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Sports

Advice for the Men’s Hockey Team

1912288_10152229201052209_1009732988_nCourtesy: my cuz on Facebook

If the women can do it, then all the men have to do is play like girls…

Tee Hee …

Will it be a Gold Medal Clean Sweep? Stay tuned to find out.


Tuesday Gold and Silver Women’s freestlye slopestyle

medal-ceremony-winter-olympics-day-20140211-165447-604 kim lamarre bronze wom freestlye slopestyle

Kim Lamarre Bronze-women’s Freestlye-slopestyle

medal-ceremony-winter-olympics-day-20140211-170152-150 dara howell gold kim lamarre bronze freestyleski and slopestyle

Dara Howell Gold and Kim Lamarre Bronze Freestyleski-and-slopestyle

medal-ceremony-winter-olympics-day-20140211-170347-385 dara howell gold wom freestyle ski slopestyle

Dara Howell Gold women’s Freestyle-ski-slopestyle

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Courtesy:Getty Images


Tom Daley … more more more …

You know we just can’t get enough of Tom. The hopes of all Britain are on your shoulders young man. No pressure at all …


“Inspire a Generation” London 2012 …

As you can see, I’ve done a bit of remodeling for the Olympics in London 2012. It is time to cheer for the home team and await that first gold medal where we will hear our National Anthem played for the Gold Medal Winner.

It always makes me cry when I hear it played at an Olympic Competition.

We will be going to full time Live Blogging as much Olympic coverage as I can keep up with over the span of the games. So if you aren’t sporty – you will learn to love sport as I love sport. And there is no greater pride than for ones country.

Since I hold dual citizenship, I cheer on both the Americans and the Canadians. But my heart is firmly ensconced in Canada and always will be. But in any case we will cheer on ALL the athletes just the same for the sheer fact that they worked so hard to get here and they deserve all of our pride and love.

The Opening Ceremonies begin here in Canada at 4 p.m. EST in Montreal. We will have full pictorial coverage of the ceremony courtesy of CTV the national network bringing the games home to Canada.

So stay tuned. It will be exciting.

 


Nike Air Jordan :: Jordan 1 :: Nike Air Jordan 1 I Retro Phat Premier High 60+ Point Series (Detroit Pistons) French Blue / Varsity Red

Courtesy: Zac – let’s play the blame game

The next pair of sneakers on my radar are these. Nike Air Jordan :: Jordan 1 :: Nike Air Jordan 1 I Retro Phat Premier High 60+ Point Series (Detroit Pistons) French Blue / Varsity Red

Suggested retail price: $82.00 online purchase.

The Air Jordan 60+ Collection continues with a lineup of Air Jordan 1 Retro Phat Premier colorways. The various colorups in the collection are done up in color schemes of the teams Micheal Jordan scored 60+ points against. Colorways include those of the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks.

Each of the AJ1 Retro Phat Premier releases in the collection consist of uppers featuring rich premium leather with accents of mesh, canvas, or felt. All four also have a felt Nike Swoosh. The French Blue / Varsity Red Detroit Pistons, followed by the Midnight Navy / Ceramic Cleveland Cavaliers colorup and the Midnight Black / Pine Green Boston Celtics. Black / Varsity Red Atlanta Hawks colorway.

Sweet shoes … Once again the hunt began on Tumblr and ended up with a Google search and onto a retail seller online. They aren’t listed on Ebay, I checked.

I have my Adidas Response Wrestling shoes Blue White Gold in the pike coming via Canada Post in the next couple of days. They shipped on the 18th.

I am getting quite savvy at finding shoes on a Google search with the side bar search parameters that Google gives you when you do a product search. I had never used it before and it was quite efficient in helping me narrow down the parameters for my shoe search.

Stay tuned to see what happens next… SUH-WEET !!!


Stick with What Works

By Josh Liebman – Special to TheOpenMat

If you have been around wrestling as long as I have, you realize that wrestlers are some of the most superstitious and quirky people in sports today. I actually have told people that if you were to sit down and test wrestlers, they would have most likely have the highest percentage of people with obsessive compulsive disorder. My reasoning is that the ridged training schedule and constant monitoring of weight coupled with the general anxiety associated with being an athlete, feeds right into OCD.

I was talking with several of my wrestling buddies and without knowing it, we all had similar, if not, the same routines, habits and odd behaviors. Let’s see how many of you have done these things or something similar.

Have you ever been at a friend’s house and opened the refrigerator? Not because you were hungry or thirsty, but just as a conditioned action from years of weight management. Conditioned by the years you just opened your own fridge to look at the ice cold Gatorade that you couldn’t drink until after weigh-ins. I have seen wrestlers that would wear their headgear all day at a tournament without ever taking it off. I have observed guys that wouldn’t step on the crease in between the 3 sections of mat, even someone that made a cheat sheet with everyone in his weight class and the scores of their matches with common opponents. That was he knew how much he such win by.

I learned the hard way about coming up from behind and touching Adam Frey on his shoulders before a match. I had my own quirks; I always ate a half turkey sub from Tony’s pizza after weigh-ins. I had a pair of argyle socks I stole from my dad’s dresser that I wore for every match and a pair of Red Ohio State Wrestling shorts that I had won for taking down Kevin Randleman while his hands were tied behind his back at wrestling camp up at St Lawrence University. I loved to listen to long progressive rock songs while I warmed up, you know the epic 12 minute tracks with long guitar and drum solo’s. That allowed me get outside of my thoughts and just focus on stretching and breathing instead of nervous thoughts.

By the time I was in college I eased up on a lot of my other eccentric behaviors partly cause of maturity and partly cause I had to much else to think about that I couldn’t remember who I sat next to on the bench the last match. But it got me thinking how many other wrestlers had routines and how important are those routines to there mental preparation. I decided to ask some of the top wrestlers about there routines and get a little insight into their pre-match preparation.

What do you listen to warming up?

  • Kyle Dake/Cornell – I don’t listen to music,
  • Jordan Burroughs/Nebraska- It depends on whether I am sitting on the bench or actually warming up. When I am jogging and breaking a sweat I like to listen to up-tempo music like rap and rock. But when I’m sitting on the bench I listen to slow jams to keep my heart rate down and keep me relaxed.
  • Helen Maroulis Ranked Freestyle – I like a lot of rap and upbeat music. Remixes and such.
  • Rob Morrison/Rider- Hells Bells by ACDC- kept the same from high school!
  • Josh Dziewa/Iowa- I don’t listen to music while warming up. Over time I’ve come to realize that I like to think about my up-coming match more so then music.
  • Matt Valenti U Penn Ranked Freestyle- I don’t listen to music when I warm up… It’s never really been my thing.
  • Ryan Mango/Stanford – This varies pretty much on a match to match basis so it’s hard to be specific, but some common artists are Lil Wayne and Wiz Kahlifa.
  • Scott Giffin/U Penn- I don’t listen to music when I warm up. My midget coach never let us listen to music and said it was a distraction.
  • Wynn Michalak Cent Michigan/ranked Freestyle- In my warm up I usually listen to a variety of things but I always make sure to listen to “the realest sport” by tp & esco and “we ready” by archie eversole.
  • Matt Cathell Kent State- I don’t listen to music warming up, but i have to while cutting weight and I usually listen to classic rock and rap.
  • Jordan Beverly/Rutgers- Rap and house…anything with a good beat…mostly biggie and tiesto.
  • Destin McCauley/ Apple Valley- When I warm up I listen to mainly rap music, but there will be the occasional rock song.
  • David Zabriskie Iowa St/Ranked Freestyle - I actually don’t listen to music while warming up, but during practice I like anything that has a good beat to it.

What is your usual post weigh-in meal & drink?

