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My best 2012 Baltimore sports story is Jessica Long…and yours will be too!

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My best 2012 Baltimore sports story is Jessica Long…and yours will be too!

Posted on 31 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Perhaps you already know parts of the story of local swimming sensation Jessica Long. Maybe you’ve seen her on the evening news or you’ve seen her honored locally or even nationally on the ESPY’s or as the 2006 James Sullivan Award winner.

As a journalist here for 29 years, I’ve had the privilege of knowing some special athletes and people around sports. The Baltimore connections and heroes are among some of the greatest names in the sports universe from Johnny Unitas and Brooks Robinson to Ray Lewis and Cal Ripken not mention from Michael Phelps back to Babe Ruth. But the story of Jessica Long is better than any of them because of what she doesn’t have.

Jessica Long doesn’t have legs.

While all eyes and focus were on Baltimore’s worldwide star Michael Phelps this summer during the Olympic Games from London, another local swimmer & world-class competitor was waiting in the wings to make her third splash in the Paralympic Games, which followed the Closing Ceremonies in England.

Jessica Long first gained local and national attention as a 12-year old at the 2004 Athens games and now has been through the Beijing and London games and is emerging as a model, spokesperson and inspiration to people all over the world. Oh, and she’s turns 21 in February but her eyes have seen the world in a big way and this past year and this unfolding story I’m about to tell is incredible, heart-warming and still doesn’t have an ending – happy or otherwise.

Then again, almost everything surrounding Jessica Long always seems to turn out with an immense level of happiness and smiles all around. This blog will end with a video of her surrounded by Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, John Harbaugh draped with her Paralympic gold medals and you’ll see her mantra for the coach in regard to the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff run:

“Pressure is a privilege,” she says.

*        *       *

The Paralympics Games attract an all-too-small fraction of the attention of the sports and media spotlight so it’s up to people like me in places like Baltimore to tell you about my favorite sports story of 2012 and hope to inspire you as we enter 2013.

My favorite Baltimore sports story of 2012 is about Jessica Long and you’ll soon find out why.

This story is lengthy because it needs to be and contains various links and pictures that I personally hope you check out and read as you begin another year. Your 2013 will probably begin with two legs so think about the courage of Jessica Long and her amazing narrative

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surfing safety OC

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Surfs Up

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Tom Federline

RUKM? First of all, do not ever try this. Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Superstorm “Sandy”, done walloped the mid-atlantic and during her display of power, provided some opportunities for thrill seekers down the ocean. Thrill seekers? More like death wish on a board. The pictures available on the Internet from Ocean City, Maryland are amazing, devastating, cool and heart wrenching all at the same time. When I saw the pics of these boys taking advantage of a “once-in-a-lifetime” event, (there’s those Talking Heads again), I first shook my head and said “Crazy—–Nutballs”, then immediately after said – “what an intense rush.” The superstorm wreaked havoc on the entire eastern 1/3 of the country and evidently also provided some angry surf challenge for a few of the “brave” locals. 

I cannot surf. I tried once in my younger years, but for some reason did not pursue it. As much time as I spend in the ocean, you would have thought I would be all over it. I can water ski, knee – wake – and boogie board. I enjoy body surfing the most. Then finally I bought myself some “Fins” and discovered a whole new ballgame. I can actually cut the wave, ride in the barrel and semi-survive. I just haven’t  taken the time to have someone teach me the long board. Maybe that goes on the “Bucket List”. After viewing some of these shots during “Sandy”, I saw more evidence of maybe why I have used my better judgement. I do have to give props to these guys in the pictures. Here’s my stretch of surf lingo – How “stoked” those boys must have been to experience those ”drops” off those “bombs” and survive. When you hear them say – “Killer Wave”, they mean it…………literally.” The Ocean” – (Led Zepplin), ALWAYS lets you know who is in charge. Mother Ocean shows no mercy.

How cool it must have been to experience that kind of surf in your own backyard. Cool, but extremely dangerous. Obviously those talented young men were quite the seasoned vets. I’ll even give them credit for an attempt at ”safety”? In their slideshow, they did have a ”spotter/tow-in” on a jet ski. These pics were labeled as taken on Sunday. Those boys got guts (to put it lightly). Taking positive advantage during a negative situation. Monster surf, heck large swells, are  NOT for the meek, inexperienced, once/twice a year foam boarder.  

