By Phil Hecken
The 2010 Olympics from Vancouver, British Columbia, come to a close this evening, but there’s still some big excitement ahead today. Of course, I’m speaking of the Mens 50 km cross-country skiing, which will be held at 9:30 local time (12:30 ET). No, no…the big deal today, of course, is the much-awaited Gold Medal Hockey game between host Canada and the United States. For someone who absolutely loves the Winter Olympics, and who has been thoroughly entertained by these Games (if not by NBC’s coverage), this is the perfect topper to pretty much two perfect weeks.
Even if you’re not a hockey fan, if you’re an American (or a Canadian, but I needn’t remind them of this game), this is THE one to watch. We’ll awake Monday to return to our regularly scheduled programming, what with the NCAA tourney only weeks away, spring training in full swing, and the NFL draft and the NBA & NHL playoffs around the corner…sort of. But for one last day, winter reigns. The USA versus Canada begins at 3:15 ET (so, that’s 2:15 central, 1:15 mountain, and 12:15 pacific time). Grab a cold one, settle in, kick back, and enjoy some Olympic hockey — it doesn’t get any better than this.
In the first matchup between the US & Canada, which the Americans won 5-3 (this is a rematch) in the 2010 Olympics, the USA wore their “Squaw Valley throwbacks,” which were designed to replicate the gorgeous uniforms sported by the Americans during the 1960 Olympics, played in Squaw Valley, California, and at which, the United States performed their “first” miracle on ice.
In those games, the US defeated the Canadians, the Soviet Union, and took home the gold by defeating Czechslovakia in the final game. Had Slovakia defeated Canada on Friday evening, it would have set up an “almost” rematch of that 1960 game. As it is, this game is a rematch of the 2002 Winter Games, when Canada defeated the US on American soil.
Seeking payback for that defeat in 2002, the US hopes to repay the “home town defeat” and pull out the Gold today. One might think this game will be the most watched hockey game, bar none, this year. I know I’ll be watching. If you watch one game this year, this is the one to see.
But this Olympics has been outstanding in most, if not all aspects, despite early setbacks and terrible weather. And it’s worth our time, now, to take a quick look back and the splendor that has been this year’s Games.
No look back would be complete, however, without a tip of the cap to our Canadian neighbors and friends, who’ve really been outstanding keepers of the flame. And despite our friendly rivalry (you know I’m pulling for team USA in the hockey today), the Canadians have been fantastic hosts. Props to them.
And so, let’s take a look at the beauty of the past two weeks, as the uniforms and outfits and costumes are almost as important as the games themselves, right? Right. What follows are some AMAZING high-resolution photographs, beautifully capturing the games — and they’re worth clicking on, even if you’re not a fan.
The stage was set by the Opening Ceremonies, with a black and white-clad snowboarder, soaring through the rings. Sight and Sound were on full display, as the delegations poured in, tempered slightly by the Georgian team, who donned black armbands in memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, who died in a horrifying crash during a luge training run barely eight hours earlier.
Despite the sadness surrounding that tragedy, the mood was decidedly upbeat, with the athletes and spectators participating and viewing the Canadian splendor. All were given glowing electric candles, which made for quite a visual as a barefooted k. d. lang performed, and a giant polar bear appeared during the performance of Landscape of a Dream: Hymn to the North. Finally, the evening closed on a somewhat rocky note, as there was a bit of difficulty erecting and lighting the ceremonial flame, but at long last, all was right in the Pacific Northwest.
What followed the next fifteen days was everything you’d expect from an Olympics, featuring the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, sometimes by the same person, as American Lindsey Vonn took home the gold in the in the women’s downhill (seen with her BBF, Julia Mancuso, who took silver), the bronze medal in the “super-G,” and suffered not one, but two devastating crashes in other disciplines.
The weather and the slopes often proved the winner in the 2010 Olympics, with number of spills and crashes taking out many an experienced skier. Not everyone lost to the mountain, however, as Sarah Schleper stayed upright and former burnout Bode Miller took home a gold, a silver, and a bronze.
Staying on the slopes, but moving on to some non-alpine events, the athletes soared in the aerials, twisted and turned in the halfpipe, (although I can’t say I was a fan of the blue paint in the pipe), and through the snowcross. X-Games mainstay and the man who put snowboarding on the map, Shaun White, brought home the expected gold in snowboard halfpipe.
Not to be upstaged by their more ‘earthly’ counterparts, the ski jumpers also soared in thrilling jumps, while the freestyle skiers reached new heights, and mogul men and women displayed all kinds of new tricks. But the result is always best celebrated when one is safely back on the ground. Of course, the best seats in the house are reserved for the ski jumping judges. For those who prefer to spend most of their time on the ground, nordic combined even yielded a medal for the first time EVER for the United States. But that’s not a sport for the faint-hearted…or those with endurance problems.