  • Dake – Blueberry bagel with cream cheese, banana and granola bar for a drink I’d have to go with a Gatorade.
  • Burroughs - Usually have a granola bar, banana, two Gatorade’s, apple sauce, and a Gogurt, I like to be a little hungry when I step out on the mat.
  • Maroulis - I have a re-hydration plan, pedialyte is amazing after weigh ins, post weigh-in meal is normally something with lots of carbs.
  • Morrison - Within an hour from weighing in I’ll be only around 5+ over so nothing fancy.
  • Dziewa – Peanut butter & jelly on a bagel, either pedialyte or Gatorade 16-20 oz.
  • Valenti - My post weigh-in meal is pretty simple. Water, a little Gatorade, a light jelly sandwich and some fruit.
  • Mango – Post weigh in I usually have a bagel with peanut butter/cream cheese, yogurt, and some sort of Gatorade/water mix.
  • Giffin - Turkey Sandwich.
  • Michalak- After weigh-ins Carbs keep it light.
  • Cathell - I usually gain 7-8 pounds after weigh-ins. I always drink strawberry milk and lemon lime Gatorade with chicken noodle soup, chocolate chip muffin, and oats and peanut butter granola bars.
  • Beverly - Bagel, pedialite, and hulk juice Gatorade (blue and yellow mixed).
  • McCauley – After weigh in I always have a Gatorade and chocolate milk to drink. To eat I have pb and honey sandwiches and subway.
  • Zabriskie  – Usually a trip to Olive Garden now that I weigh-in the day before, but in college usually a Gatorade and half a sandwich.

What is your usual post match meal?

  • Dake – See above
  • Burroughs – It depends what my teammates are doing; we usually like to eat together. I usually like to have something filling like a steak and some potatoes, with a big vanilla milkshake.
  • Maroulis -  Post match meal is some type of energy bar.
  • Morrison – Anything not picky.
  • Dziewa - Probably different every time.
  • Valenti - Nothing specific
  • Mango - Well, in an effort to keep my weight under control I usually just go back to my dorm and cook something for myself so I know it is healthy, but still satisfies my hunger. When on the road whatever the team wants is what I go with.
  • Giffin - After matches I usually like to get dinner with my parents if they attend or if not I’ll get a wawa hoagie.
  • Michalak – I enjoy going to Olive Garden and getting chicken fettuccini alfredo and obviously the endless breadsticks. Another necessity is a glass of coke with lots of water.
  • Cathell – Nothing specific always changes.
  • Beverly – Something with some protein to recover like a steak or some chicken.
  • McCauley - Post match meal I always like to go get some cookie dough ice cream.
  • Zabriskie – Post match I like to go out to eat, so usually a nice steak or some BBQ.

Do you have any lucky clothing you wear in your warm up or during matches?

  • Dake - Yep, black socks, red Cornell shorts, black Cornell long sleeve shirt, gray Cornell sweatshirt, red team warm-up top, and a white knee pad.
  • Burroughs - I wear the same pair of underwear underneath my singlet every match.
  • Maroulis – Sometimes I wear mismatched socks for good luck
  • Morrison - no lucky clothing.
  • Dziewa – Nope.
  • Valenti - I don’t have any superstitions or pre-match rituals. I’ve always been of the opinion that those types of things are a chink in the armor.
  • Mango - Though I don’t wear anything specific, I feel lucky any time I wear Stanford Gear. It’s a privilege to be part of and representing such a great community of people.
  • Giffin - I usually wear the same Penn issued underwear, shorts, 2 t-shirts, and hoodie.
  • Michalak – I don’t have any specific things I wear for warm up or matches anymore. I generally warm up with. Sweatshirts on and just make sure I am comfortable throughout the day.
  • Cathell - Yes, I have a pair of socks one gray, and one black that I try to always wear them ever since I won states in them.
  • Beverly - Not much on clothing but I’ve had a can opener in my bag since 5th grade that my dad gave me to “open a can of whoop ass” haha.
  • McCauley - No I don’t have any lucky clothing or anything, but I make sure whatever I’m about to wear has to be one of my favorite clothing for wrestling.
  • Zabriskie - No. I don’t have any lucky socks or anything like that.

Do you have a special pre-match ritual?

  • Dake - Slap my arms and legs to get pumped up and chest slap from Jeremy Spates 2 minutes before my match.
  • Burroughs - I always shower right before I put my uniform on, even if I just shower before we left the hotel I have to shower before every match.
  • Maroulis -  I just remind myself to have fun.
  • Morrison – Before every match i do 30 down in 5 increments of sprawls, squats, and push-ups.
  • Dziewa – I like to take my shoes off in between matches, I don’t think that’s a ritual, but that’s about all I can think of.  But i think it’s almost become habit because I’ve been doing it for years. Its almost as soon as I step off the mat I take them off.. And I don’t put them back on until I’m ready to warm up.
  • Valenti - No habits. They’re mental weaknesses.
  • Mango – I usually just listen to my Ipod and get some last minute words from Coach Borrelli.
  • Giffin - As soon as I put on my singlet I pull up my straps. I will always start jogging 3 matches before my own and will drink water the entire time. At a match and 1/2 before mine, usually in the second period of the 157lb match I will run exactly 10 sprints. Then as our 165lber walks out on the mat I will watch his match. With about 20 seconds left in his match I undress. Before I step on the mat I take one more sip of water and put on my head gear.
  • Michalak - I try to warm up the same every match. Drill, sprints, recovery. Pretty simple.
  • Cathell - Not really.
  • Beverly – I primarily warm up the same way every time. Jog, sprints, stretch out, stance and motion, and knee up jumps to get a sweat going.
  • McCauley – I would have to say any rituals pre-match would just be when I start warming up and that I always have to re-run to warm back up.
  • Zabriskie – I don’t think I have a “ritual”, but I do have a warm-up routine that I like to stick to. My routine takes about 10-15 minutes and I’ve done it enough that after I’m done with it I know I’m ready to wrestle.

Do you prefer getting psyched up or calm down before you wrestle?

  • Dake – Both… I calm down like 40 minutes before and with like 15 minutes before my match I get psyched up (usually pacing).
  • Burroughs - I like to stay calm; as long as my body is warm I will be ready to go. The higher my heart rate is the harder it is for me to focus, so I like to stay calm so I can be sharp.
  • Maroulis – I definitely like to be relaxed before a match, i get too anxious to wrestle otherwise.
  • Morrison – I prefer calming down before by talking and making jokes with one of my coaches.
  • Dziewa - Psyched up. Getting smacked a little bit, getting into an attacking state of mind.
  • Valenti - I prefer to be relaxed before I wrestle. I can get fired up in matches but I like to just preserve my energy and mentally focus on the task at hand.
  • Mango – I would say its a mix of emotion. I am definitely excited to compete which may cause me to appear to have a “psyched up” demeanor, however I am still relatively calm and having fun.
  • Giffin - I like being calm when I walk out on the mat. If I get too excited before I get nervous.
  • Michalak – I feel like I prefer a happy medium of being pumped up ready to kill and staying calm. I try to get my body worked up in my warm up but us music and some meditation to keep my mind calm as matches approach.
  • Cathell - I like to be calm and relax before I wrestle.
  • Beverly- I like getting psyched up before I wrestle. I like to have a lot of energy on the mat.
  • McCauley - I do kind of both. I like to get really psyched a couple matches before my match, then a match before I start to calm down so i can be relaxed when I wrestle.
  • Zabriskie -  Wrestling matches are always exciting especially when wrestling in Hilton Coliseum where crowds can exceed 15,000. I try to stay as calm as possible throughout the match until I’m about to start my warm-up. Then I let myself get psyched.

Are you a creature of habit and routine or does that not matter? (Sit in same seat on bus, watch same movie anything like that)

  • Dake - Creature of habit… I do the same thing pretty much every time, and will only work out with one person during a tournament.
  • Burroughs - I like to do things the same way each and every match. I eat the same meal, shower, put my uniform on the same way, warm-up the same, get off the bench at the same weight class every dual.
  • Maroulis – Hmm, it depends I have cycles of repetition but mostly I just go with the flow.
  • Morrison – Not too much. I always sit on the right side of the bus and always have a full workout a couple hours prior.
  • Dziewa -  Not in those examples. But I like to have the same routine in my warm up, cool down, packing my bag, stuff like that.
  • Valenti – No habits. They’re mental weaknesses.
  • Mango – I definitely am not a creature of habit. I just let things flow and react appropriately.
  • Giffin – The only real habits I had are my post weigh-in meal, where I always eat a turkey sandwich, the clothes I wear to warm up, and my warm up itself.
  • Michalak – Habits and rituals have become less important to me as I age, but I still like to have a routine at tournaments. My warm up and timing.
  • Cathell - I always sit on the same bus seat but other than that it doesn’t really matter.
  • Beverly - Defiantly a creature of habit. I sat in the same seat on the bus in high school since a freshman. Lucky seat number. I try to mirror what I did on my good days because I figure there has to be a reason why they were good days.
  • McCauley – In a way I have the same routine, I always got warm up to music drill with the same person and stretch the same way. I have a specific play list I always listen to.
  • Zabriskie - No real habits. Just my warm-up routine. That’s about it.