Ocean City took a hit. How much of a hit, is yet to be determined. I do not believe another inlet was formed. But there is serious flooding and property damage. A wake up call to all of those who care to heed the warning. That island down there is pretty fragile. Take an airplane ride next time you visit. Even just a Para-sail and you’ ll see a birds eye view of a vacation destiny ripe for disaster. “Sandy” packed quite a punch. It appears OC absorbed a few rough rounds but remained standing.

Hopefully those young lads didn’t take on to much of a “Wipeout” – (The Safaris). I remember as a kid watching the surfing championships from The Pipeline at Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I remember as a kid wishing I could experience that ride. I remember going down da ocean hun for vacation and spending 8 hours a day on my “rubber/blow-up” raft and chewing my chest all up, to where it was raw. I always wondered if OC would ever experience those kind of waves and if it did how would it survive? Well the OC Surf was up Saturday, Sunday and yesterday. Not to Pipeline extremes, but for a few brave souls during “Sandy” – those boys will have stories for a lifetime. ”That’s just extremely tight – dudes.”

D.I.Y.

Fedman 

 

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underwater 2012

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Olympic Recap

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Tom Federline

Brooks “The Tuna” Velour….. it did not matter how many times I saw that Maryland Lottery Medal Mania commercial - I laughed. The dolphin kick as he entered the water – priceless. On a serious note, I was engaged with the Olympics from start to finish. I believe what set this Olympics apart from previous viewings was: a) channel options b) the DVR and c) choice of knowing outcome or waiting until event coverage. NBCSN is even capitalizing on post airings, with “Return to London…” all this week, featuring the highlights of the more coveted sports. The replays are buffeting any immediate Olympic withdrawal symptoms.

Yes, the primetime commercials were to many and to long. Yes, some of the background stories were to drawn out and dramatic. Yes, some of the interviews immediately following the event were to mundane and elementary. And yes, I threw my sofa cushions at the tube, after the 50th time I saw Matthew Perrys’ face and whatever new show of his they were jamming down our throats. They did such a good job, I don’t even know the name of the supposed upcoming sitcom. We had options………….. click.

What I dug the most was, Neil Peart drum roll please………….the camera angles/video coverage. I know it’s not new and I am getting old but, for some reason being with the athlete as they competed in their event blew me away. I was all about - the under water 50m pool shots, following the diver into the pool, running with the gymnast down the runway, surging across the mat, running with the track stars, the super slow motion replay, etc. etc. The under water on the floor of the pool looking up shots - extremely cool. Were we ever able to follow them during the race before from below? Maybe it’s the new HD flat screens? I don’t know, I’m old, I appreciate the little things alot more now. I will say, I am not a fan of the “in-your-face” camera shots immediately following their performance or while they wait for their scores. No reason to be a foot from their face when I believe there is a lens option called “zoom”. The video coverage enhanced my viewing time.

                                                           

Number 2 on the “what I really dug” meter………….. Boxing analyst – Teddy Atlas. His commentary pre, during and post fight was unprecedented. He had the knowledge, he had the flare, he had the honesty and freedom to call it like he saw it. Analogies I had never heard before or would have ever dreamed of interjecting into a boxing match. FAN-tastic. Even though the boxing was for the most part – “fixed” – at least Ole Teddy Atlas was on board with it. “Some of these decisions, are making Olympic boxing a joke/no credibility.” “If they give it to the blue corner – I’m on a plane out of here.” Blue corner received the win……”Where do I go get our tickets.” (They didn’t leave).  His play-by-play man, Bobby Papa, was right there with him. “Where are they getting these judges? The judging at these games is why this sport is considered a farce.” FAN-tastic coverage, with so many more examples. If they ever come out with a DVD of the boxing coverage for the London 2012 Olympics ………….buy it………it’s a classic.

