More Olympics, Already?

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
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Jul 13, 2005
5,030
Alberta
Looks like it’s time to rename the forum what with the Beijing WINTER Games just around the corner!

Personally, I was disappointed when Beijing got these Games over Almaty, Kazakhstan - but the billion or so sets of Chinese eyeballs speak loudly to the IOC.

China, is as usual in their perpetual diplomatic/sport hot water as pertains to human rights and sundry other global political matters…but the Games will go on nonetheless.

NHL Players will play (as the NHL too is keen to seduce those two billion eyeballs).

I don’t know if there have been any announcements regarding what Covid-19 protocols will be in place, but I do know that long and short track speed skating have been proceeding with their World Cup seasons in a more or less as-semi-normal manner.
 
Looks like it’s time to rename the forum what with the Beijing WINTER Games just around the corner!

Personally, I was disappointed when Beijing got these Games over Almaty, Kazakhstan - but the billion or so sets of Chinese eyeballs speak loudly to the IOC.

China, is as usual in their perpetual diplomatic/sport hot water as pertains to human rights and sundry other global political matters…but the Games will go on nonetheless.

NHL Players will play (as the NHL too is keen to seduce those two billion eyeballs).

I don’t know if there have been any announcements regarding what Covid-19 protocols will be in place, but I do know that long and short track speed skating have been proceeding with their World Cup seasons in a more or less as-semi-normal manner.
I'll be in Beijing to commentate on the hockey, and it sounds as though the COVID protocols will be even stricter than they were in Tokyo - I won't be allowed to use any public transport or go anywhere but my hotel and where I'm working (no sightseeing or shopping/visiting local restaurants, etc.), masks on at all times everywhere except in my hotel room and when eating/drinking or commentating, loads of COVID testing, and so on. China is still taking the Australia/New Zealand lockdown route, trying to keep the virus away more than vaccinating against it, so the next few months could be a bit bumpy. But hey, I'll get to be at the arenas in person and call games featuring NHL players this time (unlike in PyeongChang), so I'll very happily put up with everything for that privilege!
 

axx

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Jul 16, 2005
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China, is as usual in their perpetual diplomatic/sport hot water as pertains to human rights and sundry other global political matters…but the Games will go on nonetheless.
Haven't there been rumors of a diplomatic boycott? Doesn't mean it will happen.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
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I'll be in Beijing to commentate on the hockey, and it sounds as though the COVID protocols will be even stricter than they were in Tokyo - I won't be allowed to use any public transport or go anywhere but my hotel and where I'm working (no sightseeing or shopping/visiting local restaurants, etc.), masks on at all times everywhere except in my hotel room and when eating/drinking or commentating, loads of COVID testing, and so on. China is still taking the Australia/New Zealand lockdown route, trying to keep the virus away more than vaccinating against it, so the next few months could be a bit bumpy. But hey, I'll get to be at the arenas in person and call games featuring NHL players this time (unlike in PyeongChang), so I'll very happily put up with everything for that privilege!
I am looking forward to reading about your time there. Hopefully SoSH isn't banned in China.
 

axx

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Jul 16, 2005
7,516
not no US team going to Beijing.
That's what I was wondering. Biden's got an easy out now so he can just use Omicron as an excuse and there's no need to be obnoxious about it. That's if that's what he wants to do. Be pretty easy to get Europe and some other countries to follow suit too.
 
I've been thinking a lot about COVID in the context of my forthcoming hockey commentary gig in Beijing. Where will the science on Omicron be a month from now? If it's more transmissible but less harmful to humans - more like the flu that the Delta version of COVID - might the Chinese just let the chips fall where they may? (Nobody ever cancelled a sporting event because of the flu, right?) Surely the NHL is super-keen on showcasing its best players in the Chinese marketplace; what are its negotiating positions with regard to player safety and/or comfort, and making sure as many stars as possible want to take the trip? I have a lot of questions...
Biden's got an easy out now so he can just use Omicron as an excuse and there's no need to be obnoxious about it. That's if that's what he wants to do. Be pretty easy to get Europe and some other countries to follow suit too.
...but this definitely isn't one of them. Are you suggesting that Biden has an easy out to pull all USA team members from going to the Olympics, effectively boycotting the Games on health grounds? That idea is ludicrous - that's a massively inflammatory step for a government to take. Individual athletes will be ruled out because of COVID, and others may choose not to go because of COVID, but there's no way Biden or any other European leader will insist that all of his or her country's athletes not go to Beijing.
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
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Oct 31, 2013
45,137
I'm bummed. I really enjoy the larger ice surface, more finesse, and lack of fighting. Rooting against Canada is fun too.