What do you like to listen to while working out?

  • Dake - Pandora… Whatever the seniors want.
  • Burroughs - I like to listen to mostly rap music.
  • Maroulis – Whatever plays at practices, my teammates make some pretty sick mixes.
  • Morrison – Rock and roll, metal, and classic rock….. Not too creative on that one.
  • Dziewa – Creed, Linkin Park, Eminem.
  • Valenti – I’m not picky about workout music. Our guys play some weird stuff but I’m usually too focused to even hear it.
  • Mango – While working out I generally don’t listen to music in order to simulate competition. Just as there are distractions while you compete there should be the same when you work out.
  • Giffin – I like listening to just about everything when I work out except for heavy metal. I especially enjoy songs that I know the words to so I can sing along.
  • Michalak – When I am working I just like to have background music, anything with faster pace to keep my energy up.
  • Cathell – When working out I like to listen to fast beat music, some new pop music.
  • Beverly – I like to listen to anything with a good beat to get me moving. Again house music and rap are favorites.
  • McCauley – I can really listen to anything when I work out, anything but country ha!
  • Zabriskie -I like anything that has a good beat to it. Techno is always good or something fast pace gets my body going.

Do you get nervous before every match?

  • Dake – Mostly excited, not too nervous.
  • Burroughs – Sometimes, depends on what is at stake. But I am so confident in my abilities that I know if I wrestle like I do on a daily basis I will be extremely hard to beat. If I’m nervous, than my opponent is pooping his pants.
  • Maroulis – Yes
  • Morrison – Always get nervous/excited, even up to my last match.
  • Dziewa – Maybe little butterflies. More nerves of myself to perform rather then nervous of my opponent.
  • Valenti - I get nervous the night before any competition but I’ve learned to shake the butterflies before match.
  • Mango – This is actually a pretty comical question for me. All the way until my sophomore year of high school I used to throw up before 90% of my matches as a result of nerves. It’s funny because now I never get nervous no matter what. I guess it was just a hurdle that I overcame at some point.
  • Giffin - Yes I absolutely get nervous before every match. The unknown of what could happen is running through my head. As soon as I shake hands the nervousness subsides until I score the first takedown and then the nervousness is gone.
  • Michalak – I do get very nervous before matched but I think that without some nerves I’m not prepared to wrestling a tough match every time.
  • Cathell – I always get nervous before every match and that nervous energy usually helps me get through the first period.
  • Beverly – I have some nerves before every match but their more butterfly kind of nerves…anxious to wrestle and compete.
  • McCauley – No, I tend not to get nervous before a match, but I can always feel a little bit there.
  • Zabriskie -  Yeah, I think everyone does on one scale or another. But I know I’m always prepared. So the moment the referee blows the whistle it goes away and everything else becomes instinct from hours upon hours of practice.

Do you follow rankings and results during the season? Or maybe the opposite you completely stay away from the press clippings?

  • Dake - I follow some results just to see how things are shaking out during season. I enjoy looking at what people have to say about me just for fun.
  • Burroughs – I always like to look at the rankings and forums. They motivate me. For every fan there are 5 critics, so for those who continued to doubt me throughout the year despite all I’ve done in the past, thanks for the motivation.
  • Maroulis – I don’t follow anything, if something comes up in conversation I’ll check it out.
  • Morrison – Completely stay away from it. i even yell at my roommates for watching wrestling close to me.
  • Dziewa -Eh, both I guess. The forums and rankings aren’t the first things I look at on the internet, but I don’t purposely avoid them. If I see wrestling in the paper, I’ll read it.’
  • Valenti - I do follow rankings and results. I’m not exactly everyone’s favorite wrestler so I don’t get much respect nationally prior to competitions. I never have and I don’t expect I ever will. So in rankings, results, predictions, previews, etc I’m an afterthought (it happened in 2006 and 2007) — that all adds fuel to my fire.
  • Mango – I follow the media a little during the season. It’s a nice break from schoolwork sometimes to read about/see results from something that you give so much of your own time to.
  • Giffin – I follow results but not  for every weight class. Upsets and good competition are exciting. I try to stay away from rankings because they truly don’t mean anything come the NCAA tournament.
  • Michalak – I pay attention to tournament results a little bit but rankings mean nothing to me because they r just someone else’s opinion of who should win and in this sport u have to wrestle every match. there r no guarantees ever.
  • Cathell - I don’t follow them but every once in a while ill check them out.
  • Beverly – I have always looked at statistics my whole life so I’m never surprised at what I’m getting, but I’m trying to stay away from it as I get older because everyone is good in college. You just gotta wrestle your best and be prepared.
  • McCauley – I like to follow rankings and results you know just to see how everyone else in the wrestling world is doing.
  • Zabriskie – I’ll take a peak at the rankings just to see what is going on. I stay away from the message boards. They usually don’t have anything positive to say anyway.

Is there anything special or specific about your in season routine you want to share?

  • Dake - Not really.
  • Burroughs - I just love the sport of wrestling; I love the intensity and the grind and the thrill of victory. I like to keep things light to though and have fun, wrestling is a fun sport as well, and once you begin to have fun everything else is easy.
  • Maroulis – I like to believe I’m special in my own way ha ha but no, no specific routine exercises.
  • Morrison - I never liked wrestling fully fresh. I always liked to be 1 or 2 workouts before. it was a way to calm the nerves.
  • Dziewa – I don’t look at the brackets during competition. I prepare better thinking I have the toughest kid every match and I don’t worry about certain kids doing certain things. I worry about me and me only, which is where I’m comfortable.
  • Valenti -  There’s not anything too special about my in season routines.
  • Mango – Not really. I guess I just want to thank my coaches, parents, and supporters for everything!
  • Giffin – I always found that it wasn’t the work that I put in the room during scheduled practice that made me the best but it was the extra workouts on my own that gave me the most confidence.
  • Michalak – No not really I keep it simple.
  • Cathell – Not really pretty laid back.
  • Beverly – One thing I think a lot of people notice is the jump i do before I wrestle. I’ve done it since my first match; I guess to just make sure my body is up for the match. I hear i get a lot of height on it.
  • McCauley – The one thing I like to make sure during my season is to keep my speed up at all times and that i make all my shots perfect so in a match it will come natural.
  • Zabriskie – Wrestling seasons are always long, and I know that even if you are the best you are still going to have “off days” where you just aren’t feeling 100%. Those are days you have to work your hardest. The most important thing is to not let those days get you down. Train through them, but don’t let an “off day” dictate how you perform the following day or the rest or that week.

Team Canada caps Golden Games with a thrilling overtime win over the United States

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Canada has capped the Golden Games with the medal that matters, beating the United States 3-2 in an Olympic hockey overtime thriller at Canada Hockey Place.

Sidney Crosby scored on a low shot through Ryan Miller‘s legs seven minutes 40 seconds into overtime to decide the last medal of the Vancouver Olympics.

“I just shot it,” he told CTV. “I didn’t really see it to be honest.”

It’s Canada’s 14th gold of the Vancouver Games, breaking the record for most gold medals at a Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union, in 1976, and Norway, in 2002, each won 13.

Zach Parise sent the game into overtime, stuffing in a rebound from in-close off a Patrick Kane shot with just 24.4 seconds left and Miller on the bench.

That forced a 20-minute sudden-death overtime, played four-on-four.

Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry scored for Canada in the first and second period, respectively. Miller stood tall the rest of the game in the U.S. net.

Ryan Kesler cut the margin to 2-1 in the second period, deflecting a shot past Roberto Luongo.

The gold was Canada’s eighth in men’s hockey at the Games — and the first since Team Canada defeated the host U.S. 5-2 at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The Canadian women’s team won hockey gold Thursday, defeating the U.S. 2-0.