Number 3 – minimal bad press. Besides the inevitable “Fixes” – (badminton you kiddin’ me)? There were only a couple positive drug tests (so far). Really only one, that being the ”she-man” shot putter from Belarus. Let me tell you, you saw it………there were plenty more of the “she-men” running around.  The other positive drug test didn’t really count. That was the American judo guy – he inadvertently ate some marijuana brownies back in the states prior to going over. Uhhhhhhh yeah right. I wonder if the IOC uses the same testing labs as MLB and the NFL? There were minimal reports of  misdemeanors. There were no terrorists attacks, no Munich of 1972 from 40 years earlier. Nice job – British and friends security teams – give them a gold medal.

Number 4 – the USA women in anything. I heard the USA women alone, would have come in fifth for total medals vs. the rest of the world. The gals swimming was the surprise. In the last race of the meet, the 4 X 100 medley relay, the USA had 4 gold medal winners at their particular specialty, won at various distances. Soccer, water polo, basketball, beach volleyball (final match -both teams- USA), tennis, rowing, track, etc. You go girls.

For most of these athletes it’s a “Once in a Lifetime” – (Talking Heads), type deal. Although, for those at the top of their game, it seems as if there are more and more repeaters. When the Olympics changedthe participation status requirements from amateur to include professional – a new era was born. Now the athletes can recognize the potential income and sponsorship they can receive for their efforts. Stay off the drugs and go for it.

I encourage you to offer your top moments. Looking forward to 2014 Winter games in Sochi, Russia and 2016 Summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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Is Michael Phelps a hero or a zero? Depends on who you ask…

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Is Michael Phelps a hero or a zero? Depends on who you ask…

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The every-fourth-year hubbub about the Olympics and swimming and local connections is underway and once again this week Michael Phelps has entered the worldwide sports consciousness every night as the most decorated athlete in United States history.

So if you’re a provincial, “local” Baltimore sports fan you’re almost obligated to cheer for the kid from Towson wearing the red, white and blue on behalf of our country as well as our community.

After all of the tape delay fiascos from England this weekend – I wrote my two cents here — I started thinking about Michael Phelps as being the unique sports figure of our time in Baltimore. Oh, sure we have some hometown sports heroes like Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken and Ray Lewis, who will all have plenty of bronze likenesses and memories in our community and “time will not dim the glory of their deeds” but Phelps’ accomplishments trump all of them on his stage when you consider his competition around the planet and the scope and magnitude of the Olympics.

And unlike the Orioles, Colts or Ravens, most people have never been anywhere near a pool where Michael Phelps has swam a lap. The closest approximation to a “cheering crowd” for Phelps happened four years ago when the remnants of a Baltimore Ravens preseason game watched him swim for gold inside the stadium about 30 minutes after the football game ended.

You can see my view of it here:

So on Saturday afternoon before Phelps took his first turn in the pool vs. Ryan Lochte, I put up one simple, open-ended sentence for tens of thousands of our @WNST Twitter followers and our Facebook community. It was:

Michael Phelps is ___________________.

There were hundreds of comments across social media and by my count far more than 50% weren’t just negative they were downright personal and abusive in some cases. And this was on Facebook, where people sign their names and add their likeness to their criticism.

Perhaps it’s gold medal envy?

Maybe it was the DUI

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NBC & WBAL should be ashamed of lame tape delay Olympics coverage

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NBC & WBAL should be ashamed of lame tape delay Olympics coverage

Posted on 29 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

For those of you who have followed my radio career since 1991, you know that I’m a patriotic fan of American sports and the Olympics always seems to capture my attention in at least some small way.

This year, with local hero Michael Phelps back in the daily consciousness, it makes sense that I’d be interested in a Baltimore guy who has already made plenty of history but is trying to nab these three medals to be the most decorated athlete in the history of the world.

He’s from Towson. WNST is in Towson. I’ve attended two parades in his honor. As I said on my Facebook page, he’s kinda a big deal around here.

On Saturday, I began my morning after the Opening Ceremonies at 4 a.m. Immediately, I saw live tweets coming Andrea Kramer and others from London regarding Michael Phelps being in the pool for heats. I turned on NBC before sunrise and watched some early morning pool action. Phelps wasn’t strong but made the finals and I was intrigued by a Lochte vs. Phelps showdown “later tonight.” I downloaded the NBC schedule and saw that the finals were actually happening around 1:30 p.m. our time. The website even has a “your time” vs. “London time” setting.

