Sports Outside the Beltway

To Stop Olympic Stink, London Spends £2bn

In an attempt to put its best nose forward, London will spend 2,000,000,000 Pounds to upgrade its sewer system.

A new £2bn “super sewer” intended to stop the 2012 London Olympics site from being swamped by untreated sewage was today given the go-ahead by the government. The 18-mile tunnel – the construction of which will add £37 a year to water bills in the capital – will help stop untreated sewage from pouring into the Thames during heavy rainfall. It will also prevent sewage from backing up the Lee and Bow Back rivers, which run through the east London Olympic site.

The games will be staged close to the 19th century Abbey Mills pumping station – known as the “cathedral of sewage” – which deals with the biggest overflow of sewage in the capital. Approval of the new scheme comes after warnings that the games could be ruined by the sight and smell of overflowing sewage from the city’s outdated drainage system.

In 2005, the Thames Tideway Group, a government advisory committee, warned that there was a “100% chance” of sewage overflows at the site during the summer months.

One would have to agree that odor of raw sewage would ruin one’s Olympic experience. Of course this kind of work needs to be done anyways to prevent the associated pollution with sewage spills. While a great idea at the time, combined sewer-storm drain systems are a major source of problems in many cities when it comes to meeting environmental regulations. Good thing I live in LA where we kept our sewer and storm systems separate.


Ukraine Arrests Belarus Rowers

Ukraine has arressted the Belarus National Rowing Team for illegally entering the Ukraine during a practice.

The border guard service said a coast guard vessel was dispatched to intercept and detain 10 rowers who had crossed into Ukrainian waters on the border with Transdniestria, a region of ex-Soviet Moldova controlled by separatists.

Team members told officials they were unaware they had crossed the border in the southern Ukrainian region. They now face charges in court.

You know this strikes me as just a little extreme. At least the citizens of Ukraine can feel safe that their border patrol can stop people at the border before they can row the boats that Ukrainians won’t row.

| | Permalink | Send TrackBack

Former NBA Player Dennis Johnson dead at 52

He was a part of three NBA Championship teams I remember Johnson when he played for the Celtics. The mid-eighties being about the only time I followed basketball. After his playing days were over, Johnson was an NBA assistant coach and for 24 games the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. RIP Dennis.

AP- AUSTIN, Texas – Dennis Johnson, the star NBA guard who was part of three championship teams, died Thursday at 52. “He is deceased and is in our building. He will be autopsied,” said Mayra Freeman, a spokeswoman for the Travis County medical examiner’s office.

Johnson, a five-time All-Star and one of the great defensive guards, played on title teams with the Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics. He had been coaching the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League.

Johnson played 14 seasons, retiring after the 1989-90 season. He was the NBA Finals MVP in 1979 with Seattle, with his other titles coming with Boston in 1984 and 1986.

He averaged 14.1 points and 5.0 assists. When he retired, he was the 11th player in NBA history to total 15,000 points and 5,000 assists. Johnson made one all-NBA first team and one second team. Six times he made the all-defensive first team, including five consecutive seasons from 1979-83.

Johnson was born Sept. 18, 1954, in Compton, Calif. He played in college at Pepperdine and was drafted by Seattle in 1976. Johnson was traded to Phoenix in 1980 and Boston in 1983.


Wie backs Korean 2014 Games bid

Michelle has been named honorary ambassador in the ROK’s bid to host the Winter Olympics in 8 years.

Teenage golf star Michelle Wie is to become an honorary ambassador for the 2014 Winter Olympics bid of South Korean ski resort Pyeongchang.

The 17-year-old, who has had finished third in two majors to date, grew up in Hawaii but has Korean parents.

“I’m proud of my Korean heritage and also a big fan of winter sports,” said the American.

“If the 2014 Winter Games are held in Pyeongchang I’m sure they will be a fantastic and memorable experience.”

Pyeongchang narrowly lost out to Vancouver in the race to host the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

It will learn its fate on 4 July 2007 when the International Olympic Committee will choose between Pyeongchang, Salzburg in Austria and Sochi in Russia.

I’d vote for Salzburg myself. I’ve been to both countries and I’ll take Wiener Schnitzel over Kimchi any day.(Note my wife is Asian) Besides, has anyone consulted Kim Jong-IL about his plans for Korea in 2014?

I didn’t think so.


China, Amnesty International and the 2008 Summer Olympics

From AP-

BEIJING – China has failed to live up to promises its leaders made to improve human rights for the 2008 Olympics, Amnesty International said in a report urging the International Olympic Committee to ensure that the Chinese comply.