A wild end to regulation time saw Miller pulled with an extra attacker with 1:30 left to play.

Parise, the Americans’ best forward in the tournament, tied the game and forced OT as Kane’s shot went off Jamie Langenbrunner‘s skate to the front of the net where Parise slipped it past Luongo.

Toews and Perry spotted Canada a 2-0 lead before Kesler scored on a deflection in the second period for the U.S.

The packed stands at Canada Hockey Place were like a giant party for flag- and sign-waving revellers dressed in Canadian red and white.

The Canadian men did it in a game that outmatched even a Stanley Cup final in pace and ferocity, as thundering hits were made on both sides and the NHL referees mostly kept their whistles in their pockets and let them battle.

As in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Canada took gold in both men’s and women’s hockey — this time in the first Olympic tournament held on the smaller NHL-size ice surface.

The Canadian team looked to be in trouble after losing 5-3 to the U.S. in their final preliminary round game a week earlier.

But as they did in Salt Lake, they improved with each game and found the cohesion and intensity to claw their way into the final and a chance to avenge the loss to the fast but less skilled Americans and their quick-legged Miller, who took a 1.04 goals-against average into the final.

The U.S. win in round-robin play forced Canada to play an extra elimination round game. Even though that was an easy 8-2 win over German, the sense was that the youthful American team would be fresher in the third period of the final and they were.

But in a wild third, Canada’s Shea Weber and Chris Pronger hit goalposts in the first two minutes, Dany Heatley just failed to lift a puck over sprawled Miller 10 minutes in, and Crosby, held without a point in the final three games, lost the handle on the puck on a late breakaway thanks to determined backchecking from Kane.

At the other end, Luongo held his ground and the defence kept shooters out of the goal area in a bid to preserve the win.

The opening minutes of the game saw heavy hitting from both sides, particularly U.S. defenceman Brooks Orpik who nearly put Heatley into the players bench, but Canada did not allow the Americans to establish pressure in their zone.

Toews connected 12:50 into the game as the Chicago centre and Mike Richards combined to win battles for the puck near the net against Erik Johnson and Paul Stastny and Richards pushed it to Toews for high shot from in close.

It was the first of the tournament for perhaps Canada’s most consistent forward and marked the first time the U.S. had trailed in a game.

Canada had just completed its first penalty kill when Ryan Getzlaf skated into the U.S. and zone and saw his pass go off Ryan Whitney‘s skate to Perry alone in front for a quick shot and his fourth goal at 8:25.

Just as the flag and sign-waving crowd began to party in the seats, the U.S. struck back as Kane snapped a shot that went off the shaft of Kesler’s stick and trickled through Luongo’s equipment at 12:44.

Between periods, Kesler told a TV interviewer he felt his Vancouver teammate Luongo was fighting the puck, as he had in previous games.

Canada became the first country to win hockey gold on home ice since the American Miracle On Ice team from the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.

It was a first loss at these Games for the Americans. The last hockey team to go undefeated at the Olympics was the Soviet Union, which was 5-0 in Calgary in 1988.

Both referees Bill McCreary and Dan O’Halloran, as well as linesman Jean Morin are Canadian. The other linesman was Stefan Fonselius of Finland.

The full house was also packed with celebrities, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, singers Neil Young and Bryan Adams, actors William Shatner and Vince Vaughn, and from the sports world, golfer Mike Weir and hockey greats Gordie Howe and Mark Messier.

Notes— It was the 17th meeting between Canada and the U.S. in Olympic history. Canada leads the series (10-3-3)… Coach Mike Babcock wore his lucky McGill University tie for the game. He is (5-2) all-time with the tie, with both losses in overtime… In the pre-game warmup, Crosby stopped to tie a skate lace and his former Pittsburgh teammate, American Ryan Malone, slid a couple pucks toward him to try to hit his gloves on the ice. Malone smiled, Crosby didn’t react.


The night they killed figure skating

By Elvis Stojko, Yahoo! Sports

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Sorry, Evan Lysacek.

You’re a great skater and all.

But that wasn’t Olympic champion material.

In Thursday night’s men’s free skate, Lysacek skated slow and his jumps weren’t close to the technical ability of defending Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko.

How can you be Olympic champion when you don’t even try the quad? If you’re going to take the quad out, why not take out another triple axel and just have more of the other stuff so the International Skating Union can make it more into an “art” recital.

Plushenko had a great performance. His footwork was great and maybe his spins weren’t quite as good as Lysacek’s, but it wasn’t that big of a difference. He also had a quad toe triple toe that wasn’t even attempted by anyone else. He did both triple axels, so all the jumps were there.

But the judges’ scoring was ridiculous.

Because of it, the sport took a step backward. Brian Boitano did the same thing, technically, in 1988. There are junior skaters who can skate that same program.

And the judges’ scoring probably killed figure skating because kids now are going to see this and say, “Oh, I don’t need a quad. I can just do great footwork for presentation marks and do a couple of nice spins and make it to Olympic champion.” With that type of scoring, you don’t have to risk it. You can play it safe and win gold.

In what other sports do you have to hold back in order to win?

The International Skating Union has taken the risk out of figure skating and it makes me sick.

If Plushenko had made some mistakes, then sure, maybe Lysacek deserves gold. But when you take the risk out of skaters’ programs, it doesn’t compute to me.

And it’s not a personal thing. I like Evan. But when you compare performances and have an outcome like this, the sport is going backward. And it hurts me to say it because I love this sport. But the judges made a mockery of it by giving Lysacek the gold.

I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade because it’s not the skaters’ fault. It’s the system. And the figure skating community wants to control who wins and who loses. And what it does is it makes the component score more valid than the jumps so it can control whatever it wants. And that’s exactly what happened Thursday night at Pacific Coliseum.

How can the sport be put back on the right path? I have no idea. I haven’t even thought about it. It’s not up to me. Because people at the ISU obviously seem to know what they’re doing. Well, they think they know what they’re doing.

For me, the outcome on Thursday night was disappointing.

A few more thoughts on the men’s free skate:

• I thought Daisuke Takahashi was awesome. He tried the quad and he had the guts to go for it, and he should’ve been ahead of Lysacek in that aspect.

Johnny Weir was great. He should’ve been higher than sixth – above Patrick Chan, who was fifth. Weir outskated Chan. He might’ve skated a little bit slow but he went out there and did his stuff. I feel bad for him.

• People say I’m hammering certain skaters. I’m not. It’s the system I don’t like and if you say I am biased … I already said I am not a fan of Weir’s skating, but he skated well tonight and deserved to be ahead of Chan.

In addition, Takahiko Kozuka – my favorite skater – did not get the points he deserved. He skated great, had awesome spins, the best edges in the competition, was very close with the quad and did a ton of triples.

Figure skating gets no respect because of outcomes like this. More feathers, head-flinging and so-called step sequences done at walking speed – that’s what the system wants.

I am going to watch hockey, where athletes are allowed to push the envelope. A real sport.


Lysacek dethrones Plushenko to end dominance

By Beverley Smith, The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER – Evgeni Plushenko blinked.

When the Russian finished the men’s long program Thursday night, he held both arms aloft in triumph, making the No. 1 sign with both hands.

However, the judges didn’t quite agree.

They gave the Russian the silver medal, awarding the gold to reigning world champion Evan Lysacek of the United States, who won by only 1.31 points. When the placements jumped onto the scoreboard, the crowd roared wildly, and a great number of them began to chant: “USA! USA!”

For the first time in six Olympic Games, a Russian or Soviet did not win the men’s gold medal. Lysacek broke the stronghold. He also broke a longstanding jinx of reigning world champions being unable to win at the next Olympics.

Daisuke Takahashi of Japan earned the bronze medal with the most expressive performance of all.

Patrick Chan, of Toronto, moved up to fifth from seventh place. The 19-year-old was driven by the crowd’s roar, but he made just enough miscues to keep him off the podium.

Vaughn Chipeur, of Edmonton, the Canadian silver medalist, was 23rd.

“I was a bit disappointed to be honest, after I got off my ending position,” Chan said. “I might not have looked the happiest person. At the Olympics, after seeing all these Canadians with the gold medal, I wanted to do a perfect program without mistakes, it didn’t happen. But it’s not many people who get a medal at their first Olympics.”