I literally built my day around watching Michael Phelps swim for a gold medal.

Sometime around 2 p.m. I realized that NBC’s main feed was strangely nowhere near a pool and was more in “female pitch” time, doing feel good pieces on the gymnastics team and showing the already-tired Youtube girls swim team video of “Call Me Maybe” for the fourth time. I thought maybe the schedule on the web was wrong.

Sometime around 2:20 p.m. I became a little suspicious and I had the audacity to open my laptop on Facebook and Twitter and found out within 20 seconds of the end of the race that Ryan Lochte had defeated Michael Phelps soundly.

Within minutes, the global assault on NBC – via #NBCFail — had begun and I was among the millions who were duped into thinking that the biggest sporting event of the day – held in the middle of a sports Saturday in America no less – would be suppressed and embargoed by the network that paid billions of dollars to have exclusive “live” coverage of the London Olympics.

What a strange, stupid decision the folks at NBC made – a mandate to embarrass virtually everyone associated with anything “news” for their whole company.

Then, keeping with the rank and file mandate of some NBC exec in New York, on the 6 p.m. newscast WBAL-TV opted to “pretend” that the race hadn’t happened yet, speaking of it in the future tense. They even did a live shot at Meadowbrook and asked the reporter to drum up “people can’t wait for the race” rhetoric when every 15-year old who swims at the club had known the result for four hours.

Just monumentally embarrassing, especially for a local television station that uses “Live, Local and Latebreaking” as a trite mantra to attract people with gray hair who still think news doesn’t happen until 6 p.m.

God bless Sarah Caldwell (who I like a lot) but if some suit in New York told me to do the nightly “news” and then asked me to stare into the camera with integrity and pretend I didn’t know who won four hours after it was over?

Does anyone over there have a brain?

Twenty minutes later an almost contrite Gerry Sandusky offered to give the result only after pleading the viewership to turn the station off for a few seconds if they didn’t want the result.

Where is Dan Joerres or someone on TV Hill to call “bullhockey” on these goofy local news embargoes, especially when the Baltimore local news leads without giving the Michael Phelps result on the network that had the live rights to it?

The equally corrupt jokers next door at WJZ-TV and the CBS Locals must’ve been howling with laughter in the newsroom.

It’s 2012. There’s this little thing called the internet that allows us to share information in a free society.

But this isn’t as much about the embarrassment of WBAL-TV – heck the AM 1090 radio side proved their mettle as a news organization back during the 2006 “Free The Birds” walkout when the audio broadcast was essentially a 75-minute chant without nary a word of a protest of the Orioles that day – it’s really amazing that anyone associated with NBC’s news operation would bless this style of “journalism” regarding sports.

I guess nothing shocks me anymore – at the local or national media level — especially when a bunch of suits in New York smell freshly printed green money without regard to the customers.

But who exactly are they trying to appeal to by withholding the live events and pretending that anyone would tune in at 9:40 p.m. to watch a swimming race that everyone in the world had access to the result of if they cared enough to care about who won the race more than seven hours earlier?

Yesterday NBC Sports got what it deserved – a failing grade and a 2012 new media spanking in real time called #NBCFail.

In 1968, it was called “Heidi.”

In 2012, it’s called trending.

When will these guys learn they’re not really in control of information anymore?

The world – from wars to storms, from swimming results to the corruption of corporate money in our society to guys dressed up as The Joker on shooting sprees in Aurora – goes on in real time.

Not in tape delay.

 

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Phelps favored to win more golds than Lochte in London

Posted on 26 July 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).  Included below are the Gold Medal counts for the US, who will win the most Gold Medals, a plethora of Men’s Hoops odds, swimming, track and field, and much more

Total Gold Medals for Team USA at the 2012 Olympics

Over/Under                    38.5

Most Gold Medals at the 2012 Olympics

USA                             4/7

China                            7/5

Russia                          25/1

Great Britain                  33/1

Total Medals for Team USA at the 2012 Olympics

Over/Under                    103.5


Men’s Basketball Props

Basketball – Men’s – Odds to win the Gold Medal

USA                                         1/8

Spain                                        13/2

France                                      28/1

Argentina                                  28/1

Lithuania                                   33/1

Russia                                      33/1

Brazil                                        40/1

Australia                                   100/1

Great Britain                              250/1

China                                        400/1

Nigeria                                      500/1

Tunisia                                      1000/1

 

Basketball Men’s – Odds to win Silver

Spain                            4/9

France                          7/1

Argentina                      7/1

 

Basketball Men’s – Will USA and Spain meet in the finals?

