Were the Winter Olympics a success or total disappointment?

Could the winter Olympics held in Sochi really be considered one of the best Olympic performances by team USA? Even though the speed skaters collapsed, and the hockey team flopped when it mattered the most, U.S. Olympic officials insists that Sochi 2014 was one the of the country’s best Olympics.

United States sent a record number of athletes to the 2014 Winter Olympics and competed in many new events but still earned 9 fewer medals than they did in Vancouver in 2010. Overall some think it was a rather disappointing performance, but is that really the case?

If it weren’t for some of the new sports, the U.S. medal count would be low. The U.S. finished with a total of 28 medals after a bronze medal was won by the four-man bobsled team, of the 28, 9 were gold, just 5 total medals behind the host country of Russia. The medal count would have been significantly lower if 9 medals, including 5 gold, weren’t won in sports that made their debut in these games.

Alan Ashley, the managing director of sport performance for the USOC was stated saying, “We came here to compete. We came here with a great team and they’ve done a great job. Things don’t always shake out exactly the way you think they’re going to, but the surprises are sometimes way more surprising than the disappointments.”

Many disappointments happened with some of the biggest U.S. stars going into the games, Shaun White was demolished in snowboarding, while Lindsey Vonn didn’t even make the trip because of injury. The speed skaters were kept off the medal podium for the first time since 1984, the women’s hockey team collapsed in the final minutes of the gold medal game against Canada, while the men’s hockey team couldn’t score against Canada or Finland throwing their dreams of medaling away.

Alongwith the disappointments, new stars were born, just like teen skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin who won gold in the women’s slalom. While Charlie White and Meryl Davis took gold in their ice dancing performance, along with Sage Kotsenburg winning gold in the debut event of snowboard slope style.

Image

According to Alan Ashley, the medal count was lower because other countries are becoming more competitive in winter sports, Norway being a prime example winning 26 medals, 2 behind the US, with a population of just 5 million.

Is there a reason to be optimistic heading towards the Games in South Korea in 2018? Absolutely. Strong performance in new sports like ski and snowboard slope style and ski half pipe should keep the spirits of the United States up for the 2018 games, even though the success in extreme sports in future Olympic will be difficult.

Bottom line is the rest of the world is catching up.

Chemistry: The Glue that Holds it All Together

Dolphins

Anytime team dynamics get brought up to the media, the first word that comes to mind is “Chemistry”. When selecting which teams are going to have success, chemistry seems as important as the in-game strategy or the players that suit up. Dating back to classic sports movies like Hoosiers or Remember the Titans, no team can have success without creating a unified community.

However, many in the sports world must have slept through that day of class. Take the Miami Dolphins for example. One of the most recognizable sports franchises in the country, but they have been in hot water for just this issue. Charged by an independent NFL investigator with not fostering an acceptable work environment, offensive line coach Jim Turner and athletics trainer Kevin O’Neill have been fired while Coach Joe Philbin has effectively put himself in a win-or-fired situation.

The problem the Dolphins organization has is chemistry. Richie Incognito saw his place on the offensive line as the older brother who gave his siblings a hard time, while Jonathan Martin played no part in the family and saw himself as the harassed outsider. The line lacked chemistry, leading to problems on and off the field. These complications resulted in a media hail storm and sub-par performance from a group that is composed of mostly above average lineman.

Using the stellar model that the Dolphins set down, is chemistry more important than individual players’ talent? That is the question that commentators on the Indiana Pacers are asking. After trading long-time Pacer, Danny Granger, to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, some critiques are saying that the team has effectively given up their trip to the NBA finals.Granger

Media outlets say that Granger was a big part of the team chemistry, and without him, the entire flow of the game will be changed. But let us act as rational observers and look at a few of the facts. First, the Pacers cruised to the best record in the NBA without their backup small forward, showing that the team is capable of winning without him. Second, Turner and Allen bring young talent to the Pacer’s bench, bolstering the deepest, most skilled bench in the entire National Basketball League. Third, the amount of money saved on Granger’s contract will give the Pacers more cap room to sign blooming superstar, Lance Stephenson, who will need a huge pay day to keep his constant threat of a triple-double in Indiana.

Overall, yes chemistry is a vital component to winning on any level, but there is something to be said about team leadership manufacturing team chemistry on the fly. In the Dolphins’ case, team management was not strong enough to create healthy relationships between feuding players. However,
with the knowledge of Larry Bird and the on-court leadership of veteran players like David West, the Pacers may be able to overcome their chemistry problem and claim their first NBA title.

Why Some Sequels Never Work

space jam

In the entertainment industry, there are several movies with directors that feel the need to create a sequel. In some cases, these sequels are successful, but in others, they are a complete fail. There have been many rumors of a “Space Jam 2” sequel, not starring Michael Jordan, but instead featuring LeBron James. Although, James has denied the report, making this sequel would be the biggest mistake Warner Bros. made. Here’s why.