Chan said the best part was the Canadian crowd, who roared as soon as he appeared on ice, and roared again when he landed his first element, a triple Axel- double toe loop.

“It makes me realize how proud I am to be Canadian,” he said.

When the marks first came up, Chan said he felt like he let the audience down. “Because I didn’t give a great performance.”

Chan stepped out of a triple Lutz, and fell on a triple Axel. But he sailed on to 241.42 points, just ahead of Johnny Weir of the United States, who got a loud standing ovation. The judges were loudly booed when he was placed sixth, but he had missed some crucial points.

Plushenko skated cautiously and had to fight for the landings on many of his jumps. His choreography wasn’t so hot either. He needed someone like Kurt Browning for advice. Plushenko’s people had gone several times to Browning to ask him to do the Russian’s programs, but Browning had refused, saying he didn’t know what to do with him, and he wasn’t the right person.

Lysacek went for the gusto, as always. Both he and Chan share the same choreographer, Lori Nichol.

“In the end, they still love me as much as they did [as] if I had done a great program,” Chan said. “I love Vancouver for that. And I’ll always remember Vancouver and the people here for that.”

Chan was disappointed because he had done clean programs in practice and his expectations had risen. After the marks came up, he saw he got huge marks for footwork. “that’s what I love to do,” he said. “It’s not jumps.”

It was a miserable Olympics for 2007 world champion Brian Joubert, who continued to fumble after being only 18th in the short program. Overall, after his long program Thursday, he finished 16th.

He fell on his first quadruple toe loop, scaled a second one down to a triple, flipped out of a triple Axel, put a hand down on a triple Lutz, and did only simple moves in his footwork sequences.

Joubert isn’t waiting around for the closing ceremonies. He said afterwards that he’s heading home Friday to regroup. He’ll have a test of his readiness and federation president Didier Gailhaguet will decide if he continues on to the world championships in Turin next month. If he’s not ready, he said, the French federation will send somebody else.

Joubert admitted he hasn’t been a happy man. Before, he was relaxed when he was on the ice, and wanted to skate for fun. But he changed his approach, he said, wanting to control everything himself. Joubert stopped listening to his mother, his coach and his federation. “I’m just 25 years old,” he said sadly. “I don’t know anything about life.”


Canada’s short-track team turns to Inukshuk to protect Olympic dreams

Sunny Dhillon, THE CANADIAN PRESS

RICHMOND, B.C. – Canada’s short-track speedskating team might be favoured to claim a handful of medals at the Vancouver Olympics but it’s leaving nothing to chance.

On Sunday, members of the squad, including medal favourites Charles Hamelin and Kalyna Roberge, marched outside the Speed Skating Canada House in Richmond, B.C., and entrusted their Olympic dreams to a towering Inukshuk planted nearby.

“The giant Inukshuk … made the trip here with us and will be keeping an eye on our teams as they compete during the Olympics,” said Jean Dupre, director general of Speed Skating Canada.

“Each and every one of our athletes competing here in Vancouver has put down their Olympic dreams on a piece of paper and we will … entrust those dreams to the Inukshuk, who will be the guardian of them for the duration of the Games.”

Yves Hamelin, the team’s leader, climbed a ladder and lowered a metal canister containing the pieces of paper into the top of the stone structure.

But what exactly was written on those sheets, and what expectations the skaters have of themselves, remained a secret for some.

“Just me and my coach know what is my goal,” Roberge said with a smile.

The expectations from the Canadian public are much more clear.

The 10-member short-track team solidified its standing among the international contingent during two World Cup competitions this season. In one event, they won seven medals while at the other they claimed six.

“We know that six podiums is achievable,” said Yves Hamelin, who is also father of team members Charles and Francois.

“We’ve done that many times in the past three years. This year, particularly, with the same athletes, same format, we’ve made that level of result.”

Hamelin said he expects to see both Roberge and Charles star at this month’s Games.

“Kalyna Roberge for sure will play a big role as a leader and racing the three distances and Kalyna is really ready at the moment,” he said.

Roberge competes in the 500-metre, 1,000-metre, and 1,500-metre events, as well as the relay. She won a silver medal in the relay at the 2006 Games and finished fourth in the 500.

Charles Hamelin, considered one of Canada’s top medal contenders at the Vancouver Games, said he feels no added pressure competing on home soil.

In fact, he pointed to a World Cup competition last fall in Montreal when he took three individual medals, including two golds, and one with the relay team.

“It’s really exciting (to be in Vancouver),” he said. “I’ve been here a couple of times the last two years, but this time I really feel like everyone is behind us.

“I know that I can do good when I’m in front of my crowd. (It gives) me some more energy.”

Hamelin is ranked second in the world. Roberge is ranked fifth.

The last time short-track Olympic events were held on Canadian soil, the country’s speedskaters left their mark.

Short-track was only an exciting demonstration sport at the Calgary 1988 Games but the Canucks managed to claim 10 medals.

Dupre said he fully expects Canadians to own the podium again in 2010.

“Best of luck, and I hope that you will kick ass the next couple of weeks,” he told the team Sunday.


Newest Aquisition …

It was a logical move on my part. Something that I have wanted for a long time but the moment escaped me until tonight. And now they are mine.

ONEAL MX/ATV Motocross Boots

Just in time for Christmas.


RIO DE JANEIRO – 2016 Olympics

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Nearly 50,000 people erupted in celebration when Rio de Janeiro was announced host of the 2016 Olympics on Friday, jumping and cheering in a Carnival-like party on Copacabana beach.

A huge roar was heard at the famed beach the moment International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the words “Rio de Janeiro” when announcing the winner in Copenhagen.

As popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and soccer great Pele celebrated in Denmark, the Cariocas, as Rio citizens are known, raised their arms to commemorate on Copacabana, frantically waving flags and hugging each other.

The party was expected to go on well into the night, and officials said the crowd would easily surpass 100,000 people.

The Cariocas danced to samba as confetti was launched into the air in front of a massive stage set up for the victory celebration.

A banner half the size of a soccer field – with Rio’s logo, an image of the Christ the Redeemer statue and the words “Rio Loves You” – was displayed.

The Cariocas had been anxiously awaiting the result, taking advantage of a sunny day to watch the announcement on two big screens set up on the beach. Live concerts featuring popular artists had been entertaining the crowd since early in the morning, and the traditional Salgueiro samba group was on hand to keep the party going.

Rio beat Madrid, Chicago, and Tokyo, finally winning the bid after failed attempts in 1936, 2004 and 2012.

The Games will be the first held in South America, and will take place by one of the most impressive backdrops – Rio’s stunning beaches and famous landmarks, including the Sugar Loaf mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue.


Sid the Kid Crosby and the Stanley Cup

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DETROIT – JUNE 12: Sidney Crosby(notes) #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-1 to win Game Seven and the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


Penguins clip Wings to claim Stanley Cup

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Stanley Cup Penguins Red Wings Hockey

Stanley Cup Penguins Red Wings Hockey

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Images: Courtesy of Getty Images and Yahoo Sports

Even without the late-game services of captain Sidney Cosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins stood tall in winning the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history.

Centre Maxime Talbot scored both goals, sending the Penguins to a 2-1 win over former champion Detroit Red Wings during Game 7 Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Pittsburgh secures the franchise’s first championship since the Mario Lemieux-led Penguins of 1991 and 1992.

The Penguins also become the first road team since the 1971 Montreal Canadiens to begin a Stanley Cup final 0-2 yet still win it all in the seventh and deciding game away from home.


The Trophy Voodoo: You can't touch this, or can you?

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Much has been written since Tuesday night when Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby(notes) went against all that the hockey gods teach us and decided to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy, later carrying it off the RBC Center ice.

Crosby’s reason for breaking tradition? He left it alone a year ago and things didn’t work out quite as planned.

One could say the “to touch/not to touch” debate is all hooey, especially since Detroit Red Wings captain Niklas Lidstrom left the Clarence Campbell Bowl alone after the Western Conference champions advanced to last year’s Stanley Cup finals — and that ended fairly successfully for Detroit.

It’s all a matter of superstition, something for which NHL players are famously known.

The Toronto Star’s Damian Cox? Not a fan of such superstitions:

Well, thank goodness for Sidney Crosby.