Not everything outdoors involves skis or snowboards, however. That doesn’t mean they are any less exciting. It takes some serious intestinal fortitude to participate in the luge, especially after that sick track had already claimed one life. The track may not have beaten every rider, but a few teams threw up a white flag after unfortunate runs. Still, the bobsleigh was it’s usual exciting self.
Not all events are outdoor, however, and the Olympic Bonspiel provided wonderful curling action. Host nation Canada almost pulled off the “double gold” but, more importantly, again raised the consciousness of thousands to the awesomeness of this unique sport.
Men and ladies, sometimes at the same time, thrilled audiences in the ice skating and ice dance. In the only discipline where participants wear individual costumes (or outfits) instead of uniforms, talent is almost as important as individuality.
Athletes on skates are not limted to “figure” skating. One of the most popular (if not exciting) events is short track skating, a crazy sport which sometimes features a dozen skaters at a time participating. Spills and disqualifications are frequent, and thanks to NBC, it always seemed like it was American Apolo Ohno versus the Koreans — but this wasn’t far from the truth, as Ohno set a record for the most medals won by a Winter Olympian in 2010. There’s also speed skating done on a much larger track with contestants kept in lanes. That doesn’t stop them from practicing as though it were a synchronized event.
Today, they close down the games, but they do it in style, with ice hockey taking center stage one last time. And with the Americans and Canadians fittingly playing for the gold medal, with a score to settle and bad blood brewing, it doesn’t get much better than this.
So, from this American, I say to Canada, “thank you” for being such outstanding hosts, and for providing the world with a fantastic two weeks of thrilling and fascinating entertainment. Canada may eke out the gold medal total (with the USA taking the overall total count), but there’s one last one up for grabs this afternoon. And now…GAME ON!
Last week you may recall I posted a set of fantastic baseball cards (scroll down to “From The Taxman Collection“), from Jerry Adams. Within that section, Jerry asked, “My best recollection would be that we collected Coca-Cola bottle caps with player pictures in the liners — unless it was sending in cereal box tops or maybe even Kool-Aid packages. The back side of each photo referenced Dexter Press. Maybe our friends at the Fleer Sticker project would have a clue?”
Well, this week I received an E-mail from Jon Helf of the Fleer Sticker Project, which provided just the answer Jerry was looking for. Jon said:
I’ve spent the past few days researching the Coca-Cola promotion that Jerry Adams seemed to recall, and have just completed my post with a full run down of the Coke promotion and the cards if you’d like to take a look.
Phil – I don’t know if it was you or Jerry posing the question as to whether I could help confirm if these came from a Coke promotion, but I appreciate you guys thinking of me as a resource on something like this.
So there you have it. Whenever we have a question about cards, we know where to turn.
Thanks, Jon, for the quick response and the research!
From The Squiddie Files: As winter starts to turn the corner to spring, ever so slowly for a good part of the nation, Lance Smith (“Squiddie”) prepares to warm all our hearts with a look at the 1939 Cincinnati Reds, spring training edition:
In 1938 the Cincinnati Reds finished in 4th place, 6 games back of the Chicago Cubs. They seemed like an odd team to cover for spring training in 1939, but Life sent a photographer to Tampa to cover the team. The Reds would then go on to win the NL pennant with two pitchers winning 25 games or more. (Bucky Walter had 27 and Paul Derringer won 25.) The Life crystal ball wasn’t perfect as they’d lose to the Yankees in four. However in 1940 they’d win both the pennant and the World Series.
Let’s look at some photos:
It’s not spring training if you don’t get photos of players in unusual positions.
The swanky opulence of the Reds locker room.
The long and short of it. (Frenchy Bordagaray and Big Jim Weaver)
Hank Johnson works a high tech pitch location training device.
No C on cap, but the Centennial patch is in place.
It wouldn’t be spring training without a medicine ball.
You don’t see many pith helmets anymore. Powel Crosley, Jr. and Bill McKechnie review the troops.
Tampa, Florida was a little more rustic in 1939. Baseball at Plant Field.
Sweat a lot. Drink a little.
Bucky Walters watching batting practice.
The broad expanse of Ernie Lombardi’s chest offers a good chance to examine the lettering in Cincinnati.
Thanks so much for that fantastic spread, Lance. Feels more like spring already, doesn’t it? Interesting to see the Reds sporting the Mcauliffe font, as the Yankees, Tigers and Angels (amongst others) also did back in the good olde days.
