’s Made in China? Who knew?

If you live here in the States, you know that one of the top stories today is the “scandal” surrounding Team USA’s 2012 Olympic uniforms for the opening and closing ceremonies.   It’s a scandal because…they were…made in CHINA!  Congress is outraged, shocked that American athletes will not be wearing team apparel manufactured in the United States.   Oh my goodness!  Could it be that Congress has finally realized American manufacturing is almost non-existent?

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Steve Holcomb’s DUI: Bafflement, Disappointment and Inevitability

On Tuesday, Steve Holcomb appeared in a Park City, Utah courtroom.  The appearance was for a pre-trial hearing concerning his DUI arrest.  Yep, Steve Holcomb, Olympic Champion is also Steve Holcomb, DUI arrestee.

Holcomb’s story leading up to February 2010 was one that was made for the Olympics.  He had been diagnosed in 2002 with a degenerative eye disorder which threatened to end both his competitive career and Olympic dreams.  But with surgery he was able to return to the sport and with the help of his three teammates, steer his way to a gold medal.  His comeback story was one of my favorites from the Vancouver Games.  Yet little did I know–little did any of us know, that while he smiled atop the podium, he had been arrested just four months earlier on DUI charges.  Holcomb’s pre-trial hearing on December 7 set a trial date for March 17, 2011.

Bafflement

The news which first leaked in mid-November came as a shock to most of us fans.  How is it that an arrest which took place in October 2009 is just now being addressed with a pre-trial hearing?  How was Holcomb, out on bail with a possible pending conviction, able to travel to Canada and compete for the US Olympic Team?  How did such a scandalous charge for an Olympic athlete remain hidden from the media and fans?

Disappointment

Yet again another athlete has disappointed fans through poor judgment and irresponsible behavior.  What I find myself debating, though, is whether I’m more disappointed that he (allegedly) committed the crime before the Olympics, or whether I’d be more crestfallen had he been arrested after Vancouver.  In all honesty, it shouldn’t matter.  His behavior is reprehensible, and whether it occurred before or after the 2010 Games, all I can think of saying is, “How could you be so stupid?”  Holcomb was foolish for jeopardizing his opportunity to compete in Vancouver and for endangering his safety (not to mention the safety of others traveling the roads that evening).  I find myself wanting to ask him if he would ever steer a bobsled down the track drunk, because I don’t think he would.

The Inevitability

Perhaps we are the foolish ones for placing these athletes on such high pedestals.  After all, athletes are human and it is inevitable that they are as capable of making mistakes as we are –and as we do in our everyday lives. But it is also inevitable, I think, that we will hold them to a higher standard and place them on a podium above the rest.

Athletes who work so arduously toward reaching a goal are often buoyed by the support of us fans.  So maybe we have a right to hold them to a higher standard?   Olympians’ competing and possibly winning at the Olympics are unique achievements which most of us hold in high esteem.   Their accomplishments and accolades are what we often dream of too, but never achieve.  They are possible only for a small percentile.  Those of us who never played a sport or perhaps never excelled in one can live vicariously through them.  In some odd way, those like Steve Holcomb who earn Olympic glory enable us to share in the happiness.   As a kid who tried to make a balance beam in the front yard, created a make-believe ice rink in the living room, and who begged the parents to go to the local pool, the closest I’ll ever come to Olympic glory is through those athletes I support.  I don’t know how to separate the athlete from the human and not be disappointed when my Olympic heroes are imperfect.  Maybe none of us do.

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

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Filed under Bobsled

Women’s Ski Jumping: What Would Coubertin Do?

Thanks to Lindsey Van and the representatives from Women’s Ski Jumping USA for their time and information provided for this post.

At the recent Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Simon Ammann won the gold medal in both the normal and large hill events of men’s ski jumping.  However, prior to the Games, neither Amman nor his fellow male jumpers held the record for distance jumped on the normal hill at Whistler Ski Jump.  That record was held by a woman, American Lindsey Van, who was not allowed to compete.

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Crosby’s Gear Located

We can all breathe a sigh of relief.  While some of us might have been awake at night wondering as to the whereabouts of those precious two items–Sidney Crosby’s stick and glove from the gold medal game–we can now rest easier.  Not only have they been located, the crisis resolved, but no suspect was apprehended and no reward was issued.   You see, they were never stolen at all.

Yes, folks, it seems that the two of the most coveted Olympic hockey items were…misplaced.  Hockey Canada confirmed that it inadvertently sent Crosby’s stick to Russia along with some other memorabilia, but was able to locate the shipment before it left its Toronto shipping depot.  As for the glove, it seems that the glove was packed in teammate Patrice Bergeron’s bag by mistake.  Thankfully, Bergeron is aware that he does not have three hands and contacted Hockey Canada.

