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Phelps set to begin final Olympic Trials

Posted on 24 June 2012 by WNST Staff

OMAHA, Neb. — (AP) The first Nebraska showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte came at the edge of a curtained-off interview room, not far from the temporary pool where the U.S. Olympic swimming team will be decided.

Phelps rubbed at his thick mustache, which looked like something out of the Village People, and queried Lochte on his smooth face.

“I had one, but I had to shave it,” Lochte said, extending a hand to his rival.

“C’mon, man, you’ve got to keep it as long as you can,” Phelps replied, breaking into a big smile beneath all that hair.

The meeting Saturday between swimming’s two biggest stars was downright cordial. Expect it to be much different when they get in the water at the Olympic trials, which is being held at a temporary pool set up in a 13,200-seat arena along the Missouri River, just as it was in 2008.

Phelps is a 14-time gold medalist trying to put an appropriate finish on his brilliant career at the London Olympics. Lochte is the guy standing in the way, a laid-back Floridian who beat Phelps twice at last year’s world championships and keeps saying over and over again, “This is my time.”

“Michael Phelps definitely set the limit,” Lochte said. “But, I mean, he’s human. He’s not a fish or anything like that.”

Phelps has already hoarded more gold than any other Olympian, and he’s clearly regained the motivation that faded away after the Great Haul of China, where he toppled Mark Spitz’s iconic record by winning eight events.

As he was winding down from six weeks of grueling training in the Colorado mountains, he wondered why he kept getting up so early instead of seizing the chance to sleep in. Then, it hit him: He’s excited about the trials. He’s pumped about what he can do in England. He’s driven to end his career with one more dynamic performance.

“We’ve done everything. We done a lot of amazing things, a lot of cool, exciting things,” Phelps said, sitting next to his omnipresent coach, Bob Bowman. “Now, it’s just time to have fun. I’m a lot more relaxed that I’ve ever been. We’ll see after this week what size cherry I want to put on my sundae.”

Lochte has entered a staggering 11 events at the trials, though he’ll surely drop several of those and perhaps use others just for training purposes in the preliminaries. Phelps has entered seven races, including the 400-meter individual medley on the very first day of the trials.

Phelps and Bowman were coy about their plans, refusing to say if the swimmer will actually compete in the grueling race he won at the last two Olympics but vowed never to swim again after Beijing. He brought back the 400 IM over the past year and entered it at the trials, potentially setting up his first clash with Lochte, the defending world champion in that event.

“We’ve got a couple of hours to decide, don’t we?” Phelps said, chuckling.

Bowman chimed in, saying they actually had another day to make the call.

“OK, we’ve got 24 hours,” Phelps said. “In 24 hours, we’ll let you guys know.”

He even skirted a question about when he would shave his mustache, fearing that would reveal his plans.

“I can’t give that away,” Phelps said. “If I say I’m doing it tomorrow, then you’ll know I’m swimming the 400 IM. If I say I’m doing it Monday, that means I’m not. It will come off when the rest of my body hair comes off.”

Lochte and Phelps will certainly face each other in two of their best events: the 200 IM and the 200 freestyle. Phelps is the defending Olympic champion in both races (a two-time defending champ, in fact, in the medley). But Lochte took them both at the 2011 worlds in Shanghai, beating Phelps by a total of about a half-second and setting a world record in the 200 IM, just to rub it in.

With that triumph still fresh, Lochte is itching to race Phelps as many times as possible in Omaha, starting with the 400 IM.

“He’s the world’s best swimmer ever,” Lochte said. “I love racing against him. It’s fun. He’s one of the hardest racers in the world. He’ll go toe-to-toe with you until the end. That’s excitement for me. I really hope he does swim that.”

Another of the top contenders, Tyler Clary, is also very interested in what Phelps decides. Last year, Clary finished second to Lochte at worlds with Phelps on the sideline, but the dynamic changes if all three are in the event. Only the top two earn spots on the Olympic team.

Asked if he expects Phelps to compete in the 400 IM, Clary replied somewhat nervously, “My expectations are no, but stranger things have happened.”

No matter what happens, the Phelps-Lochte rivalry figures to be the defining storyline of these eight days in Omaha — even at a meet that also features 11-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, rising star Missy Franklin, and two 40-somethings taking one more shot at glory, Dara Torres and Janet Evans.