Now I just await semi-patiently jcd0805's or Fratboy's Figure Skating OP.
 

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
5,030
Alberta
I'm bummed. I really enjoy the larger ice surface, more finesse, and lack of fighting. Rooting against Canada is fun too.

Now I just await semi-patiently jcd0805's or Fratboy's Figure Skating OP.
I imagine they will still have hockey. The last-minute Olympian story line will have some fun twists, for sure.

And what, no love for the thrilling speed skating to come? US is poised to have their best speed skating team in years;

Women’s Long Track

Erin Jackson’s learning curve is nearly vertical in the women’s 500m, going from never having ice skated in 2017 to winning most of the World Cup races this fall. Brittany Bose has been and continues to be the boss at 1000m, and a strong contender in the 1500m

US has been traditionally weaker in the longer women’s races…and 2022 isn’t going to be an exception.

Men’s Long Track

Joey Mantia has moved off his fixation with the crapshoot that is the mass start race, into being a guy who wins 1500m time trial races. He’ll do the mass start too, but why rely on those fates when you can just lay down a good one and win one of the “real races”?

In the team pursuit, the US men have come from being bottom seed at the World Cups this fall to being undefeated World Record holders.

Two things happened;

1. They’ve devised a new way of doing the race that hugely differs from the cycling team pursuit where it’s all about drafting and taking turns leading. The US guys actually link up, basically constantly touching each other, so the back guys are literally pushing the front guy - like a connected six-legged skating machine. If i recall correctly they don’t switch positions at all during the 10 lap race.

2. While they’ve done a great job of making that six-legged skating machine a sum that is better than it’s parts, the parts have gotten a lot better. Mantia is a legit gold threat at 1500m, Emery Lehman, who was supposed to be a superstar at 16 but like many who are supposed to be superstars at 16 didn’t turn out to be a superstar, has actually gotten his shit together and placed 4th at the last World Cup. Add in Casey Dawson jumping from mid-B group at World Cup to 11th place in the 5000m and that’s a solid collection of players.

Speaking of superstars at 16…Jordan Stoltz, who trains in Milwaukee (away from the rest of the team in Utah) has been setting Jr World Records all fall, culminating in a second place in the 1,000m at the most recent World Cup. The kid’s for real.

Women’s Short Track

After the last Olympic Games, Maame Biney was that “gonna be a superstar” 16 year-old, but she hasn’t quite progressed as hoped/expected. She’s been doing OK, but in my opinion just seems a bit constrained. I think she may be too powerful for the short track. I’d like to see how she does on the long track, though.

Kristen Santos, on the other hand, who has been a middle of the road National Team level skater for years, somehow just figured it out this year. She’s consistently in the A Final in World Cups, and has medaled several times.

The women’s relay could squeeze into the final on the strength of Santo’s and Biney - and the reliability of Bay State’s own Julie Letai (Medfield, MA), and in short track a lot can happen once you get into the final.

Men’s Short Track

Not much to see here. US didn’t qualify a relay team, but Ryan Pivirotto and Andrew Heo could ride Santos and Biney’s speed to a decent placing in the mixed relay.

Extra note from the US Short Track Olympic Trials; A guy died, right there in the oval…and was revived. The Ice technician was driving the resurfacing machine just before the first set of races, and slumped over in the seat of the machine mid-flood. Somehow someone got on there, redirected the machine, and got him off the ice where after about 20 minutes of CPR he was revived. The EMTs and docs on site are the real Olympic heros. I hope they get the recognition they deserve.
 

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
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Jul 13, 2005
5,030
Alberta
And I have neglected to mention the MOST talked about speed skater of the last week;

Alison Baver (member of the 2010 Short Track relay team that bradburied their way to bronze in Vancouver after finishing a fairly distant last in the A final but benefitted from a disqualification within the teams that had a chance to win) was indicted for (allegedly) fraudulently accepting $11 Million from the PPP program. ELEVEN MILLION. Not sure why if you’re actually trying to defraud the government you’d actually take enough to be in your state’s top two recipients. $2M and you might fly under the radar, but ELEVEN?