Yes                              4/5

 

What will be the average margin of victory for the USA Men’s Basketball Team at the 2012 Olympics?

Over/Under                    25.5

 

What will be the largest margin of victory for the USA Men’s Basketball Team?

Over/Under                    45.5

 

What will be the smallest margin of victory for the USA Men’s Basketball Team?

Over/Under                    12.5

 

Lebron James – PPG for the tournament?

Over/Under                    17

 

Lebron James – APG for the tournament?

Over/Under                    4.5

 

Lebron James – RPG for the tournament?

Over/Under                    6.5

 

Kobe Bryant – PPG for the tournament?

Over/Under                    13.5

 

Kevin Durant – PPG for the tournament?

Over/Under                    17

 

Carmelo Anthony – PPG for the tournament?

Over/Under                    13.5

           

Historical Matchups – Who will Average More Points Per Game

(Whole Tournament) 

Lebron James                            -2

Michael Jordan (1992)                +2

(Note: Jordan averaged 14.9 pts per game)

 

Kevin Durant                              +1

Charles Barkley (1992)               -1

(Note: Barkley averaged 18 pts per game)

 

Kobe Bryant                              -.5      

Karl Malone (1992)                     +.5

(Note: Malone averaged 13 pts per game)

 

Historical Matchups – Who will Average More Assists Per Game

(Whole Tournament)

Chris Paul                                 Pick

Magic Johnson (1992)                Pick

(Note: Magic averaged 5.5 assists  per game)


Game 1 Lines

USA                 -24.5                -8000               167.5

France              +24.5                +1400

 

Total Points – Team USA

96

 

Total Points – Team France

71.5

 

Margin Of Victory

USA by 1-5                               18/1

USA by 6-10                              10/1

USA by 11-15                            6/1

USA by 16-20                            9/2

USA by 21-25                            4/1

USA by 26 or more                    1/1

France by 1-5                            50/1

France by 6-10                          200/1

France by 11-15                         250/1

France by 16-20                         300/1

France by 21-25                         350/1

France by 26 or more                 400/1


Odds to win Gold Medal

Swimming – Men’s 400m Individual Medley

Ryan Lochte (USA)                    2/3

Michael Phelps (USA)                1/1

 

Swimming – Men’s 200m Individual Medley    

Ryan Lochte (USA)                    4/5

Michael Phelps (USA)                6/5

 

Athletics – Track – Men’s 100m

Usain Bolt (JAM)                        7/10

Yohan Blake (JAM)                    3/2

Tyson Gay (USA)                       10/1

Justin Gatlin (USA)                    20/1

Ryan Bailey (USA)                     20/1

Asafa Powell (JAM)                    25/1

Christophe Lemaitre (FRA)          50/1

 

Athletics – Track – Men’s 400m

LaShawn Merritt (USA)               1/1

 

Athletics – Track – Men’s 110m Hurdles

Aries Merritt (USA)                     5/4

 

Athletics – Track – Women’s 100m Hurdles

Lolo Jones (USA)                       33/1

 

Athletics – Track – Women’s 100m

Allyson Felix (USA)                   7/1

 

Athletics – Track – Women’s 200m

Allyson Felix (USA)                    1/2

 

Soccer – Women’s

USA                             7/4

 

Soccer – Men’s

Brazil                            3/2

Spain                            12/5

 

Tennis – Men’s Singles

Novak Djokovic                          3/2

Roger Federer                            2/1

Andy Murray                              9/2

 

Tennis – Women’s Singles

Serena Williams                       3/2

Maria Sharapova                        4/1

Victoria Azarenka                      5/1

Venus Williams                         40/1

 

Tennis – Women’s Doubles

Williams/Williams (USA)            4/5

 

Miscellaneous Props

Who will win more Gold Medals at the 2012 Olympics?