“For so long, it was just him beating me,” Lochte said. “Since 2008, I changed some things in my training and my eating habits, and I’ve gotten a lot faster. Now, especially going into this meet and hopefully London, this is probably going to be one of the biggest rivalries ever.”

Lochte stopped eating junk food — except for an occasional order of potato chips — and added a Strongman-like routine to his weight-training program. He’s noticed a big chance in his practice sessions, finding that where he once was thrilled to put together two good days in a row, now he can go weeks at a time with no letup.

He’s respectful of Phelps, but not intimidated to race against him day after day.

“I love a challenge,” Lochte said. “For me to be in the same era as him, in the same events as him, to be able to race him to the finish, it’s awesome. I love it. I get soooo excited when I’m stepping on the blocks and trying to race him.”

Rest assured, that sort of talk is pumping up Phelps. He seems to hear everything that anyone says about him — Bowman has a lot to do with that — and can turn even the slightest of slights into a reason to go faster.

Heck, Phelps still remembers what former Australian national coach Don Talbot said about him before the 2003 world championships, something about “being unproven on international ground.”

“What did that do? It motivated me,” said Phelps, who at that meet set world records in different events on the same day. “Obviously, it frustrates me sometimes, but I just use that as motivation. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned in my career. I’ve never once said anything publicly about anyone. I never will. That’s how I am. I let my swimming do whatever needs to be done.”

Ahh, this is getting good.

Even the other swimmers, who are mostly focused on their own Olympic goals, can’t wait to see how Phelps vs. Lochte turns out.

“They push the best out of each other,” Clary said, “every time they get in the pool.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Antonio Tarver vs. Lateef Kayode (Saturday 9pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Gabriel Rosado vs. Joel Julio (Friday 9pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network); WNBA: Minnesota Lynx @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Denver Outlaws (Saturday 9pm from Denver live on ESPN3.com)

10. Zac Brown Band (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Capital Jazz Fest feat. Indie.Arie, Bill Cosby (Friday-Sunday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Radiohead (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Miranda Lambert/Jerrod Niemann (Sunday 4pm Jiffy Lube Live);  City and Colour (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Smile Empty Soul (Saturday 5pm Recher Theatre); Crossfade (Monday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dandy Warhols (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Used (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Victor Wooten (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Dr. John (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rhett Miller (Monday 8pm Jammin Java)

I’d watch ZBB do just about anything, but this was as good as anything I’ve seen them do…

My favorite tune from Thom Yorke and the boys?

For more traditional country folk, I sorta dig this Jerrod Niemann tune…

I wish I didn’t have to admit to digging this tune…

9. Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival (Saturday & Sunday 12pm Oregon Ridge); Guy Torry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Corey Holcomb (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Man on a Ledge” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s first ever “Hogfest” (Saturday)

That’s right. For the first time in my (still?) young life, I will be roasting a pig Saturday. It’s all thanks in part to ABC Rental Store in Rosedale. A talented young man I listen to on the radio is always talking to me about them. I think his show is called “The Reality Check.” I PRAY my results make me as happy as George W. Bush…

Also, I will be hosting a qualifier for the Olympic KanJam team Saturday (more on Twitter @OlympicKanJam). I expect the day to look much like this…

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Olympic Dream Over for Baltimore Boxer Douglas

Posted on 19 February 2012 by WNST Staff

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. (AP) — Claressa Shields screamed, sidestepped and finally hopped around the ring, unable to contain her glee when she was named the outstanding fighter at the first U.S. Olympic team trials for women’s boxing.

Queen Underwood and Marlen Esparza could only chuckle and cheer for their irrepressible 16-year-old teammate. All three fighters made a bit of history Saturday night, and they’re on a path toward even bigger landmarks in London.

Esparza, Underwood and Shields won their respective weight classes with unbeaten runs through the trials, advancing to the world championships for a chance to fight at the Olympics.

“They’re going to have to say Claressa Shields, No. 1,” said Shields, the breakout star of the trials after charging through the middleweight division.

Esparza captured the flyweight title with a 32-17 victory over Tyrieshia Douglas, and Underwood beat Mikaela Mayer 22-19 to win the lightweight division. Shields ended the trials with a 23-18 victory over Tika Hemingway at the Pend Oreille Pavilion in the Northern Quest resort-casino just outside Spokane.