The Kid ended (hopefully) one of the truly moronic semi-traditions in hockey Tuesday night after the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Eastern Conference crown by sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes.

In recent years, team after team had declined even to touch the trophies for winning the Eastern or Western Conference, with the silly excuse being “that wasn’t the trophy they wanted” in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

Even Crosby bought into it last year when the Pens won the east. But Tuesday night, he gratefully accepted the Prince of Wales Trophy from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, then carried it away into the arms of his joyous teammates.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Cox also doesn’t believe in avoiding the logo on the floor of team lockers rooms, too.

Last night, subbing for injured captain Nicklas Lidstrom(notes), Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg(notes) went with what worked for the Red Wings last season and kept his paws off the Campbell Bowl. Unlike Crosby and the Penguins, not touching the trophy worked for the Red Wings, so why bother with tradition?

Over at PensBurgh, Hooks Orpik believes that trophy presentations are a reason to celebrate a season’s accomplishments:

First of all, I’m happy the Sidney Crosby picked up the Prince of Wales trophy, posed for a few pictures and nonchalantly skated off the ice.

[...]

And while that’s all well and good, a perfectly fine message to have, the Penguins deserved to have the happy moment to recognize their monumental achievement for such a huge season turnaround.

Digging into their hockey archives, ESPN found four instances since 1991 when a team’s captain lifted their conference trophy and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Mario Lemieux (1991) and Scott Stevens (2000, 2003) both bucked tradition and left fingerprints on the Prince of Wales trophy. In 1997, Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman had no fear and lifted the Clarence Campbell Bowl and a week later was celebrating a Stanley Cup victory.

So, like many hockey superstitions and traditions, they may not make any sense to some fans or writers; but to the players, they’re an important part of the hockey culture.

Whether it’s tossing your cookies before a game, growing facial hair between the months of April and June, or becoming bosom buddies with the goal posts, these superstitions are one of the things that make hockey as unique as it is.


Ovechkin, Capitals take round 1 of superstar showdown

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CBC.CA Online

The NHL’s marquee series lived up to its billing in Game 1 on Saturday as the Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in the opening game of their best-of-seven semifinal.

Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-winner early in the third period and the Capitals held on for the win.

Fleischmann fired home the go-ahead-goal at 1:46 of the frame on a pass from Nicklas Backstrom on a 2-on-1 down low.

Rookie Washington goaltender Simeon Varlamov was outstanding, stopping 34 of 36 shots, including a spectacular save on Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby with the game tied 2-2 late in the second period.

On a 2-on-1, forward Chris Kunitz slid the puck across to the Penguins captain, but Varlamov made a diving stop with his stick on the goal-line to rob him.

“Those type of opportunities, you don’t want to waste them,” Crosby said. “You have an open net like that, you want to take advantage of it. We ended up losing the game 3-2 so you look back and say ‘What if?’ But as a player you have to forget quickly.”

Alex Ovechkin and Dave Steckel scored the other goals for the Capitals. Both Backstrom and Alexander Semin had two assists in the win.

“[The Penguins] are what we thought they were,” Washington forward Brooks Laich told Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman. “They’re a very good hockey team. There were times tonight where they had us on the run, and our goalie made some big saves.

“It’s going to be a heck of a series.”

Crosby and Mark Eaton scored the Pittsburgh goals.

Lived up to billing

The game lived up to its billing from start to finish as the chances were fairly even. Both goalies had to make big saves to keep the teams close.

Crosby and Ovechkin looked ready to play from the opening puck-drop and featured in the majority of the scoring chances.

But someone who didn’t was Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin. He had an assist but was minus-1 for the game.

Another disappointment for the visiting side was the ineffectiveness of their power play. Three chances to score — including a couple of big power plays in the third while down 3-2 — went by the wayside.

The Capitals, meanwhile, had only two power plays, but they were fortunate to have them occur near each other and scored on the two-man advantage.

“Both teams have skilled guys, so on a two-man advantage you have to score,” said Ovechkin.

Pittsburgh outshot Washington 36-26, with most of that advantage coming in the third with the Penguins pressing for the equalizer, as they held a 13-6 advantage in the frame.

Game 2 is set for Monday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).

Pittsburgh opened the scoring early, and it was the captain who got the team rolling.

Crosby fired a bullet on the rush that went over goalie Varlamov’s glove to make it 1-0 Penguins at 4:09 of the first.

That quieted the Verizon Center crowd for a while, but they had reason to erupt at 13:50 of the frame.

Washington forward Steckel scored after he snuck in behind three Penguins on the rush, as they all went to cover puck-carrier Matt Bradley, who slid the disc over to the wide-open Steckel and he scored his first of the playoffs.

And that’s when Ovechkin and Semin got in on the action.

On a two-man advantage, Semin faked a slapshot that fooled everyone in the building — except Ovechkin, who received a perfect pass from Semin at the side of the net and fired it into an open cage for his fourth of the playoffs at 17:03 of the first. That put the Capitals up 2-1.

Pittsburgh’s Eaton scored at 12:54 to tie the game 2-2 on a weak unscreened point shot that went right through Varlamov’s glove. But the rookie Washington goaltender more than redeemed himself in the waning minutes of the second with his diving save on Crosby.


New Aquisition – Adidas Super Response

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Nothing gives me more joy than to find a real deal on Ebay. This shoe retails for more than $75.00 US – And I got a pair for $31.00 plus a nominal shipping fee, much less than had I paid retail for them. YAY !!!

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It was a hit and miss day on Tuesday. I woke up late, but I had an agenda for the day. I had to return some phone calls from some of my fellow ministry students – the Monsignor seems to be MIA … I called his office and spoke to his secretary who told me to email her my final paper at 40 pages and that she would print it out for him. So that’s what I did. Now I am waiting on the Monsignor to contact me to do my final oral interview.

I totally missed class and it wasn’t until about 4 o’clock that it dawned on me what day it was. I was that out of it. It’s all good. I have those days every once in a while. Since my leaving the meeting I have been getting used to the dynamic shift in my life.

We went out for dinner tonight which was a nice treat. We went to McDonald’s and we stuffed ourselves sick. At least hubby was sick after the belt feeding he did… ugh !!!!

I have to finish writing 2 more papers one for AHSC and one for NT studies.

Stay tuned, more to come later…


Jake Herbert wins Dan Hodge Trophy

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From: Wrestling Insider News Magazine – via email group.

After turning in a near-perfect season of wrestling, Jake Herbert of Northwestern has been named the winner of the 2009 Dan Hodge Trophy. The trophy is co-sponsored by WIN Magazine and the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum, in Waterloo, Iowa.

On March 21 in St. Louis, Mo., Herbert defeated the defending NCAA champion, Mike Pucillo of Ohio State, to claim his second title at 184 pounds. Herbert finished the season 34-0 and did not surrender a takedown all year. Along the way, he scored 15 pins, four technical falls and nine major decisions.

Herbert is the 15th winner of the trophy, dating back to 1995. It is presented each year to the college wrestler who best represents the dominating style of Dan Hodge, who was an undefeated, three-time NCAA champion for the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s. Hodge is considered one of the three or four greatest pinners of all time, pinning 36 of 46 foes during his career, and 15 of 16 his final season, 1957.

“We have several criteria, including winning the national title and domination on the mat,” said Mike Chapman, creator of the award. “The Dan Hodge trophy was designed to be wrestling’s counterpart of the Heisman Trophy in football, and to reward wrestlers who go all out to dominate the opponent, either by pin or tech falls and major decisions. Jake is a great example of that philosophy.”

“Two things really impress me about Jake. First, he really goes out every match to put a lot of points on the scoreboard or get a pin. That’s what most fans want to see,” said WIN publisher Bryan Van Kley. “And when you take into consideration that he’s doing that at 184, that’s impressive. He’s a very worthy recipient of the award.”

A native of Wexford, Pa., Herbert was a four-time All-American as a Wildcat. He finished third in the NCAA in 2005 and was second the next year with a mark of 33-1. He was 32-0 as a junior, winning the NCAA title at 184. He then took an Olympic redshirt year to try out for the 2008 Olympic Team.

As a Wildcat, Herbert was an amazing 149-4, winning his last 66 matches in a row. His winning percentage of .973 is the highest in Northwestern history. He is second on the all-time Northwestern wins list behind Jack Griffin, who was 156-21-1 (percentage of .879).