Anyway, Ms. Baver (who I have met, but do not know well) must not have fostered a whole lot of goodwill among her peers, because I didn’t hear a whole lot of sympathy for her predicament at the Olympic trials last weekend.
 
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Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
45,137
And I have neglected to mention the MOST talked about speed skater of the last week;

Alison Baver (member of the 2010 Short Track relay team that bradburied their way to bronze in Vancouver after finishing a fairly distant last in the A final but benefitted from a disqualification within the teams that had a chance to win) was indicted for (allegedly) fraudulently accepting $11 Million from the PPP program. ELEVEN MILLION. Not sure why if you’re actually trying to defraud the government you’d actually take enough to be in your state’s top two recipients. $2M and you might fly under the radar, but ELEVEN?

Anyway, Ms. Baver (who I have met, but do now know well) must not have fostered a whole lot of goodwill among her peers, because I didn’t hear a whole lot of sympathy for her predicament at the Olympic trials last weekend.
This says it was only $10M (LOL, like it matters)
https://www.ksl.com/article/50312629/former-olympian-who-received-millions-in-ppp-loans-indicted-for-financial-crimes-in-utah

She need the money as her term as VP of the US Olympian and Paraolympian Association was ending.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allison_Baver

With her experience, a future post at IOC/FIFA/NCAA was inevitable if she didn't get caught.
 

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
5,030
Alberta
This says it was only $10M (LOL, like it matters)
https://www.ksl.com/article/50312629/former-olympian-who-received-millions-in-ppp-loans-indicted-for-financial-crimes-in-utah

She need the money as her term as VP of the US Olympian and Paraolympian Association was ending.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allison_Baver

With her experience, a future post at IOC/FIFA/NCAA was inevitable if she didn't get caught.
I don’t think the US Olympian/Paralympian thing was a paying gig - but what would I know about an organization I was one spot short three times in a row from being eligible for membership in…

Ms. Baver has a reputation in the speed skating world for being a prolific attention whore, a shameless self-promoter and a just a hustler in general. At one point WAY back, she was romantically connected to Apolo Ohno, and it reportedly (reliable source) ended badly enough for him get a restraining order against her.

My only really interaction with her was at the 2018 Olympic Trials, where she was nice enough to me, but obviously playing the VIP room in painted-on jeans and as low a cut top as you’d dare wear to an ice rink. Like I said, we had a perfectly pleasant conversation, but I could smell the phoniness literally and figuratively.

What I don’t understand is the massive failure of whoever released those funds to even do a modicum of due diligence on a $10/$11M transaction…I get that they were trying to get the funds out fast, but for the double-digits of millions of dollars applicants, you’d think at least 30 seconds on Google might be a good idea!
 

snowmanny

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Dec 8, 2005
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Senators Blackburn and Cotton want the US to boycott the olympics, citing political concerns with China but also the safety of US athletes. Basically, they want to take away citizen-athletes freedoms and mandate they stay home, eliminating their ability to make personal choices regarding their safety.


"The U.S. Olympic Committee’s dismissal of our concerns is a tacit endorsement of communist China’s behavior," Blackburn told Fox News. "We have no assurances that our athletes will be safe at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and have no reason to believe that the Chinese Communist Party will not leverage their position to weaponize its new digital currency and national security law to target U.S. athletes."
Cotton echoed these sentiments and told Fox News "the U.S. Olympic Committee is putting our athletes in undue peril."

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxnews.com/politics/olympic-committee-gop-athlete-boycott-demands-no-diplomatic-benefit.amp
 

GoJeff!

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May 30, 2007
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Was just up at Mammoth and they had Olympic qualifying for ski and snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle competitions.

The level of talent was unbelievable. Halfpipe finals were supposed to be tonight, but weather pushed them to tomorrow. All finals will stream on Peacock tomorrow afternoon and evening.
 

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
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Jul 13, 2005
5,030
Alberta
Long-track speed skating is the one subject upon which I am SoSH’s resident expert, so I better do my once-in-four-years duty…

Olympic Trials are in Milwaukee this week. I’d have been there too, but they pulled the “abundance of caution” thing and decided to go no-spectators. Figure Skating in Nashville decided to keep the people in the building - I am guessing that the difference in actual lost revenue was the difference there. FS was good for a reported $20M Economic boost to Nashville, while SSK might have put a few extra Benjamin’s in the tip jar at Liquid Johnny’s across the State Fair parking lot from the Pettit National Ice Center…

I was actually a bit put off by the Pettit Center’s note cancelling tickets; It basically said, “If you really want a refund, we’ll send you a check, but it’d be cooler if you left the money with us as a donation anyway.” Tacky shit…they wonder why the sport is so small!