“I’ve been waiting for this day forever,” Esparza said. “This is where all that hard work pays off.”

While Esparza and Underwood posted decisive victories, Shields sweated through a difficult bout after powering past her first three opponents in the first U.S. team trials since women’s boxing was added to the Olympic program nearly three years ago.

The three Americans still must finish in the top eight in their weight classes at the world championships in China in May to earn a spot in the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament. The winners weren’t thinking that far ahead while they posed for the first of innumerable photo sessions and public events over the next three months — along with plenty of training together in Colorado Springs.

“It hurts. I’m happy. All in one,” Underwood said. “I’ve been national champion since 2007 and waiting for this opportunity, and it’s finally here, and it’s over at once, but it feels great.”

The 27-year-old Underwood finished the tournament with her best performance, a fitting cap to a resilient week for the best-known American boxer. Underwood is a five-time national champion who put her life on hold to pursue her sport, working construction to pay bills during periods when she wasn’t immersed in 12-hour training sessions.

The sellout crowd was behind the Seattle native, stomping on the floor and chanting “Queen! Queen! Queen!” while Underwood took apart Mayer with brutally effective shots from all angles. The final margin was smaller than expected, but Underwood had little doubt, raising one finger in anticipation of the verdict.

Even with extensive international experience, Underwood acknowledged a huge case of jitters all week. Dozens of family and friends traveled across the state from Seattle and Underwood worried she had let them down on Thursday before she barely escaped with a 25-24 win over 19-year-old N’yteeyah Sherman.

“I don’t believe in losing,” Underwood said. “I don’t want to lose, ever. I knew I had the opportunity to come back tomorrow if things didn’t go right, but that wasn’t in my rulebook. My rulebook is coming out with a win all days. I came here planning to have four fights, and I fought exactly the way I thought.”

Shields’ final victory was the culmination of a breakthrough week for the high school junior from Flint, Mich., who has skyrocketed through the sport in the past year since becoming old enough to compete at amateur boxing’s highest levels.

Shields beat Hemingway on Thursday night in a bout that left both boxers complaining about the score. Hemingway started furiously in their rematch, stalking Shields into the corners to unload long barrages of punches.

Shields fought back with equal vigor, but Hemingway twice knocked out Shields’ mouthpiece, forcing the referee to take a point from Shields in the second round. Hemingway backed Shields against the ropes for a long stretch of the fourth round, mauling and shoving amid the punches — but Shields patiently waited for openings for her ferocious counterpunches, scoring enough points to win.

“I feel like I did way better the first fight,” Shields said. “I still got tired, letting her wrestle me, but it felt good when it was over.”

Esparza is a 22-year-old from Houston with six national championships in two weight classes. She moved up in weight two years ago to meet the 112-pound Olympic flyweight standard, but the change hasn’t stopped her relentless roll toward London.

Thanks to an opening-round walkover, the top-seeded Esparza had to fight just three times to win the trials, while the title bout was the second-seeded Douglas’ sixth fight in six days.

Esparza stuck to a meticulous game plan, allowing the aggressive Douglas to tire in each round before picking apart her defense with well-timed shots. Esparza, who fights with an American flag do-rag underneath her headgear, raised one glove in victory after the final bell.

“She tries to knock you out or something in the first part of every round,” Esparza said. “She really does scare me, because she’s intimidating and she looks fearless, but I’ve watched her over and over, and the first 30 seconds of every round are like the best 30 seconds of your life, but she gets tired.”

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Baltimore Fighter Douglas Remains Alive in Olympic Boxing Trials

Posted on 18 February 2012 by WNST Staff

Associated Press

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — Tyrieshia Douglas eliminated fellow flyweight Christina Cruz from the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing team trials with a 22-14 victory Friday night, avenging an earlier loss and advancing to the final.

Mikaela Mayer edged N’yteeyah Sherman 26-25 to stay alive in the lightweight division, setting up a rematch with Queen Underwood in Saturday’s final. Middleweight Tika Hemingway also avoided elimination, trouncing Raquel Miller 21-6.

Douglas will fight unbeaten Marlen Esparza in Saturday’s final, while Hemingway will meet 16-year-old sensation Claressa Shields for the second time in three days.

