Sunday, September 20, 2009

We've moved

Hello everyone! Check out our new home at www.fantasyolympian.com. Thanks for your interest!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Draft Prep

Well, we're officially six months away from the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver on Feb. 12... not to mention six months away from LIVE reports from Vancouver from some of your favorite Olympic fanatics (women's hockey, moguls and biathlon, here we come!). It's never too early to start planning out your draft. Check out what ESPN has to say about who to watch for 2010.

Also, to further your excitement about the games, consider these rivalries.

If you're checking in about participating in this year's fantasy games, keep your eye on the site for more information as things get closer. We may be moving to a new Web address soon, but we will keep you posted. Also, if you participated last year, watch your e-mail in late November/early December for sign-up renewal. We certainly plan to be back again this year bigger and better than ever!

I.O.C. Hates Pitching and Catching

Update on the sports for 2016: golf and rugby are getting closer, but the I.O.C. shut out baseball and softball.

According to the NYTimes, "five sports were rejected — baseball, softball, roller sports, squash and karate — in a vote by the 15-member I.O.C. executive board, which met in Berlin."

In an earlier post about the 2016 games, I supported rugby and roller sports because both are fun to watch. I'm glad that I was half right.

But, it's too bad that golf is getting preference over softball. More people can enjoy and participate in softball than in golf. And the USA lost our dominance in softball, which was the main argument for removing it. Poor decision by the I.O.C.

I do hope, as the article suggests, that they vote to remove BMX cycling. It fits better in the X-Games.

UPDATE for 2012: women's boxing is in!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Want more Olympic sports? Just don't call 'em that.

Wouldn't it be great to see Olympic sports more than once every four years? Wouldn't it be nice to scout badminton players and marathoners, speed skaters and ski jumpers -- to enjoy their craft all year long?

The USOC and Comcast agree with you, and they decided to launch a TV network devoted to Olympic and Paralympic Games. Billed as a way access thousands of hours of programming, "The channel is slated to launch next year, to cover Olympics sports that don’t get the coverage in mainstream sports channels, and focus on U.S. athletes working to compete in the biggest sports competition."

Rather than focus on the benefits to global sport, the IOC focused on its trademark and rebuked the channel because of the word "Olympics." That, and they don't want to jeopardize the plush NBC contract.

Fingers crossed for cooler heads and availability in 2010.

Via PaidContent.org

Aug. 17 UPDATE: It's never going to happen. The U.S. Olympic Panel has shelved its TV Network plan under IOC pressure. [Link to Bloomberg.com article via PaidContent.org]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vancouver Gets Ready for Prime Time

With a major international event comes international scrutiny.

So, the Vancouver Star asks a very important question: does the torch look like a joint? Organizers are downplaying the resemblance, but the fact is it will be passed by 12,000 people over 45,000 kilometres.

Meanwhile, the *ahem* ladies of the night are getting media training to field questions about local laws.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dancing Indoors

Those headed to Vancouver for the games won't have to wear a coat every day.

The Vancouver Sun reports that "the 2010 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies will be indoors for the first time in the history of the Olympics." Convenient, sure, but I was hoping to see real-time igloo building and snowmen as part of the ceremonies.

And, if you happen to be in the area, you too can get in on the fun. The Vanoc committee is still looking for volunteer performers, provided you pass the audition and can spend hundreds of hours in rehearsal. You have until May 1 to submit your information online. Good luck to all you tiny (indoor) dancers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Events for 2016

We all knew during the Beijing games that it was the last year for baseball and softball. But, what takes its place?

On Nov. 14, seven sports (events?) made their case for the 2016 Olympics, incuding rugby, baseball, softball, golf (!?), karate, roller sports and squash.

We won't know for a year, but which ones do you like? I'm in favor of rugby and the ambiguous "roller sports." Because the first is awesome to watch and the second means the U.S. can probably win some gold.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Olympians in Chicago

Team USA and NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Carmello Anthony, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. Kobe gave us a wave right before this picture. I'm not sure why Paul is staring me down.

You'll have to trust me here, but these are members of the USA gymnastics team. You might be able to tell that Nastia Liukin is in the back, wearing white.


Here comes Michael Phelps (and, of course, his mother... do you think she has to get a substitute principal when she misses school?). From what I could tell, Phelps was the only athlete who showed up separately from the rest of the group.

Hey Michael, you're tall. Embrace it. Stop slouching.

Part of the Phelps entourage exits the area. I'm guessing Oprah put together that escort.