Michael Phelps (USA)                -175   (4/7)

Ryan Lochte (USA)                    +140   (7/5)

 

Who will finish higher in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley?

Michael Phelps (USA)                +130   (13/10)

Ryan Lochte (USA)                    -160   (5/8)

 

Who will finish higher in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley?

Michael Phelps (USA)                -130

Ryan Lochte (USA)                    EVEN

 

Will Usain Bolt (JAM) win both the Men’s 100m and 200m Gold Medals?

Yes                  +125   (5/4)

No                    -175   (4/7)

 

Will the USA win both the Men’s and Women’s 4x 400m relays Gold Medals?

Yes                  EVEN

No                    -130

 

Will the USA win both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Gold Medals?

Yes                  -600   (1/6)

No                    +400   (4/1)

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random_oly-trials

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Olympic Trials

Posted on 06 July 2012 by Tom Federline

It’s hot. If you can’t be in a pool, in the bay or in the ocean, you might as well be reading my blog in air conditioning. I wish I was in a pool, heck I can even smell the chlorine. The pool thoughts reminded me of the Olympic trials which were on last week. Hope you caught some of the coverage on NBC and NBCSN. The focus was on swimming, gymnastics and track and field. I thoroughly enjoyed coming home from work and catching extended highlights prior to prime time coverage later in the evening. It was hot, I had to work, it was hot, limited outside activity, it was hot and the Orioles are not………..so bring on the Summer Olympics 2012. 

It was actually a refreshing surprise, to witness the formulation of the US Olympic Team. Watching these athletes compete at such a high level and watching their dreams being realized or crushed due to a matter of tenths of a second or tenths of a point, really gripped me. Making the team or winning the event is nothing new to me or to any of us. Maybe it was because I was cheering for ”all of them”, instead of  routing “only for the Americans” or “only for the ones who don’t look like they are on steroids”. Maybe it was because the top two or three spots got to go. Maybe it was the drama and the realization that the culmination of years of training was unfolded in the matter of minutes or seconds. What ever it was, congrats Team USA, ya got me hooked.

There were some new terms thrown at me, like “qualifying standards” and “A or B levels”. Bottom line the athlete could win the event but NOT make the team if they did not meet Olympic standards. BOOOOOOO, Olympic committee, with a goofball rule like that, there would have never been an Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards or an initial Jamaican bobsled team. You train, you win, you are the best in your country for an Olympic event, your country (or sponsors) have footed the bill to get you to the Olympics, guess what? You have earned the right to go. The US almost didn’t have a discuss thrower. Every country should have a discuss thrower. The cool thing is, the guy qualified on his last throw, surpassing the Olympic minimum of 65 meters (that’s 213.5 feet for us Americans). He was like 6 inches short prior to his last throw. This guy can throw a “saucer” over 200′ and some wimpy selection committee judge is not going to let this athlete compete? WRONG. You go Lance Brooks. Following are names that stood out to me, during the trials:

Track and Field – Amy Acuff (yes, this is her 5th Olympics -high jump), Allison Felix (sprints), Ashton Eaton (Decathlon), Wallace Spearmon (200m),  and Matthew Centrowitz (1500m – Broadneck High). I had the pleasure of watching Matt Centrowitz run a few years back, thanks to my step-nephew who was particpating in high school track (at a top level I might add). The young  lad could run like a deer, seemingly effortless with gears no one else had.

Womens (Girls) Gymnastics – Jordan Weiber (all around - 16 years old), Aly Raisman (Floor and vault – 18 years old).  Most of them are 16 – do they even have a drivers license? The minimum age is 16. Sixteen? Mens Gymnastics – John Orozco (all around - 19 yrs old) and Jonathan Horton (rings, horizontal bar – 26 years old). The women have a bulls-eye on them and are expected to medal. The guys are underdogs and that’s a nice spot to be in.

Swimming - The United States is just strong. Women – Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt, you are going to hear those names almost as much as these next two . Men – Ryan Lochte and some guy named Phelps. There is quite a wake building, concerning the Lochte/Phelps potential duals in the pool. Hope that all pans out. The swimming events are going to be where it’s at. It amazes me how those swimmers/dolphins can cut through the water like they do. I finally bought a pair of fins for in the ocean (body surfing and boarding). 1 – they work. 2 – it was so cool to swim with those things on. Now I know how those top swimmers feel when cutting through the water – a cool sensation.

