Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

Like a Hurricane in the Air

Monday, September 16th, 2013

By: New York  Times
September 16, 2013

Mark McMorris, Olympic Snowboarding Gold Contender

FORT QU’APPELLE, Saskatchewan — From the tee box of the fourth hole, Mark McMorris could spot the small green hill in the distance where, as a young boy, he spent most of his winter weekends snowboarding. Mission Ridge Winter Park has 292 vertical feet of terrain. The stripe up the side was a new triple-chair lift, but it used to be a T-bar.

“Seven minutes up, 30 seconds down,” McMorris said.

The man most likely to stop the usually unstoppable Shaun White from achieving his Olympic goal — two gold medals at February’s Winter Games in Sochi, Russia — McMorris was about an hour’s drive from his hometown, Regina, which might be the flattest city in North America, if anyone cared enough to rank cities by urban elevation changes.

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US Freeskiing names ski pipe roster

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

By Devon O’Neil
ESPN Action Sports

January 5, 2012

The road to the inaugural Olympic halfpipe skiing gold medal rounded another corner Wednesday, as U.S. Freeskiing — the newly formed arm of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association — named nine athletes to its first Pro Halfpipe Team. This comes on the heels of the IOC’s decision in April to add ski halfpipe to the Olympic program for 2014.

Winter X Games champions Simon Dumont and Jen Hudak headlined the team, which was selected based on competition results from last winter. They are joined by David Wise, Torin Yater-Wallace, Gus Kenworthy, Tucker Perkins, Devin Logan, Jess Cumming and Brita Sigourney. Mike Jankowski, the halfpipe coach for the U.S. Snowboard Team, is working in a similar capacity with skiers until more funding allows the organization to name a coach.

“At this point, my role is to be a leader,” Jankowski said, noting some of the skiers have their own technical coaches. “I’m here to get this group together and create a team environment of success similar to what we have in snowboarding.”

The U.S. isn’t the first country to form an official national ski halfpipe team. France’s includes Winter X athletes Xavier Bertoni, Kevin Rolland, Thomas Krief and Benoit Valentin and Canada recently announced the members of the Canadian Ski Halfpipe Team.

The U.S. skiers attended an orientation camp this week at USSA headquarters in Park City, Utah. Among other activities, the athletes had blood drawn to “make sure everyone’s operating at an optimal level,” Jankowski said. They also were tested for fitness on a stationary bike and for strength, power and mobility by the sports science staff at the team’s Center of Excellence. Members of the USSA’s high-performance staff will analyze the results and come up with individual programs to optimize each athlete’s performance next winter, Jankowski said.

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Ligety Skis to Victory, With Party Included

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

By Brian Pinelli
Published: December 23, 2011

ANDALO, Italy — With the towering and jagged limestone peaks of Italy’s western Dolomites as a spectacular backdrop, the bottom of the race course at Paganella Ski Area quickly morphed into a high energy rock concert on Friday. It was a festive yet slightly chaotic atmosphere in a typically serene region of natural wonder.

Less than an hour before, Ted Ligety had demonstrated that he was the master of the giant slalom, carving near perfect turns en route to a thrilling victory at the VPAY Alpine Rockfest. Ligety was the fastest of five skiers in the final round of this unusual race, which consists of five elimination rounds on a 400-meter sprint giant slalom course.

Ligety’s winning time of 34.73 seconds was only one-hundredth better than that of the young Italian Giovanni Borsotti.

“To come down and see yourself one-hundredth ahead, it was a relief for sure,” Ligety said. “Standing in the start gate, there is a lot of pressure knowing how fast you’ve already been and being the favorite also,” he said, referring to the semifinal, when he was more than five-tenths quicker than his nearest challenger, Borsotti.

Ligety, a 27-year-old from Park City, Utah, was awarded a check for 60,000 euros — a winner-take-all grand prize of more than $78,000 — as the Italian rock band Radiottanta played. Read More

2018 Winter Olympics Go to South Korea

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

By Jere Longman, New York Times

The Winter Olympics were awarded for the first time to South Korea on Wednesday as the alpine resort of Pyeongchang was named as host of the 2018 Games.

 Pyeongchang had been a persistent candidate for a decade, finishing second to Vancouver in voting for the 2010 Games and to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Olympics. It built its successful candidacy for 2018 on a proposal to expand access to winter sports in the populous and lucrative Asian market.

The South Korean city won overwhelmingly on the first ballot of a secret vote of delegates of the International Olympic Committee, receiving 63 votes, compared with 25 for Munich and 7 for Annecy, France. Voting took place at a general assembly of the I.O.C. in Durban, South Africa.

“There is maybe a lesson in the achievement of Pyeongchang,” Jacques Rogge, the president of the I.O.C., said at a news conference. “Patience and perseverance have prevailed.”

Pyeongchang will be the third Asian city to host the Winter Games, after Sapporo, Japan, in 1972 and Nagano, Japan, in 1998. Its budget for 2018 was far greater than the other bids — $1.5 billion for the actual Games and $2 billion to $6 billion for infrastructure projects, according to news reports, as Pyeongchang seeks to become a regional winter sports hub.

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