1. Sequels are never better than the original. No matter how much they try, the sequels never live up to the original. Space Jam was a box office success opening at #1 in the US and grossing over $230 million worldwide. This movie was a surprise. One of the kinds that you don’t know what to expect until you watch it and it surprisingly has a different, and interesting plot. There hadn’t been a movie with a similar plot line before Space Jam. Directors try too hard when they try to create the sequel and the audience knows what to expect at this point, and the satisfaction never lives up to the original movie.

2. It idolizes mediocrity. LeBron James just isn’t good enough to replace Michael Jordan in this role. Space Jam was published in 1996, a year after Michael Jordan returned to the NBA after retiring in the beginning of the 1993-94 season. Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a three-peat championship in 1991, 1992, and 1993. After he returned to the NBA in ’95, he led the Bulls to three more consecutive championship titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Yes, I understand LeBron James and the Heat have 2 consecutive titles, but he honestly has not accomplished as much as Jordan had during the time of the making of the movie.

space jam 2

3. The greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan. Along with reason number 2, LeBron James will never be the greatest basketball player of all-time. He’s pretty darn good, I’ll agree, but nothing will live up to the legacy of Michael Jordan. Yes, I’m a little bias, and I am not a Miami Heat nor a Lebron James fan whatsoever, but simply put, LeBron James does not equal Michael Jordan. I guess my hatred towards James started when he abandoned the Cleveland Cavaliers and the way he publicized it. Michael Jordan stayed true to the Bulls, despite retiring, but came back to the same team to help win more championships. His first season back from retirement, 1995-96, around the same time the movie was published, he helped the Bulls achieve an NBA record of 72-regular season wins, which is still unbeaten today.

After LeBron James denied the report of him starring in the sequel, there are still rumors floating around that Space Jam 2 is in the works. Regardless of who the NBA star is, nothing will ever live up to the original movie with Michael Jordan. Jordan will forever remain as the greatest basketball player of all-time.

Brooklyn Nets sign Jason Collins

BhL3mOGCAAAB5crToday, Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in North America’s four major professional sports after signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

Tonight he is supposed to play against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, according to sources told by ESPN.

Collins is going to wear number 98 for the Brooklyn Nets, but the number 98 jersey will not be ready before the game starts tonight so he is going to wear number 46 instead.

Collins chose number 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who died in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998. He has also worn that jersey number with the Celtics and the Wizards.

Brooklyn made this move quickly to make the signing of the 35-year-old free agent center to have another big body available against the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ve been thinking about signing Collins for the past week and the need for him became greater once they dealt away Reggie Evans to the Sacramento Kings last week.

Collins hasn’t played in an NBA game since April 2013 with the Wizards. Since then, he’s been working out on his own for the past few months in the L.A. area after not being invited to training camp from any of the 30 teams after revealing his sexual orientation to Sports Illustrated last year.

The Brooklyn Nets is an organization filled with Collins supporters and players with experience that are less likely to be fazed by the likely media blitz that the signing will make a spark. Also, a bunch of the Nets players have publicly voiced their support for signing Collins over the past few days.

The signing of Collins didn’t come too long after University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced he was gay earlier this month on ESPN. He won’t be able to make his NFL debut until this fall.

Something is Missing at Augusta National

Image

The Eisenhower Tree, possibly the most famous tree in golf, sits on the 17th hole of Augusta National. But with the huge ice storm that hit Georgia and Augusta National, with only 2 months until the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament, has forced the tree to be taken down because of damage from the storm.

The loblolly pine tree, that sat about 210 yards off the left of the 17th fairway forced players to aim right and away from the tree or made players become a little more creative and shape the flight of their ball from right-to-left to avoid it.

The tree made one of the members so mad because he hit the tree so often that he campaigned to have it removed and proposed the idea to Augusta National that it should be cut down. The idea was over ruled but because of this they eventually named the tree after the member — former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

After hearing the news of the 65-foot tall tree, many tour players on the PGA had mixed feelings towards it. Curtis Strange, two-time U.S. Open champion, says that the tree got in his way so it doesn’t hurt his feeling seeing it be removed. While David Duval, who has contended for four green jackets was stunned, and quoted saying, “Are you kidding me? That tree made you really pay attention to where you’re driving it. It made for a very narrow tee shot. You either had to go up over it or around it.”

With the ice storm that hit, it caused the tree to lose a significant amount of major limbs, and the club had used cables to hold the pine together in recent years but they were unable to save it this time.

Club Chairman, Billy Payne, made sure to specify that no other damage was done to the course and Augusta National will not be affected in its preparations for the Masters, which start on April 10th.

