Good Morning Rio!

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Notes: The 2016 Summer Olympics kick off tonight.  Photo: Rio de Janeiro’s mountaintop ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue at sunrise. (wsj.com by Pfaffenback / Reuters)

 

“What’s going on next to me is just ridiculous”

katie-ledecky

Here are a handful of excerpts from an awe-inspiring, MUST READ article by Michael Sokolove on Katie Ledecky:

  • The most dominant swimmer in the pool this summer is 19 year-old Katie Ledecky. The question isn’t whether she’ll win, but by how much…
  • She is now the world’s top female swimmer in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyles. She is among the best Americans in the 100 free. No swimmer has conquered this combination of distances in nearly half a century, and to many in the sport, her achievement is hard to fathom — it would be like the Jamaican star sprinter Usain Bolt taking up and winning mile races.
  • No other woman has ever come within seven seconds of her top time in the 800 freestyle; in the 1,500, the gap is a ridiculous 13 seconds. At the Olympic trials, Leah Smith, an emerging middle-distance swimmer, came within two seconds of her in the 400. She said she was excited because, in her races against Ledecky, “I had never been able to see her feet before.”
  • In the starting blocks before a race, Ledecky does not stroke her biceps or pound her fists against her own body, as some male swimmers do…She just stretches her neck a bit and shakes her arms out, then dives in the pool and wins.
  • She has only three real training partners, all of them male, because they are the only ones with the ability to keep up with her. They swim either in the same lane or in an adjoining lane to Ledecky…It’s not unusual for men and women swimmers to train together, but being in the pool with Ledecky is something that many men can’t handle. In April, Conor Dwyer, a 6-foot-5, 27-year-old American swimmer who won a gold medal in the 4-by-200 freestyle relay in London, gave a revealing interview posted online by USA Swimming. In it, he talked about male swimmers being “broken” by Ledecky when they practiced together at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
  • I saw a couple of guys have to get yanked out of workout because they got beat by her.” When I asked Ledecky about this, she claimed not to have noticed. “I was probably just concentrating on doing my own work,” she said.
  • “I’m not gonna lie, it can be annoying when she beats you,” Hirschberger told me. Even if the person getting the best of him is a reigning world-record holder in three events? “You’re just not used to getting beat by a girl,” he said…”What’s going on next to me is just ridiculous. It’s unreal. (Andrew Gemmell, a Ledecky training partner)

Don’t miss the full story here: NY Times Magazine –  The Phenom

 

 

5:00 P.M. Bell

luge-olympic


Source: olympicpartnership.dow.com

Men, Hat Tip To You.

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Canada: 3. Sweden: 0.

Dear Men:

You’ll read the papers later today. They’ll say:

  • Undefeated and decisive. (Toronto Global & Mail)
  • Smothering (National Post)
  • Dominating. (NY Times)
  • Relentless. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Four lines deep that just kept coming. (Toronto Star)

We watched you lock arms and sing O Canada. We sang along teary eyed. Our bodies tingled as we watched our Maple Leaf raised.

From all Canadians and ex-pats, Bravo Men.

Gold. Canada Gold.

DK


Image Credit

Mikaela Shiffrin: Wunderkind

sochi,photography,gold,skiing

Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old wunderkind of ski racing.
She became the youngest slalom world champion a year ago.
Shiffrin sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion.
She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.

“You can create your own miracle,” Shiffrin said when the gold medal was on a sash draped around her neck. “But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.”

Don’t miss the full inspirational story @ NY Times – American Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold In Slalom


Thank you Susan

“I think I’ll be last. But it doesn’t matter.”


Olympics? Sportsmanship? Right here.


Norway owns Gold. How?

Norway-Olympic-team-Sochi

Excerpts from wsj.com: How Norway Scores So Much Olympic Gold?

…Norway itself is a Winter Olympics marvel: With only five million people, it has won 303 Winter Olympic medals, far more than any other country on the planet. To find a country smaller than world-leading Norway on the all-time Winter Olympics medal table, you have to travel down to Croatia, which ranks 24th with 11 medals.  And this month, Norway is fielding one of its strongest teams in almost two generations, with some experts considering it the favorite to win both the highest gold and total medal count, a feat that it last achieved in 1968.

Other countries long ago took to shrugging off Norway’s Winter Olympics medal haul as the unsurprising inheritance of a people whose young are born with skis on their feet, as an old Nordic adage goes. But skiing is also fundamental to the culture of other Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, which has about twice the population but, with 132 total, not even half the medals.

Instead, many experts think the answer lies in the culture and lifestyle of the country, where an extraordinary egalitarianism runs through youth sports. Before age 6, Norwegian kids can only train but not formally compete in sports, and before age 11, all children participating in a competition must be awarded the same prize.

Still, most experts say the biggest reason behind Norway’s success is the culture that propelled it atop the medal table from the outset. Norway’s cities are relatively close to the wilderness, and children are encouraged to play outdoors even on the coldest days.

In those disciplines, attaining world-class status typically takes years of training. This is one reason that the Meråker school accepts students whose passion for sport may outshine their performances. In the long run, desire and perseverance will play the greatest roles in shaping future Olympians. The school’s coaches say the main lesson they teach is the importance of training relentlessly for years beyond high school.

In addition to physical work on the farm in the afternoons, weekends and holidays, he was regularly charged with what his father refers to as “incredibly boring stuff,” like picking stones from a field, just to improve his psyche. Every time he hurt himself, his father would tease him until he stopped crying. Eventually, he came to believe pain is cool. “My father taught me at an early age to tackle pain—I think that’s my strength. I can go for hours in pain without giving up,” he said. His childhood mentor, a star skier turned coach named John Thomas Rena, agrees. “I think a big part of Jenssen’s talent comes from the way he grew up,” he said.


Image Credit: Best and Worst Dressed Olympic Nations in Sochi

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