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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- The LIVE television schedule for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition was recently announced by NBC. The USA Softball Women’s National team will begin competition on August 12 on CNBC at midnight/ET as the 32-game slate spans from August 12-21 at the Fengtai Softball Field in Beijing, China.

The three-time defending Olympic Gold Medal winning team will look to defend its title by playing seven round robin games before looking to advance to the playoffs on August 20 and the grand final on August 21. Six of the seven round robin games for the U.S. will be brought to the U.S. LIVE from CNBC. On August 17, they will play the Netherlands at 7:30 p.m. local time and that will be LIVE on MSNBC. See below for complete schedule.


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*USA Television Schedule for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

NOTE: Beijing, China is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. *

  Tuesday, August 12

USA vs. Venezuela - Noon Local - (Midnight EST) – CNBC & CNBC HD

  Wednesday, August 13

USA vs. Australia – Noon Local - (Midnight EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

  Thursday, August 14

USA vs. Canada – Noon Local - (Midnight EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

  Friday, August 15

USA vs. Japan – Noon Local - (Midnight EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

  Saturday, August 16

USA vs. Chinese Taipei – Noon Local - (Midnight EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

  Sunday, August 17

USA vs. Netherlands – 7:30 p.m. Local - (7:30 a.m. EST) - MSNBC

  Monday, August 18

USA vs. China - Noon Local - (Midnight EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

*Tuesday, August 19 – *OFF DAY

  Wednesday, August 20 - Playoffs

GM1: Seed 1 vs. Seed 2 – 9:30 a.m. Local - (9:30 p.m. EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

GM2: Seed 3 vs. Seed 4 – Noon Local - (Midnight EST) - CNBC & CNBC HD

GM3: Loser of GM1 vs. Winner of GM2 – 5 p.m. Local (5 a.m. EST) - MSNBC & MSNBC HD

  *Thursday, August 21 – *Grand Final Game – 6:30 p.m. - (6:30 a.m. EST)  – USA &amp; USA HD

1,272 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: softball, 2008_olympic_games, 2008_beijing_olympics

USA Basketball: Red, White, and Dunk?



Team USA stroke again with the help of LeBron James back off of injury as USA defeated Turkey 114-82 on another dunk fest tune up game before the team heads to Shanghai for their final two of three games. James scored 20 points and was a defensive force Thursday night in his exhibition debut, helping the U.S. Olympic basketball team overcome some early sloppy play.



At the end of the first quarter USA lead by a very skinny point, 31-30. That means there was zero defense by either team which you won't see in the Olympic Games in Beijing. Here is the key for TEAM USA Basketball and help me out here with this one if you agree? There is a difference in playing unselfishly and playing as a TEAM. (Together Everybody Achieves More). Granted the team is playing unselfishly and that is a plus, and it's really leading to some great 1 on 1 highlight dunks. Awesome! But I believe it's breeding false confidence within the team and the fans here in the United States who may not be watching these exibition games.


Just because were playing unselfishly doesn't mean were playing World-Class basketball as a team. Winning the Gold medal this year at the games is going to take a total team effort. Team USA's full court press last night was a joke and even to Team Turkey who were able to expose the gigantic holes in our press defense. I hope over the next 2 games Coach K is stressing Red, White, and Blue which defines TEAM USA and continuity. Right now were playing Red, White, and Dunk basketball which will prevent us from getting to the Medal stand if we continue this 1 on 1 mentality.



Having said that Turkey pretty much gave up in the quarter and the United States went on for the easy victory. They improved to 2-0 in Olympic tune-up play and face Lithuania here Friday before moving on to Shanghai for their remaining two games.



James was 8-of-9 from the field and finished with six rebounds, five steals and four assists in 23 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter. James had 12 points in the half and added eight more and some of the game's highlight plays in the third. Following a basket by Turkey, he took the ball out and whipped a pass to the other end of the court to a streaking Dwyane Wade for a dunk. A minute later, James had another steal and passed ahead to Kobe Bryant, who bounced it in front of the basket to Anthony for a dunk.



Turkey didn't qualify for the Olympics and has an automatic berth into the 2010 world championships as the host country.


Game Highlights (USA vs. Turkey)


1,056 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, gold, usa, beijing, turkey, medal, olympic_games, united_states, team_usa, lebron_james, usa_basketball


July 21, 2008 was a memorable day for three members of the USA Softball  Women’s National team as they were invited to a day at the White House with  President George Bush, the First Lady and members of the White House staff.  Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.),  Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.)  and Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.)  were invited to an official send off from the President and First Lady to the  United States Olympic Committee and the U.S.  athletes who will be representing the Red, White and Blue in Beijing, China.



“It was such an incredible experience,” said Finch. “I was honored to be at  the White House with all the other athletes and we were welcomed with open  arms. The President was so nice and to think that I had the chance to eat  dinner sitting right next to him was just crazy. He said was looking forward to  coming to one of our games in China.”



“It was great to be there and feel so comfortable,” said Duran. “It was an  honor to be one of the few Olympians to be selected to go to this event. It was  a pinch-yourself experience to look down and see the White Housechina and  Jennie sitting next to the president eating dinner. I was moved by the history  of the White House and realizing all the people that have walked the halls I  was standing in.”



The day started with a 10 a.m. greeting by the  President in the Rose Garden. Members of the Olympic team were greeted with a  couple remarks by the President before USA Softball’s Finch presented him with  an authentic softball jersey with ‘Bush 08’ embroidered on the back.



726 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: softball, 2008_olympic_games, team_usa, 2008_beijing_olympics

San Diego Union-Tribune writer Mark Zeigler had interesting insight on the world-wide issue regarding soccer in the Olympics.


The big question is: Is soccer, the world's most popular sport, even worth having at the world's most popular sporting event?


The quick response is "Of course" but Zeigler explains why the issue is way, way deeper than that.


For the men, Olympic soccer will never trump the World Cup. Realizing as much, the men's Olympic tournament has been made an under-23 affair. As Zeigler writes, "The Olympics aren't meaningful because they don't feature the best players, and they don't feature the best players because they're not meaningful."


The article goes much deeper than this, and you can read it here.


So what do you think? Can Olympic soccer be a huge event without affecting the enormous stature of the World Cup?

664 Views 3 Comments Permalink

Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Michael Redd scored 20 points apiece Friday as the USA dominated Canada 120-65 in a Beijing Olympic basketball tune-up.


Chris Paul handed out eight assists for the United States, who will play two warm-up games in Macao and two more in Shanghai before their Olympic opener in Beijing against hosts China on August 10.


Although Canada may not have been serious competition it did look like Team USA played very solid from as an overall team aspect. TEAM USA looked like one big "dunk" highlight reel with Chris Paul taking over the front court.


Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James injured his right ankle in a scrimmage Tuesday when he landed on the foot of reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant. As a result, James did not play on Friday, but he wasn't needed as the United States outscored Canada 34-18, in the third quarter en route to taking a 95-56 advantage entering the final period.


"I thought for our fifth day of practice we showed a lot of energy," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Guys are committed to playing defense. I liked the effort we had on the defensive end of the court. We're still developing this team. The more the game went along, the more comfortable they became. We got a commitment to protect each other's back. We're collectively responsible on defense."


The United States are vying to regain international basketball glory for the first time since claiming Olympic gold in 2000. Team USA was embarrassed en route to winning bronze medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2006 World Championships. Since then, the team has been restructured. USA Basketball hired veteran NBA executive Jerry Colangelo to build the squad and appointed iconic Duke University coach Krzyzewski.

Players since have had to commit to Team USA for three years to foster the kind of continuity other international teams possess.


1,042 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, canada, china, beijing, united_states, team_usa, lebron_james, international_basketball, chris_paul, dwayne_wade, michael_redd, usa_basketball

Paul Hamm Staying Home

Posted by RyanActive Jul 28, 2008

The expectations for the United States men's gymnastics team weren't great for the Beijing Olympics. They're certainly not any better now.


From the Associated Press :


Paul Hamm

won't be going to the Beijing Olympics, after all. The reigning Olympic gold medalist announced Monday that he is withdrawing from the U.S. team because his broken right hand is not sufficiently healthy enough for him to compete. He also hurt his rotator cuff in his accelerated recovery effort.