Heading into the final fights of a weeklong tournament, Douglas, Mayer and Hemingway must win Saturday to force winner-take-all finales on Sunday in the double-elimination tournament. All three expressed confidence in their ability to overcome earlier missteps during this physically taxing week.

“I feel good, I’m happy, and I’m taking this all the way,” Douglas said. “I’m not tired. That’s not happening.”

Friday’s three winners realize that they must figure out a way to earn two straight victories over unbeaten opponents who are coming off a day of rest. Esparza, Underwood and Shields can earn trips to China for the world championships in May with one more victory.

The Americans also must finish in the top eight at the world championships to earn a spot in the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament in London.

Douglas’ cornermen followed her to the ring holding a banner with her tricky first name misspelled on it, but she scarcely made another misstep. The 23-year-old flyweight who emerged from years of foster care in the Washington, D.C., area to become a world-class fighter markedly improved her game plan from her 20-15 loss to Cruz on Tuesday night.

Douglas’ aggressive game plan in their first bout left her open for too many shots from Cruz’s dangerous right hand. Although Cruz split Douglas’ upper lip with that same right hand in the rematch, Douglas moved with more purpose and broke down Cruz’s defense with a quick jab.

“She can’t handle a person who moves like me,” Douglas said. “I’ve come too far not to come out of this and win it all.”

Mayer got a bloody nose from her bout with Sherman, the 6-foot honor student from Kent State. Both fighters were certain they won the bout when Mayer’s hand was raised, but Sherman took her second straight hard-luck loss after Underwood beat her 25-24 on Thursday night.

“I was actually confident it was going to go my way, but amateur boxing, it can go either way,” said Mayer, the Los Angeles-area native who re-focused her life around boxing.

Although Mayer acknowledges the strain of a long week of competition is dragging on her. She still hasn’t washed her now-bloody singlet, preferring sleep over laundry.

“I’m not surprised, because I knew I have what it takes to be here, but I’m excited because this is everybody’s dream,” Mayer said. “This tournament really taught me to step up toward the end. I’ve never fought more than four times in a tournament. I’m definitely feeling it, but I don’t feel that bad.”

But Mayer keeps rolling: She survived a 23-18 victory over Tiara Brown on Thursday before edging Sherman. Mayer gave a tough fight to Underwood on Tuesday night, evenly battling the top-ranked lightweight except for a difficult second round in her 27-20 loss.

Mayer spent Friday icing and heating her sore muscles, and she’ll have to do it again Saturday.

“Queen has only had three fights, so we’ll see what sharpness versus rest will do,” Mayer said.

Hemingway had the easiest time Friday, controlling Miller’s attack and scoring regular points of her own. The Pittsburgh product entertained the crowd at the Northern Quest resort by throwing bolo punches while high-stepping and shuffling around her opponent in the final round, taunting Miller to come and get it.

“I was confident,” said Hemingway, who’s still steamed about the judges’ scores in her 23-15 loss to Shields on Thursday. “We just fought yesterday, and it was a really close fight.”

Shields also had an opinion about that fight: She thought her score was scandalously low, and she vowed to improve it if given a rematch with Hemingway, who used a physical style to attempt to knock the teenager off her game.

“I’m trying to be a (good sport), so I’ll just say I learned that anything is possible, and anyone is beatable,” Hemingway said. “Anyone who watched that fight can have an opinion, and we’ll see what happens next time.”

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Crews Eliminated, Douglas Stays Alive at US Olympic Boxing Trials

Posted on 17 February 2012 by WNST Staff

Associated Press

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — Flyweight Marlen Esparza, lightweight Queen Underwood and middleweight Claressa Shields advanced to the finals of the U.S. Olympic women’s boxing team trials with victories in the winners’ bracket Thursday night.

Underwood won the most thrilling bout of the landmark tournament, weathering hundreds of punches from 19-year-old N’yteeyah Sherman before pulling out a 25-24 victory with a strong fourth round.

Esparza, a six-time national champion, meticulously stuck to her game plan in a 13-10 win over longtime rival Christina Cruz, while the 16-year-old Shields survived a physical fight from Tika Hemingway for a 23-15 win.

The three winners must win again Saturday in the double-elimination tournament to advance to the world championships in May. If they finish in the top eight in China, they’ll head to London for the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament.

The level of competition clearly rose on the fourth day of the first U.S. women’s trials, with the nation’s best amateur boxers fighting for prime position or to avoid elimination.