I am currently not up on all the sports the Olympics have to offer. We all soon will be. I am a fan of the more obscure sports, pentathlon, archery, rowing and of course synchronized swimming. I am sure there are Marylanders that have made the team also. So offer your thoughts and info. that I haven’t touched on. It’s all good.

I’m looking forward to July 27 – August 10th. We need some feelgood stories. We need a break in the heat. We need minimal bad press, i.e “roids”. We need the Wide World of Sport. It’s hot. It’s so hot, It’s “Hotter than Hell’ – KISS. Hopefully the US  Team can stoke the fire. U-S-A…. U-S-A…..U-S-A.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Phelps, Lochte set for another showdown

Posted on 26 June 2012 by WNST Staff

OMAHA, Neb. — (AP) Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps stayed on course for their second showdown at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Tuesday.

Lochte qualified fastest in the 200-meter freestyle preliminaries, exploding off the final turn to take the lead and cruise into the wall at 1 minute, 48.14 seconds. He’s the world champion in the event, having beaten Phelps for the title last year in Shanghai.

Charlie Houchin, a 24-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., who was 77th in the 200 free at the 2008 trials, was second-fastest at 1:48.15. Swimming in the heat before Lochte, Phelps qualified third at 1:48.31. He is the Olympic champion and world record holder.

Lochte got the better of Phelps in their first final at trials when he won the 400 individual medley on Monday. Phelps finished second, and they both secured spots for London.

Phelps has set himself up for another eight-event program in London — something he insisted he wouldn’t do again after the Beijing Games.

“It’s not an easy program, but we’re going to try to do some things here,” he said. “The biggest thing is really how I hold up all week. I was definitely happy with getting last night out of the way early. It wasn’t the easiest race. But this morning felt pretty comfortable, so hopefully we can just keep everything rolling for the rest of the meet.”

Can Phelps repeat his historic haul of eight golds?

“Anything can happen,” he said. “You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time.”

Also moving into the 16-man evening semifinals were Conor Dwyer (fifth) and Peter Vanderkaay (sixth). They already earned berths on the U.S. team in the 400 freestyle Monday night.

Davis Tarwater, who narrowly missed making the 2008 Olympics when he was third in the 200 butterfly, was eighth. Ricky Berens, bidding for his second straight Olympic spot, was ninth.

2008 Olympian Garrett Weber-Gale didn’t advance, finishing 24th. Austin Surhoff, the son of former major league baseball player B.J. Surhoff, tied for 66th.

Budding star Missy Franklin and two-time Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin advanced in the 100 backstroke prelims.

Swimming her first event of the eight-day meet, Franklin was the top qualifier in 59.54 seconds, easily moving the 17-year-old from Colorado into the evening semifinals.

“I had some first-race jitters,” she said. “But I’m super, super happy with my time. It felt awesome.”

Franklin saw the sign under the massive scoreboard above the pool as she stroked to the opposite end of the pool.

“It was U.S. Olympic Team. Talk about motivation. That helped me get my tempo up the last 25,” she said. “I was nervous for my first race. But right now, I feel good.”

Franklin led a quartet of teenagers who represent the U.S. future in the event. Rachel Bootsma, an 18-year-old from Minnesota, was second at 59.69, making her and Franklin the only women to go under 1 minute.

Elizabeth Pelton, an 18-year-old from Connecticut, was third at 1:00.55. Olivia Smoliga, a 17-year-old from suburban Chicago, was fourth-quickest at 1:00.66.

Coughlin advanced in fifth at 1:00.71. She was the first woman to break 1 minute in the event and formerly held the world record.

The top 16 in the semifinals move on to Wednesday’s final, where only the top two earn berths for next month’s Olympics.

World champion Rebecca Soni led the way in the 100 breaststroke, coming on strongly over the final 50 meters to win her prelim heat in 1:06.33.

Breeja Larson showed no nerves in her first Olympic trials, turning in the third-fastest time in the world this year to qualify second-quickest at 1:06.52. The sophomore at Texas A&M didn’t start swimming competitively until age 17 in her hometown of Mesa, Ariz.