Bode Miller Pushed to Tears

bode miller

At every Olympics, comes an athlete with a heartbreaking story. A year after his brother died, Bode Miller, an alpine ski racer, returns to the Winter Olympics as he ties for bronze in the men’s alpine super-G. Bode’s brother, Chelone Miller, was a professional snowboarder who suffered from a traumatic brain injury from a dirt bike crash. A year ago, he suffered from a seizure that ended his dream of competing with Bode in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The interview following Miller’s bronze winning run, was pushed too far by NBC’s Christin Cooper, as she poked deeper with her questions to get emotional answers from Miller. Miller responded to her first question that he had “a lot of emotion riding” with this race, in which Cooper then asked what was going on. After Miller explained that it has been a tough year, Cooper followed with, “I know you wanted to be here with Chelly experiencing these games; how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?” This is where Cooper begins to cross the line. Tears began to fall down Miller’s face as he tried to hold them back.

Immediately following the interview, people everywhere began criticizing Cooper for her heartless interview. When the emotional toll was seen on Miller’s face, it was expected that Cooper would turn the attention back to Matt Lauer, or turn to an interview with the gold medal winner of the race, but Cooper persisted on getting deeper with Miller’s answers.

After a lot of judgement displayed  on social media, Bode Miller went to his twitter account share with his followers.

Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 9.43.59 PM

Despite his defense in Cooper’s actions, she still crossed the line as a reporter. Behind the successful athlete Miller is, there is a deep emotional toll that affects him everyday, especially in these Olympic races. There was no need for Cooper to dig deeper with her questions and to make Miller break down on national television. Receiving the bronze medal gave him his sixth Olympic medal, in which he had every right to celebrate and appreciate the moment.

How to Ruin a Dunk Contest

Source: Getty Images

The Winners of the Dunk Contest: Terrence Ross, Paul George, and John Wall

Ever since I have been a fan of the NBA, the dunk contest is what makes All-Star weekend for me. It is something about the athleticism combined with the theatrics that makes it so tremendous. The dunk contest became the canvas that great dunk artists- like Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and Nate Robinson– painted their miraculous creations on.

The inaugural contest was in 1976 as a part of the ABA , and featured none other than the doctor himself, Julius Erving. From these beginnings, the contest turned into more than just dunking, taking its culmination when Blake Griffin wheeled in a Kia so that he could jump over the hood.

However, Saturday night’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest was a step in the wrong direction, giving the viewer one of the most horribly formatted contests in history. So to the readers out there that need to ruin their local dunk contest, here are some helpful tips from the NBA:

  1. Make the event a team game where teammates never dunk against each other. This will guarantee that once a winning team is declared, there is no way to pick one true winner.
  2.  When deciding on how to split teams, make sure the best three dunkers are on one team, so that there will never actually be a question of who will win.
  3. During your “freestyle round,” sit your dunkers on the court so that they can look incredibly bored on national television, in this time, the TV cameras should pan to them as often as possible.
  4. In the one-on-one “battle round” ensure that each dunker only has one dunk, if possible, have one team sweep the other so that there is the least amount of dunks possible.
  5. Finally, make the “winner” of the contest decided by a fan vote, so that some dunkers will parade on celebrities to try and pander for votes.

If you follow these five simple tips, then your dunk contest may be as big of a flop as the NBA’s.

Let’s all just hope that the NBA will figure out that this new format is not what is best for them, the fans, and the dunk itself. If the format is returned and the NBA can secure more superstars like Paul George and John Wall to participate, then there still may be a hope for the future of the dunk contest.

Kobe’s Recovery To Be Slower Than Thought

With the Lakers being at the bottom of the NBA this year, the fans were hoping that Kobe Bryant would be back sooner that thought but actually it’s looking to be that his estimated time is going to be delayed. He is feeling very confident about having some good free agent pickups this during this summer and also having good draft picks.

Kobe said that his reckobeovery from a broken bone in his left knee was going to be a “slow process” and was pretty content that he was predicted to return in the Lakers’ 29 remaining games.

He help a news conference today before the All-Star game in New Orleans. He was even voted into the starting lineup despite playing only six games since his torn Achilles tended he suffered last season and then breaking the bone of his knee this season.

He also said that he hasn’t even thought of playing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain in September, he also said that he’s going to try to play in more pickup games than usual. He already knows that the Lakers aren’t going to make the playoffs, so he isn’t going to put that on his agenda. With a record of 18-35, the Lakers are going to miss the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Kobe was also happy when he heard that the Lakers could be improving their roster over the summer with some roster transactions.

The Los Angeles Lakers currently have some commitments to $35 million in salary, even though the guaranteed contract of their first-round pick. They have a projected salary cap of $62 million for the 2014-2015 season.

Kobe is already having mixed feelings about whether he’s going to successful after he comes back from this injury.