"I have put my heart and soul into my comeback and done everything I could to get ready in time to compete in Beijing," Hamm said in a statement released by USA Gymnastics.

"After returning home from the preparation camp, I had a few physical setbacks, and it became clear to me that my physical preparations would not be sufficient to properly represent the United States and contribute to the team's efforts to win a medal.

"At this point in time, the success of the team and fairness to the team, and the alternates, is most important. While I am very disappointed, I feel I can wait no longer to make this decision."

The U.S. men are scheduled to leave Wednesday, and competition begins Aug. 9.

One of the alternates —

Sasha Artemev


David Durante


Raj Bhavsar

— will take Hamm's place.

653 Views 1 Comments Permalink

And the Winners Might Be...

Posted by RyanActive Jul 24, 2008

Sports Illustrated had an interesting feature in its latest issue, which is devoted almost entirely to previewing the Beijing Olympics: A prediction for gold-silver-bronze in every single event.


I skimmed through it and went to the medal table SI put together based on its prediction. Here is what it turned out being:


United States

: 45 gold, 44 silver, 32 bronze (121 total)


: 49 gold, 28 silver, 25 bronze (102 total)


: 25 gold, 28 silver, 22 bronze (75 total)


So here are my three questions for you:


1. Would an overall medal victory be enough, even if another country gets more golds?

2. Is the overall medal table a big deal to you?

3. Shouldn't softball's expected annihilation of the field be worth something like 10 gold medals in the standings? No?

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World No. 6 and top ranked U.S. player Andy Roddick recently declined the invitation to join the U.S. Olympic Team in Beijing. The Austin native prefers to focus on the hard-court tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open in August.

!|style=padding:10px;|align=left|src=!“Let me first say that it was probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my career. You normally don’t have to choose between two huge events,” Roddick said.

“My decision had nothing to do with lack of respect for the Olympics or anything like that. I completely am the biggest fan of it, and I’ll be a huge fan watching it from home. It had to do more with, at the end of my career, I want to have been making runs in Slams.”

This leaves the U.S. Men's team to include James Blake, Sam Querrey, Robby Ginepri and Bob and Mike Bryan playing doubles.

It's an interesting gamble for Roddick, having recently lost in the second round at Wimbledon and struggling with a lingering shoulder injury. Nine of the world's top ten in tennis will represent in Beijing, including Roddick's top rivals for the Open crown: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Roddick's strategy seems solid: skipping the wear-and-tear of the Olympics with hopes that the travel and competition will leave his competitors with little fight.

Is Roddick being selfish in skipping the Olympics or is he just being strategic?

Photo: Getty Images/Kevin J. Cox


1,258 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: tennis, 2008_beijing_olympics, andy_roddick


All eyes will be on the USA Basketball Team this Friday night when we play Canada for an exhibition game before they head to Beijing. (8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Team USA is finally back together for a four-day U.S.-based portion of training camp in Sin City. It would be a sin, in the minds of many Americans, for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team to return home from Beijing on Aug. 25 with anything less than the gold medal.


The Americans have two more workouts before facing Canada in an exhibition on Friday. Then the squad leaves for Macau, where it opens a four-game exhibition tour. The Olympic opener is Aug. 10 against host China in Beijing. They are working out against the USA Select Team which his headed up by Kevin Durant. Coincidently LeBron James suffered a mild ankle sprain when he landed on Durant's foot yesterday in a workout. He may miss the game Friday vs. Canada, but expected to be ready by August 10 in the opener against China.


For many Americans Friday night will kind of be the cartoon before the movie if you ask me. The whole country will be able to see potentially how well this year's team will do in the Olympic Games by getting a test drive against Canada.


"We're a team already," Coach Krzyzewski said. "One key word that we couldn't use in the past, continuity -- we have that. And we have relationships, too. As a result, we're hitting the ground running."


We'll all be watching for the sneak preview this Friday night against Canada!





1,583 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: usa, u.s., olympic, beijing, lebron_james, usa_basketball_team, _basketball

About eight years ago,

Sasha Kaun

traveled from Russia to the United States, having never played basketball before.


He was to get a good education in Florida and prepare himself for a bright future in computers. But as he grew and grewflirting with the title "7-footer"he was urged to go out for hoops in high school.


Kaun is now heading back to Russia a millionaire and member of the Russian Olympic basketball team.


Though the United States' "Redeem Team" is on top of the American fan's priority list when it comes to Olympic basketball, almost every team competing in Beijing has an American tale tied into it.


Kaun's is a good one: He got his prep school education at Florida Air Academy, then became such a big-time college basketball prospect that he picked Kansas over Duke. At KU, he received a free degree in computer science and helped the Jayhawks win the NCAA championship in April.


He recently signed with a Russian pro team, CSKA Moscow, where he'll get paid seven figures. He was drafted by the team formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics in the second round last month.


And, he gets to realize an Olympic dream when he suits up for Russia next month.


There are other stories like Kaun's in men's basketball:



Patrick Mills

of Australia is the lone Olympian who's currently playing at an American college. He led Saint Mary's (Calif.) to the NCAA Tournament earlier this year.

--NBA big man

Chris Kaman

, an American, gained German citizenship based on his grandparents' roots. He'll play alongside

Dirk Nowitzki

for the Germans.

--The host country, China, will have an NBA influence as well:

Yao Ming


Yi Jianlian

will both play, Yao competing for the first time since suffering a stress fracture in his foot in February.


Pau Gasol

, who sparked the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA finals following a midseason trade, will play against

Kobe Bryant

now. Bryant is on Team USA, Gasol with Spain. (Pau will be playing alongside his brother




The United States didn't fare so well in Athens four years ago, and its destiny in Beijing is yet to be determined. But there's reminders among almost every elite roster of the impact the U.S. has in its own creation.

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The USA Decathlon Team consists of three world class athletes that will represent the U.S. for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The U.S. already in my eyes has the edge in the event in terms of probable medal winners because of Bryan Clay & veteran Tom Pappas. Both have Olympic experience and Clay is the favorite to win the Gold this year as he attempts to be only the 2nd man in history to break the 9,000 point barrier.


Getting a chance to compete in the Olympics is just about every athlete's dream. After two days of fierce competition and years of training beforehand, Trey Hardee's vision of sporting the red, white and blue in Beijing is now a reality. The 24-year-old former University of Texas standout ended up with a second-place finish in the decathlon in Eugene and he posted a career-best total of 8,534 points, ranking him behind overall winner Bryan Clay and ahead of Olympic veteran Tom Pappas.


Not bad for the now 6-foot-5 track star who was once overlooked when he tried to make the basketball team in high school. Hardee's path to Beijing wasn't a smooth one. He had to overcome a hip injury, which cut his training short.


"At this time last year, I couldn't even train, I couldn't do anything," said Hardee, who lives in Austin, Texas. "My hip was pretty busted up. I couldn't run. It hurt to walk."


Once his hip healed, Hardee was forced to put his training into high gear.


"Really it wasn't until this year, until like late winter, early spring of 2008, that I was really able to train really hard again," he added.


Trey needed and had a breakout meet on the 2nd day as he set the stage for the rest of his day by an epic battle in the first event--the 110m High Hurdles. The event posted 3 world class times. Trey was trailing after 6 hurdles and over the final 4 looked like a man possessed as he sprinted to a 1st place finish and a time of 13.71 (PR) Whew! What a race!


The 24 year old at the end of the day found himself standing in 2nd place and bound for Beijing! At the Olympic Games over the course of 10 events anything can happen to anybody. Although he may not be everyone's favorite he is certainly mine. Trey is so young and so talented. His energy level cannot be matched. The title of the World's Greatest Athlete is up for grabs in Beijing and Trey Hardee wants it!


Below is the Video of the 110m HH Day 2 of the Decathlon Trials in Oregon

Trey Hardee is in Lane 7--Talk about shifting gears..



1,109 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, olympic, beijing, 2008_olympic_games, decathlon, worlds_greatest_athlete, bryan_clay, trey_hardee, tom_pappas, 8832, usa_decathlon_team, 8534

From the website:



"CHICAGO (July 17, 2008) – U.S. Men’s Olympic Team head coach Peter Nowak has named the 18 players who will represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The roster features 12 players who have experience at the full national team level, including the three youngest players on the team, Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, and the most senior member of the team in Brian McBride. The official roster is due to FIFA no later than July 23.



GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (5): Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Danny Szetela (Brescia Calcio)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Brian McBride (out of contract), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)


The U.S. will begin their final preparation for the Beijing Olympics on Sunday, July 20, with six days of domestic training in San Jose, Calif. The team will then depart for Hong Kong, where they will participate in the ING Cup, facing fellow Olympic participants Ivory Coast on July 30 and Cameroon on Aug. 2.


The U.S. has been drawn into a difficult Group B and will open against Japan on August 7 before facing the Netherlands on August 10, with both games taking place at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin. The team will then travel to Worker’s Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13."




For those new to Olympic soccer, the Olympic men's tournament essentially is an under-23 tourney (unlike the women, which have no age restrictions). Three over-23 players are allowed per roster. McBride is perhaps the most well-known of these overage players.



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NEW YORK -- USA Baseball announced Wednesday 23 of the 24 members of  its 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team. The Davey Johnson-led squad is set  to compete in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Aug. 8-24 (baseball  competition Aug. 13-23).



The team features 12 pitchers and 11 position players. The 24th member  of the Olympic Team will be named in the coming days, ahead of the  Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad's  (BOCOG) July 22 cut-off date.



"We are proud of the ballclub we have assembled," said USA  Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "The team is strong from  top to bottom, and we are confident it will succeed in Beijing. We  applaud our coaching staff and selection committee for their tireless  work in putting together an excellent team."



The initial 23-member roster includes Cleveland Indians OF Matt  LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and San Diego State University RHP  Stephen Strasburg (San Diego, Calif.). LaPorta was recently dealt by  the Milwaukee Brewers to the Cleveland Indians as the key piece of a  trade that brought 2007 A.L. Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia to  Milwaukee. Baseball America currently ranks LaPorta as the top prospect  in Cleveland's farm system, and the outfield slugger was also a member  of the 2005 USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate).



Strasburg made national headlines this year following a  23-strikeout performance against Utah on April 11, 2008, that was part  of a breakthrough sophomore campaign. The 19-year-old righty, who turns  20 on Sunday, is currently anchoring the pitching staff on the 2008 USA  Baseball National Team. The team of collegiate all-stars is fresh off a  first-place finish at Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands, which  included two victories over the Cuban National Team.



The Olympic Team is laden with veteran talent -- 14 players are  currently playing at the Triple-A. Seven players are in Double-A, one  in Class A and one at the collegiate level.



Bob Watson, USA Baseball General Manager of Professional Teams said that they were looking for a roster of experienced players.



"We knew going in that we wanted a veteran club, a team of guys  who have been battle-tested, so to speak," Watson said. "But we wanted  younger prospects as well, guys with the fire to go out and showcase  their talents on the international stage."



The 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team will be led by Manager  Davey Johnson (Winter Park, Fla.). Johnson returns to USA Baseball on  the heels of a gold medal-winning performance last November at the 2007  IBAF Baseball World Cup in Taiwan. That team included All-Star Tampa  Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, as well as two players named to  the Olympic roster: St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Colby Rasmus  (Columbus, Ga.) and Cleveland Indians right-handed pitcher Jeff Stevens  (Berkeley, Calif.).



Johnson will be joined by the same coaches he has worked with  at USA Baseball since the 2005 IBAF Baseball World Cup. Marcel  Lachemann (Penryn, Calif.) is the team's pitching coach, and Reggie  Smith (Woodland Hills, Calif.) will act as the hitting coach.  Third-base coach Rick Eckstein (Sanford, Fla.) and auxiliary coaches  Dick Cooke (Davidson, N.C.) and Rolando de Armas (Palm Harbor, Fla.)  round out the staff.



"We have an unbelievable coaching staff," said Johnson, who in  addition to his international accomplishments, also achieved  wide-spread success as player and coach in the big leagues, including  leading the 1986 New York Mets to a World Series title.



"We have worked together for over three years now and across  several international tournaments. With the staff's help, I think we  achieved the well-balanced lineup that is critical for Olympic  success."



In addition to LaPorta, Strasburg, Rasmus, and Stevens, the  Olympic Team also features five other USA Baseball alumni: Oakland  Athletics left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson (Midland, Tex.; 2005 18U,  2004 16U), Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitcher Jake Arietta  (Farmington, Mo.; 2006 National), Florida Marlins outfielder John Gall  (Stanford, Calif.; 1998-99 National), Texas Rangers catcher Taylor  Teagarden (Dallas, Tex.; 2004 National), and Colorado Rockies  right-handed pitcher Casey Weathers (Elk Grove, Calif.; 2006 National).



LaPorta, Anderson, Arietta, Teagarden and Weathers were also  members of the 2008 XM Future Stars USA Team during Major League  Baseball's All-Star weekend. The game, which saw the U.S. fall to the  World Team 3-0, acted as an Olympic Trials event for Johnson and his  staff. Trevor Cahill (Oceanside, Calif.), Jason Donald (Fresno,  Calif.), Dexter Fowler (Atlanta, Ga.) and Clayton Richard (Lafayette,  Ind.) were also members of the Futures Team who are on the Olympic  roster.



The U.S. last competed in the baseball competition in the  Olympic Games in 2000. Tommy Lasorda managed the team in Sydney and  guided a squad featuring Ben Sheets and Roy Oswalt to the gold medal  over Cuba. Since baseball was recognized as an official medal sport in  Olympic competition by the International Olympic Committee in 1992, the  U.S. has finished fourth (Barcelona, 1992), third (bronze, Atlanta,  1996) and first (gold, Sydney, 2000). The U.S. did not qualify for the  Athens Games in 2004.



2,009 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, baseball, 2008_beijing_olympics


Adam Craig: Craig got into the sport because his mom sold his dirt bike after he went on a "crashing spree." A mountain bike was more respectable. When he has nothing else to do, Craig likes to go kayaking in China down Tibetan rivers and enter South African Red Bull adventure races.


Todd Wells: Wells finished 19th in Athens. This will be his 2nd Olympic appearance.


Georgia Gould: Gould won every race in the 2007 National Mountain Bike series making her the cross country champion. Gould's other talents including playing the banjo and riding a unicycle


Mary McConneloug: McConneloug lives in a van with her boyfriend (fellow mountain biker Mike Broderick) for 10 months of the year. She drives herself to all of her races and eats meals off her camp stove. In 2004, she was the lone woman mountain biker on the team in Athens. She didn't start riding competitively until age 27. McConneloug studied voice at Santa Clara University and performed classical and opera music, but now she sings for fun with her boyfriend who plays the guitar. She placed third in cross country at this year's national championships.



The women's cross country mountain bike race will take place on Friday August 22 at 3:00 p.m. in Beijing. the Men's race will be on Saturday August 23 at 3:00 p.m. You can check out the mountain bike course and venue here.



1,790 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, beijing, 2008_olympic_games, 2008_olympics, 2008_beijing_olympics, adam-craig, todd-wells, mary-mcconneloug, georgia-gould

Natasha Kai screamed onto the field as a second-half substitution, then immediately got in a shoving match with a Brazilian player Wednesday in the U.S. women's soccer team's final tuneup before the Olympics.


Kai was that trusty spark once again. And she really proved it in the 84th minute, when she headed a Carli Lloyd free kick into the back of the net for the lone goal in the United States' 1-0 victory in San Diego.


Kai (she of the 19 noticeable tattoos) helped offset a first-half injury to Abby Wambach, one that could potentially damage the U.S. team going forward. Wambach, the team's leading scorer with 99 career goals, collided with a Brazilian defender and appeared to hurt her knee, even getting carted off the field and taken away in an ambulance.


The U.S. survived anyway, at least for one night. Next stop is China, healthy or not.

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Exactly 96 years ago, on July 15, 1912, Jim Thorpe won the decathlon at the Stockholm Olympics and, in the closing ceremony, Sweden's King Gustav proclaims Thorpe the world's greatest athlete.


