Lance Armstrong to return to pro cycling: Armstrong, who will turn 37 on September 18, cited 41-year-old US swimmer Dara Torres's Olympic comeback in Beijing as proof that age was no barrier to an elite sports career.
Everlasting Run: What makes a man run 100,000 miles without ever missing a day?
Rogge unveils plan for Olympic programme: At the 2005 IOC Congress, baseball and softball were voted off the Olympic island for 2012, leaving the summer Olympics with 26 sports. Yesterday Jacques Rogge announced his plan for the future: there will be 25 "largely untouchable" core sports, with the possibility of adding three more on a rotating basis for each edition of the Games.
Down in one: fourteen times in four months. An amateur American golfer with thirteen aces so far this year drops another one in for the cameras.
Denial of Death: "You're sure they'll do something before they stand for the national anthem. But with the fans on their feet … the announcer reads from a script over the public address system: Twenty years ago today … four players lost their lives … please stand and honor these players with a moment of silence.
"… The players look down at their skates, the others at their boots. A hush falls over the arena, the only sound the wooden roof creaking. Finally, after 30 seconds, the announcer says: Thank you. Please remain standing for the playing of O Canada.
"And that's it, a moment of silence and nothing more. If you'd never been in Western Canada's Swift Current before, if you didn't know the back story, you might mistake it for tasteful understatement. But if you put your ear to the door, you'd know this is the minimum interruption in a culture of denial in a town where the only thing tougher than looking through a scrapbook might be looking in a mirror."
What Athletes, Fans, and the Sports Media Don't Understand About Human Growth Hormone: "The media haven't spent much time making a distinction between HGH and steroids. An AP story, titled After BALCO, Another Steroid Scandal, glosses over any differences between the two, drawing a straight line from the BALCO investigation to the busts in Florida. But Jerry Hairston isn't Barry Bonds. Sure, both of these guys probably took banned substances in an effort to boost their stats, and both were involved in major drug busts involving large numbers of Major League players. But it's just plain wrong to put growth hormone in the same category as anabolic steroids. In the sports version of the war on drugs, Bonds was shooting heroin while Hairston was smoking marijuana."
Daughter of Olympian turns in skis for activism: "Whenever former Olympian Jim Hunter gets a phone call to his Calgary home with the '604' or '250' area code in his caller display he worries his activist daughter is in trouble. 'I fear for my daughter every day,' said Hunter."
Quite a Concept: “You’re sitting on a machine, rowing to exhaustion, going nowhere. Most people understand there’s something deeply nonsensical about the whole enterprise.” … Luanne Mills, who will take home a hammer for lightweight women, says, “I’ve met so many wonderful people from all over the world. I like everything about erging except doing it.”
[Perhaps our own Ultimate Olympian will give this a try this cold and windy winter.]
Signs of Sanity from WADA?: "WADA's code is currently undergoing the first major revision since its inception in 2003 … The latest revision was the result of more than six months of comments solicited from a list of thousands of 'stakeholders' - governments, sporting organizations, anti-doping authorities and athletes alike … the biggest changes relate to sanctions: they received many comments calling for the flexibility to impose bigger sanctions for more serious doping offenses and lighter sentences for less egregious ones."
Out With the Old ...: Eventually, everyone's time on the Stanley Cup runs out. Before the start of this NHL season, thirteen past champions from the "Original Six" era had their names removed and archived in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
31 Voices on the State of the Game: Biz of Baseball contacted 30 "notable individuals" who cover or work in the business of baseball and asked them for their comments on what's right and what's wrong with major league baseball today. The Biz of Baseball forum has included some intelligent discussion on the topic as well. [via King Kaufman]
Cindy Klassen Wins Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's Best Athlete: In a year in which a Canadian athlete was MVP of the NBA, another was MVP of the American League, and a third was MVP of the NHL, a speedskater gets the nod as athlete of the year. The voters have a history of doing pretty well by Canada's female athletes, and by Olympic champions in general.
What John Wooden Gets Wrong About Basketball: "It is another Wooden contribution, however, that I fear will endure. … Wooden provided a framework for linking on-court play with virtue. A bounce pass is not just fundamentally sound, but somehow morally expedient; a missed dunk is a straight path to damnation. Leave aside some of the more repellent conclusions this might lead one to—it is simply a boring and blinkered way of watching a basketball game. This, ultimately, is John Wooden's legacy: He taught us to take a profane bit of beautiful exercise and turn it into church."
NHL Shootouts, Season 2: More Shots, Fewer Goals: So far in the 2006-07 season, there are more shootouts per NHL game, more attempts per shootout, and more saves per attempt. What's changed?
Ski Cross, In. Women's Ski Jump, Not Yet.: Contrary to many expectations, the IOC Executive declined to add ski jumping events for women to the 2010 Winter Olympic program. There's lots of other news for Olympic junkies in this article.
RIM CEO buys Penguins: Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of the company that
invented sells the Blackberry, has purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins from Mario Lemieux and company. Rumours abound that Balsillie wants to move the team to southern Ontario.
IOC Shuffles 2008 Competition Schedule to Suit NBC: The American network, which paid $2.6B for the North American broadcast rights for 2008, wants to screen the most popular events live in (US) prime time. The Herald Sun reports that swimming, diving, and gymnastics finals have been moved from the evening to the early afternoon.
There has not yet been any official announcement from the IOC.
[via Timed Finals]
So You Think You Can ... : Steer a Boat and Scream Encouragement at Very High Volume? Then you might be the winner of China's latest reality television show, which promises a chance to be an Olympic coxswain in 2008.
Of course, you'll also need to be a Chinese citizen. And under 100 pounds.
Hockey history: The Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame conference starts today in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
George Fosty, co-author of Black Ice and Splendid is the Sun, has studied the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes: "There’s 300 (black) players that played serious hockey prior to 1958 that nobody knows about. It’s time to say, ‘Hey, we’ve missed something here.’"
Putting high-priced golf out to pasture: "On this Saturday afternoon, the $500 adjustable-weight titanium drivers, $1,000 forged irons and $50 distance golf balls were left behind. Secondhand irons, real-wood woods and well-worn balls were the norm, along with bug spray and watching out for stray coyotes."
[see also Bruce Manclarck's web site, pasturegolf.com]
Why Diving Makes Soccer Great: Slate's Sports Nut writes in defense of soccer's biggest villians.
"American sports are loaded with comic set pieces—a hockey player tossing his gloves for a ceremonial tussle or a baseball manager kicking dirt at the umpire. Like tumbling soccer players, these performers act to provoke sympathy or indignation. The difference is in the style of emotional drama. In most American sports, the theatrics are aggressive. They are not operatic displays of vulnerability. To appreciate diving, we must sympathize or scorn the injured player—we must get into the melodrama."
Three finalists for 2014 Winter Olympics: The IOC Executive downselected Salzburg, Pyeongchang, and Sochi from the seven applicants. The final selection will be made by a vote of the full IOC membership. The selection was preceded by this report (PDF) (or download the conclusions only) from the IOC Candidature Acceptance Working Group.