Mick is a real two-sport star. Or so it seems…here’s Rick:
Save your nickels and dimes, boys and girls, and cobble together a trip to Florida for Spring Training. But be efficient; double up if you can. Watch Cardinals and Marlins in Jupiter, perhaps. Or Twins and Red Sox in Fort Myers. And, of course, bring your gear and squeeze in a little BP of your own.
And with that, here’s your Sunday Benchies. Enjoy!
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Taking a look at all sports from here on out, so, if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Starting off the show today is Rob Juba, who has some interesting concepts for the Giants, Bills, Browns, Redskins, Saints & Seahawks. It also looks like Rob has incorporated Ricko’s comp sleeve concepts into these:
Hello, big fan of the blog, thought I might contribute some traditional / throwback ideas for a few NFL teams. I am a big fan of the comp sleeve concept so I have incorporated that into all of these.
First, for my team, the Giants, added the Northwestern stripe to the home and revamped alternate unis and all pants, white pants for the alternate uni.
For the Bills, went with a combination of throwback helmet & striping, with more current darker blue, and added red alternate.
Browns, added the dog helmet logo, orange alternate jersey.
Redskins, throwback to the older burgundy & gold and helmet logo.
Saints, brought back the deeper “copper” gold, changed to black helmet, gold alternate jersey.
Seahawks, brought back the old blue & green for the unis, changed “Seahawk blue” to green but kept the navy in the new logo, added navy alternate with silver helmet and new logo with old blue & green.
I was just working with Paint so please forgive the crudeness of the drawings!
And our second and final set of tweaks for today comes from Samuel Thornton, who has taken on the eastern divisions of both the NFC and the AFC. Sam’s written a book, but they’re worth a look-see:
Here’s a batch of Uni Tweaks I did. Tried to do just tweaks and not total redesigns, although I guess some of the tweaks might be somewhat major. Kinda made it a design exercise of sorts to tweak each team, even if I like their uniforms as is. For this first bunch, I did the NFC and AFC East teams.
Cowboys – I hate the Cowboys, but I actually like their home blue uniform. Of course, they try their best to never wear it. Stupid Cowboys. For the home, I didn’t do much, except put stripes on the socks, match the blues up so they’re all navy, and make the numbers silver. The away whites got so much going wrong for them so I tried to clean it up. Matched up the silvers and blues again and put stripes on the socks. I also altered the sleeve stripes by replacing the black outline with a silver one and filing in the white space with silver, then slapped the star on there to match the blue jerseys.
Eagles – I’m an Eagles fan and I think the uniforms they have now are pretty good. I would like to see a switch back to the Kelly green and silver with the full bird logo, but I didn’t go nuts redesigning this one. I think the winged helmets are one of the tops in the league, however, it kinda bugs me that the wing is white and so is the head logo, which wouldn’t look like any bald eagle I’ve ever seen. My old man always says he wants them to switch back to the white helmets with green wings, so I went for a modern version of that with a white facemask. Away whites are the same, except for the helmet. Home greens are the same except for the helmet and green socks instead of black.
Giants – Hardly touched the Giants home blues. Gave them a red collar and a small red stripe between the white and blue on the socks. I don’t like that they have the NY logo on both the helmet and the chest, as it’s redundant, plus I kinda like Giants word mark, so I put that on the chest instead. On the whites, I tried to make it look like they weren’t wearing some other team’s jersey instead of the one that was designed with their scheme in mind. So I outlined the numbers in blue and made the stripes on the sleeves match those on the pants. Also swapped the NY logo for Giants one, and put the little red stripe on the sock again.
Redskins – I like the Redskins uniforms, even if they’re maybe a little boring. To spice it up a bit, a put a feather on each shoulder, red on the aways, white on the homes. I think it looks pretty cool. You’ll have to excuse my inability to get the feathers to curve the right way in MS Paint, and just pretend like they don’t go over the nameplate. Thanks. I also made sure the homes had striped socks.
Bills – We all know the problems with the Bills’ uniforms so I won’t rehash it. I tried to simplify their design while allowing them to keep a little bit of the excess detail if they really want it. This is a team I’d really want to redesign from scratch, and this tweak is definitely the most extensive. First I got rid of the darker colors and just went with regular blue and red. I figure practically everybody would give them a white helmet and it’s kind of a layup, so I went a different route. Plus, I feel like there’s too many white helmets out there nowadays anyway AND I already added one to it with the Eagles tweak. So what I did was make the helmet blue, with a red leaping/charging buffalo, and a single thick white stripe down the center. I gave the away jersey a blue yoke with red trim between it and the torso, changed the numbers to red, and switched the inversed the red and blue on the socks. Also got rid of the side panels. The home jerseys have the same blue shoulders, with white trim and a red torso. The numbers are white and I got rid of the panels again. I went with blue pants instead of white because I thought it would look too much like one of those Firecracker Popsicles you get from the ice cream truck. To avoid to leotard effect, I gave them white socks with three blue stripes. And that takes care of them.