The 1912 Olympic decathlon has become legend because of the presence of Jim Thorpe. Jim had a terrific 1912 spring track season, winning as many as six events per meet. Thorpe made the U.S. Olympic team in four events: decathlon, pentathlon, high jump, and long jump. The Russian czar donated a Viking ship as a prize for the decathlon champion. Thorpe won the decathlon by almost 700 points over his closest opponent, Hugo Wieslander of Sweden. Because of the unexpected large number of entries, the decathlon was held over 3 days. The first day they held the 100 m run, long jump, and shot put. The second day consisted of the high jump, 400 m run, discus, and 110, hurdles. The third and final day consisted of the pole vault, javelin, and 1500 m run. Thorpe's 8412 points converts to 6564 points on the current tables, still a very respectable score three quarters of a century later. On this day today, exactly 96 years ago, Sweden's King Gustav proclaims Thorpe the world's greatest athlete.


821 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, jim, decathlon, worlds_greatest_athlete, u.s._olympic_team, usa_decathlon, thorpe, the_decathlon_champion

USA Cycling finalized its Beijing Olympic roster in the men's and women's road and time trial events this week. Unlike in past Olympic years, there were no Olympic Trials and all slots were filled either by athletes meeting specific selection criteria (performances at world caliber events) or by coaches selection.


On the men's side of things, Santa Rosa resident and Team Astana rider Levi Leipheimer will ride both the road race and the time trial(TT) in Beijing.  A winner of the final time trial on the way to his podium finish in last year's Tour de France, Leipheimer has shown consistency in the race against the clock and was awarded one of only two slots in the TT.


Joining Levi in both the road race and the time trial will be Garmin-Chipotle rider Dave Zabriskie. Dave is currently recovering from a crash in the Giro d'Italia which left him with a fractured vertebrae.  He has been training in and around his home in Salt Lake City and the 2006 silver medalist in the World Time Trial Championships should be at full strength in China.


Making his fifth appearance in an Olympic Games, George Hincapie will ride the road race.  The Team Columbia rider first rode at the games of Barcelona as an amateur in 1992 and will be counted on for experience and leadership of the US's five-man road team.


Jason McCartney earned himself a spot on the 2004 Olympic Team by winning the trials road race; this year, he is a coaches selection. Now riding for Team CSC the rider from flood-ravaged Coralville, Iowa has matured since his days as an American-based professional witness his stage win in last year's Vuelta a Espana.


The final rider is Christian Vandevelde, currently competing in the Tour de France for team Garmin-Chipotle. Christian represented the US on the track at the 2000 Sydney Games, this will be his second appearance in the Olympics. Vandevelde is enjoying an excellent road season and may be the big surprise in Beijing. If Zabriskie's back fails to heal completely, look to Christian to take his slot in the time trial.


Overall, this is a strong men's team, especially in the time trial where a medal from either Leipheimer or Zabriskie is a real possibility.  Americans won gold and bronze in Athens.  With only five riders per team, the road race is usually a crap shoot and 2008 should be no different.  The road course is hilly and challenging and if a group goes away early, that could be the race.  Team USA will need to be diligent at the front and put riders in all the moves. The Italians always seem to race well in events like this so keeping a big eye on them is also a good strategy.


On the women's side, Kristin Armstrong heads a very strong US team. The 2006 World Time Trial Champion and 2007 World Time Trial silver medalist is a strong favorite for a medal in the TT. The US won silver in this event in 2004 with the now-retired Dede Barry and in 2000 with Mari Holden; the US is in a great position to upgrade that one spot higher on the podium.


Joining Armstrong in the TT is Dr. Christine Thorburn who finished fourth in the TT in Athens and was the 2006 World TT bronze medalist.  Dr. Thorburn has taken a leave of absence from her medical responsibilities to train specifically for the Beijing Games. This is her swan song in cycling, hopefully she can go out with a bang.


Armstrong and Thorburn will be joined in the road race by Amber Neben. Neben has been riding strongly in Europe all season and is a two-time winner of the Tour de la Aude, widely regarded as the premier women's stage race.  Unfortunately, with only three riders per team, the women's road race is even more of a crap shoot than the men's.  Hopefully, Neben or Thorburn can get into a small group from which they can win.  If not, look to Armstrong for a solo move late in the race.



1,170 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: bruce_hildenbrand, beijing, 2008_olympics, levi_leipheimer, george_hincapie, christian_vandevelde, dave_zabriskie, usa_olympic_cycling_team, christine_thorburn, kristin_armstrong, amber_neben, jason_mccartney

The team is full of athleticism, creativity, speed and power, but, as with previous iterations of the U.S. Men's Basketball team, they have weaknesses in their defense and perimeter shooting, with only three players considered reliable defenders -- Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Tayshaun Prince, and only three players considered sharp shooters -- Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Michael Redd. If their defense falters, they'll try to outrun and outscore opponents to win games.


Team USA by the numbers:


1 -- They only have one center: Dwight Howard


2 -- Their average height is two meters


3 -- There are three MVPs on this team: 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade, 2007-2008 Regular Season MVP Kobe Bryant and 2008 All-Star Game MVP LeBron James


5 -- Five players have Olympic experience: Jason Kidd in 2000; Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade in 2004.


10 -- There are ten All-Star players in this team. Only Tayshaun Prince and Deron Williams have not been All-Stars


26 -- The team's average age is 26, 2.4 years older than the U.S. Men's Basketball team in Athens


35 -- Jason Kidd is the eldest player on the team at 35 years old


44 -- The U.S. Men's Basketball team is 44-0 with Jason Kidd on the roster, including an 8-0 sweep at the Sydney Olympics

1,091 Views 6 Comments Permalink Tags: kobe, u_s_basketball, team_usa, mvp, bryant, lebron_james, jason_kid, sydney_olympics

It is not news that media tends to over exaggerate and sensationalize news events. Drama sells, pure and simple. Reality television, which has no semblance of real life on this planet, continuously trumps (no pun intended) news shows and other programming. People are focusing on our presidential nominees’ infatuation with the music of 80’s icon ABBA, and hasty consumption of waffles, but not how their policies will shape our futures.


So is it media propaganda or justified criticism that surrounds the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China?


Well, it was announced this morning that preferred food vendors in China will not be serving dog, or what they call “fragrant meat”, during the 16-days of the Games. Although I could never imagine feasting on Fido, that is their culture and not ours. Other cultures scoff at our cattle consumption, so would hamburgers be off the menu at an American Olympic event?


McNo Way.


Do all athletes use drugs to compete? No, but if you were to listen to the news solely for your information, you would believe steroids were distributed like energy bars to athletes. In fact, the International Olympic Committee has promised to administer around 4,500 drug tests at the 2008 Games, which is a 25 percent increase from those used at the 2004 Athens Games. They have a zero tolerance policy, and they spend a lot of marketing dollars to promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle to the world’s youth.


Now that we have discussed man’s best friend and illegal substances, let’s move to something less controversial. We have all hear how human rights are being trampled on and disregarded in Tibet. This is subject to viewpoints, and I will not get into it, but it’s a main stage of the Olympic dog and pony show (again, no pun intended). It has been the 2008 springboard for activists to riot and protest the Olympics.


As the Olympic torch passed through the continents, it was met with hostility and rage. The Olympic torch has traditionally been a symbol of peace between the continents. How does a symbol of love and brotherhood get met with a myriad of protests, crime, and hate? 2008 is not the first time the torch has been met with criticism- many saw the torch as a means of promoting Nazi ideology at the 1928 Berlin Olympics. This year, Taiwan rejected a visit from the torch because they did not want the torch downgrading their sovereignty by coming from ‘third party country’ and continuing to mainland China, who they consider a ‘fourth party country’.


Do most people around the world see the torch as a symbol of hatred and bigotry? No- many remember that the Olympics are meant to unite the world as one for a celebration of dreams coming true, sportsmanship and culture. Remember the mysticism in 1996 when Carl Lewis, USA, became the third person to win four consecutive titles in his event, the long jump. Or, look at Bob Mathias, USA, who in 1948 London Olympics became the youngest athlete to win the Olympic decathlon. Incredibly, he took up the decathlon earlier that same year at the advice of his high school coach who recognized his potential.  Instead of letting the media represent the Olympics as a worldwide tour of tension, pain and hate, let’s demand that they refocus their attention on the passion of the athletes, the miracles that never cease to amaze, the beauty of the host country, and the pure reminder that “anything is possible”.

