Category Archives: olympics

i have been chosen

I’m honored to announce that my website is being featured as Blogger of the Month on Mom Got Blog. Click here for a link to the interview with me.

I met Kelly about a year ago when we were both finalists in the Microsoft Winter Olympics blogging contest. Neither of us won (honestly she was robbed!) but we both became friends through the experience.

Kelly’s blog chronicles her life as a mother, athlete and amazing gal about town. Her commitment, perseverance and passion are consistently inspiring to me. Just this week I found out she’s training for her first marathon. She’s no stranger to hard work and training, but I’m amazed that she’s adding one more athletic challenge to her life that already includes speedskating and cycling.

I know you’ll enjoy reading her blog just as much as I do. Check it out!

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the thrill of victory… the agony of defeat

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!

I don’t know about you, but these words still touch a deep emotional cord. I was reminded of that show after Queen Latifah who is in Vancouver supporting Team USA, said, “I wish I could see every event. Ever since I was a little kid, since I watched Wide World of Sports on ABC, I always wanted to see the ski jump. I want to see someone fly down that hill, go up in the air and then land and nail it.”

Like her, I began my love affair with sports watching Jim McKay “span the globe” to bring celebrations of the human spirit into my home. It’s no wonder that I am glued to the competitions of the Olympic games, Wimbledon and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships (just to name a few) since these were all featured on that groundbreaking program. In fact, Wide World of Sports was the first to cover Wimbledon and March Madness.

So here’s to Queen Latifah and all the fans (like my friends Nate and Molly) who are in Vancouver to support our athletes. The Queen said it best, “It’s international. It’s us. It’s America. It’s the world. It’s Canada doing a great job representing their country, and giving us a great show, and welcoming us.” I’m right there with you in spirit.

opening ceremonies

I may not have been able to see them live (even though they took place in my own timezone – NBC you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do) or in person… but here’s my take on the highlights and lowlights of the opening ceremonies.


Best scarf – Canada

Most French – Great Britain

Most fashionable – Italy

Best knits – Andorra followed by United States (hat)

Best hat – Cayman Islands and Iceland

Most innovative use of the recent paisley fashion trend – Azerbaijan

Preppiest – Bermuda followed by Monaco

Most tragic use of prints – Finland  followed by Czech Republic

Best jackets – Peru

Biggest flashback to the 80s – Germany and Poland followed (with love) by Bryan Adams

Best use of trendy colors (yellow and turquoise) – Sweden

Best sweater and belt combination – United States

Best mittens – Canada

—–

Best performance – Beat Poet Shane Koyczan

Most mesmerizing – Orcas swimming through the ocean

Best song – Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now followed by k.d. lang’s Hallelujah

Coolest graphics – Native American motifs

Most surprising – Donald Sutherland is Canadian

Least surprising but biggest no-brainer – Wayne Gretzky lighting the torch


images: courtesy msnbc.com

behind the curtain


Do you remember the first time you watched the Wizard of Oz? I do. I took off in the tornado, I followed the yellow brick road, I put my feet into those bright ruby red slippers. I was also scared shitless of the wicked witch and those creepy flying monkeys, and yes I was crushed when the all the magic turned out to be a mirage hiding behind the curtain.

I never thought I’d actually live the Wizard of Oz, but the Microsoft Office Winter Olympics Blogging Contest was just that. I took off in a tornado the day I found out I was a semi-finalist, I followed a magical yellow brick road during the voting, and slipped my feet into a pair of ruby red slippers the day Margie Boule wrote a column about me in The Oregonian. I felt like you were right there with me – my own lion, tin man and scarecrow sharing the journey. Unfortunately once the voting ended things changed, so let me part the curtains and share this story’s ending.

First, let me just say that I would do it all over again. I would walk through the forest and the poppy fields again and again especially if I had the lion, tin man and scarecrow by my side.

::

Come opening ceremonies I’ll be watching the Olympics from the cozy comfort of my living room, which to be honest was a heartbreaking realization at first. Not because the other contestants didn’t deserve to win – they are part of a creative community that continues to inspire me. But because we were all jerked around for weeks while the contest organizers, public relations folks mind you, forgot how to communicate.

During the vote, we were encouraged to use every available means of communication from the phone to email to twitter to facebook to the media and good old fashioned snail mail – anything to get the word out! We were marketing our blogs yes, but also their products. I took a crash course in social media marketing – I think we all did and (pat on the back) we kicked ass. At times I felt like a reporter in a war zone – things were coming at me that fast. So it’s sadly ironic that the communication turned out to be so one-sided.

Though the votes were likely tallied within 24 hours we were told we would need to wait until the end of the week for the judges to make their decision. Totally logical. However, the end of that week came and went with no word. When word did come, it was sparse and not widely distributed. One person was told one thing, while others were told something else or completely left in the dark. This continued for weeks – you’ll know by Thursday… sorry there’s a delay you’ll know next week… never mind, just a few more days. In the end I found out the results indirectly through a Facebook posting on Christmas Eve. I figured that would be followed up with a phone call or an email message, but it never was.