“This tournament does take a toll on your body, but I’m experienced, and getting better and better,” said Underwood, the five-time national champion.

Underwood and Sherman were in a brawl from the opening bell, with the 6-foot Sherman throwing wide-angled punches as Underwood replied with more powerful shots. Underwood knocked out Sherman’s mouthpiece in the first round, but Sherman replied with a vicious combination after the break.

Although Sherman is an impressive volume puncher whose major height advantage invites comparison to Paul Williams fighting at 147 pounds, Underwood was stunned only once by a shot near the end of the first round. Underwood blocked many punches and ducked around others while connecting on the inside.

With neither fighter completely certain who was ahead, the bout culminated with relentless action exchanges in the fourth round. Underwood sighed in dismay when her cornermen told her she trailed by a point, but responded with a tenacious round that kept her on track for China.

When the announcer read the verdict, Sherman yanked her wrist away from the referee and shook her head vigorously.

“There’s things I can review and improve for the Saturday competition,” Underwood said. “I’m sure we’ll fight again.”

Sherman, a Barberton, Ohio, boxer and a straight-A student at Kent State, could earn a rematch with Underwood on Friday by beating Mikaela Mayer, who eliminated Tiara Brown with a 23-18 victory.

Shields earned her third straight victory and moved to the brink of an impressive title, but the teenage slugger was left sullen and sulking after the fight, disappointed in the judging and refereeing — and possibly rattled by Hemingway’s physical game plan.

Although she claimed Hemingway hadn’t been inside her head, Shields repeatedly had to be reminded by her coach, Jason Crutchfield, that she had just moved one step away from a trip to China.

“I don’t know what they’re talking about, 23,” Shields said, referring to her score. “I never scored 23 in my life. She gave me a hard fight, (but) I wanted to stop her. … And she kept head-butting me, and the ref didn’t say nothing.”

Shields came out much more cautiously than in her first two fights, when she aggressively tore through two elite opponents. Hemingway cagily tied up the teenager inside and eventually angered Shields, who returned to her usual ferocious game plan in the third round.

The referee had to separate the fighters after the third-round bell, and he cautioned them against trash talk before the fourth.

Hemingway’s next bout is against San Francisco’s Raquel Miller, who eliminated five-time national champion Franchon Crews 26-15 in the final fight of the night.

While Underwood and Shields won emotional fights, Esparza was clinical in her dissection of a longtime rival. Esparza was more aggressive from the opening round, frequently engaging Cruz and then ducking away before Cruz could counterpunch.

Esparza also largely stuck to her plan to keep her left hand up near her head, negating Cruz’s dangerous straight right.

“She throws the same thing over and over, the right hand and the left hook,” Esparza said. “It’s really basic. I think this was the first time she ever threw an uppercut, right now.”

After three rounds in which few of Cruz’s punches landed, the Manhattan native picked up her attack in the fourth round, but Esparza’s impressive conditioning usually kept her out of trouble.

Cruz is still in the tournament, and will have a rematch Friday night with Tyrieshia Douglas, who eliminated Virginia Fuchs 31-19.

“I love that win, and I could win a million times against her and it would never get old, because she’s my only loss,” Esparza said. “You can’t change your past, but it feels good making a statement over and over. That’s always the best for me when I beat her, because she took a lot out of me when she beat me.”

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Baltimore Boxers Douglas, Crews Advance at Olympic Trials

Posted on 16 February 2012 by WNST Staff

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — Tyrieshia Douglas emphatically avoided elimination from the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing team trials on Wednesday night, stopping Taversha Norwood in the fourth round of their flyweight bout.

Lightweight Mikaela Mayer also recorded a fourth-round stoppage, dominating Asia Stevenson in the semifinals of the challengers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

Top-ranked middleweight Franchon Crews narrowly avoided elimination with a wild 27-26 victory over Tiffanie Hearn. Crews, the five-time national champion, broke into tears while Hearn collapsed after a vicious bout in which both fighters bounced off the ropes and traded haymakers.

Just 12 fighters remain with a chance to earn three spots on the U.S. team and the chance to qualify for the debut of women’s boxing at the London Olympics.