The report, released Thursday, catalogs a broad range of persistent human rights abuses, from the widespread use of the death penalty and the extraction of organs from executed prisoners for transplants, to the persecution of civil rights activists and new methods to rein in the media and censor the Internet. The report also said Beijing is forcing people from homes to make way for Olympic-related construction projects.

“Serious human rights violations continue to be reported across the country, fueling instability and discontent,” the London-based group’s report said. “Grass-roots human rights activists continue to be detained and imprisoned, and official controls over the media and the Internet are growing tighter.”

Amnesty International called on the Chinese government to enact reforms. It also urged the IOC and the Olympics “to put pressure on Chinese authorities” to release political prisoners, take steps toward ending the death penalty and repeal restrictions on the free flow of information.

China’s foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

What’s the IOC to do besides threaten to take the Olympic games away from China? Even if they did make such a threat, China is likely to say their policies saying its their own internal matters and of no one else’s concern.

Someone or some people at Amnesty International need a history lesson. Sanctions and a US Olympic boycott didn’t get the Soviet Union to pull out of Afghanistan in 1980. China won’t change now either.


Saving U.S. Olympic Basketball

Chuck Klosterman has an interesting if counter-intuitive solution to reclaiming Gold Medal glory: Ditch the NBA superstars in favor if kids too young for the NBA but too dumb for college.

We might not be able to win the Olympic gold medal no matter who we send to Beijing. On the surface, it seems obvious that any U.S. team would be better if it added Kobe and Shaq and KG and Duncan. But there’s an ever-growing body of evidence that suggests individual talent plays an inexplicably minor role in this brand of basketball. The U.S. club was beaten by Greece, a team that does not have one NBA player. Greece was then defeated by Spain, a team whose lone NBA star (Pau Gasol) did not play in the gold-medal game. For some interesting, counterintuitive reason, it seems like star power is a disadvantage in this specific idiom.


When Greece beat the U.S. in the semifinals, it was the greatest day in the history of Greek basketball; in fact, I assume it was the greatest day every member of that Greek squad will ever experience. When Mihalis Kakiouzis is lying on his Athenian deathbed five decades from this summer, he will still be thinking of the day he beat LeBron James in 2006. Who can compete with that kind of emotive intensity? How do you defeat an enemy who’s playing for his self-identity? These are the same reasons America won the Revolutionary War but lost in Vietnam — motivation matters. And it’s unreasonable to expect guys like Dwyane and LeBron to care about beating Argentina more than they care about beating each other.

Which brings us to my plan. Right now, there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of wonderful 18- and 19-year-old D-I and juco basketball players who probably should not be in college. They have no interest in academics; they are attending school only because it’s the best potential avenue for playing basketball professionally. This is bad for the integrity of the university system (obviously), and it’s often bad for the individuals themselves (this desperate dream sets them up for disappointment without preparing them for life). But these are the very kids who could save American basketball. Why don’t we select 15 of these non-scholar-athletes and turn them into the U.S. national team? It would seem to solve a lot of problems at once.

There’s more at the link but that’s the gist of it. He may well be right, given the current framework.

Another alternative is to adjust the framework. It makes little sense for the Olympics and other international competititions to be played by rules other than those used in the United States. After all, we invented the game and it’s still the USA where the most competitive ball is played. So why should our players have to adjust to bizarre rules when they play in these tournaments?


Former Olympic champion Bob Mathias dead at 75

From AP-

SAN FRANCISCO – Bob Mathias, a two-time Olympic champion in the decathlon and former U.S. congressman, died Saturday. He was 75.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement that Mathias died in his home in Fresno, Calif. His brother said the cause was cancer.

Bob Mathias became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in a track and field event in 1948 in London, when he won the decathlon at 17. It was only his third decathlon competition, having qualified for the Olympics by winning two events in the United States.

At the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, he became the first athlete to repeat as Olympic champion in the decathlon. Earlier that year, he played fullback for Stanford in its Rose Bowl appearance. Though the Washington Redskins drafted him, he never signed. Mathias also won the 1948 Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.


After retiring from sports, Mathias served as a Republican congressman representing California from 1967-74, serving four terms. Following his political career, Mathias became the first director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

He also is a member of the U.S. Olympic and national track and field halls of fame.

Mathias was the Associated Press male athlete of the year in 1952.


Mathias is survived by his wife, Gwen, and several children.

I wouldn’t even know the name except for a Sports board game called Decathalon which was made in the 70′s. Others will remember Mathias for much more. RIP.


Report says Marion Jones failed Drug test

From AP

Five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones, once the charming, dominating face of track and field around the world, failed an initial drug test at the U.S. championships in June, people familiar with the results told The Associated Press on Friday.

