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#WNSTSweet16 Greatest Local Olympic Sport Athletes

Posted on 04 February 2014 by Luke Jones

As we shift our attention from Super Bowl XLVIII and another football season to Sochi, Russia and the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, it’s time to take a look at our latest #WNSTSweet16 list that recognizes the greatest local Olympic sport athletes to represent the area.

Some names may have garnered little more than 15 minutes of fame with their athletic glory while a few have become heroes who will never be forgotten in the local community as well as in the entire country. Athletes who were either born in the state of Maryland or resided here for a significant period of time during their triumphs were considered for the list.

As WNST.net’s Glenn Clark previously pointed out, winning a medal and even participating in the Olympics weren’t requirements, but the list of Marylanders to triumph in either the Winter or Summer Games is extensive, meaning Olympic triumph carried heavier influence in paring down the candidates. Other guidelines that were considered were career longevity as well as a preference to recognize individual success before team competitions.

Here’s the list of the WNST Sweet 16 Greatest Local Olympic Sport Athletes:

16. Pam Shriver, tennis

The McDonogh grad may never have won a Grand Slam singles title, but her remarkable doubles career included 21 championships in Grand Slam tournaments and an Olympic gold medal playing with Zinna Garrison in Seoul, South Korea in 1988. The pair topped Jana Novotná and Helena Suková in the doubles final to take the gold.

Because this list doesn’t require Olympic triumph or participation, the argument could be made to move Shriver much higher on the list, but tennis wasn’t reintroduced as an Olympic medal sport until 1988 — after a 64-year hiatus– when her best years were winding down. Shriver did not appear in another edition of the Summer Games, but her triumph in Seoul coupled with even her late-career success made her a worthy inclusion. 


Continue to next page for No. 15

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The Olympic Games: Do we Really Care Anymore?

Posted on 21 July 2012 by Robert Testoni

There was a time where the Olympic games were a must watch every evening for 2 week stretch during the summers, or winters. I couldn’t wait to watch our young Americans take there shot against the best in the world, even if some of these sports I did not understand, or know the rules. What is the modern pentathlon? Or biathlon? Do you know tug of war used to be an Olympic sport? Really? It was an exciting couple of weeks where you had a rooting interest even if did not know what was going on. It allowed you to forget about the reality of our word for a couple of weeks. I guess this all started to die with the events in 1972 at the Munich games.

We are a week out for the 2012 games in London and I just don’t see the buzz. What has changed? Why has it changed? Does it really matter? Let’s be honest, when the Olympic games are held in a time zone that is not conducive for the viewing times of Americans, it seems not to matter. Back in the 70’s and 80’s the network that would televise the games would save all of the popular events for primetime on tape and with no real-time reporting of the Internet, and other mobile devices, it played live. Remember, in 1980, the hockey game between the United States and Soviet Union was played at 5PM in the afternoon, and shown in prime time. Most people thought they were seeing it live. The only people that knew what happened were the 8000 in the arena. If this game had been played today, we would have known the outcome and probably seen the highlights. Getting closer to us, Michael Phelps will be swimming all of his events in the morning or afternoon. Being that he is one of the poster boys of the Olympic games this year, you know that NBC is going to hold that footage until their evening programming. I know most will still watch, but is it ‘must see’? It will be interesting to see if NBC shows any of their ’go to’ events, swimming, or gymnastics live on the alternate stations they have.

The David versus Goliath mentality of the games for the United States is no longer applicable. You always knew that most of the other countries paid their athletes, but our athletes were considered ‘true’ amateurs. Again, the ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team represented the real love of the Olympics. Not only were we barely 15 years from the ‘cold war’, but also we had a bunch of college kids, and Mike Eruzione against the Soviet Union team with all the professional players. It was a perfect storm, David versus Goliath, with social implications. The games will never be that way again as I guess the United States has to utilize professionals so that they can stick their chest out, but is that the point. The first ‘Dream team’ of 1992 was fun, and was a curiosity, but unless you are a hardened NBA junkie, are you going to watch many of the games?

What made the games special was the fact that you really did not know these people until the two weeks in the summer or winter. Most of the sports represented were not made for Wide World of Sports, so you never got to see the athletes until the games. Did you know ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard before the 1976 Games in Montreal? Probably not, unless you were a huge boxing enthusiast; even then, maybe not. Athletes like Teofilo Stephenson, the Cuban boxer who won 3 Olympic gold medals and never turned professional, made the games special because the only time you would see him would be in that 2-week span. Could you imagine the media coverage if he were fighting today?

The uniqueness of the Olympics has been spoiled by the oversaturation of the athletes.

Whatever it is, are the games on your viewing docket from July 27-August 12, or is it the Orioles, reruns or nothing at all?

(By the way, the modern pentathlon includes pistol shooting, fencing, 200 meter freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3-mile cross-country run. I had to look this one up!)

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