Anyway, Wednesday’s Men’s 5000m was a three way dogfight between three of the four team pursuit guys. Ethan Cepuran won his pair against Casey Dawson by a few hundredths, leaving Emery Lehman in third by a few more hundredths. They’re all going to Beijing anyway, and US will almost certainly have two starts in the 5k - so not much Drama there. Lehman will probably earn a start in 1500m. A problematic stat for me is that the NEXT guy was 25 seconds back…that’s pretty much a whole lap. Women’s 3000m also happened (Mia Kilburg - she’ll place somewhere between 10th and 20th in Beijing. No one else was close.)

On Thursday, Brittany Bowe won the Women’s 1000m like she usually does. 500m Favorite Erin Jackson was 3rd, which matters for reasons we’ll get to later (Kim Goetz took the second Olympic start position).

Local Wisconsin Wunderkind Jordan Stoltz nailed the men’s kilo, setting the track record. You’ll hear it a million times in our age obsessed media - HE’S ONLY SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD! (I don’t care how old he is. The sport is littered with the corpses of careers of kids who were “only 17” at one But what matters is he IS really good, right now. And I expect he will also be a month or so from now in Beijing. Like medal contender good.)

So that leaves us with Friday’s drama; Erin Jackson stumbled her way to third place (behind Bowe and Goetz) in the Women’s 500m and just like that the World Cup leader and Gold Medal favorite isn’t on the Olympic Team. Except that eventually she will be. Most likely some other country won’t use their whole quota of start positions, and US is either next in line for a third spot, or close to it so if the people at US Speedskating are lucky, it’s an easy self-repairing problem. If not, I expect either Bowe or Goetz will pull a Gilmore and step aside (likely Goetz) with a little gentle persuasion from the powers that be. It used to be that if you had an Olympic start position, you held onto it for dear life even if you had zero intention of racing that race at the Olympics, but times seem to have changed (no, no bitterness here…)

For some reason, US Speedskating has always loved the cruel crucible of the Olympic Trials. “If you can’t beat ‘em in the heat, you can’t beat ‘em in the final!”, and all that, but at least the more volatile distances picked the teams over more than one race. Now even the 500m is a one-and-done winner(s)-take-all affair, not at all a good idea. Well, play stupid games, win stupid prizes…

In other news, Jordan Stoltz kicked everyone else’s ass in the men’s 500m to take the US’s only start position. Have you heard, HE’S ONLY SEVENTEEN!!

That leaves the 1500m and mass start races for the weekend. Mass start is always a cluster…one race doesn’t come close to truly telling you who’s going to be best at that event internationally, and the US has so few good enough skaters that the event dynamic is totally different. Might as well just have a poker game or a coin toss…
 
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Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
45,137
Senators Blackburn and Cotton want the US to boycott the olympics, citing political concerns with China but also the safety of US athletes. Basically, they want to take away citizen-athletes freedoms and mandate they stay home, eliminating their ability to make personal choices regarding their safety.


"The U.S. Olympic Committee’s dismissal of our concerns is a tacit endorsement of communist China’s behavior," Blackburn told Fox News. "We have no assurances that our athletes will be safe at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and have no reason to believe that the Chinese Communist Party will not leverage their position to weaponize its new digital currency and national security law to target U.S. athletes."
Cotton echoed these sentiments and told Fox News "the U.S. Olympic Committee is putting our athletes in undue peril."

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxnews.com/politics/olympic-committee-gop-athlete-boycott-demands-no-diplomatic-benefit.amp
If he prevents Mariah Bell from competing, I will personally hunt down that Arkansas asshole and stuff him in a cotton gin.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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candylandriots

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I’ll probably be putting together something for a Winter Olympics pool in a few days, but just want to take a moment to put out a shout for Katie Uhlaender for making her fifth consecutive Olympics in skeleton. It’s cool enough that I won’t hold being a Yankees fan against her. She won’t be a favorite for a medal (still steamed that she missed a bronze in Sochi by 0.04, finishing behind a Russian athlete who was almost certainly, knowingly or not, doping), because she deserves one for sure.

(Aside, her dad, Ted Uhlaender, was a former MLB player and coach).