“Jake has been the face of Northwestern wrestling for the last five years,” said Tim Cysewski, Northwestern coach. “He heads the list of guys that have made a mark on our program.

“Jack Riley was a two-time NCAA champion back in the 1930s and won a silver medal in the 1932 Olympics. We’ll have to wait and see on the Olympics, but I think Jake’s better than Riley was.”

Herbert was vacationing in California when informed of his selection as the Hodge winner for 2009.

“It makes me so happy to win this great award,” he said. “It’s a great way to cap off the season, and my career.”

Winning the Hodge Trophy was a goal he set for himself prior to his senior year. He approached Brent Metcalf, last year’s winner, and told him he wanted the Hodge Trophy this season. Herbert said that Metcalf told him to go for it.

Watching Metcalf lose in the 149-pound finals, Herbert knew he had to keep his focus for his finals match with Pucillo.

“I couldn’t believe Brent was losing,” he said. “I knew it was probably down to him and me for the Hodge.”

But Herbert didn’t feel any extra pressure himself at that point, he said.

“I felt like Mike (Pucillo) had more pressure on him, being the defending champion and his team still having a chance for the team title,” Herbert said. “I just had to focus and wrestle the best that I could.”

Cysewski, who was a Big Ten champ and All-American at Iowa, feels winning the Hodge Trophy will be a big plus for the Wildcat program.

“In the past, before the Hodge Trophy, wrestlers were focused on winning the Midlands, their conference and the NCAA,” he said. “Now, the Hodge Trophy is added to that list. It’s become a big deal, for sure.

“Jake winning the Hodge provides another sense that we’re doing the right things here at Northwestern. It’s important, and Jake knows


Monday Musings …

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Let’s begin with a little inspiration. Jake Herbert from Northwestern University in Top Form at the NCAA Championships. Here are a few more from Tech.Fall.com…

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

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YEAH !!! BABY !!!

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Northwestern University Sports Information
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Just as he did in March of 2007, Northwestern senior Jake Herbert completed an undefeated season with a 184-pound national title at the NCAA Championships Saturday in St. Louis. NU’s four-time All-American held off last year’s NCAA champ, Mike Pucillo of Ohio State, by a 6-3 decision to become just the second two-time national title-winner in school history and the first since 1932.

“They say college is the best four to six years of your life and I think I’m proof of that,” said Herbert, who has already earned his degree after taking a redshirt year in 2007-08 to train for the Olympics in Beijing. “College wrestling is an awesome lifestyle. I just have to thank (head coach) Tim Cysewski because I wouldn’t have done any of this without him. I wouldn’t have wanted to wrestle for anybody else and it’s a special kind of guy that can handle me for six years.”

With Herbert’s win, Northwestern separated itself as the only wrestling program in the country to have had an individual national champion in each of the past three seasons. Herbert, who ends his college career on a 66-match winning streak, won his first title in 2007 while Dustin Fox brought home the heavyweight title in March of last year.

“We knew Jake was going to be special when we recruited him and every year Jake has just continued to up the ante for us as coaches,” Cysewski said.

As a team, the ‘Cats came in 13th for the second straight season (46.0 points) to record their fifth consecutive top-15 national finish. Iowa repeated as the team champions with 96.5 points.

Herbert (34-0), the 2009 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, used the NCAA Championships to put the finishing touches on a four-year varsity career in which he posted a 138-4 record, good for the fifth-best winning percentage (.972) among all Division I wrestlers since the 1974-75 season.

Saturday’s title bout marked the first time Herbert squared off against Pucillo, who moved up a weight class to 197 in NU’s regular season dual match versus the Buckeyes and who lost in the Big Ten Championships before he could meet Herbert.

Nevertheless, Herbert dismissed the possibility of there being any feeling-out period by diving at and grabbing a hold of Pucillo’s right leg just nine seconds into the match. After one restart, Herbert tilted the Buckeye and was on the verge of collecting back points when Pucillo managed to roll off onto his stomach.

Following an escape by Pucillo, Herbert distanced himself with a second takedown but Pucillo continued to hold strong, pulling to within 4-3 in the second on another escape. With Herbert leading 5-3 in the third, Pucillo got a great hold of Herbert’s left leg with 30 seconds remaining but was unable to finish the move as Herbert completed his season without surrendering a takedown. His 1:53 of riding time brought his final winning margin at Northwestern to 6-3, setting off a celebration among NU’s coaches and contingent of fans in the stands at the Scottrade Center.

“I thought it went well,” Herbert said of the much-anticipated matchup against Pucillo. “I did what I needed to do but he made me work for it. He wasn’t going to hand it to me and he wasn’t going to roll over. I didn’t give up a takedown which was good but I think Mike’s a great wrestler and I can see him winning another national title.”

Herbert concludes his career as one of the most decorated Wildcat wrestlers in NU history. He is the program’s only four-time All-American, three-time Big Ten champion and three-time Midlands titlist and ranks second all-time in wins with 149 (including his redshirt season).

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It was a quiet weekend. Not much going on here. The weather has been just dandy although a little on the cold side. We are in the final push for the end of the semester now – and we are all working on papers now.

I don’t have much to say at the moment. I just thought I should put something up here because it has been days since my last post. I will try to get over to the Cathedral for service tomorrow. I am not sure that Joyce is back from New York. So we shall see.

Stay tuned for more later.

Congratulations Jake for a job well done.


Olympic poll says Canadians happy with athletes, China and TV

Four members of Canada’s gold medal-winning men’s eight rowing team show off their hardware after arriving at Vancouver International Airport Monday. Left to right, Dominic Seiterle, coxswain Brian Price, Adam Kreek and Malcolm Howard. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

CBC Sports @ CBC.CA

79 per cent satisfied with athletes; 72 per cent liked how CBC covered Games

When rower Krista Guloien led a contingent of 100 Canadian Olympians returning from Beijing down the escalator at Vancouver International Airport Monday she found a country more than satisfied with how the Summer Games turned out.

A new Canadian Press/Harris Decima poll shows Canadians happy with everything from the athletes’ efforts at the Games, the organization of events by the host country, China, and the Olympic coverage shown on CBC television.

Canada won 18 medals in Beijing (three gold, nine silver and six bronze), the country’s second-best performance ever at a non-boycotted Games. (The Atlanta Games in 1996 produced 22 medals.) And that left everyone in a good mood.

“In the run-up to these Games, it wasn’t clear whether broad attention was going to be captured, and obviously it wasn’t clear whether people were going to come away pleased with the outcomes,” said Bruce Anderson, president of Harris Decima.

“As it turned out, the general sentiment is that the Games were a success, Canada’s athletes performed admirably and the coverage provided by the CBC was well regarded, too.”

Among the highlights of the survey of more than 1,000 people across the country:

  • Canadians were satisfied with the performance of the national team in Beijing. Fully 79 per cent of those surveyed were either very satisfied (26 per cent) or satisfied (53 per cent). Only nine per cent were dissatisfied.
  • China’s efforts at organizing and running the Olympics met with a solid majority of support as 66 per cent of those surveyed said they were either very impressed (31 per cent) or somewhat impressed (37 per cent). A total of 21 per cent were either not too impressed or not impressed at all.
  • Television coverage by CBC Sports, English and French, also received high marks. Seventy-two per cent of Canadians who answered the survey thought the coverage was either excellent (35 per cent) or good (37 per cent). Just one in 10 believed the coverage to be fair (eight per cent) or poor (two per cent).

Across the country, 77 per cent said they watched some portion of the Games on television, with the average person taking in 13.76 hours (the survey was taken between last Thursday and the closing of the Games on Sunday).

Those who watched the Games had the highest number of positive reactions toward the athletes, organizers and the CBC.

A sample of this size has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent 19 times out of 20.


Openly gay diver wins gold

By Maggie Hendricks- Fourth Place Medal

Diver Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay male athlete in the Beijing Olympics, won gold in the 10m platform. He beat Chinese favorite Zhou Luxin by 4.8 points, preventing China from sweeping gold in diving events. Mitcham is the first Aussie to win diving gold since 1924, but that’s not the only thing that makes him a trailblazer.