Dolphins – I think the ‘Phins have pretty good uniforms too, even though the colors are brighter than most teams. What bugs me though, is that the dolphin in the logo is wearing a different helmet than the team does. So I took that logo off the team’s helmet and made it match the mascot’s with the orange M on it. Other than that, I just put stripes that match the pants’ on both home and away.
Jets – The Jets obviously have a good classic uniform, so the tweaks were minor here too. I gave them the same socks for their away uniform as they wear for their home (green with two white stripes), and made sure the stripes on the shoulders didn’t get cut off. Like the Giants, I think having the same logo on the helmet and chest is redundant, so I put an old jet logo they used to wear on the helmet and left the current one on their chest. OK, I may have been looking for any excuse to use the jet one anyway, but still…
Patriots – I feel similarly about silver helmets as a do about white ones, only silver is more boring, so if I can eliminate one…cool. Oh, and the redundancy department called in again to tell me about the flying Elvis on the helmet and sleeves. So of course I had to bring back Pat Patriot (and I left Elvis on the sleeve if they really want that one so much). The red helmet is just like one they used to wear at my high school (Colonials, baby) with a large white center stripe flanked by thinner blue ones, and a white facemask. My theory is Pat wore a white hat, blue jacket, and white pants, so we’ll set the team up the same way at home. I changed the silver shoulder stripes to white trimmed with red, then applied the same pattern to the collar and the socks. And you know what? I actually like the red piping up the side, so I left it there. For the away set, I got rid of the silver with blue stripes trimmed in red which I also applied to the collar, and changed the blue piping to red. I also changed the middle stripe in the socks to red.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. When I get time, I hope to hit the other Divisions and send them in, too. I enjoy seeing everybody’s designs and hope everyone can enjoy mine as well. Later!
Thank you Rob and Sam. Back next week with more tweaks, concepts and revisions.
Our man on the street, fashion critic extraordinaire, Jim “I’m a big fan of the Cav’s retro orange gear” Vilk
mercifully brings us his final set of uniform…er…outfit critiques for the 2010 Winter Olympic ice skating competition today. He’ll be looking at the ladies figure skaters today.
We may not agree with his selections, but it’s good to know he cares enough to send the very best. Here’s Jim:
Ladies Figure Skating
5. Elena Glebova, Estonia: On behalf of all those who have a green Seahawks jersey, thank you.
4. Kiira Korpi, Finland: Ditto.
Bronze: Tugba Karademir, Turkey: When it comes to the ladies I like sequins, but they’re not necessary to make the list. Nice pattern here.
Gold: Anna Jurkiewicz, Poland: Simply elegant.
“Don’t come near my podium with that”: Sarah Meier, Switzerland: Another one of those looks that belongs in Vegas.
FREE SKATE PROGRAM
5. Kiira Korpi, Finland: Reminded me of a starry winter night.
4. Laura Lepisto, Finland: Assymetrical shoulder straps may have cost her the podium. Otherwise, very nice.
Bronze: Cheltzie Lee, Australia: See Laura? That’s more like it.
Silver: Mirai Nagasu, USA: US ladies off the real podium for the first time in a while. Hope this makes up for it.
Gold: Kim Yu-Na, South Korea: From Bond girl, to “it” girl, to golden girl, to Uni Watch girl…all in three days time.
“Don’t come near my podium with that”: Alena Lenova, Russia: Just too much — and not enough — at the same time.
And a platinum medal to everyone who clicked on all the skating 5+1 links. Thanks.
No, Jim — Thank you.
Oopsie: I need to send out apologies to Amos Miller, who sent me an E-mail yesterday saying I had omitted his NFL Uniform Tweaks Contest submission — well, I searched and searched through two months worth of E-mail, and I couldn’t find it — but that’s not to say he didn’t send it in. So, in the spirit of fairness, I promised him I’d post his submission today, and his concept will be added to the other 69 already in the contest. Amos submitted his concept for the Detroit Lions.
The UW selection panel will give full weight to it, but if you guys would like to add your two cents in the comments, below, we’ll consider them when we finalize the results for next weekend’s poll.
Here, then, is Amos Miller’s submission for the NFL Design-A-Jersey contest.
Let him know what you think.
That will put a bow on this final post of February, 2010. Hope you enjoyed the look back at the Olympics, and be SURE to watch the Gold Medal Game today — if you only watch one hockey game this year, this is the one to watch.
Have a wonderful Sunday. Peace.