Fore more information on what the Toronto Star calls a “comedy of errors,” click here.

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Crosby’s Historic Gear Stolen – Reward Offered

MISSING

$10,000 REWARD

One Reebok hockey stick and glove worn by Sidney Crosby

Last seen on Sunday, February 28, 2010

Team Canada’s Locker room at UBC Thunderbird Arena in Vancouver, Canada

Sidney Crosby seems like a really nice guy.  In interviews he is articulate, mild-mannered, and humble.  So why on earth would someone steal from him the stick and one of the gloves used when he scored the gold medal-winning goal at last month’s Winter Olympics?

Greed.

Following the “shot watched round the world,”  Sidney Crosby took off  his gloves, tossed one of them into the stands, and tossed the other glove, along with his stick, on to the ice, embracing his fellow teammates as they celebrated the historic win.  Aware of the value  that this equipment would now have as memorabilia, officials took the items to Canada’s locker room where they were secured–or supposed to be.  Yet at some point while the rest of Canada was celebrating the victory over USA, someone was able to be inconspicuous and deftly snatch the valuable items from the locker room.

Last Friday, Reebok, the maker of Crosby’s 10K Sickick II model stick (retails for $249), issued a reward for the missing items.  Apparently money talks, as officials have already received several “promising” leads.   Officials with Hockey Canada are reviewing security tapes but have not released any information yet on these findings.

Ironically, this isn’t the first time that some of Crosby’s gear has disappeared.  The Associated Press reported that back in 2005, a jersey worn by Crosby in Canada’s junior world championship victory over Russia was stolen and then later found in a mailbox in Lachute, Quebec.

Now folks, this is just down right mean, greedy, and selfish.  I don’t even think the Grinch would stoop this low, would he?  It ranks right up there with the theft of poor Toga, the rare penguin abducted from an English zoo.

Has anyone checked on Ovechkin’s alibi during this time?  (I’m kidding.  That’s just an attempt at hockey shtick.)

Let’s hope the equipment is found intact and can be returned to Crosby, who will have the final say in where the gear will be permanently displayed.

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

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Plushenko’s Complaining Now Involves IOC’s Rogge?

The Games in Vancouver are over, athletes have begun to leave the Canadian host city, and for many medalists, the media tour has begun.  For American medalists like Evan Lysacek, this includes appearances on “Larry King Live,” “Late Night With David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show,” and even “Dancing With the Stars.”  For Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko, who lost to Lysacek in the men’s figure skating event, the whining about his silver medal continues, it seems.

On yesterday’s “Leafs Lunch” podcast, co-anchors Darren Dreger and Bill Waters  had much to discuss after Canada’s Olympic gold in hockey.  Yet it was another story by Dreger which was most interesting for me–that of him witnessing an impromptu meeting between Evgeni Plushenko and IOC President, Jacques Rogge.  As Dreger told the story, the scene of the exchange was at the television studios’ headquarters, where networks such as CTV and NBC broadcasted the Olympics and conducted many fireside interviews with athletes.  Plushenko was leaving after having just done an interview (perhaps with CTV).  Rogge was entering the building to be interviewed with NBC’s Brian Williams.  Athlete and official shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.  But that wasn’t all.  According to Dreger, before leaving, Plushenko leaned in and audibly commented to Rogge, “You have to fix this!”

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And the Fanatic Goes to….

Yesterday I watched an amazing hockey game, a respectable closing ceremony, and with much sadness, bid Vancouver’s 2010 Games farewell.  I hate saying goodbye to a Winter Games.  The distraction from Winter’s gloomy grasp is gone, and I’m left counting the days until Spring, Summer, and figuring out how to patiently wait for London and the next Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

With each Olympics, I like to reflect on the past two weeks of competition, remembering the emotional wins and losses, the heroes, and sometimes, unfortunately, those whose sportsmanship was less than befitting of an Olympian.  So, with this blog (which will be continuing, by the way—click here for more information.) I’ve decided to create my own awards for each Olympics.  There are so many more awards I’d love to give.  Yesterday I wrote of my two favorite Olympic victories.  I also wish to praise Olympians such as Anja Paerson and the Georgian Olympic Team for exhibiting such courage during these Games–Paerson for continuing to compete after such a horrific fall in downhill; the Georgians for competing amidst the tragedy of their teammate’s death.

These individual awards, named “The Fanatic,” will be awarded biennially–every two years–alternating between Winter and Summer Olympics.  I’ve provided links for some of the nominees who might not be familiar to non-fanatics.  My budget is tight, so let me apologize upfront to the winners, for there is no trophy, no medal.  You are given, however, a free subscription to “The Olympic Fanatic.”

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