He is hardly the first gay athlete to compete but he is one of the first to be out while competing. American diver Greg Louganis did not share his orientation until his diving career was over. To Mitcham, he is just living his life as a gay man and as a diver, and there is nothing extraordinary about that:

“Being gay and diving are completely separate parts of my life. Of course there’s going to be crossover because some people have issues, but everyone I dive with has been so supportive.”

Though he wants to be known as more than a gay man, the LGBT community is proud of their star. At OutSports, a sports Web site that focuses on the gay community, his win is front-page news. The Web site brings up a good question — will NBC mention Mitcham’s orientation during tonight’s broadcast?

To Mitcham, that doesn’t seem to matter. He has gold, and has reached his goals: “I’m happy with myself and where I am. I’m very happy with who I am and what I’ve done.”

UPDATE: NBC did not mention Mitcham’s orientation, nor did they show his family and partner who were in the stands. NBC has made athletes’ significant others a part of the coverage in the past, choosing to spotlight track athlete Sanya Richards‘ fiancee, a love triangle between French and Italian swimmers and Kerri Walsh‘s wedding ring debacle.

Photos via Getty Images


Van Koeverden advances to K-1 1000 final

Adam van Koeverden, seen here in June, started his bid for Olympic gold on Monday. (Getty Images)

CBC Sports @ CBC.CA

Canadian Adam van Koeverden advanced to the final of the men’s K-1 1000 metres by winning his heat on Monday.

Van Koeverden, one of the most celebrated Canadians at these Games, led wire to wire in the race, finishing in three minutes, 29.622 seconds.

Van Koeverden, who was the Canadian flag-bearer at the opening ceremony in Beijing, is a strong medal contender in the 1000. He won a bronze in this event at the 2004 Athens Games as well as three silvers (2003, 2005, 2007) at world championships.

He has been strong in this distance this season, winning two golds and one bronze in three World Cup races.

Ben Fouhy of New Zealand, who set the world record in this distance (3:24.495) in 2006, finished third in van Koeverden’s heat with a time of 3:33.037.

Van Koeverden’s main rivals in this distance won their heats, too. Briton Tim Brabants (3:27.828) took the first and Norwegian Eirik Veraas Larsen (3:29.043) won the third.

They will compete against van Koeverden in the final on Friday.


Bright future lies ahead for Canadian swimmers

Canada’s Ryan Cochrane, from Victoria, B.C., celebrates after taking the bronze medal in the men’s 1500-metre freestyle Sunday. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

CBC Sports @ CBC.CA

Canada’s swimmers leave Beijing with their first Olympic medal in eight years. And things are looking up for 2012.

What a difference a third-place finish can make.

Before teenager Ryan Cochrane swam to a surprise bronze in the 1,500-metre freestyle on Sunday, the final day of competition at Beijing’s National Aquatics Centre, opinion on the performance of the Canadian team had been divided.

Before Sunday, if you were to ask a set of Canadians for their thoughts on how their country’s swim team was faring at the Summer Olympics, you’d probably get a split answer: “Great job,” half would’ve said. “What a disappointment,” the rest would’ve grumbled.

Cochrane’s bronze — Canada’s first in Olympic swimming since 2000, and first in the gruelling 1,500 free since 1920 — swayed many observers from the glass-half-empty camp to the glass-half full side. But by some measures, Canadian swimmers were already enjoying a fine competition in China before the 19-year-old Victorian climbed the medal stand.

Plus, things are looking up for the future.

For those upset with Canada winning “only” one medal in Beijing, it’s instructive to note that, leading up to the Olympics, few observers expected much from the Canucks. Sports Illustrated, for example, predicted a shutout for Canada, while CBCSports.ca envisioned just a single medal: bronze in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay.

That team ended up fifth, and Mike Brown of Perth, Ont., later narrowly missed the podium. Brown placed fourth in the men’s 200-metre breaststroke, an imperceptible 9-100ths of a second behind bronze medallist Hugues Duboscq of France.

“I gave it my best,” Brown, 24, told CBC Sports. “Winning a medal at the Olympic Games is one of the hardest things you can do. There are a lot of people in this world, and you’ve got to give respect to our athletes who are doing their best out here.”

‘We belong on this stage’

Partly because Brown and the relay team had the misfortune of racing when Canada’s Olympic team was still searching for its first medal, they were coloured by some as failures. But their performances weren’t much out of line with recent data: the relay squad was third at the most recent world championships, while Brown was seventh in the 200 back.

“It’s hard to beat [the Canadian team] up too much,” said CBC Swimming analyst Mark Tewksbury, a gold medallist in 1992 in Barcelona. “They’re not converting to medals, but they’re certainly not swimming badly.”

Indeed, solid performances were everywhere in Beijing, where Canadians broke 26 national records. That number is skewed by the fact that top times fell like autumn leaves at the Water Cube (the National Aquatics Center), where high-tech racing suits and an ultra-fast pool have conspired to all but erase the data in world record books.

A more trustworthy total is the 10 finals Canadian swimmers qualified for in Beijing, easily eclipsing the three reached at the 2004 Olympics.

“In Athens we were bystanders watching a great swim meet,” Brian Johns, a member of the fifth-place men’s relay team, told CBC Sports. “This time it’s an even better swim meet and we have people in the finals.

“Everybody’s racing, everybody’s competing, we’re having a great meet, and we’re showing that we belong on this stage.”

Right direction

That’s not to say there weren’t letdowns, most notably the failure of Mission, B.C.’s Brent Hayden to make the final of the 100-metre freestyle despite being the co-world champion in the event.

And while there’s plenty of work to do over the next four years, Canadian swimming appears to be pointed in the right direction for the 2012 London Games.

Julia Wilkinson, 21, of Stratford, Ont., figures to build on the three finals (200 IM, 4×100 free, 4×100 medley) she reached in her first Olympics. Other youngsters like Erica Morningstar, 19, of Regina, and Joel Greenshields, 20, of Airdrie, Alta., have shown potential.

And Cochrane is already an Olympic medallist at 19, with plenty of time for improvement.

“We’ve had Canadian records across the board,” Swimming Canada boss Pierre Lafontaine told the Canadian Press.

“If you are saying that’s not improvement, then I don’t know what you are talking about. When you break Canadian records, there is improvement.”


Gold-medal redemption for Canadian men's eight

CBC Sports @ CBC.CA

The men’s eight rowing team finished the job they started four years ago by winning a gold medal on Sunday.

Canada led wire-to-wire in the final race at Beijing’s Shunyi Olympic rowing park. Taking the silver was Great Britain and taking the bronze was the U.S.

Canada finished in a time of five minutes, 23.89 seconds.

“We never stopped, we just kept on pushing, every stroke,” said coxswain Brian Price.

The reigning world champions were seeking redemption for their crushing defeat in Athens in 2004, when they entered as medal favourites and finished fifth.

“In Athens, it was a very hard-fought race. It was one where we were behind, and we had to fight back. Here we dominated, and that is such a testament to what a great crew this was,” said Jake Wetzel.

Since their disaster in Athens, the crew has toiled under the single-minded focus of winning in Beijing.

“Gold medals are awarded in the summer, but they’re earned in the winter. That was four years of hard winters,” said Kyle Hamilton.

The eight have not lost a race over the past two years. They also dominated their opening heat Monday in Beijing, opening up a full boat-length lead at the halfway mark of the 2,000-metre race before cruising to a seven-second victory.

Canada’s semifinal time of five minutes, 27.69 seconds advanced it straight to the final.

“It’s been a long week since we had our heat, and then just such a build-up to sit around all day, and then for that five minutes – flat out. It was just an incredible experience,” said Wetzel.

The men’s team consists of Ben Rutledge of Cranbrook, B.C., Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C., Malcolm Howard of Victoria, Andrew Byrnes of Toronto, Wetzel of Saskatoon, Dominic Seiterle of Victoria, Adam Kreek of London, Ont., and Hamilton of Richmond, B.C.

Women’s eight

The Canadian women’s eight finished fourth in their final race on Sunday, in a time of six minutes, 8.04 seconds.

The women almost clinched the bronze, but were overtaken by the Netherlands just before the finish line.

The Netherlands surged to take the silver, while the Americans took the gold and Romania took bronze.


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