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OKLAHOMA CITY--The USA Softball Women's National Team, which is seeking a fourth-consecutive gold medal next month in the Beijing Olympic Games, has fans worldwide.



One of them, Lt. Col. Clark D. Easter, HHC, 39 IBCT, recently had the U.S. flag flown over the Headquarters, Multi-National Corps-Iraq in honor of the team. The headquarters is located at Al Faw Palace, just west of Baghdad, Iraq.

The flag was then sent to the ASA National Office in Oklahoma City and arrived on June 30.



"I am pleased to have had this flag flown in your honor(U.S. National Team) for I know that my three daughters will be watching with a high degree of interest when you play," wrote Colonel Easter in the letter accompanying the flag. "We have been to all of the games of the last two years of the World Cup of Softball and have enjoyed it immensely. My daughters are 13, 14 and 19."



Although Christine, 19, no longer plays softball, 14-year-old Roxanne assists and is a scorekeeper for a fast pitch league, and 13-year-old Tiffany plays competitive fast pitch on a traveling team and plans to play college softball. Colonel Easter, who lives in Arkadelphia, Ark., also umpires and is president of a fast pitch league when not deployed.



"Good luck from my family and other personnel in the Middle East who support you and I look forward to watching you play."



Colonel Easter and the rest of the Easter family won't be the only ones watching with enthusiasm and anticipation as Team USA tries for a four-peat in Olympic softball.



728 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: softball, 2008_beijing_olympics

No Dog for You

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand Jul 11, 2008

China has just announced that during the Olympics, dog meat will be taken off the menu at Beijing restaurants. Whoa! That's a relief. Or is it? Clearly, we are not all one culture,the world would be worse off if we were all alike.  Could you imagine McDonald's and Starbucks on every corner of the world's cities.  Oops! Looks like that is actually in the works. But, the point is that we are not all alike and in some cultures they do things differently than ours. We raise beef cattle for meat, hopefully the Chinese aren't going around snapping up people's pets.


The air pollution in Beijing will be a huge factor for the Games. China tried to pull a fast one by moving the sensors monitoring air quality further out of the city center, but recently an independent crew sampled the air and found that the reading for particulate matter is seven(that's 7) times over the limit set by the EPA for safe air quality. Cough, cough. I don't think you will see it, but can you imagine watching some athletes competing with particulate masks.


At first I was disappointed that Alan Webb did not make the team for the 1500m. But, on second thought it is probably the best that could have happened.  Like Jim Ryun of forty years ago, Alan seems incapable of running well when it is a race and not just a time trial chasing a rabbit. Big meets like the World Championships and the Olympics are almost always tactical and Webb just comes up short when you aren't just running flat out from the gun.


On the other hand, Nick Symmonds looks like a real bet to medal in the 800m. Not only does he have a huge kick, but he seems to understand how to run in the big meets.  I wonder how he learned that competing for Division 3 Willamette College in Oregon. Symmonds is about as exciting as it gets on the track.  Don't miss his races in Beijing.


All for now,



617 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: bruce_hildenbrand, 2008_beijing_olympics, alan_webb

As the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing get closer you can feel the excitement and anticipation start to heat up everywhere. The Olympic Games is a spectacle of an event that will have over 200 Countries represented. The Olympics are one of the largest media events. In Sydney in 2000, there were over 16,000 broadcasters and journalists, and an estimated 3.8 billion viewers watched the games on television.

I've been reading numerous articles on the Olympics this year and last night as I was doing my normal web surfing at some of my favorite web breaks, I thought I would share a couple things that reminded me of how exciting it is every 4 years when we get to experience the Spirit of the Games.  


Since July 13, 2001, when Beijing won the right at the 112th plenary meeting of the International Olympics Committee to host the 29th Olympic Games, Chinese people under the auspices of the Chinese government have been endeavoring to make the 29th the best games ever. In publicizing the Olympics background information, the construction of the Olympics venues and other aspects, there are many moving stories.


Following are some of them.


To publicize the Olympic spirit, five men cycled around China


To welcome the coming of the Beijing Olympic Games, a group of four Chinese senior citizens and a Korean cycled 180,000 kilometers around China to publicize the Olympic spirit. When arriving at a city, they enthusiastically brought the Olympic spirit to local citizens. They handed out leaflets to citizens in different cities in China inviting them to watch the sailing competition in Qingdao. Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they will cycle in other countries to publicize the games.


English Speaking Contest held to support Olympic Games


In Beijing, host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, an English Speaking Contest was held featuring the Olympic Games. Participants from 12 colleges in Beijing showed their enthusiasm for the Beijing Olympic Games through their brilliant speeches. Speech titles such as 'Olympic Games in My Heart' and 'One World One Dream' demonstrated participants' excitement about the Beijing Olympics.

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

773 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, beijing, 2008_olympic_games, spirit_of_the_games, china_, 29th_olympic_games

Hammon to Russia: Is it OK?

Posted by RyanActive Jul 10, 2008

By now, Becky Hammon's story is well-documented. It remains a fascinating debate, though.


The details are in this article on , but the gist is this: Hammon, a South Dakota native and lifelong American, will play basketball for Russia in the Beijing Olympics because of a dream and a last-minute fulfillment of Russian citizenship.


"Will I be playing for Russia? Yes. But I'm absolutely 100 percent still an American," Hammon told "I love our country. I love what we stand for. This is an opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the Olympics."


Hammon claims the U.S. team didn't show much interest, despite Hammon being a decorated WNBA player. According to the article, "Hammon has no ancestral ties to Russia, but under Russian league rules, she was able to obtain a passport and become a naturalized citizen because she had never appeared for another country in a FIBA-sanctioned event."


So what do you think? Is Hammon wrong, or is this not a big deal?

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PORTLAND, Oregon – Exactly a month out of opening ceremonies for the  2008 Olympic Games, the USA Softball National teamcontinued their KFC Bound 4  Beijing Tour with a 19-0 rout of the Portland All-Stars going nine innings to  help prepare the team for Beijing. No. 14 Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.)  earned her 14th win of the season working nine complete innings with  15 strikeouts and no hits for her third no-hitter of the Tour.



“Its nice to get out there again as we are about a month out of our first  game at the Olympics. The team is gelling well and we are just trying to build  on that in preparation for the Games,” said Abbott. “We still have a lot to  work on over the next couple weeks before we leave for China but today was a good game to  get our last leg of the tour started on.”



It was almost three up three down for the team in the first inning until  Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo,   Calif.) roped a double down the  left field line for the team’s first hit of the game. A pop up to left field by  Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) left Mendoza stranded in  scoring position.



Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) earned the start in the circle for  her 15th start of the Tour.



The Portland All-Stars would put their own runner in scoring position in the  second inning when Robyn Mask reached on an error by second baseman Lovie Jung  (Fountain Valley, Calif.). She advanced to second on a passed  ball but a groundout by Portland  would leave her stranded.



The team struck in the second inning when Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) took a full count pitch over the  bleachers in left center field to give the team a 1-0 lead.



For the second consecutive inning, Team USA  led off with a homerun this time off the bat of Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.).  Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) followed with a bloop over the third  baseman’s head , scooting to second but would be caught stealing for the final  out of the inning.



The Americans doubled their lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning with Watley  getting it started when she was hit by a pitch. Watley advanced to second on a  passed ball and would score when Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.)  singled and advanced to second on a throwing error by pitcher Mandy Hill. A sac  fly by Mendoza  plated Lowe to give the team a 4-0 advantage.



Starter Candice Baker earned the loss working three innings, giving up four  hits and two earned runs.



In the sixth a shot over the centerfield fence by Stacey Nuveman (La Verne,  Calif.) plated Kretschman and Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) both who reached on  walks for three more runs. Nuveman was 2-for-4 on the night with three RBI and  two runs scored. Jung followed with a double over the left fielder’s head and  would score when Watley singled down the right field line. A Lowe single put  two runners on but not for long as Mendoza hit a ball that fell just short of  going over the fence but was good enough for a double, giving the team a 10-0  lead. Bustos edged the lead to 12-0 with a shot that cleared the outside fence  hitting the Portland  trees, bringing in another pitching change. Kretschman, in her second  appearance at the plate in the sixth, was the first up to face pitcher Kelly  Dyer with two outs but a fly out by her and Duran concluded the inning.