Redeem Team member Carlos Boozer, with two members of the gold medal-winning women's basketball team.

I came, I saw, I took blurry pictures

As you may have heard, Oprah's season premiere episode will feature 150 Olympic medalists and help promote Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. The show will air next Monday (September 8), but they are taping it in Millennium Park this morning, right across from my office. Since I have to work, I didn't get tickets, but I did stop by this morning to check out the scene. I'll post some pictures later, but here were my impressions.

-It certainly seems that Chicago loves the Olympics (or at least loves Oprah). The line at 8:00 a.m. stretched as far as the eye could see. I walked past at least 5 blocks of people waiting in line down Michigan Avenue... and these were just the people waiting to get lawn seats. That doesn't account for the additional 2,000 people who waited in long lines last Saturday to get pavilion seats.

-Perhaps I was being naive, but I kind of thought I would be able to walk through the park and at least get a look at the stage. That was not the case. They had that place locked up tight, with police barricades stretching the length of the park on all sides and lots of police (not to mention Oprah's security folks, who dress like secret service and talk into their sleeves). I quickly realized I would have to get creative if I wanted my visit to be worthwhile. I saw a group of folks with blue wristbands (different than those given to the people in line), so I decided to see where they were headed. I followed them around to a back door, which was by the press entrance. There were tons of press lined up, so I figured that this is where the athletes were arriving. There were remarkably few "civilians" back there (probably scared off by the cops), so I shimmied right up the barricade.

-The first athletes I spotted were Chris Bosh and Tayshaun Prince, sporting gold medals and Team USA warm-ups. They were actually inside already. Rumor was that everyone on the Redeem Team was able to make it except LeBron. I guess Oprah has some pull. I came to find out that most of the athletes arrived about 10 minutes before I got there aboard double decker buses (wish I had seen that), but the star of the show was yet to arrive: Michael Phelps was still on his way.

-Next up was the women's gymnastics team, led by Nastia Liukin. I didn't see Shawn Johnson, but it looked like the rest of them were there. Of course, it was hard to see from my vantage point because all the girls were shorter than the railing... which was a stark contrast to the men's and women's hoops players.

-Other Olympians I saw: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmello Anthony, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie, a couple other members of the women's basketball team (sorry ladies!), a couple guys who I am pretty sure were swimmers, and a few indoor volleyball players.

-For the Mizzou fans in the crowd, I'm also pretty sure I spotted Ben Askren. The hair and the chin are, of course, pretty distinctive. The only thing that gave me pause was the fact that Ben didn't actually win a medal (he'll get'em in London, though... just you wait). I yelled out an "M-I-Z" but got no response. Either he didn't hear me or it wasn't him.

-Now, the moment you've all been waiting for: Yes, I saw him. Michael Phelps was the last athlete to arrive, along with his mother and his sisters. Now, I'm not going to say he's a prima dona, but his entourage seemed a bit excessive. When three black Escalades and two unmarked police cars pulled up, the folks around me started to speculate that perhaps Barack Obama was showing up... or (GASP) it was finally Oprah!!!!! I was intrigued by the possibility of Obama, but couldn't care less about Oprah, so I was happy to see it was Phelps. He took a reasonable amount of time with the media before heading up to the staging area. But if you need to know how famous Phelps is, here's an example: As he was working his way down media row, two double decker buses and a trolley filled with the Olympians' families arrived. These people are all related in some way or another to Olympic medalists... and some of them were practically falling off the bus trying to get a shot of Phelps. I managed to get a pretty good one, which I hope to post later.

-After Phelps, I had to get going (sorry ladies, no Oprah photos here), but I could tell she was coming because the media was all still in place. All in all, an interesting morning. It's not very often you see that many world class athletes in one place. It's also the closest I've ever been to an Olympic gold medal (that is, until Lee wins gold in the Modern Pentathlon).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Final Results

All the calculations are finished and we have our winners:

Gold: Fans of Gro Hammerseng (Ed/Will) from the Jenny Thompson Division

Silver: The Minstrel Winos (Julie) from the Jesse Owens Division

Bronze: Bristol Olympics (Peter) from the Mary Lou Retton Division

It's also worth giving some recognition to Jim's Dino-Crushers (Jim) who won the Jim Thorpe Division and just missed out on the overall bronze thanks to the tie-breakers. All four of these teams featured Michael Phelps, but three divisions were won by non-Phelps teams:

Tamara Willit Hurt (Leslie) won the Carl Lewis Division.

