Monday, February 24, 2014

Athlete Profile: I-Pod

Considered a bit of a long-shot but also considered one of Shaun Whites biggest competitor, Iouri Podladtchikov, I-Pod, dethroned the 2 time gold medalist, Shaun White, at the 2014 Sochi games.  While I-Pod was helped by 2 uncharacteristically sloppy runs from the 2 time champ, I-Pod put his stamp on the Olympic's and his gold medal run with his signature YOLO flip. While Shaun White followed with his own version of the YOLO flip, Shaun Whites rendition was not as big in volume nor clean in execution as I-Pod. But I-Pod is a Shaun White fan and seemed more honored to beat the defending champ more than anything. I-Pod is of Russian decent but changed the country he was competing for 3 years ago to Switzerland.

"TODAY Sochi." TODAY. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

Athlete Profile: Tina Maze

Tina Maze made her stamp on the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a gold in Giant Slalom for Slovenia. Maze has long been in the shadows of US Olympic skier, Lindsey Vonn but in 2014, perhaps because of Vonn's absence, Maze emerged with a gold medal for Slovenia  Maze's win was even more impressive due to the conditions in which she skied, rainy and wet. So much so that her celebration after winning the gold was borderline swimming in the slush.  Tina Maze's run also ruined the Olympic debut of Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18 year old skiing prodigy.  Maze's giant slalom gold medal marks her second of the Olympics and has helped her earn the title of greatest Slovenian Skier of all time.

"Tina Maze Wins Second Sochi Gold in Giant Slalom under Tough Conditions." Guardian News and Media, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Athlete Profile: Ryan Callahan

The current Captain of the New York Rangers, Ryan Callahan, has developed into a key role player for the United States hockey team.  The United States hockey team has been able to garner success through strong special teams play and Ryan Callahan has been one of the best penalty killers for the US squad. While Ryan Callahan has not been the most efficient offensive player, his energy, shot blocking and defensive penalty killing has been a spark for the American team and will be a necessary aspect of their game against the Canadians and possibly in the gold medal game.

"Capt. Callahan On WFAN: U.S. Ready For Epic Showdown With Canada." CBS New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

Athlete Profile: Patrick Kane

Team USA forward and 2 time Stanley Cup champion, Patrick Kane, knows about pressure and even more, performing in those moments.  But these Olympic were different for the Buffalo native as he was held to just 4 points in 6 games, all of which were assists.  But Kane is not pointing any fingers and takes the brunt of the responsability for his lack of production and team USA's lack of success stating "I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough to help the team win a medal. 
Obviously, I was expected to do a lot more. When you come over 
here and put up zero goals and four assists in six games, that’s not the numbers you want to see. Definitely disappointing.’’ As a leader of the USA hockey team, Kane will likely be back on the team in four years hopes to lead the team to greater success then in the 2014 Sochi games.

"Hawks Star Patrick Kane Looking to Put 'disappointing' Olympics behind." - Chicago Sun-Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

Athlete Profile: Mikaela Shiffrin

18 year old "Phenom" (Bode Miller's adjective) Mikaela Shiffrin is Alpine Skiing's brightest young star. Shiffrin won her first Olympic gold in the Women's Slalom for the USA last friday and became the youngest woman ever to win a gold in Alpine skiing.  But Shiffrin's philosophy about success does not hinge around results but rather progress. Shiffrin entered the Olympics knowing she was capable of medaling but simply wanted the chance to improve. The road to gold medal in the women's Slalom would prove to be a tough challenge despite Shiffrin's nearly flawless first run; a close call and an almost  disqualifying wipeout forced Mikaela to finish her second run with nearly 20 perfect turns which she was able to do to earn her gold medal.    

Pennington, Bill. "In Slalom, Mikaela Shiffrin Zips to Bottom and Reaches the Pinnacle."The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

Athlete Profile: Ted Ligety

The 29 year old, 2006 Giant Slalom gold medal winner and 3 time world champion, Ted Ligety, is now the 2014 Giant Slalom gold medal winner.  After being a favorite for 3 medals in the 2014 olympics, Ted Ligety had finished outside the top 10 in his first 2 events. Ligety was also shut out of a medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. But in the Giant Slalom, Ligety's best event, the gold medal favorite came through in a big way, easily taking the gold after a brilliant first run put him in first place and his second run solidified his win. Ligety expressed the importance of his win and the impact that it had after his disappointing finish in Vancouver stating, "I’ve been answering questions about Vancouver for four years.”

Pennington, Bill. "Ted Ligety Extends Reign With Giant Slalom Win." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

Athlete Profile: Teemu Selanne

In his 6th Olympics and at 43 years old, Finland native, Teemu Selanne is the 2014 Olympic hockey MVP.  Selanne's professional career started in the NHL over 21 years ago when Selanne scored 76 goals in 84 games as a rookie. Since his breakout season, Selanne has been a premier NHL scorer every year he has been in the league.  The player unofficially known as the "Finnish Flash" currently plays for the Anaheim Ducks and is the Captain for the Finnish Olympic hockey team. In his 6 Olympics, Selanne has been just as productive as he has been for the various NHL teams he has played for, scoring 24 goals and 43 points in 37 career Olympic contests. His production and leadership for team Finland helped them to a bronze medal in the 2014 Olympic games with a 5-0 win over the United States, a game in which Selanne scored twice. 

"Teemu Selanne Is the 2014 Winter Olympics MVP." ProHockeyTalk. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.