In addition to letting us know who would be going to the Olympics, we were asked to keep quiet for a few more weeks. So even though I knew the results I had to lie to all the people who supported me and who were nearly as invested in the adventure as I was. But even that deadline came and went with no word. The man behind the curtain had disappeared yet again. The whole thing was frustrating for sure, but also getting more and more ridiculous as time passed.

In the end I hoped all the delays would be worth it, that they would lead to some colossal exciting announcement! I mean I wasn’t expecting a bunch of munchkins gathering for a hot air balloon send-off or a good witch floating down from the sky, but I was expecting something. But as far as I can tell, all they did was change the website. Such a let down for all that lead up.

As heartbreaking, frustrating, and absolutely maddening as the end was… the beginning was even more heartwarming, inspiring and exhilarating. Through this I tapped into an online community full of creativity and possibility, I shared my self and my work more than ever before, and by doing so I connected with friends and family on a whole new level. I may have had to peer behind the curtain, but I also got to follow the yellow brick road.

just a little more time

It happens every time. Every time I receive a message (mostly cryptic and rarely direct) from the folks running the Microsoft Winter Games blogging contest a song pops in to my head. It runs on a loop for about 12 hours… a lovely little ditty from the 80s.

“Just a little more time is all we’re asking for. Cause a little more time could open closing doors. Just a little uncertainty can bring you down…”

You get the picture. Really it’s only the first line that keeps repeating itself. Frankly I’m tired of hearing it. And I’m tired of hearing that the announcement – of who will be blogging from the Winter Olympics – is delayed yet again. And I’m really tired of having to keep all my friends and family and supporters in the dark – especially after the votes you cast for my blog way back in November pushed me even closer to a dream.

So yes, like Corey Hart sings in Never Surrender, his classic ballad from 1985… all they are asking for is a little more time!

every four years

Every four years I do this. Every four years I start reading news articles and opinion pieces about athletes who will compete in the upcoming Olympic games. It’s my way of getting prepared. It’s my dry land training regimen.

Usually I wait until after the holidays, but this year the Winter Olympics have been on my mind a bit earlier in the season. I wonder why?!
My method is not scientific. My process is haphazard at best. My choices are guided by instinct (see below*). But having a list of a dozen or so athletes to follow during the games makes the viewing and rooting experience so much richer. So here is a preliminary list of athletes I’ll follow in 2010 and why…

  • Tony Benshoof (luge) – hates airline travel, loves to listen to the radio, loves road trips, has to push through pain to do what he loves. I can identify with all of those, plus I just love saying “luge”.
  • Sara Studebaker (biathalon) – loves the camp-like atmosphere of training camps, likes going to new places. Add to that the biathalon always reminds me of snowy chukkar hunts in the hills above the Deschutes River with close friends.
  • Steve Mesler (bobsled) – childhood friend of dave’s (one of my closest friends from boston), he recently gave up his spot (temporarily) to Stephen Colbert during a “training” run in Lake Placid. A friend of Dave’s is always a friend of mine!
  • Kaylin Richardson (skiing) – trains in Chile, talks about respecting the process. I started this blog after following a friend’s blog who was teaching in Chile, and you have to cheer for someone who loves the process. The process is as much a part of a writer/photographer’s life as it is part of an athlete’s life.
  • Apolo Ohno (speed skating) – from the Pacific Northwest, will become the most decorated American Winter Olympian with one more medal in Vancouver, the way he wears his bandana reminds me of Rafael Nadal. He’s from the Northwest and he reminds me of Nadal – ’nuff said.
*Yes, I root for the Oregon Ducks – it’s only right since I have two degrees from the University of Oregon. I also passionately follow the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots – a natural legacy from my years living in Boston. But people often look at me funny when I mention that I’m pulling for the Texas Longhorns. I’ve never lived in Texas, I haven’t even visited. So why do I root for Texas? It’s simple: a love of design (their kick-ass logo combined with their sweet school colors) + a love of sports = a soft spot for the University of Texas. Like I said, it’s not scientific.

the word is out

My beautiful hometown of Portland, Oregon is truly rallying behind me and my quest to blog from the Winter Olympic games. And let me tell you it feels amazing!

I’ve always been the fan, I’ve always been the one cheering people on so they can fulfill their dream. Now the shoe is on the other foot and I finally understand how much it means to have friends, family and fans, cheer you on. It’s breathtaking and truly inspiring to feel this kind of support.

In addition to numerous friends – reaching all the way back to grade school (Yeah Bridlemile!) and the hallowed halls of Wilson High (Go Trojans!) – I just found out that Brian Westbrook, a local radio newscaster (not to be confused with the running back for the Philadelphia Eagles), has picked up my story. Check out his blog! Add to that the support of a local blogger and a local webdesigner who just happened to design the website for this whole contest. Thanks Heather and Chris!

I have to say that I’m truly touched and forever changed by what my friends and family and total strangers have done to help this Oregonian fulfill her dream. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.