In the seventh inning, back-to-back doubles by Nuveman and Flowers put two  runners on with Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) up to bat after entering in for  shortstop Watley. A Lappin single to right field pushed a run across with  another run scored off a fielder’s choice by Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.)  who came into centerfield, giving the team a 14-0 advantage. A single by  designated player Vicky Galindo (Union    City, Calif.) scored  two more runs for the Red, White and Blue with Galindo reaching third on a  single by Kretschman which brought in the fourth pitcher of the game in Mikayla  Endicott. A two-RBI single by Duran concluded the six-run seventh inning.




The game went nine innings tonight to help prepare the team for extra-inning  games in Beijing.  Mendoza tacked  on one in the eight off a sac fly to score Flowers who reached on an error by  shortstop giving the team a 19-0 win. Seven of the 19 RBI came off homeruns by  the team.



Abbott closed out the game with 15 strikeouts and allowed no hits for her 14th  win of the season.



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There may be no such thing as bad P.R. but China is dangerously close to proving otherwise.The WSJ reports

that a Hong Kong journalist, Norman Choy, had his permit confiscated on arrival in Beijing and sent on the next flight home.


Choy had already been given credentials to cover the games. Is this a minor blip or unsettling precedent in how China will deal w/ Western media?

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PORTLAND, Ore.  --- The USA Softball Women’s National team traveled to Portland, Oregon  on Sunday to begin their final stretch of the KFC Bound 4 Beijing tour. A tour that  started in February, the long journey across the U.S.  will pick up again on Tuesday evening as the U.S.  visits Portland  for a match up against ASA Regional All Stars. This begins what is the final  three weeks of the tour before departure to defend its fourth–consecutive  Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing  in August.



"It is a very exciting time as we are embarking on our last leg of the  tour,” said two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Crystl Bustos. “The sites have been  great and it is hard to believe it’s almost over. We are going to be extremely  focused the next month to get ready to defend our gold medal come August in China.”




With just eight games remaining on the schedule, following Oregon,  the Americans will travel to Spokane, Washington before bussing through Yellowstone  National Park for a game in Rapid City, South    Dakota on July 15. On July 18, they will play in Springfield, Mo. before  heading east to Stratford, Conn. for competition on July 20. Another  National ProFastpitch contest is then scheduled on July 22 against the Akron  Racers followed by a Salem,   Va. visit on July 24. The final  game of the tour before the team departs for China  will be in Irvine, Calif. on Saturday, July 26.




With a record of 51-1, the U.S.  is hitting a remarkable .432 as a team and has outscored opponents 599-26.  Leftfielder Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo,   Calif.) leads all batters with a  .474 batting average with 16 home runs and a team-high 83 RBI. Bustos has a  team-high 23 home runs while Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Springs, Fla.)  has earned a team-high 46 walks. Lead off hitter Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.)  is a perfect 20-for-20 in stolen bases and is No. 2 on the team for batting  average at .422.




From the circle, Jennie Finch (La    Mirada, Calif.) leads  the way with a 17-1 record with 102.0 innings pitched with 179 strikeouts. Cat  Osterman (Houston, Texas)  is 12-0 with 92.0 innings pitched and 193 strikeouts while Monica Abbott(Salinas, Calif.)  has totaled 89 innings pitched recording a 13-0 record with 176 strikeouts  tallied. As a whole, the pitching staff has held opponents to a .089 batting  average and has a combined .47 ERA.



(Game report provided by USA Softball)



742 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: softball, 2008_olympic_games, 2008_beijing_olympics

The original Dream Team, the U.S. basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, was a phenomenon on and off the court. It mattered not that it dominated the Olympic competition, beating its eight opponents by an average of 44 points. What was important was that the Dream Team, the first U.S. Olympic team to include NBA stars, gave fans a glimpse of basketball at its finest, and an entire world responded.


Many consider it the greatest team ever assembled and wow what a team it was. Start with three of the game's all-time greats: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Add the irrepressible Charles Barkley for a little spice, as well as seven more NBA All-Stars: centers David Robinson and Patrick Ewing, power forward Karl Malone, swingmen Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin and Clyde Drexler and point guard John Stockton. Complete the roster with Christian Laettner, the best college player of 1991-92 and a future NBA All-Star.


Top 10 Highlights from the original Dream Team of 1992 in Barcelona





This year's team has been dubbed: The Redeem Team...


The U.S. men's basketball team was named June 23 and consists of NBA players in the USA Basketball program. Changes can be made after June 23, but only due to injury. Team USA qualified for the Olympics by winning the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. It defeated defending Olympic champion Argentina in the final.


“We want to show the world that we can play the game the right way and play as a team,” said Jason Kidd, who is 44-0 on the international stage. “I think that’s what the international teams have started to understand to play as a team and win as a team. If we can get to that level, and we showed that last summer, we can be as good as anyone in the world.”


Team USA will try to redeem themselves in this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing after a bronze medal finish in the 2004 Athens Games. The team is headlined by the usual NBA All-Stars, but this year's team is headed by Duke's Coach K with a team first approach. The 2008 Roster includes:


Carmelo Anthony

Carlos Boozer

Chris Bosh

Kobe Bryant

Dwight Howard

LeBron James

Jason Kidd

Chris Paul

Tayshaun Prince

Michael Redd

Dwyane Wade

Deron Williams


How do you think this years team will do in Beijing or compare to the original Dream Team?


Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Dwayne Wade and the rest of Team USA discuss expectations in Beijing.(


1,905 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: nba, olympics, beijing, olympic_games, dream_team, the_redeem_team, u_s_basketball, team_usa, team_usa

Now it's biblical

Posted by jspitzberg Jul 3, 2008

BEIJING -- First there was the freak snowstorm in February. Then the Tibetan riots in March. Then in rapid succession the controversial torch relay, Sichuan earthquake, widespread flooding and an algae bloom that's tarnishing the Olympic sailing venue. Just when it seemed that nothing else could go wrong this year in China, the locusts arrived.


Locusts? What is going on here? The litany of near-biblical woes would seem to lack only a famine, frogs and smiting of the first born.




The full story, from the LA Times, is here.

645 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, beijing

Italy names Olympic squad

Posted by jspitzberg Jul 3, 2008

ROME (AFP) - Italy coach Pierluigi Casiraghi unveiled his 22-man squad for next month&apos;s Beijing Olympics here on Thursday.


The Azzurrini (the little Azzurris) will undergo their pre-Games medical examinations on Monday before heading off to their training camp at Coverciano near Florence.


They have a warm up game against Romania scheduled for July 22 and are due to arrive in Beijing four days later.


Italy Olympic squad


Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Robert Acquafresca (Cagliari), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Antonio Cadreva (Udinese), Luca Cigarini (Parma), Andrea Coda (Udinese), Andrea Consigli (Atalanta), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Paolo De Ceglie (Juventus), Lorenzo De Silvestri (Lazio), Daniele Dessena (Parma), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Marco Motta (Udinese), Antonio Nocerino (Palermo), Andrea Ranocchia (Arezzo), Tommaso Rocchi (Lazio), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Andrea Russotto (Treviso), Salvatore Sirigiu (Citta di Castello), Emiliano Viviano (Brescia)




I post this because even though I/we don't know any of the names now, save for Guiseppe Rossi because of his Manchester United days and his flirtation with US Soccer, I bet that we will know some of them come the end of August.

769 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, soccer, italy

Tom Pappas of the United States is the first ever U.S. decathlete to qualify for three Olympics. Is that simply amazing or what? First off all, you have to be insane anyways to compete in 10 events just to win once, but I guess that's why whoever wins the decathlon is dubbed the World's Greatest Athlete.


Monday at the 2008 Olympic Trials Pappas, 31, used a first place in the pole vault (17-0¼ ) and a second place in discus to become the first U.S. decathlete to qualify for three Olympics. Over a decade of training 6 days a week, 5-6 hours daily, with double sessions twice weekly.


Basically over the last 12 years, which is 4,380 days...Pappas trained 3,744 of those days! And I'm not talking about trained as he went for a run, stopped by the weight room, did some sit-ups, or some intense stretching. Decathletes are the best trained physical and mental species you have ever seen. Hands down.