Jessica Hardy, who won the 100 breast at trials four years ago only to lose her spot on the Olympic team because of a failed doping test, was third at 1:07.25. Hardy served a one-year ban after an arbitration panel agreed with her contention that a tainted nutritional supplement was to blame for her positive test.

Still, she battled anger and depression during the fight to clear her name.

“This is the first time I felt like I can actually have a happy ending,” she said. “I can relax and finally have fun and feel grateful.”

Soni caught Hardy’s time as she was waiting to come on deck.

“She did really well. It gets you kind of pumped up,” she said. “The times are getting faster and faster every year. I definitely have to keep my ’A’ game going.”

Amanda Beard, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist in the 100 breast, qualified seventh for the evening semifinals. The 30-year-old mother of one is trying to make her fifth Olympic team, but the 100 is not her best event and she will have to pick up the pace to make the eight-woman final.

“I think my chances are great,” she said. “But this isn’t my life. My life doesn’t just revolve around swimming. I won’t be too devastated walking away and saying I competed at my fifth Olympic trials. I’ll look at it as a success and go on a nice vacation with my family.”

Also advancing in 13th was Ariana Kukors, a three-time medalist in the world championships. 2000 Olympic champion Megan Jendrick, who gave birth to her first child eight months ago, finished 22nd.

 

 

 

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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 18 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionBoxing-Victor Ortiz vs. Joselito Lopez (Saturday 9pm from Los Angeles live on Showtime); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Phoenix Mercury (Wednesday 10pm from Phoenix live on WNBA.com), Washington Mystics @ Seattle Storm (Sunday 7pm from Seattle live on WNBA.com); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Boston Cannons @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet); U.S. Olympic Trials: Diving (Wednesday 12am & 10pm Thursday 10pm Friday 11pm live on NBC Sports Network, Saturday 4pm Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All diving from Federal Way, WA); Track & Field (Friday 9pm live on NBC Sports Network Saturday 8pm Sunday 7pm live on NBC Monday 9pm live on NBC Sports Network. All track from Eugene, OR); Swimming (Monday 6:30pm live on NBC Sports Network 8pm live on NBC. All swimming from Omaha)

10. Earth, Wind & Fire (Thursday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion), Childish Gambino (Saturday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Rascal Flatts/Little Big Town (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Counting Crows (Wednesday 7pm Wolf Trap), Diana Krall (Tuesday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); Jill Scott (Thursday 7pm Verizon Center); LMFAO (Monday 7pm Patriot Center); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Tech N9ne/Machine Gun Kelly (Tuesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Ice Cube/Wale/DJ Khaled (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Deanna Bogart Band (Saturday 8:30pm Rams Head on Stage); The Hives (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Modest Mouse (Wednesday & Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Fiona Apple (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Friday & Saturday 8pm Jammin’ Java); Del Ray Music Festival feat. Pat McGee (Mt. Vernon Recreation Center Fields Alexandria); Ringo Starr (Sunday 7pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle feat. Soul Asylum/Cowboy Mouth (Saturday & Sunday Pennsylvania Avenue DC); Smashing Pumpkins “Oceania” and Kenny Chesney “Welcome to the Fishbowl” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I like Donald Glover on “Community” (Six seasons and a movie!) and all, but I was always skeptical about him as a performer. But honestly, not bad (lyrics NSFW)…

Quick. Favorite Counting Crows song ever. I’ll go with this…

Wale and Kevin Durant have something in common. I like them both a LOT but would like them a hell of a lot more if they weren’t Redskins fans…

Fiona Apple is coming to town. Anyone remember their awkward feelings about seeing her in her underwear in the “Criminal” video? I can’t tell you how confused I was about myself watching it the first time…

9. Aziz Ansari (Friday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Paul Mooney (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Jim Gaffigan (Thursday DC Improv); “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”, “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World” & “Brave” out in theaters (Friday)

If you don’t think Aziz Ansari is funny I don’t think this conversation is going anywhere and we might want to consider talking to other people…

Also, I think I AM planning on a midnight screening for ALVH Thursday night. I’m hoping to come dressed like this…

If you don’t go see this movie you’re a terrible American.

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