Jones’ “A” sample tested positive June 23 for the banned performance enhancer EPO at the event in Indianapolis, one source told the AP on condition of anonymity because the official results are not yet public.

The 30-year-old sprinter made a triumphant return to the sport’s center stage in Indianapolis, with a victory in the 100 meters, her 14th U.S. title but first since 2002.


Jones’ mix of talent and personality helped her dominate the sport in the late 1990s after a standout career in track and basketball at North Carolina.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, she became the first woman to win five Olympic medals in track and field. Jones, who trained with Trevor Graham at the time, won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay and bronze in the long jump and 400-meter relay.

Since then, however, Jones, one of several athletes who testified to the federal grand jury investigating BALCO in 2003, has been dogged by doping suspicions.


Jones was making a comeback this season after years of struggle.

After taking 2003 off for the birth of her son, she struggled but made the U.S. 2004 Olympic team in the long jump. Jones, who also competed in the 4×100 relay, failed to medal at the games.

If the test results are true, it looks to me as if Ms. Jones took a gambe in order to get back to the top of her sport. How Jones could ever think that she’d get away with it is beyond me. Expect to hear denials and the flaxseed oil or something I ate excuse soon.

At present I’m reading ‘Game of Shadows’ about the Balco scandal. It details Marion Jones use of steroids. Jones is a proven cheater and should retire or better yet be banned for life,


Ban Olympic opening and closing ceremonies: Prince Philip

This news is a little dated but I only saw it today-

LONDON (AFP) – Olympic opening and closing ceremonies are “absolute bloody nuisances” and should be banned, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II said.

Prince Philip expressed his annoyance at the staple of the quadrennial sports jamboree in an interview with the Daily Telegraph during which he also chipped in with a view on an England footballer’s World Cup-threatening injury.

The Olympic Games came up as the 84-year-old — a world champion carriage driver — recalled having to attend as a president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).

“Opening and closing ceremonies ought to be banned. Absolute bloody nuisances. I have been to one that was absolutely, appallingly awful — aaaagh,” he was quoted as saying, without mentioning the host city.

The prince, who said he would like to do “as little as possible” when London hosts the 2012 Games, confessed he was horrified when told at one competition that showjumping was no longer to be held in the main arena as the last event.

One possible reply- If their such a bloody nuisance, then let someone else host the Olympics in 2012.

Maybe we should excuse the Prince for being irritable about what is six years away. He is getting on in years. He needn’t worry either about the Games too much, for he’ may very well be somewhere they will not disturb him.

Six feet under.


Jeremy Bloom, Olympic Skier, Goes to Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Bloom, who was robbed of his final years of college eligibility by the NCAA bureaucracy, was drafted in the 5th round yesterday by the Philadelphia Eagles. Bloom is remarkably philosophical about the whole thing.

Unlike most players who slip down the slope of the second day of the NFL draft, no one enjoyed the ride more than Jeremy Bloom. He’s finally made the NFL as a fifth-round choice of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bloom missed the past two football seasons at Colorado after the NCAA ruled he couldn’t accept endorsements to ski and still maintain his amateur status. Bloom, a mogul and free-style skier, competed in the Olympic Games in February. To professionally ski at Bloom’s level, endorsements are needed. It was those endorsements that ended his college football career.


He was the 147th player selected in the draft and couldn’t have been happier. NFL Films had cameras at his home when he was chosen. It was a celebration. But at no point did Bloom think about what could have been had the NCAA not interceded in his dream to finish his college football career. During his first two years at Colorado, he was on pace to be an incredible big-play receiver. He averaged 16.2 yards a catch as a sophomore. Overall, he caught 24 passes for an average of 19.1 yards per catch, returned 47 punts at 13.5 yards per return and 25 kickoffs at 25.1 yards per return. He had an amazing five touchdowns of 75 yards or more.

Still, Bloom didn’t reflect with bitterness. Even though he was sure to be Colorado’s No. 1 receiver, Bloom hit the slopes and waited for his chance in the Olympics. “I wouldn’t trade the past two years for being a No. 1 pick,” Bloom said of his success in skiing. “The NCAA showed me the door on college football and caused me to miss my final two years of football. But I can’t take away the experiences I had during the past two years. I’m happy being a fifth-round pick.” His memories included being a three-time world champion on the slopes. He has two World Cups and one world championship. The only thing he didn’t win was Olympic gold. “I have my share of victories and certainly my share of defeats in the sport,” Bloom told the media in a conference call. “But it’s been a blessing to do the things I have done in skiing.”

It’s a remarkable story. As a fan of the division rival Cowboys, I’ll have to root against Bloom at least two games a season. But you have to admire the kid’s reflectiveness. He has every right to be angry about the NCAA’s silly rules but just shrugs them off.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.