Pappas won the gold medal at the 2003 World Championships held outside Paris, France, and was rated number 1 in the world that year by Track & Field News. He is a four-time US champion (2000, 2002, 2003, 2006) and was the 1999 NCAA champion while attending the University of Tennessee. He finished fifth at the 2000 Olympic decathlon, and competed in but did not finish the decathlon due to a foot injury at the 2004 Olympic Games. His personal best in the decathlon is 8,784 points while winning the 2003 US championships held at Stanford University, CA.


Now Tom Pappas will have an opportunity to possibly help the USA sweep the decathlon event with his veteran swagger next month at the Olympic Games in Beijing.  At the age of 31 Tom is not your favorite to win the gold or maybe even metal for that matter, but what is more impressive to me is the solid commitment he has given to his family, the decathlon, and the United States of America. Congratulations Mr. Pappas I wouldn't be surprised to see you come home from Beijing with a little hardware!


In Success,


Coach Corey


Biography is courtesy of USTAF.Org



Pappas claimed his fifth U.S. Outdoor decathlon title and second in a row in 2007 before traveling to Osaka, Japan, for the World Outdoor Championships, where he dropped out of the competion after six events due to an injury. Following an injury in 2005, he bounced back to win the 2006 USA Outdoor decathlon title and showed up again in the world rankings (#7 in world, #2 U.S.) by Track & Field News.


Pappas had surgery in March 2005 for a torn labrum in his shoulder and was unable to compete that year, though he did continue training in all events except the javelin and pole vault. After winning the 2003 World Outdoor crown, Pappas, who is of Greek heritage and has a large Greek fan base, was a gold-medal favorite in the decathlon for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Unfortunately, Pappas was forced to drop out of the Olympic competition after he hurt his left foot on his first pole vault attempt at 4.61 meters/15 feet, 1 inch. Pappas was diagnosed with an acute strain in his left foot.


In 2003 Pappas became the only American other than the legendary Dan O’Brien to win World Championships gold in the decathlon…had minor surgery on his right shoulder on January 27, 2004 to remove cartilage…throws left handed…Pappas established himself as one of the greatest decathletes in U.S. history with his winning total of 8,784 points at the 2003 USA Outdoor Championships, making him the then #2 American of all-time and setting a meet record.


Pappas beat the world’s finest to win gold in the heptathlon at the 2003 World Indoor Championships...participated in football, baseball, wrestling and basketball in high school and was Junior class president. His grandfather was a professional wrestler who encouraged him to try the sport as well. His father, Nick, constructed a full-size wrestling ring in their basement so Tom and his two brothers could take turns body slamming each other. Pappas’ competitive nature comes from his father, who has dealt with paralysis most of his life after becoming a victim of polio before age two. Despite being physically challenged, Nick Pappas became the family’s first world record holder when he and a partner claimed a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in a vehicle that achieved a top velocity of more than 700 kilometers per hour... In 1995, Pappas began training as a decathlete, winning his first-ever decathlon with 6,746 points...Married to heptathlete Kim Schiemenz.

1,065 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, u.s., beijing, decathlon, worlds_greatest_athlete, tom_pappas, olympic_trials, 2008_olympic_trials, united_states, decathlete, three_olympics, pappas

Race of the Year (So Far)

Posted by RyanActive Jul 2, 2008

I'm your typical 20-something American male, sadly. I like to watch baseball, basketball and football, and I don't pay nearly enough attention to the other sports until the Olympics roll around.


I'm glad I tuned in when I did.


The men's 800-meter track finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials was one of the most exciting two minutes of sports I've ever witnessed. If you missed it, it was an amazing finish. Nick Symmonds, a stumpy, charismatic cat, won the race going away after being in the caboose with 200 yards left. Nearly trapped in, he slipped past a wall, darted to the outside and kicked into a gear so amazing, Secretariat would be impressed. It was a sight.


That was hardly the end of the dramatics, though. With the top three heading to Beijing, a native Kansan named Christian Smith did a headlong dive at the finish line to beat Khadevis Robinson by an inch and place third. Not only that, but Smith's lunge helped get the A qualifying standard he needed, too. Symmonds and Smith will be joined by University of Oregon student Andrew Wheating in China.


They hooked me. I'll be tuning in to the 800 when they head to Beijing. If it's half as dramatic in August, it'll be more than worth it

662 Views 2 Comments Permalink

Cheerleading, an Olympic Sport????? Would you mind little bubbly smile-plastered females (or males) running around in little skirts showing off their bloomers all over your television screen? Could you see yourself along with your family saying, 'nice basket toss! Sweet collegiate!?


Well, let's delve right into the facts here. The pros:


1. Cheerleading has comparable training & conditioning to most other sports. Squads practice on a daily basis for hours at a time. Strength training, cardio-endurance workouts and of course stunts are all part of the routine.


2. Who wouldn't get a laugh out of "Go! Fight! Win!" in 40 different languages? How entertaining!


3. There wouldn't be a shortage of judges!



On the other hand, many would concur that there are more reasons arguing Cheerleading as an Olympic Sport.



1. Judges subjectivity could be a problem. There would need to be a well structured scoring system put into place. We have all seen how biased judges can be in sports such as figure skating, synchronized swimming and rhythmic dance. The culture, age and personality can skew the scoring.



2. Additionally, the majority of the countries need to support this decision. There are fewer than the required number of countries currently practicing Cheerleading on the Olympic level.



3. Cheerleading teams compete with varying numbers of members with some in excess of 25. Many countries may be unable to afford the trip.



In summary, there are many pros and cons to making Cheerleading an Olympic sport. Now, let's get some feedback!



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"The Greatest Athlete in the World"


Today's Olympic decathlon champions receive that nickname, and who can dispute it? Decathlon winners must sprint, hurdle, run, throw and jump - both vertically and horizontally - better than any man in the world.


What if we were to compare Brian Clay's personal best decathlon total (8832), to my personal best decathlon total from 1997 or 1998? Hmmm…that's right folks there is no comparison when you're speaking about "the greatest athlete in the world." I'm not worthy of that conversation by any means.


To help you get a visual of what the World's Greatest Athlete looks like in action compared to "the dad the next door" who still maybe in great shape, I researched this video for our education and entertainment purposes. This short video paints the picture perfectly of why world-class athletes are in a class of their own. Plus it gives you a bird’s eye view of the Worlds Greatest Athlete vs. a Wall-Street Journal reporter going head to head on a nice sunny day.


Enjoy it and I'm looking forward to your comments.






Please visit us again or click on the RSS feed to the 2008 Olympics Blog for a full series of Decathlon posts leading up to the Olympic Games in Beijing. The count down is on as were only 52 days away from finding out WHO will be crowned the "World's Greatest Athlete"!


In Success,


Coach Corey

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The 3rd night of Swimming was what I believe the best thus far. Tons of fast swimming in all different events. But what amazes me most are the NAMES.


Obvisously Michael Phelps is the leading favorite. A top notch swimmer who is like the Tiger Woods of Men's Swimming. He is humble always speaking highly of his teammates whom many of have also qualified for the 2008 olympics. But what was amazing to me was the other names.



100 back - Natalie Coughlin. You have to LOVE her spirit and her energy. Will she be the first EVER women to win the 100 back at the olympics 2 times? She has a ton more competition this year...13 girls all going under a minute but with her setting the pace of breaking for the first time ever the 59 she is one to compete with.



Then to the 100 breast - it is so cool to see Megan Jendrick (who used to be Megan Quann) come back not after ATHENS but Sydney. Especially in an event that is very common to be swum best at a young age. With a switch in coaches and a switch in names it worked.



Then to Aaron Peirsol - A guy who considers himself a 200 back rocked it with yes another world record in that 100 back. I cant recall if he was at the 2000 Olympics but I do know for a fact he was in 2004. Winning Gold



Some other names - Klete Keller & Eric Vendt names that have been in the swimming industry for years got placed on the team through their 200 free relay splits.



Overall it's exciting for the vets where they will need to shine their knowledge & experience with some of the new faces like Jessica Hardy & Matt Grevers.



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Well on this third night of swimming the same happened again!


1. The mens 200 free. If you saw the first turn by Michael you just knew he was on point. Everyone else was dust! the power of a long butterfly kick really makes the difference. It takes a lot more strength and energy something not normally seen in a 200!