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Baltimore Native Crews Upset at US Olympic Trials

Posted on 14 February 2012 by WNST Staff

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. (AP) — Unheralded teenage middleweight Claressa Shields upset top-ranked Olympic hopeful Franchon Crews of Baltimore on Monday night in the first U.S. team trials for women’s boxing.

Top-ranked lightweight Queen Underwood overcame serious jitters in front of her home-state crowd, winning her first bout in a small ballroom at a resort-casino just outside Spokane.

Shields, a 16-year-old from Michigan with Betty Boop on her tall socks, thoroughly overwhelmed five-time national champion Crews, 24, with a relentless work rate and athleticism. Shields has shot up the national rankings in the past year while growing 4 inches.

The double-elimination trials feature eight fighters in each of the three weight classes of the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament. The three trials winners still must do well at the world championships in May to qualify for the London Olympics.

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Michael Phelps Using Hyperbaric Chamber to Aid Recovery

Posted on 09 February 2012 by WNST Staff

Sleeping at altitude: Michael Phelps using ‘fish tank’-like hyperbaric chamber to aid recovery

RACHEL COHEN
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK — Michael Phelps is the latest athlete to use a hyperbaric chamber to aid his recovery from training.

The 16-time Olympic medalist said Wednesday he had been sleeping “at 8,000 feet every night” for almost a year. The 26-year-old swimmer noticed he bounced back from workouts better when he trained at altitude, so he’s trying a device that simulates that.

“We’ve been able to realize after going to Colorado Springs so many times that it is something that helps me recover,” Phelps said. “That’s something that is so important to me now being older. I don’t recover as fast as I used to.”

He said the chamber looked like a fish tank: “Imagine, like, a bed with a box around it.”

“It’s kind of strange, but it’s good,” Phelps said during an appearance for sponsor Head & Shoulders. “I don’t mind it. There’s a giant door at the end of my bed. The worst thing is trying to watch TV in it. I’ve got to watch it through Plexiglas — it’s blurry.”

Phelps is preparing for what he says will be his final Olympics this summer in London. He won a record eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008.

Hypoxic or hyperbaric tents and chambers are used by many athletes to replicate high-altitude conditions and boost levels of oxygen-rich red blood cells. They have become popular with NFL players trying to speed their recovery from injuries.

In 2006, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ethics committee ruled that such chambers enhance performance and violate “the spirit of sport,” but the executive committee refrained from adding them to their list of prohibited substances and methods, instead asking for studies to look further into health implications.

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Rice, Suggs Make Bloomberg List of Most Powerful Athletes

Posted on 25 January 2012 by WNST Staff

New York, NY, January 25, 2012– The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees (No. 1), Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (No. 2) and New England Patriots’ Tom Brady (No. 3) top the Bloomberg Businessweek/Horrow Sports Ventures 2012 Power 100 ranking of the most powerful professional athletes in the U.S. To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on- and off-the-field going into 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek teamed up with Rick Horrow, host of Bloomberg TV “Sportfolio,” and CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures; CSE, a leading integrated marketing agency that created the Power 100 list for the third consecutive year using proprietary methodology; and the Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score.

As the business of sports continues to grow, endorsement contracts increasingly impact players, teams, and the industry. These contracts take into consideration many of the same factors as the Power 100 ranking – performance, name awareness, appeal, influence, trustworthiness and overall popularity, among other things. Social media, for example, played a role in boosting the rankings of such athletes as LeBron James (No. 4) and Shaquille O’Neal (No.7).  The Power 100 rankings are based 50 percent on these on “off-field” measurements, and 50 percent on “on-field” performance using a variety of industry statistics.

The most notable drops this year include injury-plagued Peyton Manning dropping from No. 1 to No. 51 and golfer Phil Mickelson dropping from No. 4 to No. 18. Due to the individual dominance of its top athletes, tennis commands ten percent of the spots on this year’s list, with the top female athlete on the list being American tennis stalwart Serena Williams (No. 25).

In addition, this year’s Power 100 rankings also emphasize the importance of team sports, with the NFL dominating the list with 26 players ranked in the top 100. The National Basketball Association came in second with the most athletes on the Power 100, with 20, followed by MLB baseball (16), tennis (10), golf (8), NASCAR (6), Olympics (4), soccer (4), hockey (3), boxing/MMA (2), and action sports (1).