The Torch Bearer (Christy) won the Matt Biondi Division.

Uncle Sam's Chariot of Fire (Jeremy) won the Mark Spitz Division.

Now, on to some other awards:

Non-Phelps Gold Medal: Tamara Willit Hurt (Leslie), who racked up 47 points without Phelps. Leslie would have won in four different divisions... and not just because she is the Commissioner's wife.

Worst Score with Phelps: Panda-monium (Virginia & Caroline), who scored just 35 points despite having 24 from Phelps.

Dark Cloud Memorial Certificate of Participation: Cool Runnings (Charis), who scored just 4 points and finished last. You'll get'em next time, Charis.

Most Ironic Name: Mao Tse Bronze (Shawn), who lived up to his name by finishing with - you guessed it - the bronze in the Mark Spitz Division.

Biggest Draft Steal: Shiffer Brains (Brian), who got 8 points from Matt Grevers, who he drafted in the 12th round.

Biggest Draft Bust: Cool Runnings (Charis), who missed the news about Morgan Hamm's injury and picked him in the first round... and never cut him.

Best Team Name: Beijing Saddles (Jason) from the Jenny Thompson Division.

Highest Scoring Division: Jenny Thompson Division with 239 points (we had to throw out the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Division, which had 8 people, and the Jim Thorpe Division, which had Australian athletes).

Lowest Scoring Division: Carl Lewis Division and Mark Spitz Division (tie) with 206 points each.

Final Standings:
1 Fans of Gro Hammerseng Ed 59
2 The Minstrel Winos Julie 57
3 Bristol Olympics Peter 55
4 Jim's Dino-Crushers Jim 55
5 Cubicle Farm Medalists Kat 52
6 Team TBD Gavin 52
7 Girls Rule, Boys Drool Courtney, Channing, Campbell 49
8 Tamara Willit Hurt Leslie C. 47
9 The Torch Bearer Christy 46
10 North of the 49th Parallel Roel 44
11 Hellooo Olympian! Dan 43
12 Rough Riders Zeb 42
13 Shiffer Brains Brian 41
14 Uncle Sam's Chariot of Fire Jeremy 40
15 Team (Your Company's Name Here) Lea D. 40
16 Jersey Sea Turtles Lauren 39
17 Beijing Saddles Jason 39
18 Team TBD Megan 38
19 The Fighting Irish Sara 37
20 Baylor Beijing Ballas Brandon 37
21 Hollywood's Heroes Mike 37
22 2Gym=1Swim A.J. 37
23 Two Hookers and a 41-year-old Mom AOL Sports 36
24 Phelps' Body Double Bryan 36
25 Big Momma Melissa 36
26 Team TBD Robby 36
27 REDSTORM Daniel 36
28 Panda-monium Virginia and Carolyn 35
29 WeGotGuns! Scott 34
30 The Gold Diggers Dustin and Gretchen 34
31 Team TBD Weston 34
32 Team TBD Tom C. 33
33 Orangeblooded Mike 32
34 Mao Tse Bronze Shawn 32
35 America's Red Army Shawn R. 31
36 Team TBD Steve 30
37 DrewsCrew Jim 30
38 Thunderball Marc 30
39 The Orioles Conor 29
40 Puscifer Laura 29
41 Destinee's Hookers Cameron 29
42 Team TBD Joel 29
43 Gang Green Joe 29
44 H.I.P.P.O.S Maria S. 28
45 Bling-Bling Travis 28
46 Team TBD Eric 28
47 Team TBD Benjamin 28
48 Team TBD Clay 28
49 The Drunken Sailors Helen 28
50 The Fighting Song Matt K. 28
51 The U.S. of France Andrew 27
52 Team TBD David 27
53 Chicago 2016 Tom G. 27
54 The Riptides Maeve 27
55 Agent XXIX Brandi 27
56 Dim Sum of This Lauren 26
57 People's Republic of Boozin Susan, Patrick, Erica and Paul 25
58 Summer Surge Wilson 25
59 USA Rocks the Olympics Isaac 24
60 Redeem Team Derek 23
61 THE Cinderella Story Stephanie S. 23
62 Aces Hadra 22
63 Run Like You Stole Something Wagner 22
64 Team Ryder Leslie 21
65 Marion Jones Steroid Puddle Scott 21
66 an yun Lee D. 20
67 USA RULES Dennis 18
68 The Hoyas Dave 18
69 FatGuyWins Cory 17
70 Oerter Team Steve S. 17
71 Cool Runnings Charis 4