2. The women's 100 back - Oh Natalie she rocked that TURN. she went out fast...and hit that turn.



3. Men's 100 back - Aaron Peirsol another name famous to the swimming world went in even at the 50 and pushed that kick longer than any other guy...oh and had a spectacular finish.



4. Men's 200 fly semi final - once again the 3rd turn destroyed his competition. Davis Tarwater a great swim - teammate who should make the Olympics got rocked on the final turn.



So swimmers my recommendation is FOCUS on turns. Coaches you too...push the swimmers to work on turns! With a fast suit, fast underwater name it... World Records are breaking!:D



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MIDLAND, Texas - The USA Softball team scored 13 runs in route to a 13-0 victory over the ASA Texas All-Stars in front of 6,371 at Citi Bank Ball Park in Midland, Texas to extend their KFC Bound 4 Beijing Tour record to 51-1. The team battled the West Texas wind but still connected on 17 hits, with Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) explosive at the plate going a perfect 5-for-5 with three runs scored and three runs.

Lead off batter Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) wasted no time putting runners on taking a 1-0 pitch to left field for a triple. Lowe brought her home with a single to left field. A double play of a pop up by Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) and a putout at first when Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) didn’t return to first, left the team with a 1-0 lead into the second.
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) made her 13th start of the KFC Bound 4 Beijing Tour allowing a runner to reach in the first off a walk but allowing no runs to score.

The ASA Texas All-Stars did what very few opponents this year have done loading up the bases in the third but Osterman did what she does best retiring the last batter swinging. Colleen Kimbro started it off in the third for the All-Stars reaching on a throwing error by Osterman. A single to shortstop and a base on balls loaded it up but a strikeout to Jordan Daniels kept runs off the board.

Watley again led the team in the third with a single to third base. Lowe and Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) hit singles of their own to load up the bases for Bustos, with the crowd cheering for a homerun. Bustos did not disappoint the Midland crowd with a roped homerun to right field giving the team a 5-0 lead. Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) ripped a double to left field and was followed by Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.) with a walk. A single to centerfield by Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) plated Duran. Watley, with her second hit of the inning, hit a double over the left fielder’s head to clear the base paths and edge the lead to 8-0.

“It felt good to get some good hits at the plate and I saw the ball well today so that was nice,” said Watley of her at bats. “It’s one of those nights where you walk away feeling good about the game but still know that you have a lot to keep on preparing for. It’s a positive way to head into a week break but I know we will all come back ready to keep on improving Olympic Games.”

The team tacked on two runs in the fourth taking advantage of two errors by the left fielder. Bustos singled advancing to second on an error by the left fielder Katy Gutierrez. Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.), entering to pinch run for Bustos, scored from second on another error by Gutierrez after she over threw on a single by Duran. A groundout RBI by Jung gave the Red, White and Blue a 10-0 lead after four.

In the fifth inning, the team started playing by exhibition rules placing a runner at first to start off the inning. Nina Cabrales started out on first advancing to second on a fielder’s choice by Maritza Martinez who was also safe. A single to second base by Kimbro loaded the bases with no out but three strikeouts by the south paw Osterman left the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the fifth, back-to-back singles by leadoff hitter Watley and Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) set up the two-RBI double by Mendoza. A single by Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) pushed Watley across the plate to give the USA Softball team a 13-0 win.

Osterman was again tested in the seventh when a runner was put on second, eventually loading the bases off a single and a walk. A pop up to shortstop left the runners stranded to close out of the game.

Osterman, with her 12th win of the season, struck out 13 while walking five and allowing three hits.

The team is now on a much deserved week break after spending the month of June on the road. The team will meet back together in Portland, Ore., on July 8th for a game against the Portland ASA All-Stars at 7:00 p.m. at Erv Lind Stadium.


  (Game report provided by USA  Softball)</p>

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Coaches Selection

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand Jul 1, 2008

Unless you live in a cave, you know that 2008 is an Olympic year which means that the US is putting together an Olympic team in a whole hosts of sports. Being an Olympic junkie I sit through lots of TV even before the games begin watching hopefuls try out for the team in their respective sports. This past weekend I watched four hours of gymnastics trials only to learn that at the end of all the hoopla, only two of the six members of the team would be selected based on their scores. The other four athletes would be determined by the two words which strike fear in the heart of all competitors, "coaches selection."


What's up with that? What ever happened to 'you win the trials, you go to the Olympics?'. Heck, in cycling, they aren't even having an Olympic trials. All the selections for the road events are done by coaches selection. Don't get me wrong, there are some pretty good coaches out there and a few are even associated with the Olympics, but I have seen enough backroom politics to have zero faith in the ability for a bunch of people to be able to put their emotions, feelings and ambitions aside to make a fair decision.


A lot of Olympic hopefuls have sacrificed everything to follow their dream. They have little or no money, and have put their careers and education on hold to try and be an Olympian. To leave that decision up to a bunch of coaches with their own agendas is just plain unfair. All Olympic sports should follow the model of USA Track and Field. The formula is simple, finish top-three in the trials and you go. There isn't much wiggle room there. Win and go. Lose and go home.


One of the highlights of the 2006 winter games was when the winner of the men's first ever four cross skiing event was asked why he switched from half pipe to four cross, he simply stated, 'no judges'. I am not going to launch into a diatirbe about eliminating "judged" sports from the Olympics, but we can take a huge step in removing one aspect of "judging" by making the Olympic selection totallyobjective. Bring back the trials and make them count. It is the only fair way for all Olympic hopefuls.



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Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee, and Tom Pappas qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic team


EUGENE, Ore.- Bryan Clay built a foundation for a run at a gold medal in Beijing when he won the decathlon Monday night at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials with the highest point total in the world this season. Clay made his second straight Olympics with a personal-record score of 8,832 points. That marked the best score by an American in 16 years, the best in the world in four years, and beat Dan O'Brien's Olympic Trials record.


"From the get-go, I said, 'This is what I'm going to do, these are the marks I'm going to put up,' " Clay said. "I don't care if it's headwinds, tailwinds. I don't care how I'm feeling. I'm going to make it happen today, and that's what I did."




Bryan Clay 1st Place - 8,832       Trey Hardee 2nd Place - 8,534         Tom Pappas 3rd Place - 8,511



Pappas, 31, used a first place in the pole vault (17-0¼ ) and a second place in discus to become the first U.S. decathlete to qualify for three Olympics. Hardee won the hurdles and was third in the javelin. 


"Yesterday I wasn't disciplined enough. I never got in a rhythm," Clay said. "I went home last night, talked with my coaches and made the decision in my head that I was going to come out and make this happen. No matter what."


Clay was disappointed with his results during Sunday's opening events that left him with a narrow lead over Hardee, the 2006 NCAA champion, and Pappas, the 2003 world champion. But Clay found his form quickly Monday with a solid race in the 110-meter hurdles. He had the best marks in discus and javelin and cleared 16 feet, 4¾ inches in the pole vault. He needed to run the 1,500 in 4 minutes, 53 seconds to notch his personal best. He finished in 4:50.97.


On the fourth day of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials Clay won the classic event of Jim Thorpe and Rafer Johnson and Bruce Jenner and Dan O'Brien with a lifetime best 8,832 points, a bit short of O'Brien's American record 8,891 but still the highest score by an American in 16 years. Among Americans, only O'Brien, with two performances, has ever scored more than Clay, whose performance Sunday and Monday equals the 11th highest score in the history of the decathlon. Clay was followed on the U.S. Olympic team by Trey Hardee with a lifetime best 8,534 and Tom Pappas with 8,511. Pappas became the first man to make three Olympic teams in the decathlon.


"I think there's tons of room for improvement," said Clay, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist and '05 world champion. "This showed that mentally I am a very tough competitor. I am ready to break the world record. It's a matter of time. If everything is aligned ... and I can put all 10 events together, I can score really high."


The world record of 9,026 points is held by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic, the first man to crack the 9,000-point barrier. Sebrle set his record in 2001 and is not thought to be a 9,000-point man any longer. Clay will go to the Beijing Olympics in August as the favorite to win the gold medal.


Feel free to come back to the 2008 Olympics Blog for a full series of Decathlon posts, by Coach Corey, leading up to the Olympic Games in Beijing. The count down is on as were only 53 days away from finding out WHO will be the "World's Greatest Athlete"!

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