“This is the third year of the Power 100, and it continues to be a cutting-edge tool to measure the power and value of athletes,” says Horrow, who will devote an entire “Sportfolio” episode to the special report on January 25.  “CSE’s consistent methodology provides the industry’s only analytics to provide integrated on field and off field attributes.”

Top 20:

1-Drew Brees-Football

2-Aaron Rodgers-Football

3-Tom Brady-Football

4-LeBron James-Basketball

5-Rafael Nadal- Tennis

6-Roger Federer-Tennis

7-Shaquille O’Neal-Basketball

8-Shaun White-Action Sports

9-Novak Djokovic-Tennis

10-Calvin Johnson-Football

11-Luke Donald-Golf

12-Tiger Woods-Golf

13-Kobe Bryant-Basketball

14-Dwight Howard-Basketball

15-Eli Manning-Football

16-Dwyane Wade-Basketball

17-Kevin Durant-Basketball

18-Phil Mickelson-Golf

19-Lee Westwood-Golf

20-Troy Polamalu-Football

All NFL players on list:

Rank

Athlete Sport

Pro Team / Hometown

1

Brees, Drew Football

New Orleans Saints

2

Rodgers, Aaron Football

Green Bay Packers

3

Brady, Tom Football

New England Patriots

10

Johnson, Calvin Football

Detroit Lions

15

Manning, Eli Football

New York Giants

20

Polamalu, Troy Football

Pittsburgh Steelers

23

Foster, Arian Football

Houston Texans

27

Peterson, Adrian Football

Minnesota Vikings

36

Turner, Michael Football

Atlanta Falcons

39

Jones-Drew, Maurice Football

Jacksonville Jaguars

41

Fitzgerald, Larry Football

Arizona Cardinals

43

Stafford, Matthew Football

Detroit Lions

44

Rice, Ray Football

Baltimore Ravens

47

Woodson, Charles Football

Green Bay Packers

50

Ryan, Matt Football

Atlanta Falcons

51

Manning, Peyton Football

Indianapolis Colts

57

Willis, Patrick Football

San Francisco 49ers

59

McCoy, LeSean Football

Philadelphia Eagles

61

Allen, Jared Football

Minnesota Vikings

67

Rivers, Philip Football

San Diego Chargers

72

Matthews, Clay Football

Green Bay Packers

77

Gronkowski, Rob Football

New England Patriots

91

Suggs, Terrell Football

Baltimore Ravens

95

Welker, Wes Football

New England Patriots

97

Anderson, James Football

Carolina Panthers

98

Wallace, Mike Football

Pittsburgh Steelers

 

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Sporting Events You Would Have Camped Out To Have Great Seats For

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Sporting Events You Would Have Camped Out To Have Great Seats For

Posted on 22 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Today’s Tuesday Top 7 (on a Wednesday) topic was generated in honor of the folks who camped out at M&T Bank Stadium Tuesday night to get the best spots on the field to see U2.

The topic was “The Top 7 Sporting Events You Would Have Camped Our To Have Great Seats For.” As always, it seems pretty self-explanatory.

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. USA-USSR “Miracle On Ice” 1980 Olympics

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYscemhnf88[/youtube]

6. Colts/Giants 1958 NFL Championship Game

http://bob520.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/1958_cut.jpg

5. Secretariat dominates 1973 Belmont Stakes

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS4f6wiQJh4[/youtube]

4. Kentucky/Texas Western 1966 NCAA Championship Game

texaswestern

3. 1998 NBA Finals Game 6-Michael Jordan over Bryon Russell

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdPQ3QxDZ1s[/youtube]

2. Hulk Hogan body slams Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III

hogan

1. Andre Agassi/James Blake 2005 US Open

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAMhwNDwB6Y[/youtube]

Drew Forrester’s list:

7. Toni Linhart “field goal in the fog” 1975

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEJhi_f-nV8[/youtube]

6. 2007 Winter Classic Penguins @ Sabres

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9je3EGSbrnQ[/youtube]

5. 2004 ALCS Game 7 Red Sox @ Yankees

alcs

4. Jason McElwain scores 20 points in four minutes

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fw1CcxCUgg[/youtube]

3. Dale Hunter beats the Flyers 1988 NHL Playoffs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b5C-0Fj-as[/youtube]

2. Jackie Robinson’s first game 1947

jackierobinson

1. Miracle On Ice

miracle on ice

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Wednesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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